Stratos Genomics Employee Spotlight is an intermittent feature on our blog that highlights our talented and dedicated staff. September's spotlight is a special edition of our Employee Spotlight, featuring brothers Taylor and Alex Lehmann.
How long have you and your sibling been working at Stratos Genomics?
Taylor (T): I started working at Stratos Genomics in 2012 as a lab intern, eventually forming the precursor of what would be our Biochemistry group. The next summer (2013), Alex earned himself a summer internship. He did such a great job, we brought him back the next summer to intern with us again.
Alex (A): That’s correct. I enjoyed my time as an intern. I could apply things I was learning about in school to real-life lab situations and I was able to receive valuable experience before diving into my full-time position in 2015 once I had graduated. I was excited to join Taylor and the other lab members I’d worked with during my internship at Stratos Genomics, especially because I’d be joining our Protein Engineering group as a Research Associate.
T: It was awesome to have Alex join the team! With his previous experience as an intern, he was able to move directly into our Protein Engineering group and begin contributing to the team right away.
What has been your favorite part about working with your sibling?
T: My favorite part about working with Alex has been bouncing ideas back and forth at family dinners or over a beer. We work on different teams and each bring a unique perspective to our conversations. It’s nice to be able to continue discussions outside the lab, and use each other’s insight and advice to our respective team’s benefit.
A: I agree! I have also really enjoyed the projects that we have worked on together. Biochemistry (Taylor’s group) and Protein Engineering (my group) collaborate often, which means there are now times when I get to train Taylor on tasks that I do regularly, like protein purification. Taylor has been able to help me a lot throughout life, including helping me at work, so I really appreciate any opportunity that I can help him in return.
Have you and your sibling ever worked on a project together here at Stratos Genomics?
A: There have been several actually. Most recently, we worked on developing a new buffer to help stabilize proteins during purification. Given this project was in my domain of protein engineering, it was cool to have the roles reversed and take the lead.
T: It was awesome to have Alex’s guidance on this project, involving an arena novel to me but quite familiar to him. I think it definitely shows the growth that he’s made in such a short period of time.
A: Thanks! It was fun developing a new buffer to help stabilize our specialized proteins. We faced a lot of issues that we hadn’t seen before in the purification process, but together we were able to talk through everything and dissect what was causing each issue. In the end, we overcame some major hurdles and ended up with a useful process for increasing the stability of some of our low-yielding proteins.
Growing up, was it common for you and your sibling to take on projects and activities together?
T: We traveled a lot as kids and would often play games and sports together. While there aren’t a lot of specific projects I can remember taking on with Alex, we spent a lot of time together and were always active.
A: I really can’t think of any specific projects that we worked on either, but it’s true that we were always doing something active or adventurous together. We used to skate and snowboard together, we played sports together, we got into scuba diving together, we
went bungee jumping and sky diving together. Everything we did together was usually active, adventurous, or an adrenaline rush.
T: Given our similarities in terms of choosing adventurous hobbies, I suppose it’s not too surprising that we were both drawn to the world of biotech start-ups. It’s a fast-paced environment that we both thrive in.
If your sibling wasn’t working at Stratos Genomics, where would he be working?
A: Before Taylor started at Stratos Genomics, I would have said he’d go to medical school and be a doctor. He has always shown an interest in science and helping others. Now, I would bet that if he weren’t here at Stratos Genomics, he would be doing medical research and working to help solve world issues. That said, I don’t think being a doctor is off the table for him and he may still end up on that path eventually.
T: If Alex wasn’t working at Stratos Genomics I think he would be brewing beer, but with a twist. I can imagine him applying his knowledge in molecular biology and experimentation to produce some really interesting beers at some point in his career.
A: Maybe that can be our next collaboration project!
T: Cheers to that!