Employee Spotlight: Cara Machacek, Director of Nanopore Chemistry

 

Stratos Genomics Employee Spotlight is an intermittent feature on our blog that highlights our talented and dedicated staff. October's spotlight is on our Director of Nanopore Chemistry, Cara Machacek. Read on to learn about her work and more...

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Describe your role at Stratos Genomics
I’m the Director of our Nanopore Chemistry group—not the kind of research group that exists at every biotech company!  My incredibly talented team develops all aspects of our detection platform that allows us to sequence Xpandomers in nanopores, from developing new library purification techniques to engineering new protein nanopores.  We see the culmination of a lot of different teams’ work as so many of our development efforts ultimately get funneled into the nanopore for sequencing, so we also use our sequencing data to help inform decisions and improve our Xpandomer production methods. 

What gets you out of bed to come to work every day?
I first started working here to solve complex scientific problems and help develop a technology that has the potential to revolutionize medicine and research, but the unique environment and people I work with have kept me here for so many years.  I love working with such smart, passionate, and dedicated people who bring together expertise from so many different backgrounds to do thorough, creative research and occasionally try some pretty crazy things.  There’s nothing more satisfying than when someone’s crazy idea pays off and becomes an integral part of our process.

Describe your biggest “win” on a project.
Earlier this year, we brought together advances made in every department—engineering better polymerases, designing better XNTPs, and improving our Xpandomer production and purification methods—to meet a major technical milestone.  It’s rare to be part of a group of people who are all wholly dedicated to reaching a common goal and it was unbelievably rewarding to see so many research efforts come together to meet our milestone.

What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?
Bike racing!  I spend a lot of my free time exploring the Seattle area by bike, riding on a trainer in the dark basement after work, traveling around the state for weekend races, and just generally spending far too much time wearing lycra.

Little-known fact about you that would surprise people:
I’m a secret quilter.  If I’m not nerding out on science or bikes, I’m probably nerding out on fabrics and sewing up quilts for friends.  You can never have too many nerdy hobbies!

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SpotlightMegan LeProwse