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People In The News: Dec 20, 2013

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Cancer geneticist Janet Rowley has died at the age of 88, according to the University of Chicago, where she discovered genetic aberrations involved in leukemia, which led to new treatments such as Gleevec (imatinib).

The University noted this week that Rowley made a series of fundamental discoveries during her career that demonstrated how specific chromosomal changes caused certain types of cancer.

After graduating from medical school in 1948, Rowley raised four children while practicing medicine in a part-time capacity. She began to focus on cancer and chromosomes in 1962 after she spent a year at Oxford University and learned chromosomal analysis techniques.

She has received the Lasker Award and the National Medal of Science, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association for Cancer Research, among others.

Agilent Technologies said this week that Lars Holmkvist has resigned from his position as senior VP of the company and group president its Life Sciences and Diagnostics Group. He has been replaced by Fred Strohmeier, a 34-year veteran of the company, who also serves as VP and general manager of the company's Life Science Products and Solutions sector.

Holmkvist was named leader of the Life Sciences and Diagnostics Group in September, when the company announced its plans to split into two publicly traded companies, one focused on life sciences and diagnostics business, and the other on its electronic measurement business.

Prenatal genetic testing company Natera has named Susan Gross to be its first chief medical officer.

Gross is a professor of clinical and obstetrics and gynecology and women's health, pediatrics, and genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she has been a faculty member since 1994.

The Van Andel Institute has appointed Peter Jones to be director of research, chief scientific officer. Jones will begin his duties on Feb. 17, 2014.

Jones has been a faculty scientist at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California for the past 14 years, and he formerly was director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and president of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Jones' recent research has focused on epigenetics, and he has discovered mechanisms of DNA methylation that could be useful in developing personalized cancer treatments and improving current therapies. He also worked to develop the International Human Epigenome Consortium.

Cancer Genetics said this week that Christopher Mitton has joined the company as director of national account development and sales operations.

Mitton will lead the national expansion of CGI's Expand Dx program, designed to increase outreach and patient value for community hospitals and labs by expanding their cancer diagnostic capabilities through new testing methodologies and collaborative services.

He most recently led North American sales of leukemia and solid tumor molecular diagnostic tests for Qiagen. Prior to that held diagnostic sales roles with Ipsogen — now part of Qiagen — Bayer Healthcare, Abbott Diagnostics, and BioChem Immunosystems.

Vermillion said this week that it has promoted Marian Sacco to be senior VP of sales and marketing and chief commercial officer.

She has previously worked for companies including Centocor, Kirin Diagnostics, Barron Diagnostics, and Adeza Biomedical.

Vermillon hired Sacco recently as a strategic planning consultant to help the company in the commercial launch of its OVA1 ovarian cancer test.

Cepheid said this week that it has appointed James Post to the position of executive vice president of North American commercial operations.

Post joins Cepheid from Alere, where he most recently served as global president of acute care. He spent 10 years at Alere and its predecessor companies Inverness Medical and Biosite. Prior to Alere, he spent approximately 10 years at the United States Surgical Corporation in a variety of sales and marketing positions, including vice president of sales.

Synthetic biology company Intrexon has appointed Gregory Frost to head its Health Sector and Samuel Broder, former director of the National Cancer Institute, to serve as chairman of that sector.

Frost currently is CEO of Halozyme Therapeutics, which he co-founded in 1999. He will assume the new post early next month.

BG Medicine said in an SEC filing this week that Stephane Bancel has been promoted from executive chairman to chairman, as of Nov. 1.

In connection with the promotion, Bancel's consulting agreement with the company was terminated.

Genetic testing company Genelex said this week it has formed a clinical advisory board.

The CAB includes: Charles Cefalu, professor and chief of geriatric medicine at Louisiana State University; Lindo Delo, president of the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association; Dave Durham, a consulting neuropsychiatrist at Sage Neuroscience Center and a clinical assistant professor at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine; Dave Garets, former president and CEO of HIMSS Analytics; Robert Gregory, a consultant experienced in long-term care and hospital pharmacy and former pharmacy director for Aetna Pharmacy Management; Holly Whitcomb Henry, former president of the National Community Pharmacy Association and CEO of Rxtra Care; Forest Tennant, a former US Army Medical Officer and Public Health Physician and editor-in-chief of Practical Pain Management; and Jeffrey Westcott; director of the Cardiac Catherization Laboratory at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle.

Atossa Genetics said in an SEC filing this week that it Alexander Cross has retired from the firm's board of directors, and that the board has appointed Gregory Weaver to be chairman of the Audit Committee, effective immediately.

Personalized medicine-focused consulting firm Diaceutics has picked Julie Goonewardene to chair its board of advisors.

Goonewardene is currently president of KUIC and associate vice chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Kansas. She co-founded and was CEO of Cantilever Technologies, as well as past president of the Strategic Systems Group.

Rubicon Genomics has appointed Kamran Shazand to director of applications. Previously, he was divisional manager for Canada at Novus Biologicals and was also scientific manager at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.

Peter Kim, former Merck Research Laboratories president, will return to his alma mater Stanford University as a professor of biochemistry at the School of Medicine.

On Feb. 1, 2014 Kim will take up his position at the school, where he earned his PhD in biochemistry in 1985. He will also be a member of the Stanford Institute of Chemical Biology, a new joint effort between the School of Medicine, the School Engineering, and the School of Humanities and Sciences.

Kim retired this year from Merck after more than a decade at the firm. He was replaced by Roger Perlmutter, former head of R&D at Amgen.

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation has promoted Walter Capone from chief operating officer to president, effective as of December 16. Capone will report directly to Kathy Giusti, MMRF founder and CEO. Before MMRF, Capone was VP of commercial development and operations at Progenics Pharmaceuticals.

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