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People in the News: Tina Nova, Ellen Embrey, Gabriel Bien-Willner, More

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Illumina has hired Tina Nova to be senior vice president and general manager of the firm's oncology business. Rick Klausner has been serving as interim oncology leader since January and will continue in his role as senior vice president and chief medical officer.

Nova is cofounder of molecular diagnostic company Genoptix and served as its president and CEO from 2000. She also cofounded Nanogen, a provider of MDx tests, and served as its COO and president from 1994 until 2000. She holds a BS in biological sciences from the University of California, Irvine and a PhD in biochemistry from the University of California, Riverside.


Ellen Embrey has joined Pathway Genomics' strategic advisory board. Embrey currently is CEO of Stratitia, a medical logistics and scientific consulting company. She also previously worked at the Department of Defense, including as assistant secretary of defense for health affairs and director of TRICARE management activity and as deputy assistant secretary of defense for force health protection readiness.


MolecularHealth has hired Gabriel Bien-Willner as medical director of its CLIA-certified next-generation sequencing laboratory in The Woodlands, Texas. Bien-Willner will report to Chief Medical Officer Shelly Gunn and manage the day-to-day clinical duties of the laboratory. He has dual-board certifications in anatomic pathology and molecular genetic pathology. Previously, he served as a faculty member in the department of pathology and immunology at Washington University in St. Louis, where he conducted research in cancer biomarker discovery and the development of novel genomic technologies.


Gonçalo Abecasis and Mark Daly have been named recipients of the Curt Stern Award from the American Society of Human Genetics.

Abecasis is a professor of biostatistics at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and Daly is an associate professor of medicine and chief of the analytic and translational genetics unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

The award recognizes genetics and genomics researchers who have made significant scientific contributions during the past decade. Abecasis and Daly will receive the award, which carries a $5,000 cash prize for each, on Oct. 20 at the ASHG Annual Meeting in San Diego.

In addition, ASHG has named David Valle the recipient of the annual Victor A. McKusick Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals whose professional achievements have fostered and enriched the development of human genetics as well as its assimilation into the broader context of science, medicine, and health. Valle will receive the award, which carries $2,500 cash prize, on Oct. 20 at the ASHG meeting.

Valle is the Henry J. Knott professor and director at the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His research focuses on the genetic factors underlying human health and disease, including specific genetic diseases and the broader interactions between genes and the proteins they encode that influence health and disease. Notable achievements include characterizing the molecular basis of many single-gene disorders, developing mouse models to study human disorders, and analyzing genetic variants associated with psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia.


Strand Life Sciences has named Scott Storrer to be president of its North America operations. Storrer most recently was president and CEO of Genomind, and before that he was president and CEO of MEDicision and chief operations officer for CIGNA's healthcare, group insurance, and international divisions.

The Scan

Expanded Genetic Testing Uncovers Hereditary Cancer Risk in Significant Subset of Cancer Patients

In Genome Medicine, researchers found pathogenic or likely pathogenic hereditary cancer risk variants in close to 17 percent of the 17,523 patients profiled with expanded germline genetic testing.

Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy Embryos Appear Largely Normal in Single-Cell 'Omics Analyses

Embryos produced with spindle transfer-based mitochondrial replacement had delayed demethylation, but typical aneuploidy and transcriptome features in a PLOS Biology study.

Cancer Patients Report Quality of Life Benefits for Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Immune checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy was linked in JAMA Network Open to enhanced quality of life compared to other treatment types in cancer patients.

Researchers Compare WGS, Exome Sequencing-Based Mendelian Disease Diagnosis

Investigators find a diagnostic edge for whole-genome sequencing, while highlighting the cost advantages and improving diagnostic rate of exome sequencing in EJHG.