In today’s Bulldog wrapup of technology and life science news:

  • Samsung launches a new push into “smart” devices
  • Executive changes at Square 1 Bank
  • ChannelAdvisor confirms layoffs
  • Honoring Carl Sagan
  • New liquid biopsies could transform cancer treatment

The details:

  • Samsung’s new push

Samsung wants to sell the digital brains that will go into billions of “smart” home appliances, industrial sensors and other Internet-connected gadgets – even if the gadgets aren’t made by Samsung.

At a technology conference Tuesday in San Francisco, the South Korean company unveiled a new line of tiny electronic components that combine low-power computer chips, transmitters and software. Manufacturers can build the components into everything from televisions to parking meters to orthopedic shoes.

The new Artik components are key to Samsung’s goal of becoming a major player in the so-called “Internet of Things,” the tech industry’s buzzword for the notion that all kinds of electronic devices can be connected over the Internet. This could be a $3 trillion industry in the next five years, analysts at International Data Corp. have estimated.

Samsung is going after that market at a time when earnings from its core smartphone business have sagged in the face of challenges from Apple and upstart Chinese phone makers. Samsung also makes other electronic components, TVs, refrigerators and other home appliances.

Company President Young Sohn declined to be specific when asked how big Samsung hopes the Artik business will become. But he noted that analysts have estimated there will be billions of Internet-connected gadgets and machines in coming years.

“Those numbers are subject to change, but anything that is in the billions . I will take that,” Sohn said with a laugh.

  • Changes at Square 1 Bank

Three senior executives at Square 1 Bank have been “terminated” as the company moves toward its merger with PacWest Bank later this year, according to The News and Observer.

Citing information filed with the SEC, the newspaper says Square 1 Bank CEO Doug Bowers will keep running Square 1 for six months post-meger closure.

Four other senior executives will be retained:Sam Bhaumik, executive vice president of banking; Diane Earle, executive vice president and chief credit officer; Judith Erwin, executive vice president of strategic business; and Frank Tower, executive vice president of banking, The N&O’s David Ranii said.

“Being terminated” are Jason Kranack, executive vice president of human resources; Patrick Oakes, executive vice president and chief financial officer; and Gregory Thompson, executive vice president of shared services.

Read the full story at:

  • Layoffs confirmed at ChannelAdvisor

The Triangle Business Journal reports that layoffs have been made at ChannelAdvisor following the recent change in the CEO chair where co-founder Scot Wingo stepped down.

“Suzanne Miglucci, chief marketing officer, told reporter Lauren K. Ohnesorge the company is refocusing resources and added: “We are also re-aligning our team to better serve this segment with resources that are equipped to help our customers scale to multiple channels and geographies.”

Read the story at:

  • Searching the cosmos in Carl Sagan’s name at Cornell

The Cornell University institute searching for signs of life among the billions and billions of stars in the sky is being named for — who else? —Carl Sagan.

Cornell announced Saturday that the Carl Sagan Institute will honor the famous astronomer who taught there for three decades. Sagan, known for extolling the grandeur of the universe in books and shows like “Cosmos,” died in 1996 at age 62. He had been battling bone marrow disease.

Researchers from different disciplines including astrophysics, geology and biology work together at the institute to search for signs of extraterrestrial life.

“This is an honor worth waiting for because it’s really commensurate with who Carl was,” Ann Druyan, Sagan’s wife and collaborator, told The Associated Press. “It’s worthy of him and much more meaningful than a statue or a building.”

The institute was founded last year with the arrival at Cornell of astrophysicist Lisa Kaltenegger, its director. But it had been called the Institute for Pale Blue Dots as it geared up for work. The announcement Saturday morning by Druyan represents the institute’s official launch.

  • Liquid biopsies coming

A new type of blood test is starting to transform cancer treatment, sparing some patients the surgical and needle biopsies long needed to guide their care.

The tests, called liquid biopsies, capture cancer cells or DNA that tumors shed into the blood. They give the first noninvasive way to repeatedly sample a cancer so doctors can profile its genes, target drugs to mutations, tell quickly whether treatment is working, and adjust it as the cancer evolves.

A lot is still unknown about the value of these tests.