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People in the News: Oct 6, 2010

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Life Technologies has named Paul Billings as chief medical officer, a newly created position "aimed at improving patient care through expanding the use of medically relevant genomic technologies in clinical settings," Life Tech said.

Billings is currently a member of the US Department of Health and Human Services' Secretary's Advisory Committee on Genomics, Health, and Society. He joins Life Tech from the Genomic Medicine Institute at El Camino Hospital, where he served as director and chief scientific officer. Previously, he was senior vice president for corporate development at Laboratory Corporation of America. Billings has also been a founder or CEO of several companies in the genetic and diagnostic arena, including GeneSage, Omicia, and Cellective Dx.

Billings has also held academic appointments at Harvard Medical School, Stanford School of Medicine, and the University of California, Berkeley, among other institutions; and has served as a physician at a number of US medical centers, including at the University of California, San Francisco. He holds an MD from Harvard Medical School and a PhD in immunology from Harvard.


NanoString Technologies has appointed Barney Saunders as chief commercial officer, the company said this week.

Prior to joining NanoString, Saunders spent five years as chief commercial officer of Microchip Biotechnologies, now IntegenX. Prior to that, he was a vice president and general manager at Agilent Technologies, where he led the company's gene expression business unit. At Agilent, Saunders also held the position of senior director for science and technology. Saunders also previously worked for 13 years at Amersham Biosciences, now part of GE Healthcare.

Saunders holds a BS in biology and PhD from the University of Birmingham in the UK.


Myconostica has appointed David Evans as independent non-director, the Manchester, UK-based medical diagnostic company said this week.

Evans was formerly employed by Shield Diagnostics, first as CFO during the company's IPO; then as CEO through its merger with Axis Biochemical to form Axis-Shield. He is currently chairman or non-executive director of a number of diagnostic and life science companies, including Epistem, Immunodiagnostic Systems, and Omega Diagnostics Group. Evans was also chairman of DxS for three years until June 2009.

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Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.