Hi there! I’m Maria Nattestad, founder and chief excitement officer of OMGenomics. I have gone through a fast transition from biologist to bioinformatician to scientific web application developer, and now I’m starting a company to share what I have learned and bring awesome data visualization tools into biology.
Here’s the short version of my story: I did my undergrad in straight-up molecular biology, but right at the end I discovered that bioinformatics existed (and looked pretty cool), so I spent the last year squeezing as much coding and math into my head as possible.
I managed to cram enough in there that bioinformatics PhD programs and faculty took me seriously, and here we are. I just graduated from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s PhD program, the unparalleled Watson School of Biological Sciences, with a thesis entitled “Computational methods for analysis and visualization of long-read sequencing data in cancer genomics.”
My favorite activities during graduate school were building my computational methods into web applications and visualization tools. As an entrepreneurship dry-run, I also filmed a small video course called Plotting in R for Biologists, which has surprisingly resulted in people recognizing me at conferences and coming over to talk to me (which always makes my day!).
Now that I have that hard-fought PhD, I am embarking on a new experiment: I am starting my own business based on building powerful data visualization software for genomics and creating online bioinformatics courses.