Stratos Genomics Employee Spotlight is an intermittent feature on our blog that highlights our talented and dedicated staff. June's spotlight is on Research Associate, Lacey Merrill.
Describe your role at Stratos Genomics.
I'm a research associate in the biochemistry department, and among our many projects I focus on optimizing our sequencing reaction. While other departments are constantly engineering new molecules and enzymes, I get to find the best way to put them together. In general, I do a lot of small and targeted experiments, but every few weeks I get to set up a large scale screen of all the crazy ideas we've been coming up with and haven't had the chance to test. I've killed a lot of reactions, but it's so worth it when our hunches pay off.
What do you look forward to when you come to work every day?
My favorite thing about my job is that I'm regularly proven worng. We constantly have to re-evaluate everything going into the reaction, since an ingredient that seemed helpful a week ago may now be an inhibitor. It really makes you keep an open mind.
Describe your biggest "win" on a project.
That's tricky, because I feel like something great is happening every week. Most recently, I've been making really small changes with three key components, and we've been sequencing some of our longest Xpandomers ever from some of these tweaks. It's really satisfying to be a part of something that keeps working better and better.
What's your favorite thing to do when you're not at work?
I moved down from Alaska without knowing anything about the city, and was pleasantly surprised that Alki beach exists. Spending time there is probably my favorite summer activity, with snowboarding in the winter. I grew up in a ski town with one mountain, and have had a blast exploring all the different ski areas in Washington— I still haven't picked a favorite! Hopefully this winter I can make it to Jackson Hole and Whistler.
Little-known fact about you that would surprise people:
I'm obsessed with inner tubing! As in being towed behind a boat, the faster, the better. Since I moved down here I lost all my tubin' hook ups, and so I'm always on the look-out for people willing to pull me around Lake Washington. I wear a life jacket unashamedly!