Blog

Women’s History Month Q&A with Danielle Zisa

March is Women’s History Month, which celebrates women’s contributions to events in history and contemporary society. To mark the occasion, we are featuring several female employees at Sema4. In the final Q&A of our series, Danielle Zisa, Director of Client Services, discusses the importance of women being allowed to show their emotions and why she views herself as a ‘lighthouse.’ Read the previous installments of this series by clicking here and here.

1. What is your role at Sema4?

I am the Director of Client Services. Our Women’s Health, Oncology, COVID-19, digital, and quality control support teams all fall under Client Services, so we cover a lot!

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Women’s History Month Q&A with Bridget Winders

March is Women’s History Month, which celebrates women’s contributions to events in history and contemporary society. To mark the occasion, we are featuring several female employees at Sema4. In the latest Q&A of our series, Bridget Winders, General Manager of Women’s Health, discusses why Melinda Gates inspires her and the importance of remaining true to yourself as you build your career.

1. What is your role at Sema4?

As the General Manager of Women’s Health, my team and I are responsible for influencing and coordinating Sema4’s operations and solutions to support the generational health journey, including preventative, reproductive, and family care. I have one of the most interesting seats in the house, working closely with colleagues across the company with tremendous clinical and scientific experience, and teams passionate about enabling patients in their health journey.

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Women’s History Month Q&A with Sheila Moran

March is Women’s History Month, which celebrates women’s contributions to events in history and contemporary society. To mark the occasion, we are featuring several female employees at Sema4. In our first Q&A, Sheila Moran, SVP of Sales, talks about her passion for science and the challenges she had to overcome to reach this point in her career.

1. What motivates you to work at Sema4?

As the SVP of Sales, I lead a large team responsible for growing our commercial business in Women’s Health and Oncology. It is a privilege to work with healthcare providers as they incorporate advanced genomic medicine into clinical care. I am motivated to make a difference in people’s lives, and genomics will be transformational to their health. I worked in the technology space when the human genome was first sequenced. More than 15 years later, we are just scratching the surface of our understanding of the human body and the mechanisms of disease. I’m excited to work at a company committed to delivering more effective and personalized healthcare through data-driven insights.

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COVID-19 Vaccines, Explained

Over the weekend, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for a third COVID-19 vaccine from Janssen Biotech Inc. (a Pharmaceutical Company of Johnson & Johnson). Two other COVID-19 vaccines, from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, currently have EUA for use in the U.S., with several others in late-stage trials or approved internationally. So how do these new vaccines work? And will they bring an end to the masks, social distancing, and regular testing that’s become part of our lives?

 

mRNA Vaccines

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s approved vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA)-based. They carry only the genetic instructions to make the spike protein that decorates the outside of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) rather than the protein itself. After vaccination, our bodies’ cells take up those mRNA instructions and use them to make the virus spike protein. Immune cells recognize this protein as foreign and generate antibodies against it to protect us if the actual virus subsequently infects us. These mRNA vaccines are designed to have a second booster shot a few weeks after the first to generate a high enough amount of antibody production.

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Black History Month Q&A with Heinley Gaspard

February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of Black and African Americans’ accomplishments and a time for appreciating their critical contributions to U.S. history. To mark the occasion, we are featuring some of our Black and African American employees at Sema4. In the final Q&A of our series, Heinley Gaspard, Pre-Analytical Operations Manager in our Stamford lab, talks about the role models who shaped his path and why kids need to see people who look and act like them in scientific leadership roles. Read the previous installments of this series by clicking here and here.

  • 1. What is your role at Sema4?
  • I am the Clinical Manager of Pre-Analytical Operations. One of the main techniques we use to detect variations in DNA is the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). I manage all things pre-PCR, so everything from when the sample enters the lab for DNA extraction until we hand over the DNA in the form of a PCR plate for downstream assays.

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Black History Month Q&A with Rachel Brunson

February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of Black and African Americans’ accomplishments and a time for appreciating their critical contributions to U.S. history. To mark the occasion, we are featuring some of our Black and African American employees at Sema4. In the second Q&A of our series, Rachel Brunson, Manager of Inside Sales in Sema4’s Customer Excellence Department, explains why she celebrates Black history every day of the year and how Sema4’s mission resonates with her on a personal level.

  • 1. What is your role at Sema4?
  • I was recently promoted to Manager of Inside Sales for the East Coast. My role involves working with field sales management on the execution of account and sales strategies. I lead an amazing team, which was responsible for pushing through Sema4’s saliva kit initiative to allow patients to collect their test samples at home. We also reach out to patients to help them send their kits back and coordinate mobile phlebotomy, again giving patients extra options for getting tested. Another aspect of my job is working closely with healthcare offices so that things can run seamlessly through our labs. Finally, I help to facilitate a positive customer experiences by coordinating across multiple Sema4 departments to implement best practices.

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Black History Month Q&A with Nate White

February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of Black and African Americans’ accomplishments and a time for appreciating their critical contributions to U.S. history. To mark the occasion, we are featuring some of our African American employees at Sema4. In our first Q&A, Nate White, National Sales Director for Oncology Solutions, discusses his role in leading Sema4’s Diversity & Inclusion Council and why Martin Luther King Jr. and his father are his role models.

Introducing the Sema4 Product Engineering Team

Sema4’s mission is to advance healthcare through data-driven insights. On the clinical side, our world-class research scientists, lab technicians, and genetic counselors work tirelessly to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases using aggregated multidimensional data. Our product engineering team’s role is to ensure that this complex data is presentable, understandable, and approachable for healthcare providers and their patients. The Sema4 engineering team has not only a keen interest in how providers and patients use our products but also a deep understanding of how a product works or should work as a complex system.

Outside of our passionate commitment to the quality of our work, we have strong camaraderie across our team. Our engineers continuously work to learn from each other and pass on their wisdom and knowledge. We believe that we can grasp complex ideas when we can teach them to others.

The Sema4 product engineering team intends to use this blog space to share what goes on behind the scenes to ensure that our applications meet the highest standards and adhere to the strictest compliance policies. We hope you will learn about the individuals and tools that propel our products, and our architecture discussions, research, software experiments, and lessons learned.

If you’re interested in joining the Sema4 product engineering team, please visit our careers page.

Four Predictions for 2021

As we look ahead to 2021, Sema4 Chief Diagnostics Officer Lisa Edelmann and Sema4 Chief Commercial Officer Tom Neyarapally have provided several industry predictions for the New Year. Between them, Lisa and Tom share their perspectives on how COVID-19 will continue changing healthcare, the expanding value of whole genome and whole transcriptome sequencing in healthcare, and how remote healthcare and real-world data will support clinical trials and reduce the cost of drug development.

Read on to learn more about Lisa and Tom’s 2021 forecasts.

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Why Does Knowing Your Family Health History Matter?

Later this week, it’s National Family Health History Day. Knowing your family history is the first step to understanding your risk for cancer. As Sema4’s offerings align to cancer prevention and management, we are marking National Family Health History Day by asking three of Sema4’s Certified Genetic Counselors to answer the following question: “Why does knowing your family health history matter?” Read on to get their insights.

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