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Life at Nautilus

Interview with Krista Cosert – Nautilus Surface Chemist

Tyler Ford

Tyler Ford

February 16, 2023

Image featuring a headshot of Nautilus Surface Chemist, Krista. The image also contains the following quote from Krista, "Nautilus' culture is very powerful. There's a largely non-hierarchical structure which I think works great at a startup. Ideas come from everybody and the culture reinforces the idea that everybody has what it takes to drive technology forward."

At Nautilus, we value cross-disciplinary thinking deeply and Krista Cosert is a fantastic example of an excellent cross-disciplinary thinker. She describes her educational path as “winding” but, along that path, she gained valuable experience in chemistry, microbiology, academia, and industry. She is very well suited to help us develop the Nautilus Proteome Analysis Platform and empower researchers from a wide variety of fields. 

What do you do at Nautilus?

I help make it possible to scale-up production of the hyper-dense single-molecule arrays we use to isolate billions of individual protein molecules on our platform. I love this work because it leverages my experience at the intersection of biology and chemistry. My biology background gives me a good understanding of the DNA nanoparticle components of our arrays and my chemistry expertise comes in handy when we’re getting the DNA to stick to surfaces. Making these components work together in a flawless, reproducible way is my bread and butter. 

Why did you apply to work at Nautilus?

I did my PhD studying how bacteria called Geobacter transfer electrons out of their cells and onto surfaces. While this work always had an applied component to it, I did not have a lot of industry contacts at my school in Michigan and went on to do a postdoc at UC Davis knowing it would put me within striking distance of a variety of biotech companies. I got my first industry job as many do, through serendipitous networking, but after that, I knew I could leverage my experience to find my dream job. 

When I saw an open position at Nautilus, it checked a lot of boxes for me. The technology was solid, the position would place me at the intersection of chemistry, biology, and engineering, and I was inspired by the leadership. In the interview, I was completely sold by my future coworkers. They were all obviously scientifically talented, but also clearly had a team-oriented, collaborative mindset. They encouraged me to ask a ton of questions and the interview ended up being a series of truly engaging conversations. These were all things I craved in a workplace. 

What’s your favorite part of working at Nautilus?

There are a few key things. First, I have great managers who strike a good balance between taking on novel, somewhat out-there ideas and being cautious enough to pull back when things are not working. This makes for intellectually stimulating, productive work. 

Second, my coworkers are awesome. Everyone at Nautilus is very approachable and easy to collaborate with scientifically, but they’re also engaging on a social level. I recently ran the Goldengate Half Marathon and thoroughly enjoyed preparing with my coworkers. They all also make me laugh and are willing to chat about things like LARPing or other nerdy hobbies. It’s the best. 

Lastly, I have to give a shout out to responsible PTO. We have flexible time off as long as it’s approved by our managers. This is very different from my experience at previous jobs. I used to have to accrue PTO, and, honestly, that made taking time off stressful. I can enjoy my time off more knowing I’m taking it when it works best for me and my team. I’m not just taking time off because I’ve accrued it. 

If Nautilus had a superpower, what would it be?

Nautilus’ culture is very powerful. There’s a largely non-hierarchical structure which I think works great at a startup. Ideas come from everybody and the culture reinforces the idea that everybody has what it takes to drive technology forward. 

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