OBN BioForward conference

By on October 8, 2018 in Blog, News

I was delighted to be invited as a panel member at the inaugural OBN BioForward conference, held in Birmingham University on Thursday 4th October.  This was quite a different type of conference; focused on creating a roadmap for growth in the Life Sciences sector and, as such, comprised ‘Panel’ and ‘How To’ sessions.

The panel I shared; ‘Making the most of your data assets – IP strategies, platforms and productivity’, was excellently chaired by Rebecca Baines of Fieldfisher.  I was joined by Nigel Groome, Emeritus Professor, Oxford Brookes University, Lisa Farier, Head of Data Analytics, Wilmington Healthcare & Dom Icely, Director at IP Asset.

It was a wide-ranging discussion which ran the gamut of Data & IP and converged on the fact that, as a young company, it is important to begin to think about both elements early on.  It is important to focus on developing important assets and driving as much value into the company as possible.

So, if there is one word of advice from me – make sure that you capture and store data in both a structured and flexible way from the get-go, so that it is at your fingertips when you need it, in a format that makes it easy to use and interrogate and so that it becomes a valuable asset and not a liability.

My 2nd Year at Aigenpulse

By on October 3, 2018 in AigenLife, Blog, News

How time flies!

With it being my second anniversary at Aigenpulse today, I thought I’d reflect a little on the rollercoaster of start-up life. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing…

I was hired into Aigenpulse (previously known as Whitehat Life Sciences) as a Senior Computational Biologist, having worked at a biotechnology group in a large American chemicals company for 18 months after finishing my PhD. Going from a huge organisation to the first non-founder employee was a huge leap of faith. What attracted me to join was not only the idea and the mission but the magnetic personalities of the founders. Their enthusiasm and confidence that they/we were setting out to transform the life sciences with big data technology was equal parts inspiring, on the realms of possibility, but also very audacious for a couple of tech nerds in a small office – all of which contributed putting my faith and career into an unknown entity.

What was to follow was a rollercoaster of learning, including technical, commercial and emotional, and living by the mantra of getting stuff done (SFW version). Interestingly in my first two weeks of October 2016, Tobias’ wife gave birth to their son, Anton. How Tobias and his wife managed to successfully balance a new family addition and a nascent company is something that still amazes me. We quickly added to the team with Sylvain and Ray, then Liam, Eduardo and Wendy. We then out-grew the small room in which we were situated, and the team grew some more – we haven’t stopped since with an office in London and one in Boston coming soon, also adding distinct Sales & Marketing, QA and HR teams! Over this time, my own role metamorphosed taking more leadership for the strategy of the Product and client engagement resulting in my promotion to Chief Product Officer earlier this year.

 

Our new Milton Park office as of September 2018!

I owe a debt of gratitude to Sylvain who really helped me in those early days, especially on a technical level. Also, a massive thanks to our early clients who placed their faith in our small company and, to this day, enable us to make our vision a reality which delivers tangible benefits to their work and science. Finally, a special mention to Tobias – he expects the best, he pushes us beyond our comfort zone and he sets the standards extremely high. He leads by example and has shown on the many difficult occasions those fundamental attributes of humour, humility and persistence which makes working with him so fulfilling. Personally, he has placed a lot of faith and responsibility of the company into my hands, which was hugely daunting but is extremely gratifying being able to directly impact the direction, growth and output of our great Company.

What I’m proud of is the extremely committed and multi-talented team we’re building. We truly believe that the best ideas come from the intersect of multiple disciplines and that is what is happening at Aigenpulse at white-hot pace. I’m very excited and optimistic at Aigenpulse’s future, we’re pushing the boundaries of what is possible and building a product that is showing its value to more and more clients.

In short, I can’t wait for the next two years and beyond!

#AigenLife #AigenpulseCakeDay #StructuredFlexibility #Aigenpulse #GetStuffDone

#TechnicalTuesday

By on October 2, 2018 in Blog, News

Aigenpulse are delighted to announce the beginning of our knowledge sharing series #TechnicalTuesday.

Our team of experts will share weekly technical insights, new developments and even gaming tips. We have a wealth and breadth of technical knowledge within our teams based in London and Oxford who actively keep up to date with new technological advancements.

Ross Thorne PhD, Computational Biologist here at Aigenpulse, is our first contributor to our #TechnicalTuesday series.

Ross participated in the Code Dojo to build a seasonal pastiche using pygame_org zero, as well as contributing to the request handling behaviour of the popular Django Project.

“Keeping in touch with recent developments in the Python community, myself and some of our developers attended Pycon UK. Taking part in the highly anticipated coding events gave us fantastic opportunity to learn and to teach Python”.

