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People In The News: Jul 3, 2009

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Osmetech has appointed Christopher Gleeson to the post of non-executive chairman, and Jon Faiz Kayyem, who invented the company's eSensor technology while at Clinical Micro Sensors, to be vice chairman. Gleeson previously was president and CEO of Ventana Medical Systems, a position he held until after Ventana was purchased by Roche in 2008. Gleeson also previously was GM of commercial operations for Chiron Diagnostics and he was senior VP of Bayer Diagnostics.

Genome Canada has tapped Thomas Caskey to serve as chair of its board of directors. Caskey, who already is a member of the board, also is director and CEO of the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine and a professor at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston.

Caskey also has been chairman of the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine, senior VP of Human Genetics and Vaccines Discovery at Merck Research Laboratories, and president of the Merck Genome Research Institute.

The European Commission's ERA-Net PathoGenoMics has named three winners of its €2000 ($2800) PhD Award 2009, including Eric Alix, Matej Butala, and Michal Feldman.

"The PhD Award emphasizes the importance of pathogenomics and contributes to integrate the PathoGenoMics scientific community," ERA-NET PathoGenoMics Coordinator Marion Karrasch-Bott said in a statement.

Alix, of France, has received the award for identifying a post-translational mechanism that regulates an important virulence factor shared by several intracellular pathogenic bacteria. The Slovenian researcher Butala studies antibiotic resistance in E. coli. Feldman, an Israeli scientist, studies the genes that enable Legionella Pneumophila, which causes Legionnaires disease, to permeate its host cells.

Signature Genomic Laboratories has named Marilyn Slovak and Britt Ravnan to be laboratory directors. Slovak is a cancer genetics specialist who has been director of cytogenetics and a professor of pathology at City of Hope National Medical Center. Ravnan was cytogenetic lab director at Genzyme Genetics and she held the same post at Kaiser Permanente.

Janet Rowley, the Blum-Riese Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, has won the Genetics Prize from the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation. Rowley won the $500,000 prize for research into recurrent chromosomal abnormalities and lymphomas that has led to cancer knowledge and treatment.

"Janet Rowley's work established that cancer is a genetic disease," Mary-Claire King, a geneticist at the University of Washington, said in a statement. "She demonstrated that mutations in critical genes lead to specific forms of leukemia and lymphoma, and that one can determine the form of cancer present in a patient directly from the cancer's genes. We are still working from her paradigm," King said.

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