Meet Andrew Jesaitis: Software Engineer

         March 7, 2013

In 2011, I was looking for my next move and happened to attend a lecture given by Gabe Rudy at Montana State University. I was immediately struck by his passion and intelligence about the field of bioinformatics. He ended his talk by mentioning that Golden Helix was hiring, and I decided to apply. During my interviews, I discovered that these traits extended throughout the company.

What’s more, it seemed that my previous experience would provide an interesting context for my  role working on their cloud analysis platform. Previously, I had worked in a biochemistry lab characterizing antibodies that bind to proteins on lymphocytes. Later I worked on algorithms that try to determine the 3-D conformation of proteins from its primary amino acid sequence.

In biology, DNA is transcribed to mRNA which is in turn translated to protein. In contrast, my path seemed to be moving upstream from the study of proteins to the analysis of genomic sequence data.

Most days at Golden Helix, I split my time between web development and maintenance of the backend of our NGS secondary analysis pipeline we built in conjunction with EA. This diversity of responsibilities is what keeps me engaged. Some days I might find myself writing javascript to simplify an account management function. On other days I might be writing scripts that make downstream analysis more productive for scientists.

Providing these tangible benefits to customers is what I find most rewarding. At the same time, the diverse skill set required is what I find most challenging. I strive to simplify the complexity of a backend bioinformatics compute cluster and translate it into an easy-to-use web application.

One of the most exciting aspects of working on Golden Helix’s platform is the opportunity to deliver the efficiency that comes with scale to every customer. Recently, our platform ran a job which required more than two years of compute time. However, the job was accomplished a matter of days. This ability to parallelize the computationally intensive steps of a bioinformatics workflow makes the computing resources of a large private cloud available to a small research group.

I was lucky to find a company like Golden Helix in Bozeman, MT. I grew up in Bozeman, but it was not until I left that I realized how special this town is. Each winter, I take advantage of the fact that you can be skiing in less than 30 minutes or climbing world-class waterfall ice in an hour. And summer doesn’t disappoint either with more granite than your fingertips can withstand.

Becoming part of that smart and driven team made the decision to join Golden Helix simple. Being able to empower scientists each day with our products, services and support, makes it easy to stay.

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