Employee Spotlight: Aaron Jacobs, Senior Scientist
Stratos Genomics Employee Spotlight is an intermittent feature on our blog that highlights our talented and dedicated staff. September's spotlight is on Senior Scientist, Aaron C. Jacobs, PhD from our molecular engineering team.
Describe your role at Stratos Genomics.
I'm a Senior Scientist in our Molecular Engineering group at Stratos Genomics and, yes, it’s actually just as nerdy as it sounds! I get to engineer the molecules we use for our detection system. Are our molecules stable? Do they work the way we want them to? Can we squeeze a bit more out of the chemistry we do well? My job is to answer these questions and more! Most recently, the team and I performed a technology transfer in Germany where we demonstrated the entire production process of our first generation X-NTP molecules for our collaborators. Es war gut!
What gets you out of bed to come to work every day?
Aside from the blaring of my alarm, it’s definitely the chance to solve problems. We keep up a pretty frantic pace here which means the science can take off in a new direction on any given week. Since we are a tight-knit community of scientists, we get to work on each other’s problems and come up with really interesting experiments. I get a lot of enjoyment and sense of contribution any time my input is appreciated.
Describe your biggest “win” on a project.
That’s a tough question. I’m always partial to the most recent thing, especially when it has a cool codename like “Ghost Tethers” or “DART”… But the biggest win was probably during our push for ten extensions when I worked on a purification method for X-NTPs called “AJ Special”. Of course, the real win there was the tens-of-thousands of hours the rest of the group put in to the development of the technology. It’s pretty amazing that we can incorporate something so huge into DNA!
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?
I have a lot of hobbies: I’m partial to puzzles, books, cooking, and camping to name a few, but I’d have to say my favorite thing is racquetball. Open challenge to any of my friends willing to take me on!
What’s a little-known fact about you that would surprise people?
I think some people know this, but my wife and I have a lifelong goal of visiting all 59 National Parks. We’ve hit 31 so far, but I’m afraid we’ve gotten all the easy ones! This year we’re going to a super-remote region of Nevada to see the beautiful Great Basin National Park. Who knows, next year we might visit Alaska for one of the many trips it will take to check off all of the parks there!