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In Brief This Week: Becton Dickinson; Avantra Biosciences; Lonza, Oxford BioTherapeutics; Cenix BioScience, Ugichem

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Becton Dickinson announced the latest round of winners of its BD Biosciences Research Grant Program. Winners will receive $10,000 worth of research reagents for their projects.

The grant winners included Michael Choi, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, who is investigating the conversion of non-liver cells into functional hepatocytes through a combination of transcription factors and microRNAs; Piero Dalerba, instructor in medicine at Stanford university, who is applying stem cell biology to the study and modeling of human cancer; Carla Kim, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, who is studying lung stem cells; Majilinda Lako, a professor of stem cell science at the Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle University, who is studying human pluripotent stem cells and their differentiation into retinal photoreceptor and retinal pigmented epithelial cells essential for vision; and Neil Rodrigues, an assistant professor at Boston University, who is researching hematopoietic stem cell expansion.

Proteomics firm Avantra Biosciences this week that it has changed its name to Courtagen Life Sciences. CEO Brian McKernan said the new name "reflects the company's new strategic focus on developing advanced technologies in both genomic and proteomic areas." Its proteomics product portfolio will continue to use the Avantra name.

Lonza has granted a non-exclusive license to Oxford BioTherapeutics for use of Lonza's GS Gene Expression System in its efforts to select cell lines and develop anticancer agents.

Cenix BioScience this week said that it will use its gene-silencing analysis and high-content screening technologies to help Austria-based Ugichem further its drug development programs. Dresden, Germany-based Cenix also said that it will use the Definiens XD image analysis system to facilitate characterization and optimization of Ugichem's lead compounds.

In Brief This Week is a Friday column containing news items that our readers may have missed during the week.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.