Posted on February 13, 2012 by Abizar Lakdawalla, Ph.D
To bring you the best scientific commentary, we've recruited some of our top scientists to blog from AGBT. Here's a little bit about them:
Abizar Lakdawalla, Ph.D., Senior Product Marketing Manager
I have been at Illumina for about four years (which feels more like 40 years!), where I balance my time spent sailing in the San Francisco Bay with working with the development teams at Illumina on defining the sequencing products for tomorrow, and for the day-after-tomorrow. I was recently exiled to Illumina UK for about 13 months to work with the field organization just after the HiSeq system was launched. All in all, I have succeeded in keeping the current ratio of sailing versus work at approximately 0.000001: 1. Before Illumina, I worked at a company previously known as Applied Biosystems, focusing on microfluidic technologies for resequencing sample prep, and then led a technology incubator to rapidly commercialize new technologies (e.g., protein quantitation by real-time PCR). Before ABI, I was the technology director at BioGenex for automated strainers and imagers for in situ localization of proteins and nucleic acids. And somewhere in the past, there was a Ph.D. and a post-doc in molecular genetics.
Elliott Margulies, Ph.D., Director of Scientific Research
I currently serve as a director of scientific research at Illumina Cambridge, where we are working to combine components of whole-genome sequencing and analysis into an integrated process that produces fast, accurate, and informative results for scientists and clinicians. Before joining Illumina, I was head of the Genome Informatics Section in the Genome Technology Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). My lab used computational analyses and high-throughput genomic methods to decipher the genetic information that confers biological function. We also developed improved methods for accurately detecting human variation using next-generation sequencing technologies. My other role at NHGRI was playing keyboards in our rock band – we toured all over the northeast coast of the United States, including Bethesda Maryland, Gettysburg Pennsylvania, and Cold Spring Harbor New York.
I received my undergraduate degree in Biotechnology at Rutgers University in 1995, and my Ph.D. in Human Genetics at the University of Michigan in 2001. During my postdoctoral fellowship, I developed bioinformatics approaches for characterizing evolutionarily conserved regions of the human genome. I continue to incorporate this work in my research today, in an effort to decode the "language" of our human genome and to understand how human variation impacts health and disease.