Tell us a bit about yourself and your background. Where you grew up, where you live now, family and pets… anything goes!
I grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I went to college on an ROTC scholarship and got involved in research starting in my freshman year. I went to grad school in Israel and came to the US to do postdoctoral training in San Diego. We moved to the East Coast 20 years ago and have called the Garden State home since. I have three daughters, the youngest of which is a freshman in college now.
Tell us about someone in your life who inspired you or helped you become who you are today.
My Calculus teacher in high school taught me how to succeed academically (long story that I will be glad to share in person with anyone that wants to share a pint), but the main inspiration in my life is my Dad who was born in Poland and escaped the horror of WWII by fleeing with his family to Brazil.
What motivates you or helps you feel fulfilled?
Using my technology and science skills to help biomedical research march forward. That’s why I got into research in the first place and there is so much we can do using technology and science to make this world a better place!
What do you do really well? Is there anything you wish you could improve?
I do numbers really well, and I wish I would feel as comfortable with writing words as I am with writing equations.
What’s an accomplishment you are really proud of?
At JAX, I am really proud of the team I built in IT (Research IT) before turning to my current role. I am especially proud of our contribution last year to the pandemic response, when we architected, built, and scaled the whole informatics system dedicated to the SARS-CoV2 testing at JAX Genomic Medicine.
Let’s talk about your career journey. What inspired you to go into your current field? What first brought you to JAX? Has your job changed since you joined?
When I was a researcher, I used a lot of (information) technology to further my own research. I also was the person in the lab/floor/building/campus that others came to for help with their “computer stuff”. It was when working in Pharma that I realized I could have a bigger impact on how the research progressed by dedicating myself to helping others rather than doing the research myself. I came to JAX because of the unique opportunity to help grow JAX Genomic Medicine during its early years. In my new role, that opportunity has grown and by maturing the data science field as it applies to biomedical research, can bring us closer to applications in personalized and precision medicine.
How do explain your current work to others? What’s your favorite thing about it?
When my middle daughter was in third grade, she shared with her classmates that her Dad “fixes the computers of the scientists”. I like to think I can help scientists use modern technology to make their work more efficient and impactful, by bridging the world of science and information technology.