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People In The News: Jul 3, 2014

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Eurofins MWG Operon has appointed Lawrence Smith as COO. He joins Eurofins from Mitsubishi Chemical's Mytex Polymers US Corporation, where he served as CEO and president. Previously, he held various positions at Terex and Exxon Mobil.

The Genome Analysis Center has appointed Timothy Stitt head of scientific computing. Previously, Stitt was responsible for providing HPC support to over 1,500 users spanning many scientific domains at the University of Notre Dame's Center for Research Computing. He also held faculty positions in computer science and civil engineering at the University of Notre Dame.

The UK's National Health Service has appointed John Burn to its board of directors as a non-executive director for four years beginning July 1. Burn is the chief medical officer of QuantuMDx and holds the NHS Endowed Chair in Clinical Genetics at Newcastle University.

CompanionDx Reference Lab has expanded its leadership team. The firm has hired Clint Winter to serve as vice president of payer strategy and managed care. Terry Lively will join as vice president of new business development, focusing on next-generation sequencing commercialization. Ronald Conheim will serve as vice president of sales for the eastern US; Roderick Booker will be vice president of sales for the central US; and Roger Saadeh will be vice president of sales for the western US. Stacey Little has been tapped to lead strategic marketing, marketing communications, and brand management for the US and international markets as vice president of marketing and communications.

Dutch molecular diagnostics company SkylineDx named its scientific advisory board this week. Members of SkylineDx's newly formed SAB include Andrzej Jakubowiak, a professor of medicine and director of the Myeloma Program at the University of Chicago; Shaji Kumar, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine; Sagar Lonial, vice chair of clinical affairs in the department of hematology and medical oncology at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University; Gareth Morgan, director of the Myeloma Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; Antonio Palumbo, chief of the myeloma unit of the department of oncology at the University of Torino in Italy; David Siegel, chief of the division of multiple myeloma at Hackensack University Medical Center; Pieter Sonneveld, head of the department of hematology at Erasmus MC; and Keith Stewart, dean for research at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

The American Society of Human Genetics has named Stuart Orkin the recipient of its annual William Allan Award for his research into the genetics of blood diseases. Orkin is a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, chairman of the department of pediatric oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, associate chief of hematology and oncology at Boston Children's Hospital, and investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Boston Children's Hospital.

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies said this week it has launched a new initiative called the Salk Fellows Program and has appointed Dmitry Lyumkis to be the first program fellow.

Lyumkis joined Salk this week from The Scripps Research Institute. His research focuses on using biological imaging – single-particle cryo-electron microscopy – to visualize large proteins and protein complexes. He then builds three-dimensional models based on the objects he images that can be resolved at near atomic resolution and can help investigators study protein function.

Salk said most of the fellows will have expertise in a range of technologies, and their work will combine novelty, originality, and risk.

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The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.