Name: Sami Belkadi
Title: Product Manager
Working for a company called Ganymede, it's fitting that our product manager, Sami Belkadi, started his career as an aerospace engineer. He now spends his days channeling his experience working in the trenches of lab automation, setting trends and innovating at the frontier of data automation. Get to know him better in our interview below:
Could you tell us a little bit about your background? Where were you before this role?
Before Ganymede, I was a staff automation engineer at HighRes Biosolutions, working on automated robotic systems for wet labs. My role was focused on the integration of hardware and software components, an area that resonated with my background in mechanical and aerospace engineering.
The solutions I helped deploy are currently in use across various types of labs that focus on developing small molecules, biologics, agtech, and cell and gene therapies. Working in the labs of world-class bio companies made me eager to continue exploring the field.
What made you come to Ganymede?
While working in wet lab automation, I noticed that data management was becoming an increasingly present and predominant challenge. Connecting lab automation with data infrastructure can enable labs to do meaningful (and very cool) science. Our work at Ganymede is making that possible.
I'm optimistic that advances in data infrastructure and automation are going to drive the next wave of innovation in lab automation. And of course, it’s exciting to be working in a space that accelerates the development of medicines and therapies.
How was your first year here? Any favorite memories?
Our team has made a lot of progress in the past year, which has been both challenging and rewarding. Continuous discovery has been the highlight for me, discussing use cases that labs are eager to address and then collaborating with talented colleagues to build a solution. I’m looking forward to our progress in the year ahead.
Which technological or scientific innovations are you most excited about?
I believe that precision medicine is going to be a reality in the next two decades, if not sooner. There are current advances in key technologies - AI/ML, gene editing, automation - that will converge to make it possible.
What’s one common misconception, misunderstanding, or misused technology in your work?
People are sometimes eager to capture data from every corner of the lab, without a strategy for how to put that data to use. More often than not, that actually makes it more difficult to generate insights, since downstream teams have to sift through a lot of meaningless data. Investing more in upstream cataloging, and aligning data automation with scientific objectives, makes for a much more efficient and successful data strategy.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone looking to break into the intersection of biotech and tech, what would it be?
Be open to learning as much as possible. The industry is growing quickly, and becoming increasingly more interdisciplinary. If you’re eager to learn, folks in the industry are always willing to share their knowledge.
Also, find your niche. Everyone can contribute, regardless of their proficiency in biology. Lean into your strengths, as biotech and biotech-enabling companies value engineers and scientists from a variety of backgrounds. As a mechanical and aerospace engineer, the interface between hardware and software were the entry point for me. There’s a role for everyone, and certainly lots of progress to be made.