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Featured Scientist: Ben Jussila (NemaMetrix)

Ben Jussila graduated from the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities/Minneapolis) with a major in Genetics, Cell Biology & Development. Ben is currently an R&D Scientist at NemaMetrix, where he brings eight years of experience. 

Ben’s work at NemaMetrix has been focused largely on developing zebrafish models of human diseases to functionally test patient variants for impacts on gene function. To help illustrate this, shown above are three images representing what pigmentation looks like in mitfa (melanocyte inducing transcription factor a; nacre) mutants (left), wild type siblings (center) and injected crispants showing variable knockin-mediated rescue of pigmentation in mitfa mutant larvae (right). The efficiency of precise point mutation repair at the mitfa locus can then be measured by quantifying the level of pigment restoration in melanocytes. Tools like these can help us in evaluating new gene editing enzymes, compounds and other technologies for our workflows. (Image details: imaged at 48 hours post-fertilization, brightfield). 

Fun facts about Ben

Q: If you had a pet zebrafish, what would you name it?

A. Dr. Erio/Fish Person/Danny

Q: What is your favorite book or movie?

A: I, Robot by Isaac Asimov is one of my favorite novels, but I love almost anything sci-fi/fantasy.

Q: Where is your favorite place to travel?

A: Anywhere with good food and company! My wife and I love exploring Oregon and finding new hikes and restaurants along the way.

Q: What is your favorite thing about working with zebrafish?

A: My favorite thing about working with zebrafish is watching them develop in such a short amount of time. It still blows my mind that we can observe so many amazing biological processes just in their first few days of life!

Q: What is your favorite joke?

A: Did you hear about the explosion at the cheese factory? (De-brie was everywhere).

Q: What is something you think others would be surprised to learn about

A: When I’m not at the bench, I’m outside chasing reptiles and amphibians. Molecular biology and genetics are my first passion, but herpetology is a close second!

Q: Do you have any hidden talents?

A: I play trombone! I can also do a spot-on Kronk/Patrick Warburton impersonation.


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