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People In The News: Jul 16, 2010

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Harold Varmus was sworn in as director of the National Cancer Institute this week. Varmus was director of the National Institutes of Health from 1993 to 1999 and he recently was president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He also was a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in 1989 for cancer genetics research he conducted at the University of California, San Francisco’s medical school.

Current NIH Director Francis Collins this week called Varmus “the best person on the planet to take the reins” at NCI.

Varmus said at a town hall meeting at NIH where he was sworn in that the institutes are “the most glorious manifestation I know of what government and democracy are capable of doing.”

"Suddenly we have an incredible specificity about markers and damaged genes in cancer cells,” he said of the scientific climate today.

“We have better information technology. We understand the biochemistry of the cell more profoundly. We have a portrait emerging of what is happening, one cancer at a time,” he said.

Illumina has named Melina Cimler to be VP of quality and regulatory affairs. She will lead the company’s quality and regulatory organizations to support its development, manufacturing, and distribution activities. Cimler formerly worked in similar positions at Beckman Coulter, Abbott Molecular, and Gen-Probe. Prior to joining Illumina, Cimler was president of PandiaDx Consulting.

Exact Sciences has appointed David Thompson, Daniel Levangie, and Lionel Sterling to its board of directors. Thompson worked at Abbott Laboratories for more than 30 years and was president of Abbott’s diagnostic division. Levangie is president, CEO, and a board member of Keystone Dental, and Sterling is president of Equity Resources and a director of Molecular Insight Pharmaceuticals.

Lab services company ACM Global added several new hires to its UK and US operations. In the UK, the company has named Zoe Denham to be a project manager, Barnaby le Clerq to serve as business development director, and Ros McCabe to be an analytical scientist.

In the US, the firm has appointed Hua-Kang Wu as director of Molecular and Cellular Diagnostics and Cholpady Kamath to be director of anatomic pathology. It also has promoted Tracy Hendershott to the post of executive director of Global Operations.

“These strategic hires and promotions are instrumental in ensuring ACM Global continues to invest in its central lab business from both the scientific and new business perspectives,” said Elena Logan, VP of Clinical Trials.

Genesis Genomics, on top of changing its name to Mitomics this week, also has tapped Jason Dulude to take over the job of chief financial officer, and it has named Chris Merritt to be VP of sales and marketing.
Dulude formerly was involved in accounting and operations at KPMG and at Grant Thornton. Merritt was VP of sales and customer care at Timm Medical Technologies. The company also has appointed three new members to its board of directors, including: Vijay Aggarwal, CEO of Vaxigenix and managing partner of Channel Group; Kenneth Fallon, chairman of Osteotech; and Jim LaFrance, president and CEO of LaFrance Consulting.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.