April 2011

Special Seminar: Charting the Course for Genomic Medicine

Genome Explorations Week

Mark your calendars for a special April 12 event featuring Eric Green, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, on "Charting the Course for Genomic Medicine." FREE TICKETS can be picked up in advance at CIEMAS 2163 or at the door on the day of the event. A second special seminar on April 14 will feature Joanna Mountain of 23andMe on "Personal Genomics: The Challenges and Potential of Direct-to-Consumer Testing." There will be a lunch for students immediately following Mountain's talk. Those who are interested should contact Tomalei Vess or Jessica Crowley. For full details, see the Duke Events Calendar.


Also, look for the next issue of GenomeLIFE to hit the stands very soon. The cover story will feature the NIH- and DOE-funded Center of Excellence within the IGSP's Center for Genome Ethics Law & Policy (GELP), which is focused around the study of public genomics and more specifically on the process by which genomic discoveries and innovations find their way in the world. The issue will also highlight the many projects underway in the IGSP's Proteomics Core Facility to address scientific questions related to heart failure, bird song, space flights and more. You'll hear from Director of the Deane Drug Discovery Institute Allen Roses about his entrepreneurial efforts related to the discovery of a biomarker that promises to predict not only the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease but also the age at which symptoms are most likely to appear. Finally, we'll learn of efforts by IGSP researchers to nail down more exhaustive lists of microRNA within a variety of organisms and cell types as a first step to working out just what these unconventional genes do in both health and disease.


This issue will be the last for academic year 2010-2011. As always, we welcome story ideas for the fall issue and beyond. Please send them to igsp-news@duke.edu.



A New Evolutionary History of Primates
Julie Horvath, Research Director for the Duke Primate Genomics Initiative, contributed to a robust new phylogenetic tree that resolves many long-standing issues in primary taxonomy. The work was featured in The Independent. Read the original report in PLoS Genetics.

Genetics and Health 2.0 vs. the Old Guard
An article in The American about worries that an overaggressive FDA might stymie the personal genomics industry features a comment made by the IGSP's Misha Angrist on his blog Genomeboy.

Scientists Discover Genes That May Increase Heart Attack Risk
In an AOL Health original report, Geoff Ginsburg calls the discovery of 13 gene regions that may significantly raise a person's risk for heart attack a landmark. "What is remarkable is the sheer number of novel genes that have been found to be associated with coronary artery disease that were previously unknown and unsuspected."

How Will Myriad Respond to the Next Generation of BRCA Testing?
Bob Cook-Deegan contributed to a Genomics Law Report blog post analyzing enigmatic comments made by Myriad Genetics regarding recent research and commercial developments in the BRCA genetic testing market, particularly in Europe.


Public Perspectives Regarding Data-Sharing Practices in Genomics Research
In Public Health Genomics, Susanne Haga and Julianne O'Daniel say that a combination of the potential loss of privacy with concerns about data access and identity of the research sponsor warrants disclosure about a study's data-sharing plans during the informed consent process.

Chromatin: Bind at Your Own RSC
In Current Biology, Nick Buchler and Lu Bai discuss the recent identification of a novel RSC-nucleosome complex that both strongly phases flanking nucleosomes and presents sites for ready access.

A cis-Regulatory Map of the Drosophila Genome
IGSP David MacAlpine is a collaborator on a Nature paper describing results from the modENCODE cis-regulatory annotation project.

Regulator of G Protein Signaling 5 is Highly Expressed in Parathyroid Tumors and Inhibits Signaling by the Calcium-Sensing Receptor
In Molecular Endocrinology, James Koh and John Olson, Jr., report new findings elucidating the molecular mechanisms responsible for aberrant calcium signaling in parathyroid disease.

Intercellular Communication During Plant Development
In The Plant Cell, Jaimie Norman, Natalie Breakfield and Philip Benfey review recent findings highlighting novel mechanisms in intercellular signaling during development.

Ablative Therapies for Barrett's Esophagus
In a Current Gastroenterology Report, Katie Garman and Nicholas Shaheen offer clinician recommendations for care strategies for patients with Barrett's esophagus with varying degrees of dysplasia.

