Author: Anharris


MIT Convergence Report, Video Now Available Online

Convergence Report ImageAnharris | Harris Communications Group

Updated January 17, 2018

A landmark MIT Convergence report entitled “Convergence: The Future of Human Health”– released on June 23, 2016– and a video of launch proceedings are now available online.

The Convergence report–for which HarrisCom’s Anita Harris served as lead writer– and  related materials may be downloaded from  http://www.convergencerevolution.net/ . The launch proceedings,  held  on June 24 at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, are available at  https://vimeo.com/album/4020692 .

The  Convergence report, chaired by former MIT President Susan Hochfield, Nobel Laureate Philip Sharp and Koch Institute Director Tyler Jacks, outlines progress and challenges regarding Convergence science since the group’s 2011 report, “Convergence, The Third Revolution.”  The new report defines Convergence as “the merging of approaches and insights from historically distinct disciplines such as engineering, physics, computer science, chemistry, mathematics, and the life sciences” to  transform biomedicine and human health.

It argues  that bringing  Convergence to fruition requires strategic and sustained support from government, industry and academe.

images-1Anharris | Harris Communications Group

 

The report draws on insights from several dozen expert participants at two workshops, as well as on input from scientists and researchers across academia, industry, and government. Their efforts have produced a wide range of recommendations for advancing convergence research, but the report emphasizes one critical barrier above all: the shortage of federal funding for convergence fields.

“Convergence science has advanced across many fronts, from nanotechnology to regenerative tissue,” says Sharp. “Although the promise has been recognized, the funding allocated for convergence research in biomedical science is small and needs to be expanded. In fact, there is no federal agency with the responsibility to fund convergence in biomedical research.”

National Insitutes of Health

National Institutes of Health

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are the primary source of research funding for biomedical science in the United States. In 2015, only 3 percent of all principal investigators funded by NIH were from departments of engineering, bioengineering, physics, biophysics, or mathematics. Accordingly, the report’s authors call for increasing NIH funding for convergence research to at least 20 percent of the agency’s budget.

 

–Anita M. Harris, Managing Director, Harris Communications Group

The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning public relations and marketing firm specializing in outreach for health, science and technology, worldwide. Located in Kendall Square, Cambridge, we’re on the pulse of some of the most exciting ideas, technologies and companies anywhere. 

 

 

HarrisCom Group Consults on MIT Convergence Report, 2016

MIT Dome

MIT Dome

Anita Harris and Linda Grace Kobas of the Harris Communications Group played key roles in the writing and editing of “Convergence: the Future of Health,” a report released today by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The Convergence report is  aimed at accelerating a  “Convergence Revolution,” in which the tools, technologies, methods and insights of physical sciences, information technology and engineering are increasingly being employed in the life sciences to transform biomedicine, promising to enhance human health and well-being.

The Convergence report was chaired by Susan Hochfield,   former president of MIT and a neuroscientist; Tyler Jacks, Director of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT; and Nobel Prize Laureate Phillip Sharp,  Institute Professor at MIT.

“It was a privilege to work with such a brilliant team on a project that holds the potential to transform biomedicine  in the US,” Harris said.

[media-credit standalone=0 name="NIH" align="alignright" width="187"]Brain image [/media-credit]

Brain image

The Convergence report draws on insights from several dozen expert participants at two workshops, as well as input from scientists and researchers across academia, industry, and government.  It includes a wide range of recommendations for advancing convergence research, but emphasizes one critical barrier above all: the shortage of federal funding for convergence fields.

As Sharp explained, “Convergence science has advanced across many fronts, from nanotechnology to regenerative tissue. Although the promise has been recognized, the funding allocated for convergence research in biomedical science is small and needs to be expanded. In fact, there is no federal agency with the responsibility to fund convergence in biomedical research.”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are the primary source of research funding for biomedical science in the United States. In 2015, only 3 percent of all principal investigators funded by NIH were from departments of engineering, bioengineering, physics, biophysics, or mathematics. Accordingly, the report  calls for increasing NIH funding for Convergence research to at least 20 percent of the agency’s budget.

