Employee Spotlight: Marc Prindle, Protein Engineering Scientist
Stratos Genomics Employee Spotlight is an intermittent feature on our blog that highlights our talented and dedicated staff. December's spotlight is on our one of our Protein Engineering leads, Marc Prindle. Read on to learn about his work and more...
Describe your role at Stratos Genomics.
I lead a talented group of researchers in our Protein Engineering unit. We make supercharged DNA polymerases that can copy DNA using X-NTPs, our proprietary blend of non-natural nucleotides. This is a huge, fun challenge since we're swimming upstream against millions of years of evolution. We take a kitchen sink approach, using methods like rational protein design, brute force screening, random mutagenesis, and the development of selection/enrichment methodologies. We also spend a fair amount of energy in continuing to improve our expression and purification strategies.
What gets you out of bed to come to work every day?
I love data, and there is always new information to absorb and add to the overall picture—even first thing on a Monday. It took a while to adapt to the pace here, but I've gone from feeling overwhelmed to feeling completely plugged in. It also helps that I work with an amazing bunch of dedicated professionals in an environment that encourages crosstalk and teamwork. We're working on a big, complicated puzzle, and we have a real opportunity to pull off something that some would characterize as impossible. I often can't wait to get in and get started.
Describe your biggest “win” on a project.
This past summer, I organized a company-wide contest. Teams of 4 to 5 people were challenged to submit a set of mutations that would produce a better DNA polymerase than our current best mutant. Each team was composed of employees from different disciplines, so there was only one 'expert' polymerase scientist on each team. It was pretty awesome to walk through the lab during the contest and see everyone—lab assistants, chemists, biochemists, nanopore detection scientists, and electrical engineers—gazing at protein structures on their monitors, trying to find the winning combination. It was a good combination of team-building, competition, and working toward a common goal and, amazingly, the winning entry is still our top mutant enzyme.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?
I'm a pretty big board and card game enthusiast. I like to go to game stores. I like to read rules. I play games with my wife, my daughter, and most of my friends on a fairly regular basis. I'm not actually very good at games, but I like the strategy and tactics, as well as the social side of it.
Little-known fact about you that would surprise people:
Once upon a time, I won a radio contest that paid out several thousand dollars. First, I threw a party. Next, I quit my job as a line cook and went back to school full time to finish my B.S. in biology. That's where I discovered my love for molecular biology and bench research.