Anu George Enchackal, who belongs to the 2013 batch of CEC, is now with Gyros Protein Technologies where she works as R&D engineer. Read on how she could be a part of the team that helps develop a vaccination for COVID 19.
- Where are you currently working and what is your role?
I work as a Software Engineer/Technical Lead in Research and Development at Gyros Protein Technologies, a division of Mesa Labs.
Our instruments used by researchers all over the world to develop applications using peptides. We are also the market leaders in scientific instrumentation in peptide synthesis industry.
- We learnt that your organisation is playing an inevitable and key role in fighting Covid. Could you explain?
SARS-Cov2 like other viruses in its family have spike proteins. spike protein (S-protein) of SARS-CoV-2 interacting with the human ACE2 receptor causes binding to human body. Hence learning more about this virus surrounds understanding the biochemical nature of these spike proteins. Proteins are essentially very large peptides. Hence peptide synthesis plays a huge role in understanding the virus, diagnosis and drug development including vaccine discovery.
Our flagship product Symphony X is the golden standard when you need to run experiments. It’s throughput in synthesizing 24 peptide sequences on a single run is highly useful in accelerating the scientific studies. It has been in use for 10 years and have been used in prominent studies contributing viruses such as SARS, MERS, Zika etc. Any new drug/peptide developed for the use of pharmaceutical industry in the US needs FDA biologic license. In 2019 FDA updated its regulations to have 21 CFR Part 11 compliance while developing a peptide to get biologic license. Symphony X’s instrumentation control software was rewritten to comply to 21 CFR Part 11 regulations and was released to installed base in January 2020. JPT Peptide Technologies GmbH a subsidiary of BioNtech provides SARSCoV2 Peptide Antigens to researchers all over the world that are working on the development of a vaccine. They use 21 CFR Part 11 Compliant Symphony X peptide synthesizers to develop these antigens. News report with Symphony X in focus: https://amp-dw-com.cdn.
ampproject.org/c/s/amp.dw.com/ en/when-will-a-coronavirus- vaccine-be-ready/av-53041849
- What is your role in this R&D process?
I am involved in strategic technical planning of next-generation peptide synthesizer instruments from my company. I am also the proud developer of 21 CFR Part 11 compliance supported Symphony X software. My day-to-day process involves a lot of feasibility studies to achieve faster performing reliable synthesizers. Our user group are scientists, hence understanding peptide chemistry is an important aspect in my day-to-day job. It also involves project management tasks, understanding sales and marketing requirements and managing resources.
- How did you land up in this job?
Post my masters in software engineering at Cal State Northridge, I applied for R&D positions in the US. Gyros Protein Technologies was one of the companies I had in consideration and I chose to take the offer after multiple stages of interviews.
- What is your word of advice to other young B Tech graduates who would like to pursue a career in your industry?
The code you write, the system you design serves and becomes the core component of important scientific research which prepares humanity’s response to epidemics and pandemics. Improves preventive and curative healthcare system. Hence you have to give this job and industry the best. In order to work in this industry you need T shaped skills. Acquiring or sharpening knowledge and skills in your respective engineering activity, and enough knowledge or willingness to learn other scientific and engineering aspects to do your job is a necessity in this industry. Like in any other industry customers and their needs, drive innovation. In this case customers happens to be superheroes entrusted to save the world. Think of your role as a Robert Stark who made Captain America’s shield. And with any product you make in any industry always think about what can be done better.