Harris, aided by MIT graduate and post doctoral students, wrote the sections covering education and policy; a second author,  Al Hammond, a former editor at Science Magazine, wrote the scientific and technical sections.  Linda Grace-Kobas, former Cornell University News Director and a member of the Harris Communications Group, served as copy editor.  Kate Stoll of the MIT Washington office was the project manager.

dnaNIH

A forum on “Convergence: the Future of Health” will be held at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in Washington, DC,  on Friday, June 24.

The report is available at http://www.convergencerevolution.net/2016-report .

The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning PR and marketing firm based in Cambridge, MA. Managing Director Anita M. Harris is a former journalist who covered health, science and technology for the MacNeil/Lehrer Report (now the NewsHour) of PBS. Linda Grace Kobas, also a former science journalist, served for many years as the Cornell University News Director

 

HarrisCom Client MIT to discuss Convergence Report, Washington, DC

MIT Dome

MIT Dome

HarrisCom Managing Director Anita Harris served as writer, Linda Grace Kobas as editor for   Convergence: The Future of Health, a major report on  interdisciplinary collaboration across fields of  physical  sciences, engineering and life sciences. 

WASHINGTON — On Friday, June 24th, MIT will host a forum at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, D.C. to present a new report titled Convergence: The Future of Health, which proposes innovative strategies for an integrated approach to scientific research that could lead to advances in biomedicine, health, and related fields. The forum, which follows the release of the report on Thursday, June 23rd, will begin at 9:00 a.m.

dna3NIH

Anharris | Harris Communications Group

 

Led by the report’s three co-chairs from MIT, former president Susan Hockfield, Tyler Jacks, Director of the David H. Koch Center for Integrated Cancer Research at MIT, and Phillip Sharp, Institute Professor and Nobel Laureate, the findings examine the importance of convergence. Convergence is a practice that integrates historically distinct disciplines – including physical sciences, engineering and computational sciences – with life sciences, to create fundamentally new opportunities for advancement. The report focuses on the role convergence can play in the research of cancer, brain disorders, and infectious disease, as well as the challenges this kind of collaboration faces and recommendations on how to overcome those road blocks.

 

National Convergence Experts
Scientists from all over the country worked on the report, a number of whom will also be on hand to discuss the findings alongside representatives from government and industry, including Academies President Ralph Cicerone, NSF Director France Córdova, DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar, Science Editor-in-Chief Marcia McNutt and NIH Associate Director Philip E. Bourne, among others.

 

Convergence Forum Details

WHAT:

Convergence: The Future of Health Report Release

WHO:

Susan Hockfield, President Emerita, MIT
Tyler Jacks, Director of the Koch Institute, MIT
Phillip Sharp, Institute Professor and Nobel Laureate, MIT

 

WHEN:

Friday, June 24th, 2016
8:30 a.m.-9:00 a.m.: Registration, Refreshments and Press Availability
9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Program

 

WHERE:
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
2101 Constitution Ave NW
Lecture Room

NuGEN Webinar: Sample Prep for NGS Cancer Detection in 500+ Gene Targets

Available on demand until March 22, 2016

SAN CARLOS, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–NuGEN Technologies is pleased to present a Webinar featuring the company’s newly launched Ovation Cancer Panel 2.0 Target Enrichment System–a sample preparation technology that allows NGS (next generation sequencing) detection of multiple changes in more than 500 individual genes implicated in cancer– from a single sample preparation.

Released in August, the new reagent kit updates NuGEN’s well-established Ovation Cancer Panel Target Enrichment System. It enables comprehensive and efficient NGS analysis of cancer samples in a single workflow by both (1) enriching for an improved and larger selection of cancer-related genes and (2) enabling the detection of gene-level copy number variations in addition to SNPs, mutations and indels. The new method can be used with either fresh or FFPE tissue sections to deliver sensitive and reproducible targeted genomic analysis. It can also be rapidly customized to provide target enrichment kits for any gene sets defined by the researcher within a target size range that may include thousands of genes or just a few.

