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People In The News: Mar 12, 2010

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Professor Leena Peltonen-Palotie died this week of cancer at her home in Finland, according to the Sanger Institute. She was 57 years old.

Peltonen-Palotie was head of human genetics at Wellcome Trust, and she held appointments at the Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard and the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland. She led a genetics research center at the University of California, Los Angeles and she worked in Finland at the University of Helsinki and at the National Public Health Institute.

Sanger said that she had "a hugely distinguished career," and called her "a visionary geneticist, [and a] champion of population genetics and public health."

Three leaders from the Human Genome Project — David Botstein, Francis Collins, and Eric Lander — have been named co-winners of the 2010 Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research, which carries with it a purse of $500,000.

"These three scientists undoubtedly will hold a special place in the history of science and medicine as primary initiators of a profound revolution in human development," James Barba, president and CEO of Albany Medical Center, said in a statement.

Collins is currently director of the National Institutes of Health, and he formerly directed the National Human Genome Research Institute. Botstein is director of the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University. Lander is president and director of the Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard.

Eric Topol has been tapped to serve as chair of the accreditation board for the Association for Genomics Medicine, a new online education initiative for credentialing physicians in genomic medicine. The AGM initiative was started with a $600,000 grant from the Life Technologies Foundation. Topol is director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute.

Other members of the AGM accreditation board include Hakon Hakonarson, director of Applied Genomics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; Dietrich Stephan, CEO of the Ignite Institute; Jeff Trent, president and director of the Translational Genomics Research Institute; Daniel Von Hoff, director of clinical and translational research at TGen; Bradley Patay, head of internal medicine at Scripps Health; Russ Altman, chair of bioengineering and professor of genetics and medicine at Stanford University; Stephen Hauser, chairman of neurology at the University of San Francisco; Linh Hoang, director of corporate and personalized medicine at Life Technologies; Mark McCarthy, group head of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford; and Peter Gregersen, director of the Robert S. Boas Center for Genomics.

Elaine Mardis, co-director of the Genome Center at Washington University St. Louis, was presented with the Scripps Genomic Medicine Award last week at the third annual Future of Genomic Medicine conference.

The award is presented to researchers who have an "extraordinary impact on genomic medicine," said Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, at the conference. He said that Mardis was selected for her work in cancer genome sequencing.

Mardis and her team are participating in the Cancer Genome Atlas, which is jointly funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute and the National Cancer Institute.

TrovaGene has hired Andreas Braun to take on the role of VP and chief medical officer. Braun, who from 1995 to 2005 was an executive at Sequenom and eventually was VP of R&D and CMO, will lead the research and market development efforts in the K-RAS development team. Braun also previously was director of scientific affairs at Sysmex America and he was founder and president of DX Innovations.

David U'Prichard has joined the board of directors of Ocimum Biosolutions, the firm said this week. U'Prichard is president of Druid Consulting, and sits on the boards of Life Technologies, Oxagen, Cyclacel, and Silence Therapeutics. He is also a venture partner at Red Abbey Venture Partners.

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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