Below are just a few of the "stories" of the people who make up the SomaLogic community.
As a child, growing up in Littleton, Colorado, David was very outgoing: a trait he continues to show here at SomaLogic, which he joined in 2012. As a Research Associate on the SOMAmer Discovery team, David’s main responsibilities include preparing SELEX pools for sequencing and analyzing the resulting sequence data. He describes the SOMAmer discovery team as a “pipeline that produces all new SOMAmers.” David really enjoys being part of this team because not only do they get the job done, they have fun doing it. Before coming to SomaLogic, David obtained his bachelor’s degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) from the University of Colorado.
While David is not discovering new SOMAmers he can be found skiing up in the mountains, “four wheeling” (he hopes to purchase his own ATV soon), or tending his salt water fish.
David cites two major influences on his life: Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla) and his grandfather. David notes Musk’s great ethical objectives in building companies such as Tesla. His grandfather influenced him to get his degree and to pursue a career using that degree. He also mentions the book Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. “I felt a little bit like Ender at certain times because he was a small, nerdy guy who aspired for greatness in contrast to the traditional mold cast by society,” says David.
Originally from the Bay Area, Ashley relocated to Boulder, Colorado in 2006 for the mountains and what they had to offer (she considers the move her “greatest achievement”). Before coming to Colorado, Ashley obtained her undergraduate degree in molecular biology and biochemistry at Middlebury College in Vermont, where she also played on an ultimate frisbee team and an intramural soccer team. She also pledged a social house and served as treasurer, and was also the treasurer for a community service group. She continued her education at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) and received her PhD in molecular biology. Though busy throughout her graduate work, Ashley made time for participating on UCLA’s water ski team.
Ashley joined the SomaLogic team in June, 2009 for a chance to grow and develop in her career. Presently, she is a manager of the Assay Execution Team, which involves managing the daily activities of the clinical sample testing, coordinating with the analysts that perform the testing, and knowing when and which samples are being tested at any given moment.
When not at work, Ashley enjoys spending time with her husband and their two dogs. They “love everything about the Boulder lifestyle,” including biking, hiking, gardening, cooking, and skiing. Ashley also enjoys reading and a book that she recently read and would recommend is Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. This book had big impact on Ashley’s life; it made her think about where we source our food from and changed her buying habits to focus on locally sourced foods. Ashley cites Michelle Obama as an inspiration, by her campaign for childhood fitness and for getting the White House garden up and running again.
Beatrice (Bea) Le was born and raised in Saigon, South Vietnam, but moved with her family to Denver, Colorado in 1977. As a child, Bea was always exploring and very active, a trait she has kept into adulthood through her active participation in marathons as a member of the 50 State Marathons club. So far Bea has run marathons in eighteen states, and this year plans to add Kansas and Pennsylvania to her list of accomplishments.
In addition to running, Bea also enjoys reading, most recently The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. She has also been influenced by a Buddha’s saying that, “Health is the greatest gift, contentment is the greatest wealth, and faithfulness is the greatest relationship.”
Bea has always admired her father because of his perseverance in moving his family from Vietnam to the United States. Thanks to her father’s unwavering support, Bea earned her undergraduate degree in accounting and finance from Metropolitan State University in Denver, followed by an MBA from Regis University.
Bea is currently a senior accountant at SomaLogic and she began her career in December of 2010 because she wanted to work for an emerging biotech company. “What we do here is to help the future of medicine and I want to be a part of something that big,” she says. Bea also enjoys the “fun” events at SomaLogic, particularly the annual Halloween party: She has appeared as the Mad Hatter and, most recently, convinced several of her colleagues to appear as a band of “Rosie the Riveters.”
Originally from New York, Jennifer relocated to Colorado in 1996 to work in the biopharma industry after attending the State University of New York-College at Geneseo. Early in her career, she worked with Nebojsa Janjic (SomaLogic’s Chief Science Officer) and grew interested in the technology SomaLogic was developing, subsequently joining the company in 2009.
As an Alliance Manager, Jennifer works closely with SomaLogic’s partner Quest Diagnostics to help bring new diagnostic products to market. She is also responsible for portfolio management of the discovery product development pipeline, i.e., the new diagnostics emerging out of SomaLogic’s proteomics research.
Jennifer takes advantage of the Colorado outdoors, enjoying its opportunities for hiking, biking and skiing with her family. She also confesses an honest appreciation of Dr. Seuss: “The books have great messages in them. For example, ‘You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.’ This quote is one of my favorites because it tells our children that they can do anything they set their minds to, and has a great timeless message.”
Originally from Minnesota, Chris and his family relocated to Colorado when he was in the 5th grade and he has lived here ever since. Chris graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in Biochemistry. When he heard about the technology SomaLogic was developing he was instantly drawn to the company and he began his career here in May of 2001, where he now runs the assay execution group.
