Director of Fabrication
January 2012 — September 2013
I managed a small team responsible for the automated and scalable production of short peptides and DNA oligomers. The fabrication team had three primary tasks: custom software engineering, material production, and laboratory automation. My responsibilities also included hiring and training, protocol and experiment documentation, and laboratory safety and permit management.
I. Custom Software
Traditional "point and click" software was too time-intensive for our production goals. Instead, we wrote flexible code that would generate instructions that could be directly imported into our equipment. Our team also wrote software for the high-throughput, bias-free analysis of raw data exported from the instrument(s).
Our team of three built and maintained an 8-step DNA production pipeline (on micromole scale) and a 6-step peptide production pipeline (on millimole scale). Both pipelines went from raw material quality control (QC), to synthesis and purification, and ended with post-production QC. We were also responsible for instrument testing and maintenance.
III. "Brains on, hands off" automation
Our team was encouraged to spend a portion of their time in development and iteration to expand the capability of our pipelines without additional personnel investment. Automation existed on a wide spectrum, from designing and milling custom racks, creating a simple but fully automated gel washing station, writing software to connect a liquid handler with a plate reader for polymer quantification, to purchasing off the shelf automation solutions.
IV. Documentation for institutional knowledge
I maintained the software for our electronic protocols and the internal wiki documenting troubleshooting, maintenance, and repair for our experiments and instruments.
V. Laboratory Safety
I managed the reporting and inspections for our county and federal fire and chemical safety permits and managed our hazardous waste production and disposal.