Edek Williams, PhD, is an Integration Engineer here at Akoya Biosciences. We caught up with him to learn more about his role and background, and his experience working at Akoya.
How long have you been at Akoya and what does your role involve?
I started at Akoya in July 2019, as an Integration Engineer. My role, as a member of the Systems Engineering team involves executing verification and validation plans, evaluating how the PhenoCycler system integrates with other microscope systems and many other hats that come with working in a startup.
What led you to become a biomedical engineer?
I have always had an interest in learning how things worked, I was a child that would take an old VCR apart. I plead the fifth to whether it was reassembled. My father died of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when I was 7, and that radicalized me to want to fight against Cancer. In my sophomore year of High School I joined a program called the Biomedical Engineering Experience (B.E.E.) at CUNY City College of New York (CCNY), that placed students from underrepresented populations in a BME lab, under the supervision of an undergraduate or graduate researcher. There I found that my curiosity in the inner workings of biological systems could be fostered. I eventually enrolled at CCNY, where I took part in programs that gave me mentorship and research experience and set me up to pursue my Doctorate from Rutgers.
What do you enjoy most about working here?
I enjoy my co-workers the most! You walk into the Menlo Park site and you surrounded by a diverse group of intelligent individuals. Everyone is respectful and courteous, the perfect breeding ground for collaboration.
What are you proudest of accomplishing at Akoya?
My proudest accomplishments are when I can be creative. Whether its designing/building a light blocking box for the Zeiss Microscope or finding a clever way to quantitatively measure fluid transfer, I’m proudest when an idea gets executed. Working with my coworkers to start the Diversity Action Network Group (DANG!), has brought me the most fulfillment, recently.
What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?
I recently became a Dad, so my daughter has been my main interest outside of work. Other interests include, genealogy and genetics, NY Sports teams (Knicks, Yankees, NY Football Giants), I still like to take things apart (still not admitting if they get put back together), I dabble in console games (PS4).
How have you adjusted to working during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I think I am still adjusting, to be honest. It can be a bit overwhelming to have ALL your communications happen through Microsoft Teams. I try to work facing a window and get as much sun as I can. With a new child, I’ve taken to working from home as much as permissible and coming into the lab during off-peak hours. I periodically have a PCR test taken to ensure my family’s and co-worker’s safety.
Special thanks to Edek for sharing his experiences! Interested in joining our team? Visit our careers page to browse our openings and learn more about working at Akoya.