Marc is one of our DNA Day 2016 experts.
CEO at DNAstack
I was born/grew up in: Toronto, Ontario
I now live in: Toronto, Ontario
I completed my training/education at: University of Toronto
Describe what you do at work.
I develop software that helps researchers and doctors manage large amounts of genomic data. This involves computer science and some math, and in fact quite a bit of creativity and digital art in order to craft an aesthetic website and good user experience for our customers. We mainly use laptops and cloud infrastructure to develop our code and to run it. We have to make a lot of careful decisions. Genomic information is inherently private, it's like a fingerprint. There is a lot to consider when building technology that effectively shares the most unique part of people across the internet. We engage the public a lot to hear concerns about privacy and security and make sure those concerns are translated into our technology.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
Advances in genomics promise to change the way medicine is practiced, in many ways. They will improved our abilities to assess risk, diagnose, and treat patients who have or may develop genetic diseases. Technology is currently the biggest driver in genomics, and so we're very excited to contribute to the effort of trying to make people healthier through technological advancement.
What motivates you in your career?
One of my best friends is affected by a genetic disease and is an incredible inspiration for me. We're all touched by people who have or develop a genetic disease, and I see my career in building genomics technologies as the best way I can apply my skillset to improve the lives of people like my friend. Technology is disrupting so many industries -- communication, news, transportation -- and I see healthcare as the most valuable industry to positively disrupt using technology.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
Coming out of high school, I liked maths and sciences. So I chose a university program that combined both of them, called bioinformatics. Bioinformatics was a little known field at the time, with a broad purpose of using computer science to solve problems in biology, which has exploded as we have better ways to digitize biological worlds. I took research internships and eventually pursued graduate research in the area of genomics.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
I find the best way to relax and inspire creativity is to put myself in a new environment and culture, which is why I love to travel. I play golf in the summer and hockey in the winter.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
Trust your gut and do what you love.