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ABRF, Plexera, MitoSciences, Duke University, GenoLogics, Vanderbilt University, Eksigent, Ariadne, ExonHit, Pittcon

ABRF Seeking Researchers for Qualitative Sample Study, Funding Survey
The Proteomics Research Group of the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities is asking researchers to participate in a study exploring the use of different approaches to determine qualitative differences between two similar samples.
According to the group, determining qualitative differences among samples is a common challenge for proteomics laboratories. Samples may be putatively similar but produce different results in functional or biological assays.
In its study, the PRG “anticipates that the samples can be successfully characterized by scientists with different levels of experience using a wide variety of proteomic approaches and platforms,” the group said in an announcement. The goal of the study is to document the different methods used by the ABRF community and the results and information produced.
The samples are expected to be distributed in October and data to be returned by Dec. 1.
Participants will be asked to identify proteins present in two similar samples, determine the qualitative differences between the samples, and provide information about methods used to maximize protein sequence coverage. The study is open to both ABRF members and non-members. Results of the study will be presented at the 2008 ABRF meeting, Feb. 9-12 in Salt Lake City.
Requests for samples must be submitted by e-mail to [email protected] prior to Sept. 28. Please include “PRG SAMPLE REQUEST” in the subject line.
Also, ABRF’s Survey Committee is asking members and non-members to participate in a survey dealing with funding issues as they affect core labs and their operations. The web-based survey can be accessed here.
The password is “abrf”. The survey will close Friday, Oct. 5 at 5 PM PST.

Plexera, MitoSciences Collaborate on Antibody Array
Plexera Bioscience and MitoSciences announced this week an agreement for the commercialization of an antibody array product enabled with Plexera’s ProteomicProcessor and MitoSciences’ proprietary antibodies.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The product development is in conjunction with a separate and previously announced agreement between the two companies and the Medical University of South Carolina to build a protein expression profiling assay.
“We feel that by combining MitoSciences’ well-characterized antibodies and Plexera’s ProteomicProcessor, we will have an assay that will have significant time and cost advantages over existing technologies,” said Craig Beeson, associate professor pharmaceutical sciences at MUSC and principal investigator on the project.
Plexera was spun out by Lumera during the summer [See PM 07/26/07].

Five-Year North Carolina Study Includes Proteomics
A five-year study being spearheaded by researchers at Duke University will include proteomics to map out a strategy for battling cancer, diabetes, liver disease, and other illnesses, the North Carolina Research Campus announced this week.
The research is being funded with a $35 million donation by David Murdock, chairman and owner of Castle & Cooke, and Dole Food Co. Dubbed the Measurement to Undertand Reclassification of Disease Cabarrus/Kannapolis Study, it will be lead by Robert Califf, director of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute. Researchers from the 16-campus University of North Carolina system will also participate.
In addition to proteomics work, research will conducted in genomics and metabolomics. Equipment will be provided by the David H. Murdock Core Laboratory in the North Carolina Research Campus.
Results from the study could include everything from specialized, preventive diets to new drugs, the Research Campus said in a statement.

Vanderbilt’s Jim Ayers Institute Implements GenoLogics’ Proteus
GenoLogics said that Vanderbilt University’s Jim Ayers Institute for Precancer Detection and Diagnosis has implemented the company’s Proteus laboratory and data management solution.
The institute, along with the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and the Vanderbilt GI SPORE program, is working to develop a blood test for colorectal cancer and individual therapies for specific tumor types.
Proteus software will allow researchers to incorporate clinical data and track non-identifiable patient data for the thousands of participants who will be involved in clinical trials across the country related to the institute’s efforts. Proteus’ LabLink web collaboration system will allow Vanderbilt’s global network of collaborators to submit and receive sample information in Excel format, the company said in a statement.

New Agreements for Eksigent
Eksigent this week announced it has entered into distribution and service agreements for its NanoLC-HPLC and ExpressLC product lines.
The company’s agreement with Athens-based Best Buy Analytical covers Greece and Cyprus; an agreement with Analytica covers distribution of the products in Italy; and its agreement with Barcelona-based Ingenieria Analitica covers Spain and Portugal.
Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

Ariadne, ExonHit Extend Licensing Agreement for Pathway Studio
Ariadne said this week that ExonHit Therapeutics has extended its license for the Pathway Studio software. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
ExonHit is using Pathway Studio and proprietary technology to conduct research in alternative RNA splicing in collaboration with drug development partners.

Pittcon to Award Grants to Colleges
The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy along with the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh and the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh, announced it will be awarding grants to small college science departments to purchase equipment, teaching materials, and library materials for the teaching of science on the undergraduate level.
The Pittsburgh Conference expects to select 12 colleges to receive the grants, called the 2008 Pittsburgh Conference Memorial National College Grants. The maximum for each grant is $10,000. Applications and proposals are due Dec. 1, 2007, and the awards will be announced in February. More information is available here

The Scan

mRNA-Based Vaccine on the Way in China

China may soon have its own mRNA-based vaccine, according to Nature News.

Arranged Killing, Fraud Alleged by Prosecutors

The Wall Street Journal reports that prosecutors allege that the co-founder of a biotech arranged to have a business associate who threatened to expose him as a fraud killed.

Whirlwind Decade of CRISPR

The New York Times looks back at the 10 years since the University of California, Berkeley's Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues published their CRISPR paper.

PNAS Papers on Blue Cone Monochromacy Structural Variants, HIV-1 Mutant, T-ALL

In PNAS this week: structural variants linked to blue cone monochromacy, HIV-1 variants affecting the matrix protein p17, and more.