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People In The News: Jun 20, 2014

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The ACMG Foundation for Genetic and Genomic Medicine has named four new directors to its board of directors including Evan Jones, Matthew Rabinowitz, James Bartley, and David Whiteman.

Jones was co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Digene, and he currently is chairman and CEO of OpGen and a board member at Fluidigm, Foundation Medicine, and Veracyte. He also previously was chairman of Signature Genomic Laboratories before it was sold to PerkinElmer.

Rabinowitz is founder and president of Natera, and he is a board member, advisor, and investor for multiple biotech and technology companies.

Bartley is director of the California Children's Services Metabolic Specialty Care Clinic at Miller Children's Hospital and he conducts outpatient genetics clinics at Loma Linda University Children's Hospital and Children's Hospital Los Angeles. He formerly was medical director at Genzyme Genetics.

Whiteman is senior medical director and global clinical sciences leader at Shire Human Genetics Therapies, and he has 30 years of experience in clinical pediatrics and medical genetics.

The 2014 Gruber Genetics Prize was awarded to Victor Ambros, David Baulcombe, and Gary Ruvkun for their discovery of and research into microRNAs and small interfering RNAs and exploration of the roles these molecules play in gene expression. The three scientists will share the $500,000 award.

Ambros is a professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Baulcombe a professor of botany at the University of Cambridge, and Ruvkun a professor of genetics at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

The three scientists will receive the award on Oct. 19 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics in San Diego.

US President Barack Obama this week announced his intent to appoint six new members to the National Science Board, which sets policy for the National Science Foundation and advises the White House and Congress on science and engineering policy. The appointees include three biologists: Roger Beachy, Vicki Chandler, and Sethuraman Panchanathan. Board members serve six-year terms on the 24-seat board.

Beachy is founding executive director of the World Food Center at the University of California, Davis, and he formerly was director of the US Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture and president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

Chandler is president of the Genetics Society of America and she is chief program officer for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. She previously was a director of the BIO5 Institute at the University of Arizona.

Panchanathan is senior VP for knowledge enterprise development at Arizona State University, where he also directs the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing. He previously founded the university's School of Computing and Informatics and the Department of Biomedical Informatics.

Sangamo Biosciences has appointed H. Stewart Parker to serve on its board of directors. Parker founded and was president, CEO, and a board member of the gene therapy firm Targeted Genetics, where she served from 1992 to 2008. She most recently was CEO of The Infectious Disease Research Institute, a non-profit research institute developing vaccines and diagnostics for neglected diseases.

Assurex Health said this week that current CEO James Burns will become the firm's executive chairman, and that President Virginia Drosos will take over the CEO post, effective July 1.

Burns has served as Assurex CEO since 2009. Drosos joined the company in 2013, and she is responsible for leading the commercial organization and program to drive awareness and adoption of the GeneSight test.

Adaptive Biotechnologies has tapped Dean Schorno to be chief financial officer. Schorno held leadership positions at Genomic Health over a 13-year period, including most recently as CFO, where he helped manage the launch and operations of the company's clinical lab.

At Adaptive Biotechnologies, Schorno will oversee the company's financial infrastructure, investor relations, human resources, and facilities management.

William Creech has joined ERBA Diagnostics as VP of sales and marketing.

Creech previously held the same title at Vermillion, where he led commercialization of the firm's ovarian cancer test, and he also held posts at Abbott Laboratories Diagnostics Division, Siemens Healthcare, and Thermo Fisher Scientific.

The National Institutes of Health this week appointed nine new members to the NIH Council of Councils, a 27-member group that provides NIH with recommendations on emerging scientific opportunities, knowledge gaps that deserve emphasis, and rising public health challenges.

Among the new Council of Council members are Marlene Belfort, a distinguished professor at the University of Albany, State University of New York, who specializes in molecular biology, gene expression, sRNAs, and introns; Ana Cuervo, a professor of molecular, developmental, and structural biology and co-director of the Einstein Institute for Aging Research; Judy Garber, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Lila Gierasch, a distinguished professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; King Holmes, a professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine specializing in infectious diseases and chair of the Department of Global Health; and Terry Magnuson, vice dean for research at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill School of Medicine and program director of cancer genetics at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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