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Direct Wireless, Barnhill Group, First Genetic Trust, Strand Genomics, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Accelrys, Teradata


Direct Wireless Completes Barnhill Group Acquisition

Direct Wireless Communications last week wrapped up its acquisition of genomics and bioinformatics consulting firm the Barnhill Group of Savannah, Ga.

The company, which is in the process of reconfiguring itself as a drug discovery firm [BioInform 09-08-03], plans to use computational tools developed by Barnhill group founder Stephen Barnhill to discover biomarkers and pathways of interest to pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies.

FGT Secures $5.5M in Series C Round

Genetic banking firm First Genetic Trust said last week that it closed $5.5 million in Series C financing. 

The round was co-led by Venrock Associates and Arch Venture Partners. Other investors include Cooper Hill Partners and Quintiles Transnational. 

The company plans to use the funds to support further commercialization of its EnTrust genetic banking information technology.

Strand Genomics Licenses Affy APIs

Strand Genomics last week said it had licensed the application programming interfaces from Affymetrix to support and integrate Affy microarray data files with its gene expression analysis and visualization software, Avadis Microarray (previously called Soochika).

“This collaboration is a part of Strand’s strategy to integrate Avadis with all leading microarray technologies,” said Todd Laird, senior vice president of business development at Strand.

Berkeley Researchers Credit In Silico Modeling for T-Cell Discovery

A research team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory said last week that a computer model it created of the immunological synapse — a cell-cell junction between T-cell and antigen-presenting-cell surfaces — played a key role in determining its function in T-cell activation.

The model, created using an 84-processor Linux cluster, was used to support the Berkeley team’s conclusion that the immunological synapse acts as an adaptive controller that boosts T-cell receptor triggering.

The researchers, led by Arup Chakraborty, describe the study in the Sept. 25 online issue of Science Express (

The work “illustrates how the analysis of such complex biological systems benefits greatly from synergistic experimental and computational studies,” the authors wrote.

“Without the computational model, for example, we might have wrongly concluded that the C-SMAC [central supramolecular activation cluster] is not involved in TCR [T-cell receptor] triggering and that it functions only to attenuate signaling. The surprising interpretation that the C-SMAC balances signaling and degradation emerged from the computational model and the cellular experiments it suggested,” they wrote.

In a statement, Chakraborty explained that “competition” between the triggering of T cell receptors due to antigens and the degradation of triggered T cell receptors in the in vitro tests prior to the computer simulations “was masking the fact that the immunological synapse is responsible for intense but self-limited T cell signaling.”

Accelrys to Embed Oracle in Discovery Studio

Accelrys said it has signed a strategic agreement with Oracle to embed Oracle’s database technology into its Discovery Studio suite of software products.  

Specifically, Accelrys will resell the database and associated software as part of its Discovery Studio Project Knowledge Manager Plus product, which allows researchers to share data and results across an organization.

Windber Opts for Teradata for Genomic/Clinical Data Warehouse

Teradata, a division of NCR, said last week that Windber Research Institute has selected its database technology to create a large-scale central data warehouse to house molecular and clinical data for breast cancer research.

Windber researchers plan to link data from the GenBank, Swiss-Prot, KEGG, and DIP databases to its own molecular and clinical data.

Richard Somiari, COO and CSO of Windber Research Institute, said that the institute conducts high-throughput analysis of biological samples at the DNA, RNA, protein, and cellular levels that typically generates 166 MB of information from each sample. Windber also has a tissue repository with a capacity for 240,000 tissue samples. “We expect to generate approximately 50 terabytes of data, both images and text, in nine months,” Somiari said. “This information must be delivered on demand. Because we are continuing to enroll participants in multiple protocols, we needed data warehousing solutions that will expand with us.”


Filed under

The Scan

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.

Team Presents Cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression Atlas

Using RNA sequences representing thousands of cattle samples, researchers looked at relationships between cattle genotype and tissue expression in Nature Genetics.

Researchers Map Recombination in Khoe-San Population

With whole-genome sequences for dozens of individuals from the Nama population, researchers saw in Genome Biology fine-scale recombination patterns that clustered outside of other populations.

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.