• Women in Science – Sr. Researchers and Lab Manager

    Senior Research Associate, Justine Paniagua

    Posted on Sep 20, 2017

    We are creating a series highlighting women in science. We interviewed Tania Weiss, PhD, founder of Marin Biologic Laboratories Inc. Today we talk with Laboratory Manager and Senior Research Associate, Justine Paniagua.

    I gravitated early on towards Molecular and Cell Biology and Immunology, and their applications for improving human health. These subjects were really exploding when I was in high school and college, the potential advancements were so exciting, and the equipment was so cool. And twenty years later, I feel the same. Bio Pharma was a natural fit for me. It is by definition interdisciplinary, applying all of the advancements from my favorite scientific fields with practical applications for human health. This is especially true at my company, as I am continuously working on new projects for a diverse range of clients. Because the subject matter and skills required are always different, I am able to draw upon (and improve upon) all of my knowledge and experience on a regular basis. Women in science

    I’ve loved Biology all my life. My first “science” class in 3rd grade was a revelation, and I’ve never really considered doing anything else. As scientists, we tend to set for ourselves a difficult but potentially solvable problem, and then use our intellect and inventiveness, along with the amassed information and invention of human history, to tackle the problem.

    I believe that understanding the human biome is going to be one of the greatest endeavors of the next generation. If I were starting out fresh today, human biology would probably be what I’d study, that or bacteriophages, which are a promising alternative to antibiotics for multi-drug resistant bacterial infections. Understanding the human brain will also be a big trend for future research. Right now, we’re making huge strides in tumor-specific cancer treatments. We’re finally seeing successes in tailoring treatments to individuals based upon the mutations that led to their specific disease, or by blocking a specific pathway of tumor progression. All of the basic scientific advancements that cell biologists and geneticists have made in understanding the root causes and methods of disease progression are yielding results for applied sciences now. I expect advancements in understanding the human biome and brain will lead to similarly revolutionary therapies in the future.

    In the assay business in particular, the instrumentation is getting ever more capable. Multiplex assays are becoming more accessible for the average science lab. We have a beautiful new flow cytometer with which I can perform assays that only the top research labs in the country could do ten years ago. It’s just another example of how lab equipment represents generations of genius ideas. We are always part of something greater than ourselves, achieving what no single human being could achieve alone, and yet it is our individual deductive reasoning, determination, and creativity making the difference in the moment.