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Foresite Labs: Mary Helen Black

Healthcare and data science incubator Foresite Labs has appointed Mary Helen Black as vice president and head of genomics. Black previously served as head of population analytics, computational sciences at the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, a role in which she led J&J's partnership with the UK Biobank and other pharmaceutical companies to sequence half a million individuals. Black also previously served as a director and research scientist for Ambry Genetics and Kaiser Permanente, and taught biostatistics at California State University, Los Angeles for eight years as an adjunct professor. She holds a BS in biology and philosophy from Saint Mary's College, an MS in biostatistics from the University of Southern California, and a PhD in statistical genetics and genetic epidemiology from USC.

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.