At Riffyn, we take pride in the fact that we are a scientific partner with our customers, not simply a vendor. We are a dedicated group of people with our customers’ interests in mind – we’re here to help time and again, as often as you need us. We’re all about deep personal relationships as fellow scientists and engineers.
In our “Riffyn Spotlights” blog series, we’re giving you the chance to get to know the Riffyn team a bit better. In this installment, we talk with VP of Science Loren Perelman about his past in analytical chemistry, his interest in bodybuilding and ballet, and what he’d like to see change about the way people engage in discussion. Please note that answers have been edited for clarity.
Q: What is your greatest success story for helping a Riffyn customer?
A: “As trite as it may sound, I really take pleasure in the little wins with each customer. There’s nothing like sharing those ‘a-ha!’ moments with a partner and helping them see how Riffyn is accelerating their work and making life easier. And given how unique Riffyn is, I get to experience those a lot — it’s pretty gratifying stuff.”
Q: What is your background -- what did you do before joining Riffyn?
A: “My educational background is Chemistry for undergrad at Harvey Mudd College and materials science for my PhD at UCSD. I've been really fortunate to have a pretty broad experience set, starting in the pharmaceutical world with small molecule and polymer-based drug delivery and formulation, which transitioned into liposomal siRNA drug delivery. And I've worked a lot in the analytical chemistry realm.
From there, I went to work in synthetic biology at Amyris, where we were working on biofuels, fragrances, cosmetics, and food additives. At Amyris, I sat at this interesting interface between scale up, quality, and chemical analytics — the method development and troubleshooting group for analytical chemistry. I then moved to Bolt Threads, working on making spider silk in fermenters, where I started as a principal scientist in analytical chemistry and then grew to Director of Manufacturing, Quality, and Analytical Chemistry.”
Q: Why did you decide to join Riffyn?
A: “I met Tim Gardner at Amyris, where we became friends and kept in touch after I left. At one of my previous employers, we had been struggling with how to get complex processes articulated across multiple groups. I knew that Tim had been cooking up Riffyn for a few years at this point, and he had a position open at Riffyn. I decided to join because the mission is near and dear to my heart. I thought, instead of trying to solve this problem for one company, why not solve the problem full stop?”
Q: Describe Riffyn in three words.
A: “Data is capital.”
Q: What personal values do you get to fulfill through your work?
A: “I believe in a good day of hard work, I think it's important to put passion into your work, I think it's important to do something that helps people, and I think it's important to contribute to society. And I'm a big fan of operational efficiency. At Riffyn, we're trying really hard to make research and development more efficient so it's less wasteful.”
Q: What does “a day in the life of Loren” look like?
A: “My role is a blend of leadership, technical deployment, technical strategy, and marketing/sales -- so I spend a lot of my day interacting with customers helping them maximize their experience with Riffyn, which could come in the form of high level strategic discussions or low level technical deployment. We’re also hiring for a number of roles so I’m participating in interviews lately (including for my own team), and I also check on several internal projects that we’re doing. And of course I do one-on-ones with my team and with my boss — so a lot of context swapping throughout the day.”
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A: “I body build for about 1-2 hours a day, and I eat a lot of food as a result - so, yes, eating is a hobby. I’ve also been playing guitar and various instruments for over 20 years. I read — I really like autobiographies, literature (especially Pulitzer books), and science fiction. I like all sports in general, and one thing that surprises people is that I enjoy watching ballet.”
Q: If you could solve one major problem, what would it be and why?
A: “Obviously, there are the low hanging fruit answers to this question - hunger, conflict, etc., and I would certainly want to solve those issues first and foremost, but I am going to focus on a more pragmatic answer. I really wish we could get people to discuss issues in the context of their value system and not on their face as a proxy for their value systems. I think the problem we suffer in political discourse is that people use policy as a proxy for how they feel about the way the world should work, and it's a very poor substitute. So we're not able to find common ground to forge compromise because if you're arguing at 20,000 feet, you don't really have a view of what's happening on the ground.”
If you're interested in joining a dynamic group of people passionate about helping scientists discover more, please visit our Careers page at riffyn.com/careers or send a letter of inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org
Embriette is an academic-turned science writer with a passion for spreading responsible science. She holds a PhD in microbiome research from Baylor College of Medicine. After a 4-year post-doc, during which she managed the world's largest citizen science research project (the American Gut Project), Embriette became a full-time science writer and research consultant. You can find her work at riffyn.com, synbiobeta.com, and her personal webpage: drhydenotjekyll.com