Coding dojos are free, open programming events that focus on producing a workable piece of code that accomplishes a theme or goal set at the start of the event, all within a short time frame (typically 1-2 hours).  Novice and advanced programmers team up in small groups, so that mentoring is well facilitated.

With a small time frame and a self-defined goal, other important skills are also honed, such as creativity, and utilising careful prioritisation and focus to quickly produce a minimum viable product, before moving on to any more ambitious embellishments!

In our group, none of us had any experience with the pygame zero (a framework that sits on top of another framework, pygame), so our first task before deciding on what our code would produce was a quick run through of the tutorial to get a feel of how pygame zero operated. We then split into smaller cells, to hunt for freely available assets, and to rework our newly developing program.

After a hectic hour and a half, we had pushed all of our changes to the dojo git repository, and presented it to the rest of the participants.

The second event, part of the sprints, lasted longer, with the idea to contribute to an open source project by onboarding, picking a suitable work ticket, and trying to submit that ticket before the end of the day. With a full day to work on it, it was much more relaxed than the dojo, but again, being surrounded with expertise meant that there was plenty of opportunity to learn from the community.

I would highly recommend these events to programmers of all levels, which provide a great opportunity to interact with the coding community in a friendly and supportive atmosphere, and also provide good learning and teaching experience to those involved.”

If you are interested in Python we recommend you follow @pyconuk and @ldnpydojo and join in!

#TechnicalTuesday #AigenLife

 

Shyama reaches ANNAPURNA BASE CAMP and plants the Aigenpulse flag!

By on September 25, 2018 in AigenLife, Blog, News

Shyama Saha, our Senior Bioinformatician, and her husband Rashid recently trekked through the Annapurna region and planted the flag for Aigenpulse at the base camp.

What an achievement!

There are few treks that combine so many different landscapes and bring you so close to the base of 7,000 and 8,000m peaks in a such a short period of time as the Annapurna Base Camp Trek.

The Annapurna Base Camp trek is one of the most popular treks in the Annapurna region. The trail goes alongside terraced rice paddy fields, lush rhododendron forests and high-altitude landscapes, with the Annapurna Range in view most of the time.

The setting of Annapurna Base Camp at 4130m is unique and incredibly spectacular, set amidst the majestic peaks of Annapurna I (8091m), Annapurna South (7219m), Machapuchhre (6993m) and Hiunchuli (6441m).

When asked how she coped with the low oxygen she simply said that the trick was to go slowly and get used to it gradually.  She added “carrying the Aigenpulse flag was my only motivation at the end otherwise I might have abandoned the trek, I was that wet and miserable by the end of it.

Congratulations Shyama and thank you to Carbon Colour who created the Aigenpulse Flag.

#AigenLife

Andrew’s first year.

By on September 25, 2018 in Blog, News

Marking another one-year anniversary at Aigenpulse is Andrew Rimmer PhD our Lead Software Engineer.

Originally approached by Tobias Kloepper PhD, via LinkedIn.  Andy’s role has transitioned from Software Development into more of a Dev-Ops / Infrastructure position.

In his own words, “I have learned a lot about Python, Django, Web-development, and a host of new tools including Docker, Fabric, and Google Cloud”.  I have also been heavily involved in recruitment and have learned a lot about hiring and team-building.

I would recommend Aigenpulse to anyone interested in scientific software development. There’s a lot happening, with great opportunities for growth and taking on more responsibilities.  We have a strong team full of interesting people.

#Aigenlife

#AigenLife Cake Day

By on September 18, 2018 in Blog, News

Where has it gone?

Where on earth has this year gone?  A year ago, today I was employee number 5 at Aigenpulse, arriving at our small office in Milton Park and being issued with a laptop, business cards and a really smart set of headphones.

Four of us occupied a very small room, which temporarily became a meeting room until we finally caved in and had to reinstate it as an office for our burgeoning team.  We had very kindly been lent the office by the board of one of our clients, who we systematically & politely ejected as our need for space increased and to whom we will be eternally grateful for incubating us.

We now have 21 employees & 5 open positions, so things have changed a lot in a year and we have welcomed 16 new talented people to the team.  We couldn’t physically fit any more bodies into the borrowed office, so, we now have an office in Paddington and a big highlight was our office move to a huge new office of our very own in Milton Park a couple of weeks ago.

The icing on the cake for me this year has been the growth of my team.  I have a relatively new team, but they have performed their socks off already and are a total delight to work with.

