NERC and the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) today celebrate a major upgrade to the JASMIN cloud computing facility that lets UK environmental scientists assess and evaluate huge sets of environmental data.

JASMIN has been designed for the Big Data challenges posed by 21st century environmental science and will expand its role as the infrastructure for a plethora of services to the NERC science community. The current upgrade will ensure a better understanding of, and a quicker response to, environmental change.

Run by STFC on NERC's behalf, JASMIN is based at STFC's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. It's responsible for two main functions: infrastructure for the Centre for Environmental Data Archival, including the British Atmospheric Data Centre; and providing a platform for data-intensive scientific computation for environmental researchers across the UK.

Environmental science is benefiting from an exponential increase in data from new observing platforms - from sensor webs to Earth observation satellites. At the same time, increased computer power coupled with sophisticated mathematics is opening up more scientific areas to accurate simulation, which also generates vast quantities of data.

This means all environmental scientists face new infrastructural challenges. Recognising these, NERC continues to invest in providing UK environmental science with a unique platform for data analysis - JASMIN.

Professor Duncan Wingham, NERC's chief executive, said: "NERC welcomes this major upgrade to this world-class facility. JASMIN is a unique hybrid of petascale storage, high-performance computing and networking, coupled with cloud hosting capabilities, and will make a significant contribution to one of NERC's most strategically important challenges: the improvement of predictive environmental science."

Professor Stephen Mobbs, director of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, representative of an important user community, said: "With this upgrade, JASMIN will provide the entire NERC community with a key platform to exploit the heterogeneous and high volume data typical of modern environmental science.

Professor Peter Jan van Leeuwen, acting director of the National Centre for Earth Observation, who represents another key user community, said: "With JASMIN, the UK will be well placed to exploit the wealth of Earth observation data coming from the European Space Agency and elsewhere over the next decade."

Celgene Invests $75 Million in Strategic Collaboration to Develop Targeted Cancer Drugs

NantBioScience to License nab Technology from Celgene to Develop Two Cancer-Fighting Compounds – Celgene Granted Option to nab Candidates

Celgene Also Receives Option to License Therapies Targeting Protein Kinases, p53 and kras, in Development at NantBioScience

NantBioScience has announced a strategic collaboration with Celgene to advance bold research programs to benefit cancer patients in need of new therapeutic solutions. As part of the transaction, Celgene will pay $75 million in funding to NantBioScience as an upfront option fee and equity investment.

Building on the nab (nanoparticle albumin-bound) technology platform, NantBioScience will create a pipeline of nab-based molecules. As part of the collaboration, Celgene will license two nab product candidates to NantBioScience, both of which had previously received Investigational New Drug (IND) approval. The first product candidate (NTB-011) is a nanoparticle albumin-bound formulation of a novel colchicine dimer with cytotoxic and vascular disrupting properties. The second product candidate (NTB-010) is a nanoparticle albumin-bound formulation of the geldanomycin analogue, 17-AAG, a potent HSP90 inhibitor, which is planned to be studied in patients with a variety of hematological and solid tumors. Phase I clinical trials for these product candidates are being planned for initiation in 2014 - 2015.

The objective of NantBioScience is to innovate drug development by testing molecularly targeted drugs, based on the molecular profile of the patient's tumor, independent of the cancer's anatomical type. With capabilities of next generation sequencing and targeted proteomics, each cancer may now be viewed as a series of rare diseases. These comprehensive “omic” analytic tools and "big data" generated from supercomputing have been previously untapped on the scale now available in the field of drug development. NantBioScience and NantWorks are uniquely positioned to develop molecularly designed drugs in this era of genomics and proteomics, by identifying patients and their tumor signature at the most granular cellular, DNA and protein levels. Patients entering clinical trials would be identified after a comprehensive “omic” analysis from tissue to cell to DNA to RNA to protein to peptide to drug, and tested based on this molecular profile to maximize clinical outcome and minimize side effects.

"We intend to make obsolete the standard method of clinical trial design of 'trial and error' and replace it with a level of quantitative predictability based on both the genomic and proteomic profile performed a priori. We also intend to make obsolete the common understanding that cancer treatments, developed under the age old dogma of 'maximum tolerated dose,' may work but only by wreaking terrible side effects, bringing patients to the brink of death,” said NantWorks founder, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong. "Celgene has been a strong steward for Abraxane which is now approved for metastatic breast, lung and pancreatic cancer. This new partnership will enable us to aggressively advance our drug pipeline and put us one step closer to developing – and then delivering – molecular designed cancer treatments for patients to receive the right care at the right time."

