Interview with our new colleague, Molecular Biologist, Dr. Carlos Ponce Rojas.
Hi Carlos, we are so happy to have you on our team.
Please introduce yourself to our readers!
Hi everyone! I am Carlos Ponce, a scientist specialized in molecular biology who recently started working at OmniVis.
As the title already suggests, you have a Ph.D. in BioChemical Sciences and worked as a Postdoctoral researcher at UC Santa Barbara. Can you tell us a bit more about how your background prepared you for the job at OmniVis?
I have a long track of scientific work experience in biochemistry, cellular biology, and molecular biology. In the past, I have used that knowledge to answer relevant questions related to protein trafficking and cellular stress responses. With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had the opportunity to apply my skills to combat the global health crisis by developing alternative methods to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus. My journey in biological sciences has given me the skills needed to tackle scientific problems systematically, which helps me be ready for my job at OmniVis.
Why were you interested in joining the OmniVis team?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, my host lab and other labs at UC Santa Barbara worked together to help alleviate the global health crisis. At that time I worked closely with a colleague developing a fast and accessible method to isolate the SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA. I also collaborated in establishing an alternative CRISPR-based method to detect the virus. Afterward, I was in charge of setting up our COVID-19 testing laboratory at UCSB. These experiences allowed me to see how scientific knowledge can be quickly translated into applications to benefit society. After my postdoctoral stay at UCSB, I sought to continue developing molecular diagnostic tools that can help prevent fatal diseases. In searching for my next position, OmniVis stood out as an outstanding and attractive company due to the novel and robust platform used for detecting Cholera, COVID-19, and HIV.
What does your day-to-day look like? What are your key responsibilities?
My day-to-day activities involve testing and enhancing our current diagnostic platforms. Furthermore, I have constant meetings with our team to conceive innovative approaches dedicated to meeting the goals/applications of the company.
What has been your favorite part of working at OmniVis?
I have two favorite parts of my work at OmniVis. First, to work in a niche of impressive, warm, and kind people who work together towards the same goal. I love making science, but it is better and more enriching when you make it surrounded by such an extraordinary environment. Second, the feeling of knowing that the tools we are developing can save lives, particularly in places where diagnostic platforms can be difficult to obtain.
Is there anything unexpected you learned from working in the BioTech industry (or OmniVis)?
I am a big fan of optimizing and making processes more efficient. In my time at OmniVIs, I have learned a lot of tools to be even more efficient and organized! That is a solid win-win situation.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
I used to play in a mariachi group! When I was a child my grandfather taught me music and when I was in high school, I learned how to play the violin, which made me join a mariachi band in which I played for seven years. I still play with the mariachi from time to time when I can!