Q: Tell me a bit about yourself.
My name is Taylor Flaat and I am from Panama City Beach, Florida, although I was actually born in Grand Forks, North Dakota. We moved from Grand Forks when I was just two years old and my family has been in Panama City ever since. I grew up an avid fisherman and baseball player, with my favorite food definitely being the homestyle cooking of my mom and grandma! I did my undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences at the University of South Florida and my masters degree also in biomedical sciences from Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. I love baseball and football with my favorite baseball team being the Atlanta Braves and my favorite football team is the Green Bay Packers. Of course my favorite college team is the Auburn Tigers.
Q: Why did you decide to join Humane Genomics?
I decided to join Humane Genomics for two reasons. The first being I believe in what we are doing, not just treating cancer but the method by which we are going about it. Oncolytic virotherapy is the cutting edge of modern medicine and a method I believe has great potential to revolutionize the industry. The second reason is the people. Chad and Pete are not only colleagues but close friends of mine as well, and have made moving from Auburn, Alabama to New York City, where I know nobody and am hundreds of miles away from my friends and family, easier than I expected. We are like a family here at Humane Genomics and I would not have it any other way!
Q: Why is your background a great fit?
I did my masters in Dr Bruce Smith’s lab. My mentor at the time was working on an adenovirus that I got a good bit of exposure to on a daily basis. In addition, my masters project involved a lot of cell culture work. With cell culture work being very important at Humane, this was a good learning experience.
Q: What is your role and what are you working on?
I am a research associate and my work is primarily lab work in cell culture and developing protocols. I am currently working on the cell infections, both 2D and 3D models, necessary for picking our top performing candidates for our upcoming mouse study. In just a short time, I will be working on the large-scale production of those viruses, which is actually pretty fun despite the long hours that go into it!
Q: What are you most excited about?
I am most excited about moving to dog trials soon, as this will be a major step forward for our company and something that I also have selfish interests in as well. I am a very avid dog owner, having competed with my dog, Hagen, in several dog sports such as agility, dock diving, nosework, and barn hunt. We hike as often as we can, and she gets a long walk every day after I get home from work, followed by puzzle and treat toys after dinner. If the worst were to happen and Hagen came down with cancer, I would like to be able to use Humane Genomics’ platform to treat her. I believe we are nearly there with several of our viruses now, and we have promising mouse data that gives me further faith in what we are doing.