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People In The News: Apr 13, 2012

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Joseph Beechem has left his position as head of advanced sequencing and global sequencing chemistry, biochemistry, and biophysics at Life Technologies to join NanoString as senior vice president of research and development.

While at Life Tech, he led the design and development of multiple sequencing technologies for the SOLiD platform, including an emulsion PCR-free sample-prep technology called WildFire that Life Tech plans to launch this year. Beechem has also served as chief technology officer at Life Tech, chief scientific officer of Invitrogen, and director of biosciences at Molecular Probes.

Joshua LaBaer, director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Personalized Diagnostics and chair of the Biodesign Institute directorate at Arizona State University, has been named president of the US Human Proteome Organization. LaBaer formerly was director of the Harvard Institute of Proteomics.

CombiMatrix this week announced that Richard Hockett will be the company's new medical director starting May 1. Hockett, previously the chief medical officer of Affymetrix, will report to CombiMatrix CEO Judd Jessup.

The University of California, Davis said this week that Bart Weimer, a professor in its School of Veterinary Medicine, and Hao Zhang, chief operation officer of BGI Americas, have been named co-directors of a center being developed between the two entities called [email protected] that will eventually house 20 DNA sequencers. An interim facility with three DNA sequencers started operating at the Sacramento campus at the end of 2011.

Weimer and Zhang will handle day-to-day operations in the planned center, which is to be located at the UC Davis Sacramento campus. Weimer came to UC Davis from his post as director of the Center for Integrated BioSystems at Utah State University, and Zhang most recently was COO at BGI Americas in Cambridge, Mass.

Both Weimer and Zhang will serve as liaisons to their respective institutions.

Epidemiologist and public health ethicist Lisa Lee has been named executive director of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. She succeeds Valerie Bonham, who will return to the National Institutes of Health's Office of the General Counsel, where she worked as an attorney before she joined the Bioethics Commission. Lee has worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since 1998 on issues such as surveillance systems, public health surveillance, scientific integrity, and others.

Richard Scheuermann will join the J. Craig Venter Institute as director of informatics at the institute's San Diego facility at the beginning of May. He recently was a professor in the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center's Department of Pathology.

The Obama Administration has appointed Carol Greider to the Committee on the National Medal of Science. Greider is director of molecular biology and genetics in the Johns Hopkins Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences.

The UK's Minister for Universities and Science has appointed three new members to the Council of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council: Sarah Gurr, David Richardson, and Tim Wheeler. The ministry also has reappointed several members to the council including John Coggins, David Lawrence, Chris Pollock, Andy Richards, and John Stageman. Also, Peter Fryer has stepped down as a member of council, having completed his current term.

Gurr is a professor of molecular plant pathology at the University of Oxford, Richardson is pro vice chancellor at the University of East Anglia, and Wheeler is a professor of crop science at the University of Reading.

Promoted? Changing jobs? GenomeWeb wants to know. E-mail [email protected] to appear in People In The News, a weekly roundup of industry comings and goings.

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