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People in the News: Jun 2, 2011

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Akonni Biosystems has appointed Jan Smilek as chief financial officer, the company said this week.

Smilek most recently served as CFO and treasurer of Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, where he co-led the $80 million acquisition of Sucampo AG in December 2010. He has also served as senior director of finance for Vanda Pharmaceuticals; and as a senior manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers. Smilek holds a BA in economics from the School of Economics in Bratislava, Czech Republic; and an MBA from Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business.


James Robb has joined Biomatrica's scientific advisory board, the company said last week.

Robb currently serves as a governor of the College of American Pathologists, and for the past few years has been an SAIC-Frederick consulting pathologist in the Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research at the National Cancer Institute. Robb also served on the Secretary of Health and Human Services' Committee for Genetics, Health and Society Task Force on Oversight of Genetic Tests.

Robb has also been a tenured professor of pathology at the University of California, San Diego; staff pathologist and director of molecular pathology and cytopathology at the Scripps Clinic; and medical director of the HCA East Florida Division's Integrated Regional Laboratories.

He received his MD from the University of Colorado and completed his pathology residency and molecular biology training at Yale University before becoming a senior surgeon at NIH.

The Scan

Enzyme Involved in Lipid Metabolism Linked to Mutational Signatures

In Nature Genetics, a Wellcome Sanger Institute-led team found that APOBEC1 may contribute to the development of the SBS2 and SBS13 mutational signatures in the small intestine.

Family Genetic Risk Score Linked to Diagnostic Trajectory in Psychiatric Disorders

Researchers in JAMA Psychiatry find ties between high or low family genetic risk scores and diagnostic stability or change in four major psychiatric disorders over time.

Study Questions Existence of Fetal Microbiome

A study appearing in Nature this week suggests that the reported fetal microbiome might be the result of sample contamination.

Fruit Fly Study Explores Gut Microbiome Effects on Circadian Rhythm

With gut microbiome and gene expression experiments, researchers in PNAS see signs that the microbiome contributes to circadian rhythm synchronicity and stability in fruit flies.