Typically, to analyze single nucleotide mutations and copy number changes in a sample, researchers have had to employ completely different analysis of both types of changes. NuGEN’s new method allows simultaneous targeted analysis of both types of changes, from a single sample preparation, on a choice of Illumina NGS systems. It thus allows more comprehensive and efficient analysis of cancer samples.

The Webinar, which originally aired on September 22, 2015, is moderated by John Sterling, managing editor of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News. It features presentations by Luke Sherlin, PhD, NuGEN’s Director of Technical Support, and Stephanie Huelga, PhD, NuGEN’s Lead Bioinformatics Scientist. The speakers present data from target-enrichment studies with a 509 cancer gene panel using a simple protocol that generates sequence-ready libraries from good quality DNA as well as DNA derived from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues. The Webinar also includes a question and answer session with participating scientists.

The Ovation Cancer Panel 2.0 Target Enrichment System is the latest release in the company’s drive to offer tools for targeted resequencing that provide basic and clinical researchers with a holistic view of the underlying molecular biology of disease.

The Webinar will be available on the website of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News free of charge until March 22, 2016. To log on, please click here.

About NuGEN

NuGEN Technologies Inc. is a rapidly-growing, privately-held company providing innovative products and systems for the preparation of biologic samples for targeted genomic analysis. Founded in 2000 and based in San Carlos, CA, NuGEN has long been at the cutting edge of genomic technology, with accurate, cost-effective reagent kits for even the most challenging sample types. NuGEN products are used in more than 1000 leading life science institutes and in diagnostic and pharmaceutical companies in 40 countries.

The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning life science PR firm in Boston.

Anita Harris Profiled in Life Science Foundation Magazine

Anita M. Harris

Anita M. Harris

Harris Communications Group Managing Director Anita Harris was profiled recently in a Life Science Foundation Magazine issue devoted to “The Changing Face of Biotechnology.”

Published in November, 2014, the issue features  female leaders in  the life sciences and biotechnology.  It describes  such leaders as  “a minority for the present, but role models for the next generation, which may come to inhabit organizations with very different cultural and demographic features.”

The issue tells the stories of such renowned biotech leaders as Venture Capitalist Annette-Campbell White; Linda Sontag, the first female CEO of a public biotech company; and Alison Taunton Rigby, who served at C-levels at major biotech companies.

It also includes profiles of  “role models” such as Abigail Barrow, founding director of the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center, and Nancy Chang, President of Apex Enterprises.

It describes Harris as  a role model who “witnessed the origins of the biotech industry as a health, science, and technology reporter for the MacNeil/Lehrer Report (now the NewsHour) on PBS.

“In the early 1980s, she prepared stories about recombinant DNA, the genetic modification of food crops, and patents on genes. She later worked in public affairs at Harvard, and taught communications at Harvard, Yale, and Simmons College.”

The profile also  points out that Harris is the author of Ithaca Diaries, a social history of college in the 1960s, and of Broken Patterns: Professional Women and the Quest for a New Feminine Identity, which is concerned with impact of rapid technological change on generations and gender.

The issue is available at  http://biotechhistory.org/magazine-article/lsf-mag-fall-2014-embedded/  .Harris’ profile is on page 34.

The Life Science Foundation is a nonprofit organization focused on “educating and inspiring curious minds with the history and continuing significance of biotechnology. The foundation is collecting, preserving and sharing firsthand information about the people, organizations and discoveries that define biotechnology and reshape our world.”

The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning PR and marketing firm based in Cambridge, MA.

