Posts Tagged by Thought Leadership

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: 3 Companies Validate NGS Sample Prep Workflow

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

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

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. 


HarrisCom’s Harris & Pirozzolo speak on book publishing for business

amhimage-FBAnharris | Harris Communications Group
Harris Communication Group  Managing Director Anita M. Harris and colleague Dick Pirozzolo told independent PR  practitioners how  book publishing for business can enhance your reputation and your clients’ –yesterday at the Weston Public Library.
As  published authors and PR professionals,  the pair discussed how books enhance professional prestige and thought leadership, underscore expertise, establish authority, create numerous spin-off media opportunities and generate passive income.
Topics included:
– How to get a publisher to buy your book
– Self-publishing in the internet age
– The value of e-books
– What every winning book proposal must include
– Crowdfunding, pricing your book, and other money matters
– How to market your book
Dick Pirozzolo is the author of three books on homebuilding and two corporate biographies. Anita Harris is the author of Broken Patterns,  and Ithaca Diaries, two nonfiction works that have established her as a forward-looking social and business culture authority.

–Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris is the managing director of the Harris Communications Group,  an award-winning public relations firm specializing in integrated strategic communication, content marketing and thought leadership for clients in healthcare, life sciences, technology, energy and education,  worldwide.  Contact us!

Content Marketing for the Chronically Disorganized



Sorry it’s taken almost a month to get to this. but…at  the  October  SEO meetup in Cambridge,    Scott Jangro  co-founder of online content arketing platform  Shareist,  addressed the problem of keeping up with your blogs and social media outreach. 

Janro told a group of approximately 50 that he spends about half an  hour a day–first thing in the morning–reading, setting up and sharing content–and working on what he called the occasional “epic blog.”

Read read read
Any social media program should start with reading, Janro said.   Your reading should include  rss feeds, other bloggers, thought leaders, companies,  communities, reddit;  digg–to get ideas to share and develop an audience.    New apps and  platforms such as  Pockt, indyspaper, eventle,  readbility, decodingm, pinard and shars funnel content from elsewhere to share….not to  mention Facebook Linked-in, Twitter,  and  Google +. Schedule in advance using a platform like HootSuite –so that you can automatically post 2-3-4 items a day.

Give give give give–in four out of five posts, Janro said. Then promote yourself in the fifth.

Post post post. A bit daunting…well….MORE than a bit daunting:   Janro  says write two or  three posts a week…and get them to  Facebook, Twitter and other social outlets three-to-five times a day.

Epic posts:  Post a long, carefully crafted blog once a week to once a month.  Otherwise, post mostly “curated” contentgarnered from your massive reading effort.

Weekly newsletter Send a newsletter recapping all of the above once a week.   (Speaking for myself,  please don’t:  I do NOT want to hear from anyone that often (I just deleted 8000 emails from just one of my email accounts). Quarterly is plenty, as far as I’m concerned. )

Tuesday is the best day to send a newsletter because people will have recovered from Monday overload.

As a former journalist, I’m concerned about regurgitating so much garbage.   And, as  a person who likes to think of herself as creative and original, I’m not that crazy about being a conduit for everyone else’s marketing junk.  But Janro  says people actually want to see this stuff and  enjoy contribute to the churn.

Janro gave an excellent presentation and I’m happy to share his points….(here’s a link to his slides SlideShare.) but  I can’t imagine how he does all of the above in a half hour a day.

,And–despite all the whiing above, it would be great if you’d  share this post. 

–Anita Harris, Managing Director, Harris Communications Group
HarrisCom is an award-winning PR and market development firm specializing in media relations, content marketing and social media for companies and organizations in health, science and technology, worldwide.

HarrisCom Group to Offer MarCom Clinic August 9 2012, in Cambridge

Are your marketing materials up to snuff?

Find out at a communications clinic sponsored by the Harris Communications Group to be held from 3-5 on Thursday, August 9  at Venture Cafe in the Cambridge Innovation Center, 1 Broadway, 4th floor, in Cambridge, MA.

At the clinic Anita Harris will present a  brief introduction  to marketing communication, which will be followed by individual meetings  to discuss participant’s  press release, marketing piece or home page.

If you plan to attend, please let us know via the comment box, below.

Individual meetings will be set up the afternoon of the event on a first-come/first to sign-up basis;  additional times will be offered should demand exceed capacity.
The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning PR & marketing communications firm with specialties in health care, life science, tchnology, energy and education.

