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Dr. Schena featured in Foundations section of The Scientist magazine

Sunnyvale, CA, September 1, 2003 – On August 25th The Scientist featured Visiting Scholar Dr. Mark Schena in the Foundations section of the magazine, correctly crediting Dr. Schena for conceiving and developing the DNA microarray.  The Scientist article also listed Dr. Schena as number 1 and 2 on the “microarray family tree”, a historiograph of the 13 most influential microarray papers published since the original 1995 Science publication.  Dr. Sam Jaffe, associate editor of The Scientist, authored the articles.

The Scientist is an international news magazine published in print and on the web, and serves one of the largest readerships of any scientific journal in the world.  It reports on key discoveries, ethical questions, technology trends, and provides commentaries and opinions by prominent scientists worldwide.  The Foundations section is a special portion of the magazine devoted “eureka moments”, which recount major scientific discoveries and breakthroughs by famous scientists.  Dr. John Sulston of the Sanger Centre, Dr. Kari Mullis formerly of Cetus Corporation, and the late Dr. Barbara McClintock of Cold Spring Harbor are among those who have been featured in Foundations.

Dr. Schena reflected at length on The Scientist Foundations article.  “Microarray technology has become so widely used over the years, it is easy to forget the relatively modest origins of the technology.  When Ron Davis and I started presenting our ideas at meetings 10 years ago, the work gained very little attention.  The idea of studying plant biology on chips was so unconventional that many of our colleagues thought we had lost our marbles.  We felt strongly that the combination of biology and high technology was the wave of the future, and we endured the rough sledding in the early years to move the field forward.  After the 95’ Science paper was published, there was still a lot of skepticism about whether microarrays would be applicable to humans, and most predicted that the technology would fail to gain wide usage if the human work did not pan out.  In this respect, the 96’ PNAS paper on 1000 human genes did wonders in terms of getting the attention of the medical community.  As we look back over the previous decade of microarray research, what are the lessons learned?  (1) Small science is good science (Alberts), (2) It is exciting to chart a new course, but you’d better have a good set of maps, (3) Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you (Watson), (4) Make sure you have sufficient support to complete your work, and (5) You’d better be **** lucky, and work your *** off if you want to make it in science.  I was in the very unusual position of having an incomparable scientific pedigree and a lot of colleagues who wanted me to succeed.  Without the support of my mentors and colleagues, the scientific journals and book publishers, the media, the private sector, and my publicist and promoters, I would have been much less successful.”

Microarray Family Tree
Figure 1.  (Left)  First DNA microarray.  Scanned image of the very first microarray, a yeast DNA microarray hybridized with a fluorescent probe mixture prepared from yeast mRNA.  The microarray was manufactured by modifying Affymetrix’s combinatorial VLSIPS™ technology.  (Right) Microarray family tree.  A historiograph of the 13 most highly cited microarray publications:  (1) Schena et al, Quantitative monitoring of gene expression patterns with a complementary DNA microarray, Science 270, 467-470, 1995; (2) Schena et al, Parallel human genome analysis:  Microarray-based expression monitoring of 1000 genes, PNAS 93, 10614-10619, 1996; (3) DeRisi et al, Use of a cDNA microarray to analyse gene expression patterns in human cancer, Nature Genetics 14, 457-460, 1996; (4) Lockhart et al, Expression monitoring by hybridization to high-density oligonucleotide arrays, Nature Biotechnology 14, 1675-1680, 1996; (5) DeRisi et al, Exploring the metabolic and genetic control of gene expression on a genomic scale, Science 278, 680-686, 1997; (6) Kononen et al, Tissue microarrays for high-throughput molecular profiling of tumor specimens, Nature Medicine 4, 844-847, 1998; (7) Eisen et al, Cluster analysis and display of genome-wide expression patterns, PNAS 95, 14863-14868, 1998; (8) Duggan et al, Expression profiling using cDNA microarrays, Nature Genetics 21 (suppl.), 10-14, 1999; (9) Lipshutz et al, High density synthetic oligonucleotide arrays, Nature Genetics 21 (suppl.), 20-24, 1999; (10) Brown and Botstein, Exploring the new world of the genome with DNA microarrays, Nature Genetics 21 (Suppl.), 33-37, 1999;  (11) Tamayo et al, Interpreting patterns of gene expression with self-organizing maps:  Methods and applications to hematopoietic differentiation, PNAS 96, 2907-2912, 1999; (12) Golub et al, Molecular classification of cancer:  Class discovery and class prediction by gene expression monitoring, Science 286, 531-537, 1999; and (13) Alizadeh et al, Distinct types of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma identified by gene expression profiling, Nature 403, 503-511, 2000.

About Arrayit
TeleChem has a diversified business strategy that includes products and services provided by three corporate divisions:  Life Sciences (ArrayIt®), Chemicals, and a Diagnostics.  The Life Sciences division provides a complete line of products and services for the microarray industry, a high-tech sector that uses tiny glass “chips” to unravel the workings of the human genome. TeleChem’s patented microarray manufacturing technology (US 6,101,946) is used in more than 2,000 company and university laboratories worldwide.  The Chemicals division provides import and export services and government contract work in the area of industrial chemicals including raw materials for plastics, water-soluble fertilizers, and cleaning compounds.  The Chemicals division enjoys expanding sales and profits, and provides financial support for research and development.  The Diagnostic Division has key patent filings in the areas of genotyping and medical diagnostics, and provides its tools and technologies to public health laboratories and other agencies involved in human disease analysis.  Arrayit Diagnostics plans to launch a new line of disease testing kits for sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, hereditary hearing loss and other treatable diseases in the near future.  Arrayit Corporation is the fast-growing private biotechnology company in the United States, and has received numerous awards including Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 500 Award in 2002 and 2003, the San Jose Business Journal’s Silicon Valley 50 Award in 2003, and the City of Sunnyvale’s Rising Star Award in 2002 and 2003.

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