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People in the News: Oct 14, 2011 (rev. 1)


Michael MacCoss and Peter J. Park have been selected as the winners of Agilent Technologies' annual eMerging Insights Grant program, which provides grants to researchers using Agilent-compatible bioinformatics software tools to integrate multi-omics data for systems biology research.

MacCoss is an associate professor of genome sciences at the University of Washington whose lab develops stable isotope and mass spectrometry methods for studying biology at the molecular, cellular, and whole-organism level.

His team developed and maintains the Skyline Targeted Proteomics Environment — an open source proteomics software platform for building Selected Reaction Monitoring/Multiple Reaction Monitoring methods and analyzing the resulting data.

MacCoss will use the funds to integrate Skyline with Agilent's GeneSpring software. The expanded version of Skyline will be able to read data files from GeneSpring, send the information to an MS instrument, and automate SRM method optimization during an MS run, Agilent said.

Park, a professor at Harvard Medical School, works on developing methods and tools that allow biological and clinical researchers to analyze large genomics data sets using statistically rigorous methods.

His lab has developed a method that uses biclustering to identify genes whose expression is driven by copy number.

The team will use the Agilent grant to develop a browser-based client application that allows biologists and clinicians to compare tumors at different grades to uncover how copy number variations and gene expression drive disease progression.

The Food and Drug Administration has selected Eric Perakslis to serve as its chief information officer and chief informatics scientist.

Prior to joining the FDA, Perakslis served as the senior vice president and CIO of research and development information technology at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical R&D and headed the informatics arm of the company's corporate office of science and technology.

Perakslis holds a PhD in chemical and biochemical engineering from Drexel University and BS and MS degrees in chemical engineering from the University of South Alabama and Mississippi State University, respectively.

GNS Healthcare has tapped Carol McCall to serve as its chief strategy officer and David Burke as its chief operating officer and chief financial officer.

Prior to joining GNS Healthcare, McCall served as vice president of R&D at Humana and she was the executive vice president of managed care business development at AllScripts Healthcare Solutions. She also worked as chief innovation officer at Tenzing Health, a subsidiary of Vanguard Health Systems.

Burke has served as CFO for QualityMetric and as director of corporate development of Item New Product Development, an integrated design, engineering and contract supply company.

The Scan

Study Finds Sorghum Genetic Loci Influencing Composition, Function of Human Gut Microbes

Focusing on microbes found in the human gut microbiome, researchers in Nature Communications identified 10 sorghum loci that appear to influence the microbial taxa or microbial metabolite features.

Treatment Costs May Not Coincide With R&D Investment, Study Suggests

Researchers in JAMA Network Open did not find an association between ultimate treatment costs and investments in a drug when they analyzed available data on 60 approved drugs.

Sleep-Related Variants Show Low Penetrance in Large Population Analysis

A limited number of variants had documented sleep effects in an investigation in PLOS Genetics of 10 genes with reported sleep ties in nearly 192,000 participants in four population studies.

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.