"We have invested over $100 Million in the pursuit of this platform to date and are very excited to have Celgene as our partner in this pursuit,” he said.

"Celgene is excited to team up again with Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the creator of Abraxane and the founder of the nab technology platform. We are committed to his vision of molecularly driven personalized medicine and to collaborating with NantBioScience at the forefront of this era where genomic- and proteomic- based solutions may provide the path to a cure for cancers," said Bob Hugin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Celgene Corporation.

In addition to the two nab product candidates, NantBioScience has a broad R&D program to discover new compounds that are specifically targeted at tumor signaling pathways in patients with specific genetic mutations. A novel inhibitor of oncogenic KRAS is showing promise in early development studies and will advance into a program of IND enabling studies in 2014. Normally a proto-oncogene, KRAS, when mutated to an oncogene, is transformed into the driver of tumorigenesis in pancreatic cancer amongst many other cancers and molecular profiles.

NantBioScience’s pursuit of targeted therapies includes the discovery and development of drugs that remediate the activities of the often mutated tumor suppressor, p53. Because the loss of p53 functionality is a driver for the development of over 50% of all cancers and because p53 is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the cellular genome, pharmaceuticals targeting cells harboring p53 mutations are highly coveted. NantBioScience plans to initiate IND-enabling studies on its lead p53 remediating compound, for which NantBioScience is targeting a first-in-man study in 2015.

NantBioScience’s pipeline also contains novel potent multi-kinase inhibitors. These compounds are entering into a program of IND-enabling studies, with first-in-man studies planned for 2016. NantBioScience’s kinase inhibitor program is further buoyed by its library of >4,000 multi-kinase inhibitors which are currently under investigation for a variety of indications and molecular profiles.

As part of the collaboration, Celgene will receive an option to license a certain number of product candidates developed by NantBioScience, including the two nab product candidates to be licensed to NantBioScience. The options may be exercised by Celgene through completion of Phase I clinical studies.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the expiration or termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.

National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D, announced today the selection of Philip E. Bourne, Ph.D., as the first permanent Associate Director for Data Science (ADDS). Dr. Bourne is expected to join the NIH in early 2014.

“Phil will lead an NIH-wide priority initiative to take better advantage of the exponential growth of biomedical research datasets, which is an area of critical importance to biomedical research. The era of ‘Big Data’ has arrived, and it is vital that the NIH play a major role in coordinating access to and analysis of many different data types that make up this revolution in biological information,” said Collins.

Dr. Bourne comes to the NIH from the University of California San Diego, where he is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Industry Alliances of the Office of Research Affairs and a Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He also is the Associate Director of the Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics (RCSB) Protein Data Bank. Dr. Bourne was trained as a physical chemist and obtained his Ph.D. from The Flinders University in South Australia.

Dr. Bourne’s professional interests focus on relevant biological and educational outcomes derived from computation and scholarly communication. This work involves the use of algorithms, text mining, machine learning, metalanguages, biological databases, and visualization applied to problems in systems pharmacology, evolution, cell signaling, apoptosis, immunology, and scientific dissemination. He has published over 300 papers and five books. One area to which he is extremely committed is to furthering the free dissemination of science through new models of publishing and better integration and subsequent dissemination of data and results.

Collins added, “I also must recognize and thank Dr. Eric Green, who served as the Acting ADDS since I announced the search to fill this new position. His willingness to take on this challenging role in its inception, and to get the ball rolling on the enormous tasks that accompany this high-priority initiative, is sincerely appreciated. Eric is certain to remain a tremendous source of knowledge and support as Phil continues the NIH’s effort to manage ‘Big Data’.”

Eric Chen of San Diego, Calif., Wins $100,000 Individual Prize for Research on Anti-flu Medicine; Priyanka Wadgaonkar, Woodmere, N.Y., Zainab Mahmood, Hewlett, N.Y., and JiaWen Pei, Valley Stream, N.Y., Win $100,000 Team Prize for Research on Plants' Resistance to Ozone

One California student and three New York students were awarded grand prizes of $100,000 scholarships for their remarkable research in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, the nation's premier research competition for high school students. The students join a highly selective group of just 14 individual competitors and 14 teams previously named winners of the Siemens Competition. 

