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In our DNA: Michelle Vargas, Scientist

May 16, 2022  |  Codex DNA

We’re continuing our blog series, looking at the DNA of Codex DNA — our incredible employees and their stories.

Team member: Michelle Vargas, Scientist
Came aboard: March 2021

What do you do at Codex DNA?
I work on the Research and Development team, primarily on optimizing and developing the SOLA (enzymatic DNA synthesis) technology. It’s exciting to see the science we do on the bench be transferred to a fully automated system.

How did you get into that kind of work?
My background is in biochemistry and cell biology. My first job was working for the Human Genome Project, where I was part of the sequencing team, essentially involved in reading DNA. And now, many years later I’m part of a team developing a process for writing DNA.

How would you describe the company culture?
They plan events so we can get together during work and outside of work. It’s also been great to be a part of the culture champions group and provide input on how we can maintain that desired company culture.

How would you describe synthetic biology to non-scientists?
Synthetic biology gives scientists access to non-natural sequences to generate the desired functions that can impact many things such as therapeutics and agriculture.

What’s something fun about working at Codex DNA?
I enjoy working with the people here. I enjoy seeing the different aspects of the company, from engineering to manufacturing, research and development, and process development. We work closely with other departments, and we built camaraderie with the events that we have. The company has an overall fun and collaborative culture.

What was the first thing you ever wanted to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a pharmacist. But I decided to work in the science industry in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry instead.

How do you see synthetic biology changing the world?
Synthetic biology is making a difference in many aspects of research. It’s impacting areas like vaccine development, agriculture, antibody discovery, and many others.

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