Scientist – Automation
The MacGyver of Automation Science
Just a few months into his job at Recursion Pharmaceuticals with success on a number of projects, August Allen was tasked with designing the company’s new automation platform—one that leverages the most advanced high-throughput biology and artificial intelligence to rapidly discover treatments for hundreds of diseases. That might seem formidable to anyone fresh out of college, but not for August.
Having earned his Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology in June 2016, August was already relentless in his pursuit of new ideas and techniques to improve operational efficiency. With only co-op experience in automation, August selected and negotiated an integration project with HighRes Biosolutions for three robotic work cells—and increased the throughput of their assay by an order of magnitude. This included testing, selection, and purchase of more than 30 instruments for Recursion’s next-generation, high-throughput screening platform. As Recursion Pharmaceuticals’ powerful drug discovery platform relies on millions of rapid, automated experiments and analysis to discover new therapeutics, he served as the key force for this new $3M system, which will help Recursion increase their throughput roughly 10x. It’s not surprising then that August’s work as an Automation Scientist is integral to the company’s core business.
August also built operational intelligence tools using Splunk to monitor instrument logs, including ImageXpress Confocal microscopes, which generate up to eight terabytes of images per day. Advanced imaging is a key part of Recursion’s platform, as it provides rich datasets quickly and inexpensively—and August, says Christopher Gibson, Co-founder & CEO, has been nicknamed the company’s very own “MacGyver.” Why? Because if something fails, August has the resourcefulness—and the python script or procedural improvement—to remedy the problem.
August excels at getting things done. His ability to quickly define a problem, design a new strategy, and implement the best solution is supported by his deep scientific understanding, coupled with a strong, idealistic vision for the future. As August’s career progresses, he is sure to make an incredible impact, driving procedural improvements to create environments where new discoveries and medicines will abound.