NuGEN Launches BaseSpace Cloud App to Help Streamline NGS Analysis

 Sequence data generated with NuGEN’s target enrichment technology can be processed in BaseSpace using new app to mark duplicates and perform quality trimming
San Carlos, CA -OCT. 6– NuGEN Technologies is pleased to announce that scientists and clinicians using its Ovation Target Enrichment System to prepare biologic samples for genomic analysis can now process resulting sequence data in BaseSpace–a cloud computing platform, hosted by Illumina, Inc.
“NuGEN’s new Ovation Target Enrichment System Data Processing Application will allow the large community of Illumina sequence platform users to further streamline the rapid and convenient workflow of our Ovation Target Enrichment System products,” said Alan Dance, VP of Marketing at NuGEN.

The Ovation Target Enrichment product line employs Single Primer Enrichment Technology (SPET), a novel approach for enrichment of genomic DNA targets or cDNA for RNA target regions. SPET products allow researchers and clinicians to quickly and accurately enrich biologic samples for sensitive detection of a wide range of genomic markers including mutations, SNPs, indels, gene fusions, alternately spliced transcripts and copy number variants.

The new NuGEN-application, published on BaseSpace on September 30, provides an intuitive user interface for uploading sequence data. The application performs quality trimming and probe trimming on the parsed data – removing data derived from bases with low sequencing quality scores and aligning high quality data to the UCSC human reference genome.
Subsequently, PCR duplicate reads created during the library amplification process are identified using a random N6 sequence, unique to the Ovation Target Enrichment System workflow positioned adjacent to the barcode index.

Output files from the Ovation Target Enrichment System Data Processing Application for BaseSpace include processed BAM files with PCR duplicates removed or marked, processed FASTQ files with duplicates removed, and UCSC bigWig tracks with duplicates removed for visualization using the UCSC human genome browser.

For full details, visit http://www.nugen.com/content/ovation-target-enrichment-system-data-processing-application.
NuGEN Technologies Inc. is a rapidly-growing, privately-held company providing innovative products and systems for the preparation of biologic samples for targeted genomic analysis. Founded in 2000 and based in San Carlos, CA, NuGEN has long been at the cutting edge of genomic technology, with accurate, cost-effective reagent kits for even the most challenging sample types. NuGEN products are used in more than 1000 leading life science institutes and in diagnostic and pharmaceutical companies in 40 countries.
Media Contact:
Anita Harris, Harris Communications Group

The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning PR and marketing firm specializing in outreach for health care, life sciences and technology, worldwide.

 

Welcome to the Harriscom Blog

Anita Harris photoHi, and welcome to HarrisCom blog–a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA.
We’re an award-winning strategic communications firm specializing in integrated public relations, marketing communications and thought leadership for companies and organizations  in health, science, technology and energy fields.
The Harris Communications Group blog covers traditional and digital communications issues;  events;  cool companies, and  news of our clients.
We hope you’ll join the conversation through guest blogs or comments–and that you’ll subscribe and share our material with anyone you think would like to have it.
Anita Harris, President
Harris Communications Group
Cambridge, MA

Life Science PR: NuGEN launches sample prep kit for NGS analysis of multiple gene changes

Optimized for analysis of SNPs, mutations and copy number changes in 500+ cancer gene targets

Rapidly customizable for discovery, validation and highly-targeted clinical diagnostic testing in a single assay

NuGEN Technologies, of San Carlos, CA, today launched a sample preparation product that allows NGS detection of multiple changes in more than 500 individual genes implicated in cancer.

The reagent kit, based on NuGEN’s Single Primer Enrichment Technology (SPET), is called the Ovation Cancer Panel 2.0 Target Enrichment System. The new kit updates NuGEN’s well-established Ovation Cancer Panel Target Enrichment System both by enriching for an improved and larger selection of cancer-related genes, and by enabling the detection of gene level copy-number variations (CNV) in addition to SNPs, mutations and indels, in a single workflow. It can be used with either fresh or FFPE tissue sections to deliver sensitive and reproducible targeted genomic analysis.

The method can also be rapidly customized to provide target enrichment kits for any gene sets defined by the researcher within a target size range that may include thousands of genes or just a few.

The new product is the latest release in the company’s drive to offer tools for targeted resequencing that provide basic and clinical researchers with a holistic view of the underlying molecular biology of disease.

