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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

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.