Chris recalls when he first interviewed at SomaLogic: “I was in the middle of my interview with Dan Schneider and Sheela Waugh when Larry Gold (the CEO) walked into the room and said “Excuse me,” walked over to Dan, kissed him on the forehead, said ‘thank you’ and turned around and walked out. They laughed and I laughed. I will never forget that interview for the rest of my life!”
Outside of SomaLogic Chris enjoys spending time with his wife, Ashley, and their two dogs. He enjoys being outdoors, skiing, backpacking and playing softball. He is an avid runner (despite his efforts not to be called a “runner”) and has participated in many marathons. In fact his entire family runs, calling themselves “Team Bock.”
Though born in Flint, Michigan, Elyn’s family moved to Florida when she was only six months old. She earned her bachelor’s degree in medical technology from Stetson University in Florida, keeping very busy with both her studies and a part-time job.
Elyn began her career at SomaLogic in August of 2011: a “great match” because of the science and technology that SomaLogic had to offer. “I can see this company growing in the future and helping so many people, it is so exciting and I want to be a part of that,” she says. Currently, Elyn is a senior research associate and her key responsibilities include running the SOMAscan assay, and maintaining and programming robots that are used in the labs. Elyn recalls a memorable moment at SomaLogic: Larry Gold’s surprise birthday party. Larry walked in and they all yelled ‘surprise’; he clutched his chest and said, “You almost gave me a heart attack!”
Outside of work Elyn enjoys indoor rock climbing, sewing, and quilting. She also enjoys reading: One book that she particularly enjoyed was The Case for Christ, written by Lee Strobel. Elyn has two major influences in her life: her mother and Michelle Obama. She has been influenced by what Michelle Obama has done for children. Elyn also looks up to her mother as an influence, especially when it comes to raising her two boys
Born in Canada, Stu pursued his degree in Disease Ecology at the University of Munster in Germany. Subsequently, as a faculty member at Colorado State University, he found himself looking for a more challenging position, when heard about the biotech industry in Boulder and found SomaLogic. "After interviewing, I was intrigued in what SomaLogic was doing," he says. Today Stu works within the SomaLogic’s bioinformatics group, where his responsibilities include the analysis of assay and clinical data. "I absolutely love what I do, I am constantly being pressed and challenged to learn new thing and welcome the challenges," he says, "It’s fun, and the people I work with are fantastic. It’s not even like a real job to me: it’s more like a family."
Outside of work, Stu is an avid cyclist who enjoys the outdoors and likes to people watch. Stu is in a committed relationship with a woman who is a reproductive physiologist at CSU, whose career has her working with all different breeds of animals. They have adopted quite a few of these animals. Currently they have 3 cats, 3 cows (Muffin, Valentine and Autumn) 2 dogs and a chicken named Sir. Alfred Wallace.
Amy began her career in 2010 as an intern at SomaLogic, and soon became an employee with multiple responsibilities, mainly identifying lead SOMAmers to a specific targets. "I love working with really smart people and having the support to do different types of experiments," she says. "If you have a good idea you get to pursue it. I get to try my hand at a lot of different things, but I think that is what I love most about SomaLogic is all the support you get for management."
Outside of the office Amy enjoy chasing after her two year old child, biking and hiking. She has been married for three years and her husband is a sales representative in the bicycle industry.
Amy obtained her Bachelor’s degree in biosciences from The George Washington University and her PhD. in biochemistry from the University of Colorado.
As the Canadian-born daughter of a lieutenant commander in the US Navy, Rachel’s early childhood involved constant relocation. The family finally settled in Maryland, where she pursued studies in microbiology at the University of Maryland. “College life was like an extension of my childhood; It was freedom without rules,” she says. “I grew a great deal in college; learning to make my own decisions and live with the consequence of the decisions I made.”
After yet another move in 1984, this time to Colorado, Rachel subsequently joined SomaLogic in October of 2001. As the Clinical Research Director, Rachel is responsible for the research SomaLogic is doing in cancer diagnostics, designing studies and working closely with the company’s bioinformatics analysis experts. “The vision of improving health care for everyone with measures of wellness and early diagnosis of disease really spoke volumes to me and I knew I wanted to be a part of this technology,” she says.
Away from her SomaLogic duties, Rachel enjoys reading, outdoor activities along the Front Range, and competitive agility with her dog Evie, who is an enthusiastic teammate and national award winner.
Darryl Perry, a native Coloradan, returned to his home state following graduation from University of California, Davis to begin a career in biostatistics and data management for clinical trials. He soon decided that including research and science in his work would be more rewarding. Darryl found what he was looking for at SomaLogic, joining the team in September of 2011. “It was new and exciting to me: What I do now much more fulfilling than just running clinical trials.”
