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Picking the Greatest Hits of Chips to Hits

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Want to know how to negotiate the maze of speakers, panels, and product presentations at the upcoming Chips to Hits conference next week in Philadelphia? BioArray News offers our experienced and admittedly biased preview of the annual microarray extravaganza.

The conference is slated to open with a talk by Unigene database guru Mark Boguski, who recently left the NCBI to go to the Hutch. It will be interesting to find out what Boguski is up to now.

Along with talks by the usual microarray headliners — John Quackenbush, Gary Churchill, and Alvis Brazma — the first day will also include several explanations of novel microarray data analysis programs: Jacques Corbeil of UCSC will discuss his bioinformatics platform HAPI, or High-density Array Pattern Interpreter, which compares subsets of genes and determines similarities between these subsets using a lexical algorithm based on keywords in gene annotations; Atul Butte of Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School will explain the scientific underpinnings of his relevance networks unsupervised learning algorithm, which links expression to phenotype; and Jack Pollard of 3rd Millennium will present on an ontology-driven data integration platform for reconstructing biological pathways.

For those startups seeking ways to fill their bourses, Michael Lytton, a general partner in genomics-heavy VC Oxford Bioscience Partners, will discuss how venture funds assess new investment opportunities in drug discovery. Additionally, two big pharma heavyweights, Stanley Hefta, director of proteomics at Bristol-Meyers Squibb’s Pharmaceutical Research Institute; and Derk Bergsma, GlaxoSmithKline’s vice president of expression genomics, will present their views of the microarray world.

On the new and exciting product front: CombiMatrix will unveil the semiconductor oligonucleotide custom microarray platform that it is distributing through Roche; NuGen technologies will demonstrate its single primer isothermal linear amplification method for amplifying small amounts of RNA; Nanogen will present on its microarray biowarfare detection system; Rosetta Biosoftware will introduce Rosetta Resolver Version 4.0; and SAS will present on its microarray solution for non-statisticians.

New Stuff

Emerging technologies to be discussed include: a 50-target plastic RNA chip being produced by NorChip of Klokkarstua, Hurum, Norway; Blizzard Genomics’s inexpensive T-Chip hybridization system; Exiqon’s LNA, or locked nucleic acid array; Agilix’ universal arrays; and various lab-on-a-chip technologies.

Also, several approaches to protein chips will be detailed, including UK-based Domantis’s combinatorial protein arrays, and research by groups at Emory School of Medicine, University of Michigan, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia that are using protein chips for clinical research.

Finally, in the super-wow category, Joseph Jacobson from MIT’s Media Laboratory will demonstrate a device for remote electronic control over hybridization of DNA molecules.

— MMJ

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