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Louise Mawhinney, Michelle Lyles, Paul Grint, Craig Venter

Louise Mawhinney, Helicos BioSciences’ senior vice president and chief financial officer, will leave the company on March 19 to “pursue other interests,” the company said on Friday. Steve Lombardi, the company's president and chief operating officer, will succeed her as interim principal financial officer. Kevin Lafond, the company's controller, will become Helicos’ interim principal accounting officer. Mawhinney joined Helicos in October 2006. Prior to that, she was CFO at ArQule.
Helicos said in an SEC filing that it will continue to pay Mawhinney her regular base salary until Aug. 1, or an aggregate of approximately $102,868, less any tax-related deductions or withholding. Mawhinney will provide “transitional assistance” to the company through July 1.

Michelle Lyles has become vice president for marketing and sales of Febit, a new position, the company said this week. She will be based at Febit’s US branch in Medford, Mass., and will manage US marketing and sales initiatives for Febit’s genomics technology products and services.
Prior to joining Febit, Lyles was director of sales with Sigma-Aldrich’s research biotechnology business unit. Before that, she was vice president of sales and marketing at Genospectra. Earlier, she was a technology manager for high-throughput screening systems at PerkinElmer, and a product manager for the BioChip Array and sales development manager for HTS assay platforms with Packard Biosciences.
Lyles holds a PhD in biochemistry from Baylor College of Medicine and BS degrees in biology and chemistry from the University of New Orleans.

Paul Grint has joined the board of directors of Numira Biosciences, the company said last week. He is the chief medical officer and head of development at Kalypsys in San Diego. Grint is also a director of Illumina.

Craig Venter will spend the next year as a visiting scholar at Harvard University in the Origins of Life Initiative. He started the one-year appointment earlier this month.

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.