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People in the News: May 21, 2009


MDRNA has resized its board of directors from eight to five, the company said this week.

As a result, Steven Quay, Alex Cross, and Jack Pollock have stepped down as board members. All three were board members of MDRNA predecessor firm Nastech Pharmaceutical.

The company's current directors include Chairman Bruce Thaw, Daniel Peters, James Rothman, Gregory Sessler, and President and CEO Michael French.

MDRNA also recently announced that it has appointed Beverly Davidson and Carl Novina to its scientific advisory board.

Davidson is a professor at the University of Iowa, where she focuses on inherited genetic diseases that cause central nervous system dysfunction. Novina is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and researches the mechanisms and applications of mammalian RNAi.

RNAi drugs startup SanoGene announced this week that it has appointed Daniel Van Hoff and Jeffrey Sherman to its scientific advisory board.

Van Hoff is currently director of translational research at the Translational Genomics Research Institute. He is also CSO of US Oncology.

Sherman is the CMO and senior vice president of research and development at IDM Pharma. Previously, he has held various roles at Takeda Global Research and Development, NeoPharm, Searle/Pharmacia, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.