Employee Spotlight: Salka Keller, Scientist
Stratos Genomics Employee Spotlight is an intermittent feature on our blog that highlights our talented and dedicated staff. February's spotlight is on Scientist, Salka Keller.
Describe your role at Stratos Genomics.
I’m a team lead in our Protein Engineering unit. In this role I divide my time between running experiments and guiding those of my very talented coworkers. Together as a team we’re developing a platform for high throughput screening of proteins to facilitate the discovery of unique polymerases that can efficiently extend DNA using our complex X-NTPs.
What do you look forward to when you come to work every day?
The people and the science. It’s a pleasure to work amongst such a smart, dedicated group of researchers. There is a constant energy and drive throughout the lab that is contagious. The environment is very collaborative; we closely interact within the team as well as with other groups to exchange know-how and ideas. The projects we pursue are challenging and dynamic. We’re always revising strategies and exploring new approaches to solving complex problems, which keeps things engaging and exciting.
Describe your biggest “win” on a project.
That’s a tough question. During my time at Stratos Genomics I’ve had the opportunity to partake in several exciting “wins”. One of my first tasks was to develop an approach to polymerase screening that had not been previously explored in the company. Part of this effort involved integrating a new microfluidics platform. Not having a background in microfluidics myself, this has been a challenge but also a huge learning experience. Recently I have had the opportunity to apply my newly acquired expertise in this area to help move several key projects forward.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?
People who know me are aware that a) I’m not a fan of sitting and b) if the sun is out in Seattle, I must get outside. Hence, in my free time I like to get together with friends and take advantage of the many outdoor opportunities that Seattle and the surrounding area has to offer. Whether it is running, hiking, mountain biking, camping, skiing, rafting, surfing – I’ll be there. I also love to travel, and aspire to explore a foreign country at least once a year.
Little-known fact about you that would surprise people:
Little-kid version of myself wanted to become a Power Ranger. The closest realistic alternative was to enroll in martial arts classes. Fast forward several years, and I obtained my black belt in Goju-Ryu karate. So watch out evil villains!