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Building a Culture of Design in the Biotech Space

In 2014, as an undergraduate Computational Biology researcher, I spent my days wrestling with complex software packages that were difficult to get working and even harder to use when you did. The contrast between these genetic analysis tools, and the tools available to other disciplines – such as MATLAB or Mathematica – was stark. It shouldn't have to be this way! When I stumbled upon Transcriptic on Angel List, I saw a company fashioning itself as a user-friendly, cloud-based biology platform. The value of the product was in the user-experience. I knew immediately that this was a company I wanted to work for.

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Crafting Better Tools for Scientists

I joined the Transcriptic engineering team in September of 2016 as their first full-time designer. By then, Transcriptic had been through several product cycles building out services for cell cloning, CRISPR, and other common biological techniques.

The company was rapidly expanding, and my charge was three fold:

  1. Establish a design culture and discipline responsible for driving product innovation.
  2. Work closely with our scientist users and leverage my scientific background to deeply understand their needs.
  3. Draw on my engineering experience to deeply integrate the design discipline and process into the engineering workflow.

For the past 3+ years, I have built a design team of three – working at first as an individual contributor, then starting and managing a design internship program, and now leading a growing design team. Along the way, I have structured the team to ride on the rails of code, ensuring that design is encoded in Transcriptic's engineering processes and thus always at the core of our product.

Explore My Work
A critique session with Katherine, a design intern.