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RainDance Technologies has appointed Mark Dronsfield as director of sales for Europe. He will be responsible for advancing the company's customer relationships and growth into the research and clinical markets. Dronsfield has 15 years experience in life science sales and commercial operations. Previously, he was the European sales director for Cell Biosciences, and he has also held sales and marketing positions at Solexa, Affymetrix, and Applied Biosystems. He holds a BS in biomedical science from Sheffield Hallam University and PhD in genetics from the University of Birmingham.


A number of personnel changes have been made at Life Technologies.

Bernd Brust, the company's president of commercial operations, will transition to the president of the recently formed molecular medicine business unit, effective Jan. 1. The unit was formed to help the company transition to next-gen sequencing in the clinic. Brust will work with recently appointed chief medical officer Paul Billings.

Nicolas Barthelemy
, head of the cell systems division, will assume the role of president of commercial operations.



Jeremy Berg
, the director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, will step down in June to become associate senior vice chancellor for science strategy and planning in the health sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. He will also serve as a faculty member in the department of computational and systems biology at the university's school of medicine. Berg said he was leaving his position at NIGMS, which he has held since 2003, to support the career of his wife, a breast imaging clinical researcher.

Prior to his appointment at NIGMS, Berg directed the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he was also a professor and director of the department of biophysics and biophysical chemistry. He holds a BS and MS from Stanford University and a PhD from Harvard University in chemistry.


The Ontario Genomics Institute has appointed Mark Poznansky as president and CEO, replacing Christian Burks, who has served as president and CEO since 2004. For the last two years Poznansky has been running his own consultancy group. Previously, he served as president and CEO of Robarts Research Institute in London, Ontario, where he increased its staff from 100 to more than 600 and its annual research funding from $10 million to more than $40 million. He has also served as president and CEO of London, Ontario-based Viron Therapeutics, and founded Ontario's first life sciences incubator, the London Biotechnology Incubator, in 2002. Poznansky has also served on the OGI board of directors since 2004, and has been its chair since 2008.


The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.