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BioRegion Newsmakers: May 15, 2009


Life-Sci Journalist Terri Somers Joins BIOCOM as Communications Director; Predecessor Joins Life Technologies

Terri Somers, the life sciences reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune, has been named communications director for BIOCOM, the life sciences industry group for the San Diego region, as of May 4. She succeeds Tim Ingersoll, who has left BIOCOM to become senior media relations manager at Life Technologies, the company formed following the merger of Applied Biosystems and Invitrogen.

Somers had written for the Union-Tribune since February 2003, covering life sciences businesses, institutions, and issues in the San Diego region. Previously she was the legal affairs writer for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and a staff writer for the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, where she began as a freelance contributor.

Ingersoll served as BIOCOM's communications director from August 2003 until last month. Previously he was senior writer for the T Sector magazine, and earlier was a staff writer for the San Diego Daily Transcript.

"Tim was an invaluable part of the BIOCOM family for almost six years and we will truly miss him," BIOCOM said in its announcement of Somers' joining the staff

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to Receive BIO International Leadership Award

Ontario, Canada, Premier Dalton McGuinty will receive the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s second annual International Leadership Award at next week's 2009 BIO International Convention in Atlanta. BIO cited McGuinty for "his strong commitment to the development and growth of the biotechnology industry in Ontario."

The award honors individuals considered to "have shown a strong commitment to advancing biotechnology through policy mechanisms that facilitate and strengthen a country or region’s innovation frameworks."

Under McGuinty, Ontario has pledged over C$3.2 billion ($2.7 billion) to support research and innovation through its Innovation Agenda; the creation of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research; and efforts such as the Biopharmaceutical Investment Program; clean fuel initiatives; and programs designed to support talent retention and R&D. These include the Global Leadership Round in Genomics and Life Sciences, a new $100 million competition for genomics and gene-related research.

According to BIO, Ontario is Canada's largest hub of biomedical activity, with 25 research and academic hospitals employing 10,000 scientists, clinical investigators and other researchers conducting C$850 million ($721.4 million) in research annually. Ontario’s life sciences industry employs more than 43,000 people at more than 850 companies that generate more than C$14 billion ($11.9 billion) in annual revenues.

Former NC Gov. Jim Hunt to Address Biotechnology Institute’s Biotechnology Education Banquet May 17

Former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt will deliver the keynote address at the Biotechnology Institute’s Biotechnology Education Banquet, to be held May 17 in Atlanta. The banquet is attended by educators, students, and their supporters within the life-sci sector seeking to celebrate the nation’s best biotechnology students and teachers.

The banquet takes place as part of the institute’s Conference on Biotechnology Education.

Hunt is now an attorney at the law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, where he practices on the firm’s economic development and federal and state government affairs teams.

The Scan

Harvard Team Report One-Time Base Editing Treatment for Motor Neuron Disease in Mice

A base-editing approach restored SMN levels and improved motor function in a mouse model of spinal muscular atrophy, a new Science paper reports.

International Team Examines History of North American Horses

Genetic and other analyses presented in Science find that horses spread to the northern Rockies and Great Plains by the first half of the 17th century.

New Study Examines Genetic Dominance Within UK Biobank

Researchers analyze instances of genetic dominance within UK Biobank data, as they report in Science.

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.