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People Transfer: Apr 1, 2009


James Reecy, associate professor of animal science at Iowa State University, will become director of the university's Office of Biotechnology on July 1, ISU said last week.

Reecy will transition into the role by becoming the associate director on April 1. He will continue his research and teaching in the department of animal science. As part of his new responsibilities, Reecy will hire faculty researchers, help promote the public's understanding of biotechnology, and develop new strategies to maintain the university's leading role in biotechnology research, outreach, and technology transfer.

Reecy joined ISU in 1999. Since then his research has focused on the molecular and quantitative genetics of beef cattle, as well as early heart development, skeletal muscle growth, and livestock bioinformatics.

Reecy succeeds Walter Fehr, a distinguished professor of agriculture, who has served as a director since the Office of Biotechnology was established in 1984.

Forma Therapeutics, a drug-discovery company co-founded last year by scientists from the Broad Institute, this week announced the addition of three new scientific advisory board members.

The new SAB members are:

• SAB Chairman Robert Gould, director of novel therapeutics at the Broad Institute and former vice president of licensing and external research and vice president of basic research at Merck;

Simon Campbell, former senior vice president of worldwide discovery and medicinal R&D Europe at Pfizer; and

Yigong Shi, professor of molecular biology at Princeton University and chair of the department of biological sciences at Tsinghua University

The new members join existing SAB members Stuart Schreiber, Todd Golub, and Michael Foley.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization's industrial and environmental section, has been appointed to serve on the advisory committee of the Energy Biosciences Institute.

The EBI, a collaboration between the University of California, Berkeley; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; the University of Illinois; and British energy company BP; was established in 2007 with a 10-year, $500 million grant from BP (see BTW, 11/19/2007).

The EBI Science Advisory Committee is intended to provide strategic advice to the EBI director and governing board about goals and program implementation.

Erickson joined BIO in 2000 as director of the industrial and environmental section. He was promoted to vice president in 2001 and executive vice president in 2005.

The Scan

Taking Stock of the Stockpile

The US and European countries are evaluating their smallpox vaccine stockpiles as the number of monkeypox cases increases, the Washington Post reports.

Vitamin D From Tomatoes

According to Reuters, researchers in the UK have gene-edited tomatoes so their fruit contains vitamin D.

Cause Not Yet Spotted

NPR reports that a new study was unable to find a cause for persistent long COVID symptoms.

PNAS Papers on Central African Hunter-Gatherers, Myopia Development, Ancient Microtia Allele

In PNAS this week: population patterns among Central African hunter gatherers, effect of myopia-linked gene variant, and more.