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In Brief This Week: Life Technologies; CombiMatrix; Expression Analysis; Computable Genomix

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Life Technologies this week said that it has awarded around $1.7 million in five new grants to seven organizations through its foundation. The firm said that among the organization that have received funding are the Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, for its online biology textbook, Life on Earth, and a PBS documentary on the use of DNA as a diagnostic tool.

Life Technologies said that, including these awards, its foundation has committed around $5 million in funding in 2009.

CombiMatrix this week said that the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has set a date for an oral hearing in its ingoing litigation with the National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa. The hearing will take place on Nov. 2, and each side will have 15 minutes to present their arguments.

Last year, a US District Court in California entered a final judgment in favor of CombiMatrix for $35.7 million, to be paid by National Union. The court had previously sided with CombiMatrix in its suit against National Union, which claimed that the insurance firm had refused to defend and indemnify CombiMatrix under its director and officer's insurance policy.

Expression Analysis launched a new grant program this week, under which four researchers will be given access to Expression Analysis' services. The firm said that two of the grants will focus on genome-wide association studies, and the other two will focus on follow-up to GWAS. Included in the grants is data analysis using Expression Analysis' digenysis analysis tool that simultaneously analyzes allelic and copy number variation. Researchers may apply for the grants on Expression Analysis' website through Dec. 1.

Computable Genomix also announced a grant program, under which it will award $10,000 to each of the first three researchers who publish a discovery made using the firm's new online genomics research tool, GeneIndexer. The Memphis, Tenn.-based firm launched the contest on Thursday, coinciding with the market introduction of GeneIndexer, which searchers more than one million gene-related abstracts available through the National Library of Medicine.

Computable Genomix said that researchers who apply for the grant will receive a free one-month subscription to GeneIndexer and will have the opportunity to participate in two training webinars. The firm will accept entries through the end of this year.

The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.