Geniuslink News

Meet Doug – The Newest Addition to Our Team

Hey everyone, I’m thrilled to be here with Geniuslink! I’ll try to introduce myself a little. I’m joining as a software engineer, having worked in the software industry for a few years since getting my degree in bioinformatics. I’ll share how I got here.

I’ve always been driven to seek interesting problems and figure out possible solutions. In school, I especially liked science, math, and writing. I love having discussions with people from different backgrounds and seeing their perspectives. I also love the thrill of pushing myself physically and seeing how well I can do.

A big part of growing up for me was playing club soccer with a couple of great teams in my home state of Utah. I played left wing, and loved the hard work of pushing myself to be fast, play creatively, and help our team go as far as we could. We won state championships several times and took top ten spots in the United States. We even got to play in a couple of tournaments in France and Switzerland where soccer has a much longer history and deeper culture. An awesome experience!

I found Stephanie early on in school and we have now been together for eleven awesome years. Stephanie is a graphic designer, figure skater, artist, and also a skilled mathematician. We have a lot of fun trail running, biking, and camping together when we can.

When I was looking for what to settle on in college, I got started on a good path by learning about the troubles of a friend that called my attention. I discovered that they had a genetic condition called cystic fibrosis and that it gets worse over time to the point that no one really makes it past mid-adulthood as their body succumbs to the issues caused by a single defective gene.

I learned that the only real hope for a cure for cystic fibrosis and many other genetic disorders was something called gene therapy. I read all I could about it and quickly discovered that this was something I wanted to pursue and help contribute to figuring out. So I studied molecular biology to learn the principles involved in how DNA works and what we could maybe learn to do to fix “bugs” in the code of life to reduce unnecessary suffering these things cause.

I soon felt that a lot of progress could be made on the analytical side of studying the genome and DNA, and decided that I wanted to add computing into my career. So I essentially added computer science to my degree by shifting to a bioinformatics major, which is basically computer science and statistics applied to the study of DNA. I joined a lab that worked to analyze genome data to find novel solutions to assess risk for rare cancer syndromes using gene expression profiles, in an effort to create a cheaper way to not only diagnose them early but to let those with family history know their projected risk (or lack of risk) based on how their genes were actively being expressed in tissue.

From there, as I took core computer science courses and gained experience in software principles and creation, I fell in love with it. Software is essentially finding general solutions to a class of problems and using the power of machines to scale up our abilities to apply those solutions. As school wrapped up, I decided that for now I just wanted to get started in a career and instead of pursuing a graduate degree in bioinformatics right away, I could at least contribute as an advocate, and financially to a degree. I got started in the software industry.

I worked at two other companies before arriving at Geniuslink. Metasource was my first job in the industry. I worked as a full-stack developer for them in maintaining and building tools for streamlining mortgage industry workflows and loan approval fulfillment. Next, I worked at a software-as-a-service company called Briostack, which provides web applications for managing pest control business, including client management, scheduling, technician deployment and route optimization, sales, and a large number of automated reports. I gained a lot of experience in full-stack development there as well.

Hannah, Daphne, and Willow

My wife and I have had three beautiful daughters. Hannah, our first, gave us an unexpected, difficult, but still beautiful experience. After a healthy full term pregnancy, Hannah didn’t get enough oxygen during the birth and suffered significant damage to her organs. After three worsening days in the NICU, we sadly but finally got to hold her as she was taken off life support. We got to feel her little heart beating and listen to the sweet sound of her breathing for an hour with us that evening as we rocked her in our arms and said our goodbyes. It was hard to never see her eyes open and to have the dreams and expectations of our little Hannah taken from us. But through it all we felt we learned so much from her and her heart will always be with us.

Since then we have welcomed two girls into our home, Daphne and Willow. It’s been beautiful to see their personalities blossom and enjoy all their quirks. Also to see them start to play together now that Willow is getting more active at 10 months.

In my vanishingly diminished spare time with two little girls in the home, I like spending any time I can listening to good books on topics ranging from evolutionary psychology to cosmology to consciousness, with some classics like The Count of Monte Cristo which is a favorite. Also, I enjoy following medical research progress in areas that interest me, especially biogerontology, which has to do with the diseases of old age and what can potentially be done to diminish or conquer them.

I’m excited to be here and to contribute toward building and refining the awesome products and tools Geniuslink offers, with this excellent team of talented professionals.

Doug Hawkes

Software Engineer