Eric Chen, a senior at Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego, Calif., won the $100,000 Grand Prize in the Individual category for his discovery of potent influenza endonuclease inhibitors, which could be used to develop anti-flu drugs. Watch Eric 


Research on plants' resistance to ozone earned Priyanka Wadgaonkar, Woodmere, N.Y.; Zainab Mahmood, Hewlett, N.Y.; and JiaWen Pei, Valley Stream, N.Y. the shared $100,000 Grand Prize scholarship in the Team category. 

The Siemens Competition is a signature program of the Siemens Foundation, a leading supporter of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in the United States. The Competition is administered by the College Board. The fifteenth annual awards were presented this morning at The George Washington University, host of the 2013 Siemens Competition National Finals.

"Congratulations to Eric, Priyanka, Zainab and JiaWen, this year's Siemens Competition winners, who have demonstrated incredible commitment to the advancement of science, math and technology," said David Etzwiler, CEO of the Siemens Foundation. "These students represent the future of our competitive global workforce and will propel our nation toward continued economic growth and success. We look forward to seeing their future accomplishments in college and beyond."

Twenty students comprised of six individuals and six teams competed at the National Finals this weekend after winning one of six regional competitions in November. They presented their research to a panel of judges comprised of nationally renowned scientists and mathematicians headed by lead judge Dr. Rachelle Heller, associate provost for academic affairs of the Mount Vernon Campus and professor of computer science at The George Washington University. The Siemens Competition $100,000 winners will ring The Closing Bell™ at the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, February 5th, 2014.

The Winning Individual

Eric Chen, a senior at Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego, Calif., won the individual category and a $100,000 college scholarship for his project titled Discovery of Novel Influenza Endonuclease Inhibitors to Fight Flu Pandemic.

For his project, Eric combined supercomputer modeling with experimental research to discover influenza virus inhibitors. These findings could be used to develop new anti-flu drugs that will help protect people against future influenza outbreaks.

"Eric's outstanding interdisciplinary approach to research enabled him to identify several new candidate drugs for treating influenza," said Dr. Gary Benson, associate professor of bioinformatics at Boston University. "He combined computer modeling of molecules with essential lab experiments to quickly comb through more than 100,000 drugs to find the few with useful anti-influenza activity. His inventive and thorough work will help advance the search for drugs that could prevent the next flu pandemic."

Eric was inspired to pursue research on influenza after the swine flu outbreak started in his hometown of San Diego in 2009. Eric earned the Google Science Fair Grand Prize and was a finalist in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. He is the founder and head coach of a summer math contest program for middle school students and helped start Science Fair and Science Olympiad programs at his town's primary and middle schools. He plans to become a college professor or an entrepreneur.

Eric's project mentors were Dr. Rommie Amaro, assistant professor, and Dr. Gen-Sheng Feng, professor, both of the University of California, San Diego.

The Winning Team

Seniors Priyanka Wadgaonkar, Zainab Mahmood, and JiaWen Pei from George W. Hewlett High School, Hewlett, N.Y. will share a $100,000 scholarship for their project entitled The Isolation and Characterization of an Ozone Responsive Stress Related Protein (OZS) in Ceratopteris richardii.

The team characterized the "ozone responsive stress related protein" gene in a fern model system that confers protective resistance against ozone pollution. This gene occurred early in plant evolution, possibly to cope with the effects of environmental stressors on early plants. This gene has the potential to make important crops more resistant to ozone and other problems such as drought and soil salinity that produce crop damage that costs billions of dollars per year.

"This is among the finest independent research projects being conducted by students at the high school level in this country. These students exhibited remarkable levels of cooperation, dedication and passion to achieve such major biological findings," said Dr. Joy Ward, associate professor and Wohlgemuth Faculty Scholar in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas. "Future applications of this important foundational research may add to our understanding of reducing the negative effects of ozone on crop production. The support from the Siemens Foundation for this competition will contribute immensely to the next generation of scientists and engineers that will solve fundamental problems that affect society today."

Priyanka's parents' work as a cell biologist and a gastroenterologist sparked her interest in science, as well as her aspiration to become an emergency room physician. She is a recipient of the George Eastman Young Leaders Award and chair of the Cabaret Night Business Committee.

Zainab is a member of the National Honor Society, a Euro Challenge Semifinalist, recipient of the United States Army Award, and the second-place winner of the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair. In her free time, she volunteers at the Franklin Early Childhood Center and plays Varsity Lacrosse. Zainab plans to pursue a career in engineering.

JiaWen has a longstanding interest in biomedical sciences and aspires to become a physician. Captain of her school's fencing team, she is also a member of the National Honor Society, Foreign Language Honor Society, chorus and orchestra.