HarrisCom Review: Bio-IT World 2012: Big Data, Big Promise, Big Challenges

Earlier this week, I attended Bio-IT World’s Tenth Annual Conference and Expo in Boston’s World Trade Center–which focused on the promise and challenges of  “big data,”  which is burgeoning as a result of  increasingly sophisticated  computer technologies.


Here are links to blogs I posted at New Cambridge Observer.

Bio-IT Conference Report: Big Data, Big Promise, Big Challenges
Broad Institute Launches Collaborative Genomics Web Tool for Scientists

Let me know what you think.


—Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris is President of the Harris Communications Group, a Boston/Cambridge PR 3.0 firm specializing in media relations, content strategy and thought leadership for health care, life sciences and energy.




Best bang for the PR buck? Meetings! Five reasons why.

by Edna Kaplan, Guest Blogger

Clients often ask us how they can get the biggest bang for their PR dollars.  While specific goals  require specific strategies, many companies miss one of the best opportunities to optimize their communications ROI: PR representation at meetings.  It’s one of the most cost-effective  expenditures you can make–because an effective PR person can get so much done in a limited amount of time.

Here are five top reasons why PR representation at meetings makes sense:

1. Developing relationships with key reporters

 The reporters who follow your area of specialization attend your meetings, providing you with the very best opportunity to get to know them.  Reaching out, arranging to meet reporters face-to-face to provide them with industry knowledge builds coveted long-lasting relationships that can benefit you and your company in numerous ways.

2. Increasing the number of people you reach and influence

  Having a PR professional in the press room – prepared with meeting-specific news and information about your company and trends in the industry – boosts the chances that your company will be included in meeting-news coverage as well as in articles in the coming year.  News coverage reinforces your messaging and reaches potential customers or clients who did not visit your booth.

3.  Encouraging booth visits

 There is nothing more deflating than seeing  the booth next door burst at the seams with visitors while everyone in your booth is wearing a company badge.  Various PR techniques and on-site social media use can increase booth traffic – and leads.

4.  Pointing reporters to specific presentations

  Reporters and analysts covering trade shows are looking for the meeting’s biggest news stories, but they’re also seeking  insights for future coverage.  They cannot attend every session, so it’s  make them aware of specific presentations or posters, and have them meet with participants who use your product.  We called to remind a New York Times reporter about presentation we had suggested he attend.  He asked for– and we quickly provided – a physician to discuss how doctors use our client’s  technology in clinical practice.

5.  Launching products

A meeting attended by opinion leaders and media is the very best place to launch a new product.  We persuaded a skeptical  startup in a crowded market to launch its medical device  at a large medical meeting.  Coverage from the meeting by a publication read by investors helped attract post-meeting site visits by three of the largest U.S. medical companies.  A pipeline of articles arranged during the meeting by the PR representative ensured continued media coverage and differentiation throughout the year.

Trade shows provide myriad opportunities to deliver your key messages directly or through the media to critical opinion leaders, customers and prospects.  With judicious use of PR, meetings present a golden opportunity to strengthen the company’s image, heighten awareness of products and services and build important industry-wide relationships.

Edna Kaplan, a HarrisCom collaborator,  focuses on speeding the adoption of healthcare products and services. 

HarrisCom’s Anita Harris Joins Boston Globe, ABC News on Health Communications Panel

On April 5, I joined Stephen Smith of the Boston Globe and Lara Salahi of  ABC News on an Emerson College panel discussion about careers in health communications. Here’s my report:

Smith,  now the Globe’s city editor,   traced  his career as a health reporter from his early days  at the Miami Herald through his many years at the Globe--describing a drive to tell the stories of individuals  in order to bring their plight to public attention.

He pointed out that while in Massachusetts, most people have access to health care,  in other parts of the US, this is not the case.  He also described his coverage of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, focusing on the story of Reginette Cineliene  a 14-year old  girl who lost her father, a sister, her home and a leg, spent a year living in a tent encampment, was often hungry, yet still managed to study with the goal of one day becoming a doctor.

Smith said he found Reginette  inspirational–and that he was pleased that his reporting had led readers to  provide Reginette’s remaining family with money to rent a home and pay for an artificial limb.

Salahi, an ABC News  health producer, emphasized  the importance of  telling the stories of “real” people-as opposed to focusing on reports by experts. She used three brief slide/video shows to illustrate the hope and difficulties autism brings to families. One featured a young man who had wanted to be a doctor but, instead, went into radiation diagnostics; a second a  husband and wife who are raising three autistic daughters;  and the third  parents of an autistic son who died young of a seizure disorder.

