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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.

The Scan

Panel Recommends Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine for Kids

CNN reports that the US Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has voted in favor of authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children between 5 and 11 years old.

Sharing How to Make It

Merck had granted a royalty-free license for its COVID-19 treatment to the Medicines Patent Pool, according to the New York Times.

Bring it Back In

Bloomberg reports that a genetic analysis has tied a cluster of melioidosis cases in the US to a now-recalled aromatherapy spray.

Nucleic Acids Research Papers on SomaMutDB, VThunter, SCovid Databases

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: database of somatic mutations in normal tissue, viral receptor-related expression signatures, and more.