Dayana Argoti, PhD, Senior Application Scientist, Thermo Scientific
An analytical chemist by training with a PhD from Northeastern University, Dayana enjoys the hands-on aspects of bench science. Her work focuses on LC-MS/MS methods development and its validation in clinical toxicology. “What I really appreciate about my work is the fact that in analytical chemistry, the theory and practice are not as divergent as in other fields,” says Dayana. Her expertise is in developing new methods and workflows for detecting and measuring small molecules in low quantities — knowledge that may have large downstream effects on patient health.
Early on, she developed new assays to find hard-to-detect molecules. Her thesis project explored the role of several chemopreventive agents and DNA adducts. By treating tissues with a therapeutic compound and subsequently exposing the tissue to a known carcinogen, then measuring the levels of DNA adduct, the research team could show that certain compounds had a protective effect against adduct development. Because DNA adducts can lead to cancer, agents that protect against their development may also work to prevent cancers. “Despite what George Bush had to say about broccoli, we showed that its constituent sulforaphane is a potential chemopreventive,” reports Dayana.
A newcomer to the biopharma group at Thermo, Dayana is based at the Biomarkers Research Initiatives in Mass Spectrometry (BRIMS) Center. Her work there will focus on monitoring new biotherapeutics for side effects, using mass spectrometry. “I often work on projects with multiple team members. People are not always in one physical location and are brought in for their expertise,” says Dayana. “The challenge is to develop good communications across disciplines, languages and cultures – not to mention time zones.”
As a scientist who works using technical equipment, Dayana believes it is crucial to have direct access to the engineers who have designed the instrument. She can ask them why something is not working as expected or find out what causes the limitations that can frustrate investigation. “By feeding back to engineers what researchers want to accomplish, we provide product development suggestions that push them to include new features or re-work a piece of equipment to enable our request,” she describes.
For Dayana, her work in the bigger picture leads to personalized medicine: “In the future, we will be able to tell from an individual’s proteome that they may be susceptible to certain diseases. By monitoring protein expression biomarkers we should be able to detect disease development early on and apply appropriate treatment based, again, on the patient’s proteomic profile. Earlier intervention and more precise therapeutics should reduce healthcare costs and improve patient outcomes, and that’s what it’s all about.”