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BioRegion Newsmakers: Mar 23, 2009


Jerry Hill to Lead California Assembly Select Committee on Biotechnology

California Assembly Member Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) has been selected by Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) to chair the Assembly's Select Committee on Biotechnology. Hill's district is home to 110 life sciences companies, including Amgen, Genentech, and Gillead Sciences.

"I've worked closely with the industry over the last two decades as a San Mateo county supervisor and city councilmember, and I look forward to developing a long-term biotechnology strategy for California," Hill said in a statement. "I would like to continue my leadership on this issue with companies from around the state by helping increase legislators' knowledge of the biotechnology industry, through briefings, informational hearings, site visits and tours."

The appointment drew praise from the industry group that represents life sciences companies in Hill's district and the rest of the Bay Area and northern California: "Assembly member Jerry Hill recognizes significant value life sciences companies hold for American competitiveness and delivering economic growth for California," Matthew Gardner, president and CEO of BayBio, said in a statement.

Biotech Patent Expert Chad Ziegler Takes LI Law Firm Job

Chad Ziegler, a biologist and biotechnology expert, has joined the Garden City, NY, law firm Scully, Scott, Murphy & Presser, as a partner. Until recently a partner at Woodcock Washburn in Philadelphia, Ziegler has 11 years of experience in litigation, particularly complex patent litigation, in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical (including Paragraph IV litigation under the Hatch-Waxman Act), biomedical device, chemical, and consumer products fields.

Among major life-sci companies Ziegler has represented are Johnson & Johnson, Boston Scientific, Crown Cork & Seal, Millipore, WR Grace, and Fleer. Ziegler also serves as a volunteer lawyer for the Support Center for Child Advocates.

Ziegler received his BSci in biology from Albright College in 1993, and his JD degree with high distinction from Ohio Northern University, Claude W. Pettit College of Law, in 1997, graduating at the top of his class. That year, he was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar, and is admitted to practice before the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

President Named for Murdock Institute Within Kannapolis' NC Research Campus

Michael Allen Luther has been named president of the David H. Murdock Research Institute at food and real estate magnate David Murdock's North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis. His new position took effect March 17.

A native of Albemarle, Luther previously oversaw the development of therapeutics for respiratory, endocrine and metabolic disorders at Merck Frosst's Centre for Therapeutic Research in Montreal. He also spent 15 years at GlaxoSmithKline in Research Triangle Park and the UK.

Luther received his bachelor's degree from NC State University, his MBA from the Duke University Fuqua School of Business, and his PhD from St. Louis University School of Medicine.

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Enrepreneurship Professor Drew Harris Joins Connecticut Innovations Board of Directors

Drew Harris has been appointed to the board of directors of Connecticut Innovations, the state's quasi-public authority responsible for technology investing, by Connecticut House Speaker Christopher Donovan.

Harris, who promotes student entrepreneurship as associate professor of management at Central Connecticut State University's School of Business, was faculty advisor to six student groups from CCSU that entered the Connecticut Collegiate Business Plan Contest in 2008, mentoring one group that was named a division winner. Harris has also taught at several institutions, including the Stern School of Business at New York University, Teacher's College at Columbia University, the College of Business and Economics at Longwood University, and the College of Business Administration at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Earlier, Harris was owner and president of a management consulting firm, Haas Partners Ltd., which advised firms such as New Line Cinema and Avon on information systems design, acquisition and implementation. Also, he held positions related to information systems while at Arthur Young & Company, Morris Decision Systems, Harper & Row, and Digital Systems of Florida.

A resident of Cheshire, Conn., Harris is currently a partner in The Effectiveness Alliance, a consortium of consultants and coaches providing training and advice to improve organizational performance and success.

Harris holds a doctorate in management and an MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business, a bachelor's degree in mathematics from University of West Florida, and an associate's degree in general studies from Pensacola (Fla.) Junior College.

The Scan

Cell Signaling Pathway Identified as Metastasis Suppressor

A new study in Nature homes in on the STING pathway as a suppressor of metastasis in a mouse model of lung cancer.

Using Bees to Gain Insights into Urban Microbiomes

As bees buzz around, they pick up debris that provides insight into the metagenome of their surroundings, researchers report in Environmental Microbiome.

Age, Genetic Risk Tied to Blood Lipid Changes in New Study

A study appearing in JAMA Network Open suggests strategies to address high lipid levels should focus on individuals with high genetic risk and at specific ages.

Study Examines Insights Gained by Adjunct Trio RNA Sequencing in Complex Pediatric Disease Cases

Researchers in AJHG explore the diagnostic utility of adding parent-child RNA-seq to genome sequencing in dozens of families with complex, undiagnosed genetic disease.