Maryam, Lead Principal Systems Integration Engineer, works on multi-cycle assay development at Nautilus Biotechnology, pinpointing and mitigating issues that can arise after many consecutive cycles of probing on the Nautilus Proteome Analysis Platform. Systems integration is the process of fusing together necessary software, hardware, and scientific assays into a functional unit. The optimization and development of these complex systems requires the ability to utilize knowledge from many different subject areas.
While Maryam did not set out to be a systems integration engineer, she found herself to be skilled at bridging the gaps between disciplines and has led systems integration teams at several companies. Throughout her career at genomics startups and work in multidisciplinary research labs, Maryam has learned to think on her feet and adapt to changes. In joining Nautilus, she felt that the mission was a continuation of her desire to work “on the edge of technology” while also providing lots of room for new exploration.
Yes, this part is very true. I have a one-track mind when I’m determined to do something. When I was a teenager, all the novels I read were science fiction, and I was like, “I’m going to work on the edge of technology.” That was my phrase. So, I always wanted to bring novel technologies to the world. Every step that I’ve taken, the majors that I picked in school, the places that I’ve worked, they’ve all been with the goal of being at the “edge of technology” in mind.
Comparing it to genomics, where you have four basic nucleotides and you’re only dealing with those four, proteomics has so many more components that we must consider and identify. The complexity of this problem gave me quite a bit of apprehension when I joined the team, but, at the same time, Nautilus has a clear path forward and I’m very excited about our novel approach. It’s frankly a big challenge, but every time we take a step forward in the development process, it’s actually very satisfying.
Of course, novel technology, novel ideas, tackling challenges and solving them is always my favorite part of my work. At the same time, colleagues matter. I find my colleagues at Nautilus very pleasing and very stimulating in that they are smart people with a lot of bright ideas and that makes it interesting to work with them. I feel like I’m blessed to work with teammates that are really curious and motivated to get our technology out into the world. That curiosity is the key building block in bringing novel technologies to the scientists who need them.
Since I was a teenager, I have practiced martial arts, and I am a fourth-degree black belt in Taekwondo. A few years ago, I started to get involved with learning how to be a referee at Taekwondo events, and I became a national level referee. Then, last November, I became a certified international referee.
Taekwondo is my passion because it has given me a lot of things. Many of people think of it as a sport, but it has a lot of philosophy behind it – such as self-confidence, having respect towards your mentors, having a service-oriented mind, and never giving up – that has been instrumental in my life. Especially since I’m a woman in a field that is male dominated and I’m trying to make my mark, a lot of the lessons and attributes that I learned from Taekwondo helped make me the person that I am. My Taekwondo experience helps push me toward becoming the kind of leader and person that I want to be.
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