Welcome to Enable Biosciences’ Scientist Spotlight, a semi-regular blog post highlighting one of our scientists working to bring Enable’s technology to fruition.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is David Gebhart, and I am the assay development engineer at Enable Biosciences. I received my BS in Engineering from Olin College outside of Boston. Olin is a very small and relatively new college; I graduated as a part of only the 4th graduating class. This close-knit, scientifically-minded community prepared me to take on multifunctional roles in startups and small teams. Before Enable I worked building tissue-engineered blood vessels and then induced pluripotent stem cells.
What about outside of the lab?
Outside of lab I am an avid hiker, runner, and occasional cyclist. The many hills of San Francisco make for a great running challenge, and they pay off with incredible views of the Bay Area. On my bike I have seen hundreds of miles of California, including a week-long ride from SF to LA raising money to fight HIV/AIDS.
How did you find Enable?
Like many of the first employees at Enable, I had a friend on the inside. Enable Scientist, Jesse Cortez, and I have been friends since 2011 when I helped him move into a mutual friend’s apartment. Once I met the rest of the team and saw the potential impact of the technology, I was very excited to join in.
What does an Assay Development Engineer do exactly?
My role at Enable has been two-fold, the initial focus of my work was to help prove the technology by performing a lot of experiments using the ADAP platform, but now I am increasingly working to standardize our processes in preparation for entering the highly-regulated field of clinical diagnostics. This drive for standardization has included implementing inventory controls, creating quality control samples, and working with an outside firm to develop a laboratory information system. I also help out with lab safety and running the automated liquid handling platform.
What first sparked your interest in biotech?
As a kid I always enjoyed building things, starting with block towers in elementary school. As I grew, the building blocks kept growing smaller and the constructs became increasingly more complex. By college I was learning about how microscopic cells can shape complex functional organisms. Seeing the massive effects of microscopic changes has been the highlight of biotech for me. Now at Enable I am helping to detect the minute signals that can have huge health impacts for patients and researchers.