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People In The News: Oct 8, 2010

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Celera said this week that Senior VP and Chief Financial Officer Ugo DeBlasi will leave his position in November, after he helps the firm with its third-quarter financial report. The Alameda, Calif.-based firm said DeBlasi is leaving his position in order to be closer to his family in Connecticut.


Life Technologies has appointed Paul Billings to step into the role of chief medical officer, a new position at the company that was created to develop ways to use genomics technologies, specifically next-generation sequencing tools, in clinical settings. He also will represent Life Technologies’ diagnostic products and technologies to physicians, payers, patients, and regulators.

Billings recently served as director and chief scientific officer at the Genomic Medicine Institute at El Camino Hospital, and he currently is a member of the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health, and Society in the US Department of Health and Human Services, where he helps analyze and make recommendations on genomic medicine policy.

After a career in academics, Billings was a founder or CEO of companies including GeneSage, Omicia, and Cellective Dx, and he served as VP of corporate development at Laboratory Corporation of America.


NanoString Technologies has appointed Barney Saunders to be chief commercial officer. Saunders previously was VP and general manager at Agilent Technologies, where he led its Gene Expression business unit and worked in the company’s life science investing activities. Before serving at Agilent, Saunders spent 13 years at Amersham Biosciences.


Complete Genomics has done some shuffling in its board of directors including adding Robert Wall, while Michael Rubin will leave the board after the company completes its IPO.

Wall is the founder and president of On Point Developments, a venture management and investment company, and he was founder and chairman of the board of directors of Airgo Networks.

The company also has combined the positions of chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer. Company President and Founder Cliff Reid is serving in the combined role.


The US Senate has confirmed Subra Suresh, President Barack Obama's nominee for director of the National Science Foundation, for a six-year term. Suresh replaces Arden Bement, who led the NSF from 2004 until May, when he resigned. Suresh has served as dean of the engineering school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he was head of MIT’s materials department from 2000 to 2006.


The American Society of Human Genetics recently elected Mary-Claire King to serve as ASHG president in 2012, after she spends the year 2011 in the role of president-elect.

King is a professor of genome sciences and medical genetics at the University of Washington. She is known for naming the BRCA1 gene and identifying its involvement in breast cancer. Her current research uses genomics technologies to study complex genetic diseases in humans, and studying how environmental and genetic factors interact in diseases.


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