Team member: Sarvagya Bhat, Electro-Mechanical Engineer
What do you do at Codex DNA?
I am part of the engineering division at Codex DNA, which is responsible for creating the next generation of products, as well as creating technology for the synthetic biology domain for the future which can essentially change the world.
How did you get into that kind of work?
I graduated last year with a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and was looking for an opportunity that would allow me to create a positive impact on people, society, and help create a difference with the work I’m doing. That’s what brought me to Codex DNA. Codex DNA offers a one-of-a-kind technology that’s not replicable anywhere else in the world. Here at Codex DNA, it’s very fast-paced and through the many areas in synthetic biology in which we’re innovating, there are many opportunities to learn new things, which is something I like as well.
What brought you to Codex DNA?
Certainly, the technology, as it’s currently not available anywhere else. In that sense, you learn a lot about the domain, the technology, and you grow at a very fast pace. I also love the fact that what we do here is very reflective of the situation in the real world in terms of trying to help people. For example, we were able to create the COVID-19 synthetic genome on the BioXp™ system in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. There is no doubt in my mind that the work we do here is making a positive impact on society and the world.
What’s the company vibe?
I would describe the company culture as collaborative and nurturing since I interface with different groups including other engineering team members as well as manufacturing, reagents, software, and hardware, and everyone here is always open to answering questions and ready to help if you need anything. It’s an easygoing place to work, with a great focus on learning and doing things right.
How do you describe synthetic biology to non-scientists?
First, I will ask the person if they know anything about DNA because it’s the most basic structure of any living thing in this world. Everything has DNA in it, and if they know about DNA then you could describe synthetic biology as choosing different elements and combining them to try and reach a certain outcome, very similar to how we cook food.
What one thing do you wish more people understood about DNA?
I think the most critical thing to know is that DNA is present in all living things, but most importantly, it’s going to determine the world we live in as we know it. As we work towards creating a more sustainable world, synthetic biology will impact every culture in all domains ranging from food, clothes to even reducing carbon emissions in agriculture. I think it’s the future and right now it’s still evolving at a fast pace, but it’s being taken to a whole new level in terms of research and development, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.
What’s something fun about working at Codex DNA?
We have get-togethers, parties,happy hours, and it’s just an amazing vibe altogether. I especially loved the Halloween party; it was so much fun. When we get together, everybody can forget about work and just mingle. People + Culture do a great job keeping everyone together — especially when times are stressful, they make sure everyone enjoys their time here.
What was the first thing you ever wanted to be when you grew up?
I always loved playing chess since I was a kid and that is what I wanted to do. I was a national level chess player in India playing across different states. I have also played with five-time World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand.
How do you see synthetic biology changing the world?
It’s in most living things, including things you wouldn’t expect like food and clothes, and as we move forward, it’s just going to become more important in our everyday lives. I think we saw this with COVID-19 when we were able to see how fast synthetic biology was applied to provide quick solutions to a global pandemic. Usually, a vaccine takes two years to produce, but the initial vaccines developed for COVID-19 were produced in six to seven months, and that speaks volumes about the impact synthetic biology can have on the world. On a global scale, synthetic biology is addressing challenges in different cultures, and I believe soon it will be helping all industries in the world.