“We’re excited by this latest product introduction,” said NuGEN CEO Elizabeth Hutt. “The Ovation Cancer Panel 2.0 Target Enrichment System enables a more comprehensive picture of the biology of a particular sample. And by making it possible to analyze mutations, SNPs and gene copy number changes in a single assay, the new system will save researchers time and money and allow more efficient use of samples.”

Typically, to analyze single nucleotide mutations and copy number changes in a sample, researchers have had to employ completely different analysis platforms. NuGEN’s new method allows simultaneous targeted analysis of both types of changes, from a single sample preparation, on a choice of Illumina NGS systems.

According to Robert P. Sebra, Ph.D., Director of Technology Development at the Icahn Institute and Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York: “The underlying cause of cancer involves critical alterations in the genome. These alterations may include point mutations, changes in gene copy number, combinations of these, and other genomic changes. Having a common NGS workflow to simultaneously detect multiple types of variations would be invaluable because it would conserve precious patient samples and offers the ability to reproduce or validate results.”

Hutt added: “For cancer research, combined mutation and CNV analysis is a valuable complement to NuGEN’s recently released Ovation Fusion Panel Target Enrichment System, which also uses SPET to detect both known and unknown gene fusions in all exons of a 500 gene panel.”

About NuGEN

NuGEN Technologies Inc. is a rapidly-growing, privately-held company providing innovative products and systems for the preparation of biologic samples for targeted genomic analysis. Founded in 2000 and based in San Carlos, CA, NuGEN has long been at the cutting edge of genomic technology, with accurate, cost-effective reagent kits for even the most challenging sample types. NuGEN products are used in more than 1000 leading life science institutes and in diagnostic and pharmaceutical companies in 40 countries.

About HarrisCom:
The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning PR and digital marketing firm based in Cambridge, MA. 

Life Science PR: 3 Companies Validate NGS Sample Prep Workflow

MULTI-SITE STUDY VALIDATES END-TO-END RNA-SEQ SAMPLE PREP WORKFLOW FOR HUMAN WHOLE BLOOD CLINICAL SAMPLES
System integrates PreAnalytiX GmbH and NuGEN Technologies innovations to ensure reliable, reproducible, cost-effective RNA-Sequencing analysis. Corporate study alliance model critical to standardization, bringing genomics to the clinic.

San Carlos, CA and Piscataway, NJ, July 15, 2015— A multi-site study has clinically validated an end-to-end workflow for the collection, storage, transport and preparation of human whole blood samples for RNA-Sequencing (RNA-Seq). The study, initiated in January 2015, integrated products from PreAnalytiX GmbH and NuGEN Technologies, which worked collaboratively with RUCDR Infinite Biologics at Rutgers University to measure the system’s efficacy for transcriptome profiling with clinical samples.

“We have determined that the PreAnalytiX/NuGEN integrated workflow ensures reproducible, accurate and sensitive results in RNA-Seq of whole blood. Importantly, this integrated workflow enables gene expression from total RNA, allowing researchers to study both protein coding and regulatory transcripts from human whole blood,” said Dr. Andrew Brooks, Chief Operating Officer of RUCDR Infinite Biologics, who led the study. Brooks is also an associate professor of Genetics at Rutgers University and directs the Bionomics Research and Technology Center at the Environmental and Occupational Health Science Institute there.  Brooks will outline the study results on Tuesday, July 14 at the  International Leaders in Biobanking Conference, in Toronto.

“This study is critical for clinical researchers because it demonstrates that by using the combined PreAnalytiX and NuGEN workflow, scientists in laboratories around the world can confidently share not only their data but also their samples,” Brooks said.  “And, by joining forces to validate the combination of their proprietary technologies, PreAnalytiX and NuGEN have taken the lead with RUCDR to deliver the standardization needed for broader adoption of genomics in the clinic.”

