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Life at Nautilus

Interview with Aimee Sanford – Nautilus Research Scientist

Tyler Ford

Tyler Ford

October 16, 2023

Headshot and quote from Aimee Sanford, Nautilus Research Scientist

Familial and personal health issues can be incredibly strong motivating factors. For Aimee Sanford, a Research Scientist at Nautilus, her own medicine-induced lupus, her brother’s Type I diabetes, and a youth focused on helping others through work in special education combined to inspire her to look outward and develop a drive to have a positive impact on the world. Aimee considered going to medical school and even spent some time developing diagnostics as a research fellow at the CDC, but says she’s never felt more like her work has the potential to deliver real, meaningful solutions than while working at Nautilus. Why? Read on to find out!   

How did you first hear about Nautilus?

In graduate school, I worked on various projects involving structured nucleic acids. The work was in the diagnostics vein, but a bit removed from any practical application in the near-term. Nonetheless, I had a great mentor who nurtured a very supportive atmosphere that I hope to emulate in all my future positions (the Nautilus atmosphere certainly emulates it). 

As structured nucleic acids play a variety of roles on the Nautilus Proteome Analysis Platform, a Nautilus recruiter reached out to me about an open position. To be honest, I did not originally want to move to California. I was in Georgia for graduate school and was hoping to move back home to the Boston area. Like many who interview at Nautilus however, I was hooked after my first meeting with a member of the Nautilus team. She was clearly motivated to change the healthcare status quo, was instantly ready to geek out about cool science, and was just fun to be around. Now she’s my manager and I’m very pleased with my decision to accept the offer to move to California and join the team.  

Why do you enjoy going to work every day?

My manager is awesome. She knows how to tailor her management style to very different personalities, lifts me up whenever I’m too hard on myself, and always helps me prioritize. 

In addition, my role has changed quite a bit and I am by no means doing only the things I was originally recruited to do. This kind of change is normal for a startup and can either be scary or motivating. With the help of good teammates and managers, I’ve always been able to see the changes in my role as times to learn something new. They also give me the ability to try out new things which aligns with my personal goal of “Guiding others with wisdom gained through self-improvement.” 

For example, as I’ve gotten into a lot more cross-team work recently, I’ve been able to boost my communication skills. I always make a point of identifying key stakeholders on a new project and do my best to keep them informed on progress in ways that are meaningful to them. As I’ve developed these skills, I’ve tried to share them and nourish them in my own small team of mentees. 

Speaking of my team, I’ve also been excited to teach, train, and mentor folks throughout my time at Nautilus. I love helping my colleagues work through problems and gain confidence in their own abilities to develop solutions. I also love celebrating our victories as we run full steam ahead in the development of the Nautilus platform. 

How does working at Nautilus fulfill your need to have an impact?

Beyond mentoring, working here has fulfilled my need to have an impact more than working anywhere else. Although I’ve developed field-deployed tests with the CDC, that work was very rote. At Nautilus, we really are doing something in a very new way that can revolutionize healthcare and, to top it off, Parag makes it obvious why he wants to do it. He wants to help people. He wants to enable scientists to cure diseases that cannot currently be cured and thereby prevent suffering. What could be more fulfilling than that?  

Many thanks to Aimee for taking the time out of her busy schedule to chat with us. If you want to learn more about the Nautilus team or would like to join us, check out 

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