By Justin Farris

Inside Phosphorus: Meet Sasha, Bioinformatics Scientist!

Hey Sasha, tell us a little bit about yourself!

I am Cuban-American, from Miami. I didn’t see snow fall until I was 18 (I am really excited for my first NY winter, though I have been warned against certain colors of snow). I attended Brandeis University for my undergraduate degree in Biology and History, and then went directly to Emory University for my PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology. After I finished, I worked as a post-doc at Emory before starting at Phosphorus.

What is your title at Phosphorus? What do you do for the company?

My title is Bioinformatics Scientist but, really I feel like my niche is translating the data science to the biology. I primarily work on FertilityMap, because of my background in genetics/epigenetics of pregnancy. I have also, recently expanded into the field of cardiology, while working on HeartMap.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

There are so many things: the people, the subject matter, the constant learning. I don’t like being bored, and working with diverse, smart, and fun people while addressing complex scientific problem like infertility and cardiology makes for an enjoyable environment. But, it really is the constant learning and striving to make a responsible product that I enjoy the most.

What have you learned from working at Phosphorus?

I previously worked on other facets of women’s health (including late pregnancy and delivery) but I have now broadened my knowledge to conception and early pregnancy. Furthermore, I have expanded my genetic toolbox to more of sequence-based technologies and techniques for analysis and interpretation.

What has been your favorite project so far?

Women’s health holds a special place in my heart, so FertilityMap in its entirety is my favorite project. I love entering a field where there is so much to develop and learn, and where we can truly make a difference.

What is your typical workday like?

I don’t think there is a typical workday. Each day brings new, exciting challenges.

Do you have a personal mantra?

Keep a foot in each world. When it comes to my approach towards science I am very cautious when interpreting results and data, but bold in the way I approach a problem. Similarly, in undergrad I wanted to have a double major in two different subjects to keep a balance between two different worlds, science and history.

Tell us something about you most people don’t know.

I was a jock and a theatre kid growing up.

What is one thing you are looking forward to in your free time this next year?

Exploring NY and the surrounding areas.

Do you have any hobbies?

My hobbies are cooking, and baking. I grew up with my grandmother who would always make a different dinner every night. When I was 2, she already had me in the kitchen helping her out.

Which ice cream flavor best describes you?

Cheesecake – it looks vanilla but isn’t.

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