Brooks explained that total RNA derived from patient blood samples is used for a myriad of clinical genomics applications—such as discovery and analysis of disease-related biomarkers, identification of new therapeutic targets and monitoring disease progression and treatment. But there are factors that present challenges to data integrity when using whole blood. Collection, storage, purification, handling and transport methods may vary. Nucleic acids can degrade during handling and processing, resulting in unreliable results and bias in transcript abundance. Whole blood also contains high levels of uninformative ribosomal RNA and reticulocyte globin RNA, which can reduce sequencing efficiencies and increase costs.  Moreover, variation between sites and operators makes it difficult to standardize results among researchers and laboratories. “If researchers across multiple sites obtain different results, we need to be sure the variations are attributable to changes in the biology and not the technology,” he said.

At the Biobanking Congress, Brooks reported tight correlation in results across three sites in New Jersey with multiple operators, using several nanograms of total RNA from each of 10 subjects. That is, using PreAnalytiX technology for extraction, storage and transportation of samples and NuGEN technology for library formation and depletion of ribosomal RNA and globin prior to whole transcriptome analysis, the study team found high reproducibility of results across sites, operators and equipment. “The combined workflow led to reproducible whole blood collection and storage; reproducible and robust RNA extraction; reproducible and consistent library creation; and tight performance correlations across and within sites,” he said.

“This integrated sample prep workflow will be important for scientists seeking new genetic biomarkers for disease. It will be valuable to pharmaceutical clinical trials for determining if a therapeutic leads to genetic changes in a particular cancer. And it is  important to the future of clinical research because it allows the development of guidelines and standards for scientists who want to share samples, not just data, globally, across sites and experiments,” Brooks said.  “Without such standardization, many results might never advance to the clinic.”

The study used the PreanalytiX  PAXgene Blood RNA System for whole blood collection, storage and RNA extraction and NuGEN’s Insert Dependent Adaptor Cleavage (InDA-C) technology from the NuGEN Ovation Human Blood RNA-Seq System  to prepare strand-specific RNA-Seq libraries and for ribosomal/globin depletion. RUCDR Infinite Biologics oversaw sample collection, processing and data analysis.

About NuGEN

NuGEN Technologies is the leader in providing solutions which make biological samples accessible for genomic analysis, enabling scientists to capture the truest biology achievable, independent of the quantity or quality of the samples. The company has commercialized numerous proprietary DNA and RNA sample preparation products for use in research and diagnostic applications. Founded in 2000, NuGEN Technologies, Inc. is privately held and headquartered in San Carlos, CA. For more information please visit www.nugen.com

About RUCDR Infinite Biologics

RUCDR offers a complete and integrated selection of biological sample processing, analysis and biorepository services to government agencies, academic institutions, foundations and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies within the global scientific community. RUCDR provides DNA, RNA and cell lines with clinical data to hundreds of research laboratories for studies on mental health and developmental disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, diabetes and digestive, liver and kidney diseases. RUCDR completed an $11.8 million expansion and renovation of its facilities in May 2013. Read more at www.rucdr.org

NuGEN and Ovation are registered trademarks of NuGEN Technologies, Inc.. PreAnalytiX and PAXgene are registered trademarks of PreAnalytiX GmbH.

The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning Life Science PR and thought leadership firm based in Cambridge, MA. 

u

International PR expert Dick Pirozzolo on deepening US-Vietnam ties

Harris Communications Group Dick Pirozzolo, 3rd from left on panel at CEO Summit in Vietnam, July 2015

Harris Communications Group Dick Pirozzolo, 2nd from right on panel at CEO Summit in Vietnam, July 2015

