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VIDEO: Psomagen Celebrates International Women in Science Day 2024

Psomagen's product management team

VIDEO: Psomagen Celebrates International Women in Science Day 2024


Enjoy our interview with three stellar Psomagen Product Managers to commemorate the international day of Women & Girls in Science. In this video, they discuss their experiences in education and scientific research, as well as their hopes for the future.

In the video:

Linda Orzolek, Single-Cell & Transcriptomics Product Manager

Abhilasha Cheruku, Genomics Services Product Manager

Lori Mull, Spatial Biology & Olink Proteomics Product Manager



How did you get started in science?

Linda: I was born and raised in Baltimore, I ended up at LaSalle University for my undergrad in biology. While I was there I was lucky enough to have a professor who was able to get me an internship working for the US Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, where we were using microarrays to study responses to chemical weapons exposure. I spent the next 20 years (almost) of my career at the microarray/sequencing/single-cell core at Johns Hopkins, which I was running as director for the last 3 years. So just trying to assist a variety of researchers across the country and sometimes across the world in being able to access technologies that are a little too expensive sometimes or too highly technical for everyone to be able to do in their lab.


Abhilasha: I was born and brought up in India. Then to pursue my Masters degree I moved to the United States. I have a Masters in Chemistry. Following my graduation, I've been in this industry for over 15 years. I worked both in academic research as well as in the industry addressing different challenging questions and using different sequencing applications, microarray applications. I've done a lot of extractions and have been a technical support person. The last six years, it's been mostly on the technical scientist support roles, which means customer-facing challenging questions.

Lori: I was a late bloomer Gen-X kind of slacker, who didn't really know what she wanted to do. I was a farm kid, so I grew up really curious about how everything worked, especially animals. I went to undergrad, and I had the most amazing professor.  I remember doing this assay, it was just a canned biological  enzyme assay. I figured out the trick  to graph it — because you can't divide by zero, so I figured out a way to do it that made it look cool. And when I  saw our data, I was so excited because it was beautiful. And that was it, I was bitten, I was ruined for life, I was going to be a biologist and that's just the way it was. Then for my grad work, I filled out the application to go to Hopkins because it was free. And lo and behold, I got in. I was sure I was going to get kicked out at the Masters because my program was Masters/PhD program. It was the hardest academic thing I've done in my life. I've been in the industry over 20 years. I started out in tech support and really loved it, I was an FAS supporting  spatial biology and then cell and gene therapy. Spatial biology is cool on every level. Now I'm a product manager here and I get to learn SO much more, it's unbelievable. Every day I learn something new.

What are some challenges you faced and important lessons you've learned along the way?

Linda: To me it's twofold, one because I don't have the PhD. I was advised in my first role by a couple of PhDs, "Whatever you do, don't get one."  That sounded like a good idea on my part because it meant I could spend more time in the lab. But at the same time as my career grew, I kind of felt like I was always a little bit behind, I hadn't gone through the same experiences that other people had. I had to learn to ask questions. That's one of the things I tell my daughter right now, you need to ask questions. The other half of it is also to be comfortable with who you are. To know that it's okay to not get a PhD. It's ok to have confidence that you do know what you're talking about, that your experiences have given you insight so that people can look at you and say, "Well you don't have a PhD but you're still an expert in your field." And there are people who don't like that, but there's also a large majority of people who do appreciate the fact that you're willing to stand up and say, "Hey, I can do this," because you're being you and you're not trying to fit into someone else's mold along the way.What is your current role and what is your favorite part about it?

Abhilasha: My current role at Psomagen is Product Manager for Genomics Services specializing in whole genome sequencing, whole exome sequencing, epigenomics, shotgun, and metagenomics applications across both the platforms — short read as well as long read sequencing. In this position, I am privileged again to work with  a diverse range of customers. That will give me an opportunity to learn new research, new technology that the customers are working with, and definitely will pave a way to innovative advancements.

What does the future look like for women in STEM and what's something you'd say to young girls getting started?

Lori: I think we're headed in the right direction. I think that there are so many positive things coming out. If I talked to younger women or really anyone who's interested in science, I would always say, do what you like, do what you're interested in, and just keep doing it. If you really really love it, you are going to find your  place eventually. You'll find the niche that works for you.