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People In The News: Jan 30, 2012

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Saladax Biomedical said today that President and CEO Edward Erickson has resigned due to personal and family reasons, and that he will be replaced by Kevin Harter on an interim basis. Erickson will remain a member of the company's board of directors. Harter is a co-founder and senior VP of the Life Sciences Greenhouse, and he has served as executive chairman at Saladax.

Horizon Discovery has tapped Eric Rhodes to serve as chief technical officer, gene targeting. Rhodes formerly was VP of business development at Sangamo Biosciences for a decade and he recently was business development director for Sigma-Aldrich. At Horizon, Rhodes will serve as the firm's expert in human and mammalian gene targeting methods, he will provide input into R&D and marketing, and he will be involved in supporting sites participating in Horizon's Centers of Excellence Program.

Janet Davison Rowley, the Blum-Riese Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine, Molecular Genetics, and Cell Biology and Human Genetics at the University of Chicago; Brian Druker of the Oregon Health and Science University; and Nicholas Lydon, formerly with Novartis, are the recipients of the 2012 Japan Prize for Healthcare and Medical Technology. They were awarded the prize for their roles in the development of the targeted anti-cancer drug Gleevec.

The three researchers "have made significant contributions to society by achieving momentous scientific and technological breakthroughs in creating and promoting new technologies for medical diagnosis and treatment," the Japan Prize Foundation said in a statement this week. They will each receive an equal share of 50 million Japanese Yen (approximately $215,000).

The Scripps Research Institute has appointed Peter Vogt to be senior VP of scientific affairs. Vogt has been at Scripps Research since 1993 and before that he was a professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. His research has focused on virology, genetics, cell biology, and cancer, a field in which he made fundamental discoveries that led to the identification of oncogenes.

Arizona State University has recruited Reed Cartwright, a computational and evolutionary geneticist, to serve on the faculty of the Center for Evolutionary Medicine and Informatics at the Biodesign Institute and to serve a joint faculty appointment in the School of Life Sciences.

Before joining ASU, Cartwright was a Huxley Faculty Fellow in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Rice University, and he conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Houston and North Carolina State University.

Matthias Mann and Fiona Powrie are the winners of the 2012 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine. Each will receive CHF700,000 (US$767,000), which includes CHF625,000 for continued research and CHF75,000 for the winners' personal use.

Mann is director of the Department of Proteomics and Signal Transduction at the Max-Planck Institute of Biochemistry. Powrie is a professor of gastroenterology at the University of Oxford, and head of the Experimental Medicine Division of the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the John Radcliffe Hospital, University of Oxford.

Mann received the award for his work on developments in mass spectrometry that have revolutionized protein analysis, and Powrie won the award for her studies of the interactions between bacterial intestinal flora and the immune system.

Caltech molecular biologist Roy Britten died on Jan. 21 at the age of 92. Britten, who was a distinguished Carnegie senior research associate, emeritus, started at Caltech's Kerchoff Marine Laboratory in Corona del Mar, where he studied genomics and evolution.

In 1969, Britten and a colleague published the first model of a gene regulatory network, and in 1971 he co-authored a paper concluding that the evolution of an animal's body plan depends on changes in how genes are regulated during development.

GeneSeek has tapped Elisa Marques as its marketing development manager for genomics. Marques is responsible for beef genomics marketing and Latin American markets. The company, which is part of Neogen, also named Gary Evans as its European business development manager. Marques previously worked at Beefbooster, a beef cattle genomics business in Edmonton, Canada. Evans previously worked for Pfizer Animal Genetics. Prior to that, he held marketing positions at the Pig Improvement Company.

Ephrem Chin is now the manager of the mitochondrial diagnostic laboratory at Baylor College Medicine. Chin moved to Baylor from Emory University, where he was manager of the Emory Genetics Laboratory. Previously, Chin was laboratory supervisor at Baylor College of Medicine, and has also served as the director of NZVCD Trading and as a laboratory scientist at LabPLUS, a referral medical lab of Auckland City Hospital in New Zealand.

Helicos Biosciences has elected Bruce Ginsberg to its board of directors to review certain financing matters. Ginsberg is president and CEO of MooBella, a food service provider, and a member of the board of directors of Mac-Gray.

Startup sequencing firm Quantapore has made public several members of its management team. Martin Huber is co-founder and CEO. Over the last 15 years, he has held a number of positions at biotechnology startups in both Europe and the US. He holds an MS and a PhD in genetics and biochemistry from the University of Vienna.

Sascha Dennstedt is co-founder and president, and will be responsible for business planning and development efforts. Dennstedt is an entrepreneur who has invested in multiple biotechnology startups.

Deryl Banks is chief financial officer. He is currently the life science practice leader at the Brenner Group. He has started and managed finance departments at four medical device startups over the last 15 years.

Michael Chen is the company's director of engineering. He is a visiting scholar at Stanford University's Department of Electrical Engineering.

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