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Rain of Coins

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It's not quite raining coins out there (someday, fingers crossed, with a sturdy umbrella), but as the 10th annual salary survey appearing in this issue of Genome Technology notes, salaries in the life sciences seem to be holding steady. To come to that conclusion, and to help you see how you stand, GT surveyed 2,111 readers about their pay, benefits, and more.

This year, senior scientists in Boston and the Silicon Valley reported a median salary of between $100,000 and $124,999 — the same figures they reported in 2011. In addition, Christie Rizk notes that the salary gap between men and women appears to be shrinking, though that is likely due to a drop in men's salaries rather than a rise in women's. Last year, male senior scientists with 10 years to 20 years of experience reported a median salary of $100,000 to $124,999, while female senior scientists with the same level of experience reported a median salary of $75,000 to $99,999. This year, both groups report a median salary of $75,000 to $99,999. The full report begins on page 39. Finally, GT would like to thank all of you who took the survey to generate this data.

Elsewhere, Tracy Vence reports on how -genomics has an increasing role to play in public health efforts. She discusses how researchers are investigating gene-environment interactions to better prevent diseases like podoconiosis, a foot ailment that is triggered by an environmental exposure, and that can be disfiguring. Public health workers are using insights gained through genomics research to prioritize shoe distribution to prevent podoconiosis in affected areas.

In this month's Brute Force column, Matthew Dublin recounts a demonstration given by BT at the Bio-IT World Conference and Expo in April, in which the speaker used Siri — Apple's natural language processing application — to initiate a cloud-based molecular modeling program. While the demo captured attendees' attention, Matt reports that natural language processing may also make computing easier for researchers. And, as BioTeam's William Van Etten — who was part of the team behind the demo — says, it may bring the days of Star Trek-like computing closer to reality.