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People in the News: Sep 21, 2011

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Andrew Feinberg, director of the Center for Epigenetics at the Institute for Basic Biomedical Research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, has been awarded a Director's Pioneer Award by the National Institutes of Health. He received the award for his work using sequencing to study the epigenetics of colon cancer. He holds a BA, MD, and an MPH from Johns Hopkins University.


Elodie Ghedin, assistant professor in the department of computational and systems biology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and an associate investigator at the J. Craig Venter Institute, was among 22 fellows named this week by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Ghedin uses genome sequencing to study human pathogens such as the parasites that cause leishmaniasis, sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, elephantiasis, and river blindness. As a MacArthur fellow, she will receive $500,000 in "no-strings-attached" funding over the next five years.

Ghedin holds a BS from McGill University, an MS from the University of Québec, and a PhD from McGill. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases between 1998 and 2000 and led the Viral Genomics group at the Institute for Genomic Research between 2000 and 2006.


John West is CEO and co-founder of the company Personalis, which was started in August and will focus on the clinical interpretation of genomic sequencing data.

West is the former CEO of Solexa, which was acquired by Illumina. From 2009 to mid-2011 West served as CEO of ViaCyte, a company focused on using stem cell therapy for diabetes. He and his family were the first to have their whole genomes sequenced by Illumina, and the resulting interpretation of those genomes formed the impetus for the formation of Personalis (see story, this issue). Other co-founders include Russ Altman, Euan Ashley, Atul Butte, and Michael Snyder.

West holds a BS and MS in engineering from MIT and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

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Circulating Tumor DNA Shows Potential as Biomarker in Rare Childhood Cancer

A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has found that circulating tumor DNA levels in rhabdomyosarcoma may serve as a biomarker for prognosis.

Study Recommends Cancer Screening for Dogs Beginning Age Seven, Depending on Breed

PetDx researchers report in PLOS One that annual cancer screening for dogs should begin by age seven.

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.