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People In The News: Dec 2, 2011

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Marc Williams and Janet Williams have joined Geisinger Health System's Genomic Medicine Institute. Marc Williams will serve as senior director and director of the institute and Janet Williams will be an investigator. Both begin their roles on Jan. 1.

Marc Williams previously served as director of the Intermountain Healthcare Clinical Genetics Institute in Salt Lake City, where Janet Williams was coordinating genetic counselor. Geisinger's new hires follow the appointment of David Ledbetter as chief scientific officer last year.

Biocartis this week named Nayan Gregory Parekh as the company's new CEO, replacing current CEO Rudi Pauwels. Parekh has been an executive director of Biocartis' board since April. Most recently Parekh helped found New Rhein Healthcare, where he also served as a partner. Prior to this, he spent six years as head of corporate development at Novartis. Prior to that, he spent 10 years in the investment banking industry including as an employee of Deutsche Bank.

BioCartis said that Pauwels will become the executive chairman, focusing on scientific and technology strategy as the company prepares for the launch of its flagship molecular diagnostics platform in 2013.

PrimeraDx said this week that it has appointed David Heffelfinger as vice president of engineering and systems development. Heffelfinger has held several executive-level engineering positions at life science and medical device companies including Beckman Coulter, BD Biosciences, and Bio-Rad Laboratories, as well as with several startups and venture capital-backed companies including Biometric Imaging, Alpha Innotech, and Luminys Systems. Heffelfinger also founded his own company, Hyperspectra. He began his career as an applied physicist at General Motors Research Laboratories.

The Jackson Laboratory has elected two new members, Charles Rice and David Roux, to serve on its board of directors. Rice is the Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg Professor at The Rockefeller University, and he heads Rockefeller's Laboratory of Virology and Infectious Disease and the Center for the Study of Hepatitis. He also founded a technology licensing company focused on hepatitis C virus called Apath. Roux is a co-founder and chairman of the global private investment firm Silver Lake and he formerly was executive VP at Oracle Corporation and senior VP at Lotus Development, as well as CEO of Liberate Technologies and co-founder and CEO of Datext.

Elogic Technologies has named Andras Pellionisz to serve on its advisory board. An expert in genome informatics who established the International HoloGenomics Society, Pellionisz is founder and president of HolGenTech.

DiaTech Life Sciences has formed its medical advisory council, which will focus on advancing the use of an assay to predict which chemotherapy will be the most effective. The council numbers include Franklyn Prendergrast, Roy Herbst, and Martin Fleisher.

Prendergast, who will lead the council, has worked at Mayo Clinic since 1977 and has held many posts there, including chair of the Mayo Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, and director of the Center for Individualized Medicine. Herbst recently accepting the job of leading medical oncology at the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven and he previously was at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Fleisher is chief of clinical chemistry and director of the Biomarker Discovery Laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Becton Dickinson has elected Suketu Upadhyay to be senior VP and controller, the company said this week in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Upadhyay, who has been BD's VP of Finance for over a year and previously was global head of R&D Finance for Astrazeneca, will succeed William Tozzi, who has assumed another job within BD.

Warnex said this week that Mark Busgang has resigned his posts as president, CEO, and director, but he will serve as a consultant for the company for up to one year. His former responsibilities will be assumed by the remaining senior officers and with oversight by the executive committee and board of directors.

Warnex recently formed its executive committee, comprised of independent directors, to oversee and make recommendations to the board regarding a review of the company's strategic alternatives. The executive committee is chaired by Michael Singer, who currently is CFO of Thallion Pharmaceuticals.

Alexander Barkas, a director on Complete Genomics' board, has passed away unexpectedly at age 64. Barkas was the founding CEO of Geron and Connetics. He also helped start and served on the board of directors of numerous biotechnology companies including Amicus, Geron, Novacept, SurgRx, Tercica, Topica Pharmaceuticals, Tinea, and other private companies.

He also started his own consulting business, BioBridge Associates, and cofounded venture capital firm Prospect Venture Partners. Prior to becoming a venture capitalist, Barkas was a genetics researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, the Whitehead Institute at MIT, and Duke University.

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory said this week that Graham Cameron will resign from his position as associate director. Rolf Apweiler and Ewan Birney will take over associate directors.

Apweiler's team has focused on protein and proteomics databases. He leads the UniProt Consortium, which develops the protein database, and he is leading genetic ontology efforts. He was president of the Human Proteomics Organization between 2007 and 2008.
Birney is one of the founders of the Ensembl genome browser and he has oversight for all nucleotide databases at EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute.

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The Scan

More Boosters for US

Following US Food and Drug Administration authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Washington Post writes.

From a Pig

A genetically modified pig kidney was transplanted into a human without triggering an immune response, Reuters reports.

For Privacy's Sake

Wired reports that more US states are passing genetic privacy laws.

Science Paper on How Poaching Drove Evolution in African Elephants

In Science this week: poaching has led to the rapid evolution of tuskless African elephants.