I described my career as somewhat unusual–in large part due to the ups and downs of the overall economy. I became a journalist by starting  a newspaper with college friends; worked in print, radio and television in New York City,  taught college, and went into public affairs when my college downsized.  I emphasized that with economic and technologic changes, versatility is key; it’s important to have  skills in all media, enjoy change, and if you’re going to do work independently you’d better like to market yourself!

I also pointed out that  when I started out, print and broadcast journalism operated in separate silos and major  news organizations had tremendous power to control and shape  information reaching the public.  Today, increasingly, we are experiencing a convergence of media, in which news organizations are employing multiple media to reach their readers–and no longer monopolize the flow of information.  The results are both positive and negative.

Convergence of media
For example, the  Globe,  previously print only, now has online version that includes video reports.  Reporters for public radio are asked to blog and carry cameras; many reporters and editors are using social media–all of which have the potential to inform the public  in a variety of ways.  However, with staff cutbacks, many journalists are working harder now than in the past;   I’m concerned that  covering stories in multiple  media could diminish the number and depth of stories on which they report.

Dissipation of control
I think  it’s great that  anyone with access to a computer can provide information to the world.  But without vetting by bona fide, trained journalists,   this democratization makes it difficult to know where information is coming from, how good it is, and, to play on words, where the truth lies– presenting special difficulties for health communicators.

—-Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris, a former journalist and journalism professor, is president of the Harris Communications Group,  a PR and content strategy firm in Cambridge, MA.

Tim Rowe of Cambridge Innovation Center and Kendall Sq. Assn to speak at “Pitching for Business” Feb. 23, 2012

The Harris Communications Group pleased to announce that Tim Rowe, founder and CEO of the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC)  and president of the Kendall Square Association, will kick off Harriscom’s  upcoming “Pitching for Business” workshop, to be held at the CIC, 1 Broadway, in Cambridge  from 3-5  on Feb. 23.


Rowe, who was featured in NPR’s “This American Life” as a judge of MIT’s 2009 $100K Elevator Speech Competition,  serves on the boards of several private companies. Prior to his current roles, Tim was a Manager with the Boston Consulting Group in Boston and an analyst with the Mitsubishi Research Institute in Tokyo.   Tim holds a BA from Amherst College and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

In this interactive workshop, seasoned communication experts will offer tips on how to  develop and deliver a succinct, powerful pitch. We’ll then break into small groups for coaching and practice–with

Moderator:  Anita Harris, President, Harris Communications Group; former national tv journalist and

  • Ann Getman, Principal, Getman Strategic Communications; former Boston chapter president, Public Relations Society of America
  • Aaron  Niederhelman, founder, INNOVATE Boston, former VP of Sales and Marketing,  SoftArtisans
  • Lisa  Williams, founder,
  • Joe Wrinn, counselor to higher education, former  Harvard University News Director

followed more networking at CIC’s Venture Cafe.

RSVP by 12N  Wednesday Feb. 22. 

Link to This American Life Program on MIT Elevator Pitch Contest 


–Anita Harris

Anita Harris is president of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning  public relations firm specializing in strategic, integrated outreach for clients in health, science, technology and energy, worldwide. 

Harris Communications Group To Hold Free “Pitching for Business” Workshop Feb. 23


Come to a free workshop sponsored by the Harris Communications Group and find out!


WHEN:  3-5 pm Thursday, February 23, 2012
RSVP by 12N  Wednesday Feb. 22. 


WHERE: Charles-Fenway Conference Rooms
Cambridge Innovation Center
1 Broadway, 14th Floor
Cambridge, MA (Near Kendall Square T,  corner of Broadway and 3rd)

DESCRIPTION: In this interactive workshop, seasoned communication experts will offer tips on how to  develop and deliver a succinct, powerful pitch. We’ll then break into small groups for coaching and practice–followed more networking at CIC’s Venture Cafe.


Moderator: Anita Harris, President, Harris Communications Group; former national tv journalist


  • Ann Getman, Principal, Getman Strategic Communications; former Boston chapter president, Public Relations Society of America
  • Aaron  Niederhelman, founder, INNOVATE Boston, former VP of Sales and Marketing,  SoftArtisans
  • Lisa  Williams, founder,
  • TBA




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