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People in the News: Kjell Kristiansen, Paul Billings

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Microtest Diagnostics has named Kjell Kristiansen as group managing director.

Kristiansen joins Microtest from Phadia, where he was regional director for Asia for 14 years. Thermo Fisher acquired Phadia last year.

London-based Microtest said it made the appointment as it prepares to launch its microarray-based ADAM in vitro allergy and autoimmunity testing platform.


Ancestry.com has appointed Paul Billings to its board of directors. Billings has also been named a member of the company's audit committee.

Billings is currently chief medical officer at Life Technologies. He also was CEO of Cellective Dx and senior vice president of Laboratory Corporation of America.

Ancestry.com CEO Tim Sullivan called Billings a "great addition" to its board when its "focus on genetic genealogy is just beginning." Ancestry.com last month introduced a testing service called AncestryDNA that relies on the Illumina BeadChip platform (BAN 5/29/2012).

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.