Comparison of Genomics and Functional Imaging from Canine Sarcomas Treated with Thermoradiotherapy Predicts Therapeutic Response and Identifies Combination Therapeutics
In Clinical Cancer Research, Ashley Chi and Mark Dewhirst report what they say is one of the first successful attempts to link changes in gene expression and functional imaging to understand the response heterogeneity and identify compounds enhancing thermoradiotherapy.


Duke senior Nicolas Altemose has earned a 2011 Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study, which the Howard Hughes Medical Institute awards each year to students pursuing a PhD in the biological sciences. A member of Hunt Willard's lab, Altemose plans to defer the Gilliam award for two years to pursue genomics research at the University of Oxford on a Marshall Scholarship.

IGSP Investigator Ashley Chi has been elected to The American Society for Clinical Investigation and will be officially inducted at the ASCI meeting in Chicago this month. ASCI membership is considered one of the highest honors for physician scientists under the age of 45.

IGSP Undergraduate Jason Klein was selected for The Pasteur Foundation Summer Internship Program, which provides U.S. students with the opportunity to conduct research at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. The foundation's goal is to encourage students in the pursuit of a scientific career and expose them to an international laboratory experience. Jason reports that he will work in the lab of Francois Schweisguth, the Head of Drosophila Developmental Genetics at the Institute.

Arthur Moseley, IGSP Investigator and Director of the Proteomics Core Facility, was recognized by The Waters Centers of Innovation Program at a campus event held on March 21. The program recognizes accomplished scientists and their research in the fields of life science, proteomics, metabolomics, systems biology, mass spectrometry and separations science.

Also of note, an article by Bo Chen, Aimee Zaas, Chris Woods, Geoff Ginsburg, Joe Lucas and colleagues in BMC Bioinformatics entitled "Bayesian Inference of the Number of Factors in Gene-Expression Analysis: Application to Human Viral Challenge Studies" has gotten significant notice. The journal editors have sent word that the article has been accessed more than 1,300 times since its publication in November, making it a"highly accessed" publication relative to its age.


For details and updates on IGSP seminars and events, see the Events Calendar.

A selection of upcoming events:

Monday, April 4th
Computational Biology Seminar
Dongliang Ge will present "Computational Methods for Analyzing Gene Variants in Medical Sequencing."

Monday, April 4th
GRES/IGSP Dinner With Faculty Series
The free event will feature Charles Gersbach. Registration required.

Tuesday, April 5th
Tuesday Seminar Series
Rosa Ruiz-Vazquez will present "Different Classes of Endogenous Small Interfering RNAs in the Basal Fungus Mucor circinelloides.

Tuesday, April 5th
Genome Biology Meeting
Suzanne McGaugh from the Noor lab will present.

Wednesday, April 6th
Unix Tutorials
Peyton Vaughn will instruct "Intro to Unix," the first in a series of four tutorials. Registration is required.

Thursday, April 7th
Genomic and Personalized Medicine Forum
Julianne O'Daniel, Genetic Counselor and Clinical Genomics Liaison for Illumina, will present "Clinical Whole-Genome Sequencing."

Thursday, April 7th
Health Career Explorations
Two Duke-affiliated individuals or alums will lead an informal discussion over dinner about a career as a genetic counselor. The series will also cover careers in science writing and health policy. Register here.

Wednesday, April 13th
Systems Biology Seminar
Greg Reeve from North Carolina State University will present.

Saturday, April 16th
Synthetic Biology Symposium
The all-day event will feature Kewaunee Lecture Keynote Speaker Jay Keasling.

Friday, April 22nd
Science & Society Journal Club
Michele Easter will lead the discussion. Stay tuned for details.


The National Institutes of Health will fund research that seeks to discover biomarkers for cancers that may be caused by infectious agents.

The National Cancer Institute will fund strategic partnerships in multidisciplinary efforts to conduct molecular analysis on cancer tumors with the goal to improve patient care and outcomes.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases plans to commit $20.2 million to fund development of medical diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines, and other technologies for use as countermeasures for pathogens and toxins.

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