Meet Michael Best, our talented new Data Engineer at BioStrand.
With a strong background in engineering and a passion for unlocking the potential of data, Michael has embarked on an exciting journey that led him to join our team. His goal? To leverage his skills and expertise in programming and data pipelines to revolutionize the biotech industry.
Michael's academic journey began with a degree in Electrical Engineering from one of Portugal's top engineering schools. However, his thirst for knowledge and a desire to explore the intersection of biology and technology prompted him to pursue a Master’s Degree in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology at VU Amsterdam. There, he delved deep into the world of biological data, employing techniques like machine learning (ML) to gain invaluable insights.
Having honed his expertise, Michael served as a Data Engineer in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, where he actively contributed to the development of end-to-end data-driven solutions in support of dynamic data science teams. His innovative mindset and dedication to excellence allowed him to make a significant impact in the health insurance space.
Beyond his professional pursuits, Michael finds solace and joy in the great outdoors, relishing any opportunity for physical exercise. Whether it's hitting the gym or participating in team sports like football or ultimate frisbee, he understands the importance of a well-rounded lifestyle.
As Michael joins the BioStrand team, we are thrilled to have his wealth of experience and expertise on board. With his track record of deploying machine learning systems, developing robust data pipelines, and championing best practices in software engineering and model deployment, we have no doubt that he will play a crucial role in helping BioStrand build cutting-edge products that effectively interpret and harness biological data.
Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Michael Best as we embark on this exciting new chapter together at BioStrand!
This Is Michael
What specifically attracted you to BioStrand and made you choose us for your career?
I was looking for the opportunity to take what I have learned in my previous software roles and apply them to the biotech industry. The industry is going to keep growing, and I want to be at the forefront of ML applications applied to biological problems. The immune system is mind blowing, and seeing how we as a company can help others with getting products to market faster is really inspiring.
What excites you the most about working with data at BioStrand? Is there a particular aspect or challenge that motivates you?
I find the intersection of machine learning and biology incredibly interesting. Learning about the latest methods for combining different data sources into actionable insights for others is hugely rewarding.
If you had to describe the culture at BioStrand using only three words, what would they be? How do these words capture the essence of the company's culture?
Innovative – We are using state-of-the-art technology and methods in an evolving field.
Collaborative – The team is multidisciplinary; everyone brings something to the table and are patient with helping each other out with their area of expertise. I really enjoy learning through others about different methods we can use to enrich our data so we can provide outstanding new insights to customers.
Flexible – Everyone is clear about the goals we are pursuing, but there is no micromanaging on the details of how things get done, which means people have the freedom to experiment with new ideas if they think it will add value to our process.
BioStrand emphasizes innovation and pushing boundaries. How do you see this spirit of innovation reflected in the day-to-day work and decision-making processes at the company?
An example of this is the team's ability and desire to keep up with new papers that are being published, and then reflecting on how new discoveries and solutions can be incorporated into our repertoire of tools.
Apart from your day-to-day work, what other aspects of working at BioStrand have you found enjoyable or rewarding?
There is a large roadmap of product ideas that we have for the future that are all very exciting. Day-to-day, I know that what I am working on will have a substantial impact for the company's bottom line and future prospects, which is extremely fulfilling. I really like feeling that I am adding value to the company, and there are plenty of opportunities do so within the team.
From your perspective, what do you believe is the most pressing challenge or hurdle that data engineers are currently facing in the industry?
There are a lot of newcomers to data engineering, and the number of tools that are available keeps on growing. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the different choices one can make when developing a new data processing pipeline. Knowing the pros and cons of different tools helps with making an informed decision on how to process incoming data.
Looking ahead in your new role, what developments or advancements in the field of data engineering are you most excited about or anticipating?
I’m interested in the development of data contracts and keen to see whether or not they’ll take off. I’m also curious to see how large language models (LLMs) will help developers as they become more widespread and sophisticated.
Finally, tell us about what you do when you're not working on developing applications.
Currently, I am taking on a lot of weightlifting in the gym – though I also like many other sports and activities. I really like traveling to new places – so far this year I’ve been to a new location at least once a month, which has been fun – and even better now the weather is nice!