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People in the News: Alejandro Zaffaroni, Weslie Tyson, Richard Hockett, Patrick Balthrop, Walter Loewenbaum

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Affymetrix co-founder and biotechnology entrepreneur Alejandro Zaffaroni died last week at the age of 91, according to The New York Times.

A native of Uruguay, Zaffaroni helped to launch a number of other biotech companies, including Alza, Syntex, Perlegen Sciences, Symyx Technologies, DNAX, and Maxygen.

Zaffaroni was awarded the National Medal of Technology from US President Bill Clinton in 1995.


CombiMatrix this week appointed Weslie Tyson as its new chief medical officer. Tyson will assume his new role at the Irvine, Calif.-based genetic testing services company on April 8.

Tyson has been a practicing pediatric and perinatal pathologist for more than two decades. He joins CombiMatrix from UniPath, a Denver-based multispecialty pathology group that staffs eight metro hospitals and a large central laboratory.

Tyson replaces outgoing CMO Richard Hockett, whose resignation CombiMatrix announced last month.


Luminex CEO Patrick Balthrop and chairman Walter Loewenbaum have been named to NextGxDx's board of directors. NextGxDx is a Nashville-based company that offers an online marketplace for genetic testing. Other new directors at NextGxDx include Phil Hertik, former founder, chairman, and CEO of Windsor Health Group; Jim Kever, principal at Voyent Partners; and George Lazenby, former CEO of Emdeon.

The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.