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BioRegion Newsmakers: Dec 1, 2008

Cancer Researcher Named to WVU’s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center; 2nd ‘Bucks for Brains’ Researcher
J. Michael Ruppert will join the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center at West Virginia University to fill the newly created Jo & Ben Statler Eminent Scholar Chair in Breast Cancer Research.
Ruppert is a cancer researcher who focuses on breast cancer tumor suppressor genes and transcription factors. He is now professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and co-director of the program in cancer cell biology there.
Ruppert is the second researcher recruited to the state through the state Eminent Scholars Recruitment and Enhancement initiative. Universities raise $5 million in private donations in return for receiving an equal amount from the state, under a new $50 million state program intended to draw top-flight researchers to state universities, known as both “Bucks for Brains” or “Bucks for Jobs.” The program was signed into law by Gov. Joe Manchin earlier this year [BRN, March 17].
The first scholar recruited under the program was Eric Kmiec, who was named director and lead research scientist as the first employee of the Marshall Institute for Interdisciplinary Research in Huntington, WV [BRN, Sept. 2].

Jeremy Adelman Joins IIT as Angel Innovation and Entrepreneurship Network Director
Jeremy Adelman has joined the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Office of Institutional Advancement as director of its Angel Innovation and Entrepreneurship Network. He will work with entrepreneurs and investors to foster collaboration and innovation on campus and in the surrounding area, IIT said.
Adelman previously raised money for pharmaceutical startups and a pharmaceutical venture fund as vice-president of Paramount BioCapital, a private equity investment bank in New York City. Earlier, he launched an alumni angel investing group as associate director of advancement at George Washington University; and worked at the nonprofit Combined Jewish Philanthropies in Boston, where he ran a networking group for high-tech executives.
Adelman holds both an MBA from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management, and an MA in Nonprofit Professional Leadership from Brandies University, as well as a BA in Philosophy from the University of Utah.

Oregon Translational Research and Drug Development Institute Names New Executive Director
Patricia Beckmann has been appointed executive director for the Oregon Translational Research and Drug Development Institute. She succeeds Robert Monaghan, who stepped down after 18 months on the job.
Beckmann was most recently a Kauffman Fellow at the Accelerator Corporation and a venture partner with the Northwest Technology Ventures fund. She has also served as the chief scientific officer forHomestead Clinical Corporation and as a biotechnology investment specialist for Vulcan Capital. Earlier, she was a Seattle-based executive with Amgen, acting as a scientific liaison, supporting patent litigation and transaction and licensing teams.
OTRADI is a nonprofit scientific research institute that fosters the development of therapeutics and technologies originating from the infectious disease research of biotech companies and Oregon research universities.

The Scan

Genetic Tests Lead to Potential Prognostic Variants in Dutch Children With Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Researchers in Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine found that the presence of pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants was linked to increased risk of death and poorer outcomes in children with pediatric dilated cardiomyopathy.

Fragile X Syndrome Mutations Found With Comprehensive Testing Method

Researchers in Clinical Chemistry found fragile X syndrome expansions and other FMR1 mutations with ties to the intellectual disability condition using a long-range PCR and long-read sequencing approach.

Team Presents Strategy for Speedy Species Detection in Metagenomic Sequence Data

A computational approach presented in PLOS Computational Biology produced fewer false-positive species identifications in simulated and authentic metagenomic sequences.

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.