About the company:
Anatomic Incorporated is a startup working within the biotech field. The company conducts stem cell research for therapeutics, specifically those that target neurological and neurodegenerative conditions. When Anatomic’s Founders Patrick Walsh and Vincent Truong considered expanding their team to assist with a growing workload, they knew they had to do so carefully.
“Before SciTech, we were contemplating hiring for a full-time role that would be in charge of numerous responsibilities,” Truong said, “but the core reason for bringing in help was actually a focused project, which it turns out would be great for an intern. As a startup balancing rapid growth with fiscal responsibility, we thought the internship program would be an incredible resource to accomplish important work, while also giving us an opportunity to mentor someone.”
Designed by the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), SciTech acts as a small business resource for Minnesota’s entrepreneurs, making it easier for them to find and pay the interns they need. The program does this by offering a wage match, reimbursing employers for half of the students’ pay, up to $2,500 per intern.
“As a company, we’re entering a critical point,” Truong continued. “There was just too much work on our plates for us to bring on a new project. A startup is already like having five jobs, so having someone there to occupy maybe two or three of the jobs while getting our project off the ground granted us some semblance of a life outside of work for the summer.”
Meet the student:
Kyle Knofczynski, a biomedical engineering major at the University of Minnesota, was always drawn to math and science. After taking an anatomy course his junior year, however, he started looking at engineering from a new perspective.
“Biomedical engineering is the sweet spot between the body and what you can engineer,” Knofczynski said. “It’s a way to provide an engineering expertise toward the care of other people. It’s so broad, there are so many different things you can do, and it’s never boring.”
When it came to finding a biomedical internship, Knofczynski was drawn to the research opportunities Anatomic offered, specifically around the work he could do with sensory neurons and human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). Knofczynski had previous experience working with hiPSCs in class and was eager to push his knowledge of cell engineering even further.
Knofczynski’s initial task was to learn and perfect cell cultures. From there the team could use these cultures to plan cell differentiation experiments that would eventually turn stem cells into sensory neurons. He also helped amplify DNA to determine what genes are expressed within the cells.
“That’s a technique that you learn about in class, but don’t always get to experience. So, working on that was fun,” Knofczynski said. “But my favorite part of the job is getting to watch our progress as we go. Each experiment builds on the previous one. When we get that final sensory neuron that we want, we can see how we got there by changing the cells. That’s really exciting to see.”
“Kyle has the right attitude,” concluded Walsh. “He has good instincts and should he follow them, he’ll do well in the future.”
Make an impact on a future STEM professional’s life and strengthen your talent pipeline. Start planning your internship today at scitechmn.org. At least 60 wage matches are available on a first come, first hire basis between now and August 2021.
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