Harris Communications Group member  and PR expert Dick Pirozzolo,  recently served on a panel in Ho Chi Minh City at the Vietnam CEO Summit 2015 where more than 100 Vietnam’s top executives and business owners came to learn about American marketing principles and how to penetrate markets in the US. Speakers and panelists included Harvard professors, journalists and marketing experts. Prof. John Quelch of Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration led the all-day discussion, reviewing Harvard case studies covering The New York Times transition to the digital age and Amazon’s phenomenal success as an online marketer. The event was organized by Boston Global Forum, a Boston think tank, founded by former Governor Michael Dukakis and Tuan Anh Nguyen, and Richard Moore Associates, a Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City marketing firm. Pirozzolo told the group, “North Americans positively embrace Vietnam and Vietnam’s culture is more fully integrated into our society than that of any other Asian nation.” During the panel discussion, he urged the executives to rely on cultural events—including both Vietnamese and Western classical music performances—and celebrity to promote Vietnam. He noted that President Clinton’s recent visit to Hanoi was big news in the US and had enormous impact by placing Vietnam in the front of Americans’ minds. The bond between Americans and Vietnamese has grown tighter since the US opened up trade with Vietnam two decades ago.”

In a later interview Pirozzolo said, “You know Vietnam is integrated into our popular culture when you see Modern Family character Cam Tucker pulling off  a comical bit on how American’s can’t pronounce Pho, the traditional Vietnamese breakfast soup. Cam tries a couple of pronunciations on an Asian doctor who finally quips, ‘I wouldn’t know, I’m Japanese.’  Modern Family is the most popular show on American television, drawing an audience of 10 million—that means the writers expect a huge cross section of Americans to have enough awareness of Vietnam to get the joke. And, when you can comfortably bring in humor, that’s a big deal in terms of the relationship.”

Two young executives at the Vietnam CEO 2015 Summit. One big change. Ho Chi Minh City has become more fashionable over the past 20 years. Navy blue and charcoal Western suits are commonplace among men and, except for special occasions and among hotel, airline, and conference greeters, the demure Ao Dai is seldom seen in the city.

Two young executives at the Vietnam CEO 2015 Summit. One big change. Ho Chi Minh City has become more fashionable over the past 20 years. Navy blue and charcoal Western suits are commonplace among men and, except for special occasions and among hotel, airline, and conference greeters, the demure Ao Dai is seldom seen in the city.

Since Pirozzolo began promoting U.S. recognition of Vietnam, its most-favored-nation status, and US-Vietnam trade in the mid-1990s, this nation of 90 million has become an important business and trading partner, travel destination and major ally in maintaining the peace Southeast Asia. The July conference coincided with the 20th anniversary of US recognition of Vietnam and the granting of Most Favored Nation status. About 400,000 Americans and 100,000 Canadians are expected to visit Vietnam in 2015 according to Vietnamese government statistics. Vietnam is very welcoming, “I never felt any residual animosity during my involvement with Vietnam over the years. Notably over 60 percent of the populations was born after the American War ended in April of 1975—40 years ago. A prominent Vietnamese leader who was a child at the time said of those years, we just wanted the war to end.

Two young executives at the Vietnam CEO 2015 Summit. One big change. Ho Chi Minh City has become more fashionable over the past 20 years. Navy blue and charcoal Western suits are commonplace among men and, except for special occasions and among hotel, airline, and conference greeters, the demure Ao Dai is seldom seen in the city. “To put that 40-year time span into sharper focus, 1985 marked the 40th anniversary of the end of World War II and Americans were driving BMWs and Toyotas with nary a thought and the Japanese were listening to Phil Collins.” Panelists are from left  Moderator Nguyen Duc Son, brand manager, Richard Moore Associates, Michael Morris, journalists and author, Prof. Thomas Patterson, Harvard University, Tuan Anh Nguyen, chairman and co-founder of Boston Global Forum, Nguyen Van Tuong, president Tram Huong Khanh Hoa, a major agar wood supplier, Dick Pirozzolo, Pirozzolo Company Public Relations and editorial board of Boston Global Forum and Llewelyn King, host, White House Chronicles airing on PBS.   For additional details and photos of Vietnam during the 90s visit: http://wellesley.wickedlocal.com/article/20150709/NEWS/150706851/?Start=1

Dick Pirozzolo is an international PR expert based in the Boston area.  

 

Next Page »