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Short Reads: Jun 1, 2012


US President Barack Obama's administration has announced its priorities for supporting the bioeconomy, namely by growing biotechnology-based businesses. The forthcoming National Bioeconomy Blueprint will serve as a guide for federal agencies to coordinate their internal measures with those of the private sector.

The US National Institutes of Health plans to award $5.7 million in funding for research projects examining the use of genome sequencing in the clinic. The Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research grants will support the study of how genomic data can be used in patient care, how well genome sequence-based treatment applications function, and how the results are interpreted and used by doctors and patients.

Steven Broadbent is the new chief operating officer of the Critical Path Institute. He has been the director of consortia operations at the institute since early 2009. He replaces Rick Myers, who recently stepped down from the position.

Steve Lombardi is the new president and CEO of Real Time Genomics, a genomic analysis software company. Lombardi was president and then CEO of Helicos Bio-sciences from 2006 to 2010.

Fluidigm has established a subsidiary in Shanghai.

The National Human Genome Research Institute has awarded $10.5 million for new Encyclopedia of DNA Elements projects. These new ENCODE studies aim to -develop technologies to identify functional genomic elements.

With $10.3 million from NIH, the University of California, Santa Cruz, has established the Cancer Genomics Hub, a repository and user portal for storing and accessing data coming from cancer genomics studies.

Pacific Biosciences has settled two separate patent lawsuits with Life Technologies and Helicos Biosciences. The suit between PacBio and Life Tech related to technologies using tagged nucleoside triphosphates for single-molecule sequencing, while the case between PacBio and Helicos dealt with methods for sequencing a single strand of DNA by synthesizing a complementary strand using labeled nucleotides. Helicos also named Life Tech and Illumina as defendants in that second lawsuit; no deals have been reached with those companies.

Alan Schafer is the new CEO of Population Genetics. Schafer is an adjunct professor at Imperial College London's Business School and was previously the Wellcome Trust's director of science funding.

NIH Director Francis Collins announced the first initiative for the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. The new program will support researchers using biomarker-based studies and other approaches to repurpose unused compounds owned by Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Eli Lilly.

Richard Scheuermann is the new director of informatics at the J. Craig Venter Institute. He was previously a pathology professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Bert Weimer and Hao Zhang have been appointed the co-directors of [email protected], a partnership between BGI and the University of California, Davis. Weimer is a professor in the department of population health and reproduction at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and Hao Zhang is the chief operating officer of BGI Americas.

EdgeBio has received CLIA certification for its next-generation sequencing operations and has launched a clinical exome test. In addition, the company named Sherri Bale laboratory director of its CLIA operations.

Quest Diagnostics has named Stephen Rusckowski its new president and CEO. Rusckowski is currently CEO of Philips Healthcare.

Bruce Korf has been elected president of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics' Foundation for Genetic and Genomic Medicine, a nonprofit that supports research and education. He takes over from Rodney Howell.

Tom Pike is the new CEO of Quintiles. He previously served as Accenture's global chief operating officer, and replaces company founder Dennis Gillings, who will continue as executive chairman of the company's board of directors.

Matthias Mann, director of the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, has been awarded the 2012 Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine and the 2012 Ernst Schering Prize for his work developing mass spectrometry procedures for protein analysis, and methods for large-scale proteomics.

Erik Christensen has re-signed from his position as CEO of Diagenic. The company has named Chairman of the board Henrik Lund interim CEO.

NanoString Technologies has named Joseph Beechem its senior vice president of research and development. Beechem joins the firm from Life Technologies.

23andMe has done away with its subscription model in response to customer feedback.

Researchers from BGI, George Mason University, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center plan to sequence 100 human adenoviruses, including ones that cause -respiratory, gastrointestinal, and ocular diseases. The study aims to elucidate the molecular basis of adenovirus evolution.

Thomas Hudson has been appointed to the Génome Québec board of directors. Hudson is president and scientific director of the Ontario Institute for Cancer, and a professor in the department of molecular genetics at the University of Toronto.

The US National Academy of Sciences has announced its election of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates. Among the new members are the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center's Ronald DePinho, the University of Washington's Evan Eichler, Rachel Green at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Cold Spring Harbor Lab's Gregory Hannon, the University of California, Davis' Harris Lewin, Gisela Storz at the National Institutes of Health, and Subra Suresh at the National Science Foundation. The foreign associates include Uppsala University's Leif Andersson, and University of Alabama at Birmingham's Louise Chow.

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.