At SomaLogic, Darryl works with the assay group in several capacities, working with SomaLogic collaborators, designing studies and determining what portion of the massive data (he calls it the “firehose”) produced by SomaLogic’s technology to use in further analysis.
Darryl’s wife Claudia, whom he admires and is very proud of, is a published author (she writes two ongoing series, Alex the Fey and The Denver Cereal, and is working on a third). Together they enjoy gardening (including keeping bees), and are perpetual beginners in learning both ballroom dancing and the Spanish language.
Originally from California, Alex moved to Colorado in 1987 and joined SomaLogic in April of 2012 following several years at Allos Therapeutics. Alex is the first employee visitors have contact with when they arrive at SomaLogic, as her responsibilities include Font Desk management, as well as Office Facilities and support of several SomaLogic managers.
"Working at SomaLogic is been a great opportunity for me. When I first started at SomaLogic I was walking through the office and noticed that there were no employee titles on the office name plates. When I asked why employees had no titles on their name plates. I was told that it was because we are all one team no matter your station in the company. That is when I knew that SomaLogic really does believe that it takes a whole company to be successfully not just a small group of employees." She says. "I am a Receptionist among all of these highly educated people and never once have I ever felt like a lesser member of the company."
Alex comes from a big family. She has four sisters, one brother, fifteen nieces and nephews, three children, one grandson, two dogs and a cat. Needless to say Alex’s family life is fairly busy on the weekends. "I am very close with my siblings. We have breakfast once a month and a weekly conference call to keep up with each other." Whenever she can slip away from her family, her and her husband of 13 years enjoy going to the casinos in Blackhawk, CO.
Urs Ochsner is the Associate Director of Microbiology and he has been responsible for the infectious disease programs at SomaLogic since 2009. He recalls his first day as being a bit unusual: “I noticed that in several cubicles there were people sitting with full ski gear on because it was only about 50 degrees in the building.”
Outside of work, Urs enjoys playing the euphonium (baritone horn) in a community ensemble called “The Golden Eagle Concert Band.” He also enjoys home gardening and every year he strives to have the earliest, freshest tomatoes. Urs is also an avid reader, and cites The 10,000 Year Explosion by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending as a particularly enjoyable read.
Urs earned his bachelor’s degree in natural sciences from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland; a 45 minute train ride from his hometown of Rapperswil. He continued his education in Zurich and obtained his PhD in biotechnology. In 2001, he was awarded the Swiss Microbiology Prize for his work on virulence mechanisms of a bacterial pathogen.
Among people Urs admires are Nelson Mandela (because of what he accomplished despite his struggles in difficult times) and his fellow countryman, Albert Einstein, who stated, “If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research.”
Originally from New York, Sheela relocated to Colorado in 1990, and was first introduced to SomaLogic’s CEO Larry Gold while she was interviewing for an RA position with post-doc Craig Tuerk in Larry’s MCDB lab at CU. Sheela has been working with Larry for more than 22 years, [aside from a year with Gilead (1999-2000) and short stint at Amgen in the summer of 2000]. "I love working for Larry, and all my friends work here," she says. "This company is like my second family. The encouragement and support I get from my manager to conduct different kinds of experiments is great."
Outside of work, Sheela enjoys scuba diving in Honduras, and spends her summer weekends camping, boating, gardening and watercolor painting. Her winters consist of skiing trips with her girls and spending time with her family. Sheela attended the State University of New York at Stony Brook and graduated from the University of North Carolina with her Master’s degree in microbiology.
Sheri Wilcox and her family were interested in relocating to Colorado. Her opportunity to do so came in 2001, when she talked with SomaLogic’s CEO Larry Gold about the then-new company’s focus on proteomics, and together they decided she would be a great addition to the SomaLogic team. Looking back on the early days of SomaLogic, she remembers “It was harder than we thought it would be. We’ve made a lot of changes to how things are done; but those changes have enabled the technology we have today, and I am very proud of the growth of the company.”
Today, as Director of Discovery Sciences, Sheri’s responsibilities include generating and characterizing the SOMAmer reagents used for biomarker discovery.
Sheri says that working for SomaLogic is not just a job: She wants to give doctors new tools to detect the early stages of cancer. “I think that if SOMAscan was available when my parents got sick, they would have detected the lung cancer a lot sooner and it would have made a difference.”
Even as a child growing up in Stone Mountain, Georgia, Sheri recalls that she was fascinated by science. In high school she was a Science Olympian and made it all the way to the State Championship. She also thinks that her younger sister’s childhood fight with Wilms tumor kidney cancer had a big impact on her choice to become a scientist.