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People in the News: Andrew Morris, Peter Lea, Patrick Schnable, Andy Ferrin

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Andrew Morris has joined SQI Diagnostics' board of directors.

Morris has been president and CEO of the Toronto-based molecular test developer since June. He replaces SQI founder Peter Lea, who has resigned from the board. SQI said that Lea will continue to serve the company as an adviser.


Patrick Schnable has been named Iowa Corn Promotion Board Endowed Chair in Genetics, a new faculty position within Iowa State University's agronomy department. In connection with the appointment, the board has invested $2 million to support the position and its research.

Schnable is an agronomy professor and is director of ISU's Center for Plant Genomics.


Andy Ferrin has left Golden Helix to become a sales executive at Oracle Health Sciences. Ferrin had served as executive vice president of sales, business development, and services at Golden Helix, a Bozeman, Mont.-based bioinformatics company for the past six years.

The Scan

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.

Study Explores Animated Digital Message Approach to Communicate Genetic Test Results to Family Members

In the Journal of Genetic Counseling, the approach showed promise in participants presented with a hypothetical scenario related to a familial hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome diagnosis.

Computational Tool Predicts Mammalian Messenger RNA Degradation Rates

A tool called Saluki, trained with mouse and human messenger RNA data, appears to improve mRNA half-life predictions by taking RNA and genetic features into account, a Genome Biology paper reports.

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.