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People in the News: Constance Griffin, Kevin McKernan

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Genetic cancer researcher Constance Griffin has passed away from pancreatic cancer. For the last 13 years, Griffin was director of the Cancer Risk Assessment Program in the oncology department at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and since 2005 served as the interim director of the pathology department's molecular pathology division. Previously, Griffin led the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center's cytogenetics core.

She was also a professor of oncology and pathology at Johns Hopkins' medical school, and her research focused on pancreatic cancer and applying genetic techniques to studying chromosomes in cancer cells, as well as diagnosing and classifying tumors based on their genetic profiles.

She held a BS in biology from the University of Chicago and an MD from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.


Kevin McKernan has joined Courtagen Life Sciences as chief scientific officer after the firm acquired Medicinal Genomics last month, whose founder and CEO he was.

Until last summer, McKernan was vice president and director of R&D at Life Technologies, where he managed the development of the SOLiD sequencing technology. Prior to that, he was the co-founder, president, and CSO of Agencourt Personal Genomics, which was acquired by Applied Biosystems in 2006. Earlier, he co-founded Agencourt Biosciences, where he was CSO until it was acquired by Beckman Coulter in 2005.

The Scan

Should've Been Spotted Sooner

Scientists tell the Guardian that SARS-CoV-2 testing issues at a UK lab should have been noticed earlier.

For Martian Fuel

Researchers have outlined a plan to produce rocket fuel on Mars that uses a combination of sunlight, carbon dioxide, frozen water, cyanobacteria, and engineered E. coli, according to Gizmodo.

To Boost Rapid Testing

The Washington Post writes that new US programs aim to boost the availability of rapid at-home SARS-CoV-2 tests.

PNAS Papers on Strawberry Evolution, Cell Cycle Regulators, False-Positive Triplex Gene Editing

In PNAS this week: strawberry pan-genome, cell cycle-related roles for MDM2 and MDMX, and more.