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Paired Ends: Aug 18, 2009


Francis Collins has become the 16th director of the National Institutes of Health after being unanimously confirmed by the US Senate on August 7. Raynard Kington, who has served as acting NIH director since mid-October, will return to his role as NIH principal deputy director.

From 1993 until 2008, Collins was the director of NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute. Under his direction, the Human Genome Project was completed in 2003. Prior to joining NIH in 1993, he spent nine years on the faculty of the University of Michigan, where he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. His research laboratory discovered a number of important genes, including those responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington's disease, and a familial endocrine cancer syndrome. Collins holds an MD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a PhD in physical chemistry from Yale University, and a BS in chemistry from the University of Virginia.

Stephen Hall has left his posts as senior vice president, CFO, treasurer, principal financial officer, and principal accounting officer of Helicos BioSciences following the company's filing of its 10-Q quarterly report last week.

He is replaced in these roles by Jeffrey Moore, who was appointed by Helicos' board of directors. Prior to joining Helicos, Moore was a managing member and founder of Fiske Pond Advisors, a financial advisory service firm. Previously, he was CFO of Affinova, a privately held innovation technology company, and before that, vice president of finance at Flagship Ventures, a Helicos investor. Moore holds an MBA from Vanderbilt University and a BS from Cornell University.

Svilen Tzonev has become head of informatics at the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute. He joins JGI from Illumina, where he was senior director of software, bioinformatics, and IT and involved in the development and commercialization of the Genome Analyzer. Previously, Tzonev was director of software and informatics at GE Healthcare and Amersham Pharmacia Biotech, where he led development of sequencing, genotyping, gene expression, and cellular screening systems and applications. Previously, he held project management and system engineering roles at Molecular Dynamics and KLA-Tencor. Tzonev holds a PhD in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Lee Hood and George Church have joined the scientific advisory of Cellular Dynamics International, a company that is developing induced pluripotent stem cells into drug discovery tools and personalized therapeutics.

Hood is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Systems Biology. Church is a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School.

The Scan

Study Tracks Off-Target Gene Edits Linked to Epigenetic Features

Using machine learning, researchers characterize in BMC Genomics the potential off-target effects of 19 computed or experimentally determined epigenetic features during CRISPR-Cas9 editing.

Coronary Artery Disease Risk Loci, Candidate Genes Identified in GWAS Meta-Analysis

A GWAS in Nature Genetics of nearly 1.4 million coronary artery disease cases and controls focused in on more than 200 candidate causal genes, including the cell motility-related myosin gene MYO9B.

Multiple Sclerosis Contributors Found in Proteome-Wide Association Study

With a combination of genome-wide association and brain proteome data, researchers in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology tracked down dozens of potential multiple sclerosis risk proteins.

Quality Improvement Study Compares Molecular Tumor Boards, Central Consensus Recommendations

With 50 simulated cancer cases, researchers in JAMA Network Open compared molecular tumor board recommendations with central consensus plans at a dozen centers in Japan.