The team's mentor is Dr. Terrence Bissoondial, a biological research teacher at George W. Hewlett High School. A 2010 Siemens Teachers as Researchers (STARs) fellow, Terrence also coached the 2012 Siemens Competition National Finals winning team, also from George W. Hewlett High School.

National Finalists

Six individuals and six teams competed at the Siemens Competition National Finals. The remaining National Finalists were awarded the following scholarships:

Individuals

• $50,000 scholarship – Arman Bilge, Lexington High School, Lexington, Mass. (Computer Science)
• $40,000 scholarship – Joshua Meier, Bergen County Academies, Hackensack, N.J. (Genetics)
• $30,000 scholarship – Gerald Meixiong, Lakeside High School, Evans, Ga. (Biochemistry)
• $20,000 scholarship – Ivan Paskov, Edgemont Junior/Senior High School, Scarsdale, N.Y. (Computer Science)
• $10,000 scholarship – Frederick Lang, St. John's School, Houston, Texas (Biology)

Teams

• $50,000 scholarship – Noah Golowich, Lexington High School, Lexington, Mass.; and Kavish Gandhi, Newton North High School, Newton, Mass. (Mathematics)
• $40,000 scholarship – Andrew Jin and Steven Wang, The Harker School, San Jose, Calif. (Biochemistry)
• $30,000 scholarship – Aaron Argyres, Clayton High School, Clayton, Mo.; and Mingu Kim, David H. Hickman High School, Columbia, Mo. (Bioengineering)
• $20,000 scholarship – David Lu, Mills E. Godwin High School, Henrico, Va.; and Allen and Jason Lee, Millburn High School, Millburn, N.J. (Biochemistry)
• $10,000 scholarship – Alyssa Chen, Highland Park High School, Dallas, Texas; and Shriya Das, The Hockaday School, Dallas, Texas (Materials Science/Nanoscience)



"Test Drive" Program Enables End-Users to Experience the Dot Hill Difference

Dot Hill Systems has announced new "Try-and-Buy" and "Trade-in" programs for end user customers in North America and Europe.

These new programs are designed to facilitate adoption of Dot Hill AssuredSAN storage products in the marketplace by offering attractive pricing and making it easier to evaluate their features and performance alongside competitive offerings, and allowing customers to determine the suitability of AssuredSAN offerings as part of comprehensive IT solutions.

"Our new Try-and-Buy Program allows our partners to reach their end-user customers in new ways while providing easy access to Dot Hill technology. The Trade-In program allows our customers to access 'Wicked fast' storage from Dot Hill at an attractive price - while reducing their maintenance costs," said Brad Painter, vice president of channel sales, Dot Hill Systems. "The Dot Hill AssuredSAN storage portfolio, bolstered by the addition of the new 4000 Series and AssuredSAN Pro 5000 Series, is among the most reliable in the industry with a range of solutions from entry-level to the midrange that deliver up to 99.999 percent data availability."

Try-and-Buy Program

Supervised by both an authorized reseller partner and the Dot Hill Channel organization, the Dot Hill Try-and-Buy Program allows qualified end-user customers in North America and Europe to acquire a Dot Hill AssuredSAN Pro 5000 Series, AssuredSAN 4000 Series or AssuredSAN 3000 Series solution on 30-day trial basis in order to evaluate the storage system for their specific storage needs. This program will continue until further notice.

Dot Hill Trade-In Program

Through authorized partners in the US and UK, this Trade-in Program enables customers to receive a discount of up to 25% on new AssuredSAN 3000, 4000, or Pro 5000 systems. Customers can take advantage of this program to gain more performance or advanced storage features such RealStor Automated Tiered Storage software or AssuredRemote remote replication. The Trade-in program applies to storage arrays made by other vendors or existing SANnet, SANnet II, or AssuredSAN 2000 models from Dot Hill. The Trade-in Program runs through December 31, 2012.

"We're intrigued by the real-time tiering capabilities of the AssuredSAN Pro 5000 Series and the performance advantage of the AssuredSAN 4000 Series -- we're anxious for our customers to see them in action compared to other offerings. The Trade-in Program and Dot Hill Try-and-Buy Programs are the perfect vehicles for our customers to experience the Dot Hill difference," John Papaioannou, president and CEO, Promenet Inc.

Interested partners and customers can find more details about the two programs (such as application process, pricing, eligible products, requirements, factors affecting discount levels, terms, conditions and more) at http://www.partners.dothill.com or http://www.dothill.com/company/contact-us.

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