I came to Aigenpulse having run several businesses of my own and having been a business advisor for 20 years, but I had been a ‘Jack of All Trades’, with a little bit of knowledge about a lot of things.  Here I am now, responsible for Business Development in a sector I knew relatively little about.  So, the learning curve has been vertical.  I’ve learnt about DevOps, Python, JavaScript, Docker, Agile, CAR-T, Crispr to name a very few.

So why Aigenpulse?  Well I have seen an awful lot of companies in the past, but Aigenpulse ticked every box – A driven and visionary founder, a great team and culture and a brilliant product, which has the capacity to disrupt the drug discovery process and ultimately make more and better drugs available to more people worldwide.

Phew! What a year!

#Aigenlife

 

Structured Flexibility

By on September 18, 2018 in Blog

Why these two words perfectly describe Aigenpulse.

“Structured flexibility” – this two-word oxymoron may not mean much to you. It wouldn’t have meant much to me before a short time ago. But these two words encapsulate our philosophy and approach to developing a great product and building a truly remarkable company.

I arrived at this conclusion after many small but significant conversations and events, culminating with an ‘aha!’ moment whilst cycling home from the office after a particularly caffeine-filled day.

In between planning the next sprint and thinking about the product roadmap, I had multiple candidate telephone interviews and calls with potential customers. In each of these conversations, I kept coming back to the same conclusions.

Whether it was discussing with customers how we enable users to add their own custom aliases to references for a multitude of terms – genes, disease indications, tissues etc – or whether it was describing to candidates that we really do encourage continuous learning and upskilling or that anyone can choose to work from Oxford, London, their home or even a beach in Brazil when the feeling hits, I found myself using the same couple of words many times.

This could be because I need to seriously increase the range of my vocabulary. However, it could also be because, at Aigenpulse, we really do live the best of both worlds and take the best from the plasticity of ‘flexibility’ and the solidity of ‘structure’. More than that, we’re also acutely aware of the disadvantage of being too flexible, where any option is on the table, or too structured, where every decision is made and there is no room for exploration or experimentation or innovation.

In the Aigenpulse Platform, this means enabling users to focus on the data by providing options they really need and hiding what they don’t. Of course, additional options and modules can be added at any time without requiring any significant changes to the overall structure of the Platform.

 

Therefore, Structured Flexibility allows the Aigenpulse Platform to simultaneously maintain the structures of security, performance and properly managed data with the flexibility of dynamically adding new data types, modules and machine learning algorithms.


Front row l-r: Liam Buckley, Wendy Tindsley, Sylvain Duquenne; back row l-r: Satnam Surae, Tobias Kloepper, Eduardo de Paiva Alves

For the Aigenpulse company itself, Structured Flexibility means providing the right environment for our employees to bed-in, contribute and grow the way they want to. We’ve had computational biologists transition to full-stack software engineers and software engineers pivot to become devops gurus – so long as everyone is pushing in the same direction, we genuinely encourage personal development even if it means changing roles in the Company. In fact, we’d be seriously worried if one of our employees – not just in the technical side – felt they hadn’t learnt anything new. Thankfully, this hasn’t yet happened.

We’ve also taken the Structured Flexibility philosophy in our approach to  compliance. Compliance can be a significant overhead and a start-up killer. And we really didn’t want to drive away our great employees with bulky and cumbersome processes. But it’s absolutely critical for us to prove to our customers our software development practices, our Aigenpulse Platform and our company operates to the highest quality, data protection and security standards. Hence, we’ve built fully automated, fully audited and exceptionally lightweight processes that provide all of the compliance documentation required for any of the possible audits that we’re likely to face – be it ISO9001, ISO27001, GAMP5 or FDA CFR 21/11 – for every single commit of code.

So, Structured Flexibility is Aigenpulse and Aigenpulse is Structured Flexibility. We’re always working to be the best version of ourselves. We constantly look to make improvements in all areas of our offerings, our business and operations. Our structure is what provides us robustness, fortitude and longevity. Our flexibility enables us to be nimble, responsive and accommodating. Combined, Structured Flexibility is what makes Aigenpulse great.

 

#StructuredFlexibility

Aigenpulse – Flexing for the better

By on September 12, 2018 in Blog, News

Elaine Winchester, Client Engagement Executive, reflects on working flexibly.

Yesterday, at 11am, I was standing with my colleagues inside the bustling London offices of the social networking powerhouse, ‘LinkedIn’, just about to have a meeting with our account manager about how we can use their platform to shout about our fabulous career opportunities at Aigenpulse.

Yesterday, at 3pm, I was standing outside the gates to my children’s primary school in Oxfordshire, excited to collect them and take them back home for a quiet afternoon (ha – we all know that is utter nonsense, but, indulge me!).

What a day of two halves!

