Environmental scientist and cofounder and COO of the biotech startup Pathogenomica, Jacqueline Mejia, CST '12, is bringing her academic research to the marketplace.
Rooted in science
Pathogenomica applies DNA sequencing technology to a single comprehensive test designed to prevent pathogen outbreaks and improve product quality in the food, beverage and water industries. The nascent company, established in 2016, is still finding its niche through market analysis and customer validation.
And while Mejia manages her startup, she simultaneously holds a position as a postdoctoral fellow in the Earth Sciences Department at the University of Minnesota, where she studies fungi that can remove toxic selenium and other harmful metals from contaminated sites.
It’s a busy time, to be sure, but Mejia wouldn’t have it any other way. “I like having this balance, with a foot in the entrepreneurial world and a foot in the academic world.” she says. “In many ways, they can complement each other.”
Mejia credits Temple’s Maximizing Access to Research Careers program for not only preparing her for a career in academia, but also underwriting her tuition to a summer research program at University of Wisconsin. Her work in the program sparked Mejia’s interest in alternative energy sources, which evolved into her current research and led to the launching of her company.
“That summer took me in a new direction,” she says. “I started thinking about how we can use DNA sequencing to study microbe transformations and how that affects our soil and water.”
Three years into her new role as an entrepreneur, this academic scientist is excited about what her future holds on both fronts.
—By Elisa Ludwig