Dr. Bri Nett, Biobanking Scientific Lead at Ovation, discusses her commitment to Ovation’s mission to advance precision medicine.
How did your previous experiences and background inform your interest in life sciences and genomic data?
Whilst nibbling on plants from my dad’s garden as a kid, I marveled at the wild array of exotic scents, flavors, shapes and textures that plants were capable of. This fascination led me to the biological sciences and ultimately genetics in graduate school – where I used genetic variation and metabolomics to study how plants produce protective lipid compounds from simpler building blocks (e.g. fatty acids). I also looked at changes in the yeast genome in response to selection for fatty acid accumulation alongside a friend and colleague, Dr. Satiander Rana. Satiander was abruptly taken by cancer in the midst of our project. This devastating loss caused me to rethink my focus and highlighted my longing to translate the principles I learned across biology to help people more directly. Therefore, I decided to venture into the human research space.
Why did you join Ovation?
Ovation approached me while I was working at the Stanford Biobank, and it struck me as a great fit because they were developing their biobanking capabilities with the goal of delivering high quality sequencing data to support clinical research efforts. This was exciting to me because of my background in molecular biology, genetics, and omics techniques as well as experience with biobanking practices, database/inventory management and research coordination for projects involving human subjects. My role here at Ovation has been a synthesis of these experiences and has opened my eyes to the clinical side of research. I love interfacing with our Ovation Research Network Labs and contributing to our group effort to move clinical research forward so this knowledge can be used to improve patient treatments and outcomes.
Why are you excited to get up in the morning and do your job?
We all know that our healthcare system could benefit from more efficient practices, and I think Ovation’s Mission to unlock the research value in leftover samples elegantly addresses many inefficiencies at once, such as: minimizing the time and effort needed for research study recruitment, allowing for better and more nuanced cohorts to be selected for a given purpose, reducing waste by utilizing materials that already exist, and making time prohibitive longitudinal studies possible.
Why do you think Ovation’s mission to help researchers access deep genomic data will be good for life sciences research and patients?
Genomic data can inform clinical diagnosis and treatment practices to tailor medicine to patients, however, the relationship between genetic sequence and a clinical outcome must be established before it can be utilized in precision medicine. Ovation can provide datasets that are capable of establishing these links in support of research studies. Knowledge acquired from resulting studies can inform clinical practices and lead to improved treatments and outcomes for patients. I’m also excited about the potential applications of metabolomics (among other omics) with increasing access in diagnostics, drug discovery and clinical R&D. I’m proud to be part of the effort at Ovation to make access to deep omics data possible!