During my train journey home, I really got thinking about the great experience I’d had that day and just how much it meant to me that this is now how I live and work.

Work has always been tremendously important to me and I relish the challenge of taking on exciting new projects, however, two of the most exciting projects in my life, to date, come in the form of my high-spirited and frankly bonkers, 4 and 6 year olds. I am Elaine, the Client Engagement Executive at Aigenpulse, but, I am also Elaine the Mum, (a role I adore but one they really ought to give you a guidebook for!)

Work-life balance is a goal many of us search for and often never find. In the past, jobs that allowed me to do what I did yesterday were pretty thin on the ground or perhaps even non-existent. The dated, rigid, structure of having to be in the office from 9am –  6pm assumes that life and work are entirely siloed from each other, when in fact, they couldn’t be more tightly, interwoven.

Forward-thinking, people-centric businesses are embracing the opportunities that flexible working can afford them and reaping the rewards.

Advancement in technology means we can work from just about anywhere these days which is great for keeping business overheads, low and employee productivity, high! Flexible working also has established benefits of increased employee engagement and motivation.

Happy, contented employees take less sick days and ultimately, longer term, they stay with a company that supports them and treats them like the individual they are.

For me, that’s what separates a good company from an outstanding one. It’s an internal culture that recognises the importance of ‘happiness’ within its team. It’s the focus on the personal development of their people and the opportunities this can create for everyone in the company. It’s the business that hires the talent and builds a working arrangement that facilitates the lifestyle they need to thrive in their role.

Aigenpulse are a company that do just that, and, as it’s National Flexible Working Day, I am proud to work for a company that is driving a change to a healthier, happier way of working and providing me with the opportunity to do what I love and still be there to break-up the after-school-squabbles whilst watching the same Barbie movie, again and again and again.

To learn more about the exciting opportunities available at Aigenpulse, visit our jobs page here on LinkedIn http://www.aigenpulse.com/careers/

Aigenpulse are delighted to be sponsoring Pycon UK at Cardiff City Hall from 15th to 19th September.

By on September 12, 2018 in Blog, News

PyCon is a conference for the Python community, organised by members of the Python community.  PyCon is for Python enthusiasts of all experience levels, from new users to core developers.

A full five days of talks, workshops and collaboration. The event will also feature a young coders’ day, themes dedicated to science and education, and numerous Python-related events.

The original PyCon was formed in North America in 2003, but there are now a number of other conferences being run in the PyCon spirit, around the world. Visit the worldwide PyCon web site for more information.

PyCon gives you opportunities to:

  • See a variety of presentations, panels, and impromptu discussions.
  • Learn about significant advances in the Python development community.
  • Meet fellow developers from around the world.
  • Enrol in tutorials delivered by experts.
  • Participate in development sprints with fellow enthusiasts.

Workshops 

Workshops and tutorials (including a Django Girls workshop) will run on all five days of the event.  Django Girls is a free one-day web programming workshop for total beginners.

In the workshop, you’ll learn the basics of web programming using Django, the free framework that’s behind hundreds of thousands of websites, including huge projects like Instagram and Pinterest.

Django Girls is a hugely successful world-wide project that has introduced thousands of women and girls to programming; it has run at PyCon UK since 2015.

Talks 

Talks will take place in multiple parallel sessions, on every imaginable Python-related topic, from Saturday to Tuesday.

Lunchtime sessions

We’ll have a jobs fair, where you can meet our sponsors to find out about the positions they’re offering, and poster sessions.

Code sprints

Code sprints for a large number of popular Python open-source projects will run on Wednesday.

Evening Events

Each evening at City Hall there’ll be Python-related social events: a board games and manual technology night, a code dojo and a Python music evening.

Dinners

There’ll be a conference dinner on Saturday, and several dinner options at The Clink, our favourite Cardiff restaurant.

To connect with our HR team and hear about the exciting opportunities currently available at Aigenpulse email us here jobs@aigenpulse.com

PYCON UK 2018

Cardiff City Hall, Saturday 15th to Wednesday 19th September

PyCon UK is a volunteer-organised conference, staged by and on behalf of the Python community in the UK.

PyCon is a trademark of the Python Software Foundation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aigenpulse Staff visit Linkedin Offices in London

By on September 12, 2018 in AigenLife, Blog, News

Many thanks to Sheena Conway at LinkedIn for inviting Hannah Jones, Elaine Winchester and Amanda Hodgson to visit their fabulous London HQ, to discuss our ongoing recruitment and social media strategy.

Our Oxford and London offices work closely with each other and often get together for further training and fun social events. After a productive meeting and a tour of the office, it was off to the Bloomsbury hotel for a spot of lunch. #Aigenlife.