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 In Advanced Applications, Cofactor Genomics, Molecular Diagnostics, Q&A

Understanding Disease Using RNA and Multidimensional Biomarkers

Rachel Wellinghoff, Lab Manager, and Danielle Quintanilha, PhD, Senior NGS Scientist, at Cofactor Genomics share why they think RNA is special, why they believe multidimensional biomarkers are the future, and who their favorite office dog is. Watch the full video here or read the Q&A below.

Q: Why do you believe interrogating RNA is the best way to understand disease?

Rachel: When the field started it was all about DNA. Don’t get me wrong, DNA is great, but RNA is very special. DNA is the big picture within our body, or the blueprint. RNA is refelective of what is actively happening within our body. When we get sick, it’s RNA that tells us what’s going on. It’s the communicator of what’s going on in our bodies and we can read that and interpret it. The more we can harness and understand RNA, the better we can treat patients.

Q: Why are you excited to go to work every day?

Dani: We have such a diverse team. I work with biologists, chemists, bioinformaticians, etc. and it really makes us a strong scientific team. I also like the open office concept that we have here at Cofactor because it allows us to communicate with each other quickly and also brainstorm whenever we’re trying to solve problems.

Q: Why do you believe multidimensional biomarkers are an improvement over single-analyte approaches?

Rachel: The answer is fairly simple. Diseases are complex. Looking at them from a single viewpoint is rather limited in scope and doesn’t give us the whole picture. Likewise, using a single biomarker is limited in its ability to help us predict and understand disease. Multidimensional biomarkers give us a bigger picture of how the body, a drug, or disease are all interacting. It’s critical to understand these relationships so that we can better treat disease and single analyte approaches are simply not capable of this complexity.

Q: Why is CAP accreditation important?

Danielle: CAP stands for the College of American Pathologists and they are the world’s largest

organization of board certified pathologists. Being granted CAP accreditation is actual evidence of the quality of the laboratory services. Routine inspections are performed and we have to consistently demonstrate that our results are delivered accurately.

Q: Who is your favorite Cofactor dog and why?

Rachel: My favorite Cofactor dog is Cali. She’s a coworker’s dog and he recently just had her DNA analyzed to find out that she’s a mix between a Lab and an Australian Cattle Dog. She’s super sweet and she loves popcorn and almond butter treats. I always ask before I sneak her treats but she’s the sweetest dog ever. 100% adorable.

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