Stratos Genomics Employee Spotlight is an intermittent feature on our blog that highlights our talented and dedicated staff. February's spotlight is on Senior Research Associate, Miranda Lahman.
Describe your role at Stratos Genomics.
I’m a senior research associate here at Stratos Genomics. I work on the protein engineering team where our main goal is to develop a polymerase that better incorporates our synthetic nucleotides, XNTPs. As you can imagine, it requires a substantial repertoire of techniques to tackle this challenge. Thus, I wear many hats from protein design and purification to assay development. Currently, I have the privilege to be working with a small team to advance our platform for high throughput polymerase selection.
What do you look forward to when you come to work every day?
The amazing people and extraordinary science. The wonderful group of creative, intelligent and passionate individuals here at Stratos Genomics inspire me every day. Working together to solve complicated problems motivates me to wake up and ride my bike through the (sometimes) rain to get to work. Plus, the science is really exciting! We’re doing things no one has ever done before; when we have a breakthrough, it’s incredibly exciting and rewarding.
Describe your biggest “win” on a project.
It was a while ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I was doing a process called emulsion PCR. This process is not novel and has been done successfully by many scientists before us. However, per usual, we were pushing the limits and venturing into uncharted territory. I was asking the process to do something that is known to be extremely inefficient so, of course it wasn’t working. I sat down to draw it out to see if I could find a way to make it work within our parameters. It wasn’t too long before I figured it out. I tested my idea and sure enough it worked! I’ve never been more proud. I think I actually did a fist pump when I saw the results.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?
Run, climb, ski, hike, run, camp, etc. (yes, running is on the list twice!) Basically, I enjoy anything that gets me outside spending time with my friends. The outdoors, the mountains in particular, always make my heart sing. I also really enjoy cooking (and eating) healthy and nutritious food. If I’m not outside, I’m probably in the kitchen.
Little-known fact about you that would surprise people:
Seeing that I am an avid runner, many would find it surprising that I used to hate running! In middle school track I did long jump, high jump, the 75-meter hurdles and the 100-meter dash because those events required the least amount of running. At soccer practice, I would complain every time we had to jog around the field. Ultimately, I quit soccer because the coach made us run a mile outside of practice and that was simply too much! The following year my best friend somehow convinced me to go out for high school track where I fell in love with running.