Akiyo has moved to the hill as part of the KBase relocation to the new Integrative Genomics Building (IGB). KBase, or the Department of Energy Systems Biology Knowledgebase, is a software and data platform designed to meet the grand challenge of systems biology: predicting and designing biological function. KBase integrates data and tools in a unified graphical interface which makes it easier for researchers to run a large-scale analysis of their data.
Akiyo is a front end developer, which means she designs and codes the user interface for the KBase web app.
In her spare time, she enjoys rock climbing and making things.
Elements: Akiyo, before you came to the Lab in 2018, you worked at a number of technology and biotech companies. But your degree is from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in aeronautical engineering. How did you get from designing planes to designing the future of biology?
Akiyo Marukawa: I became a system controls engineer at GE Power Systems right after college. Gas turbines are nothing but bolted down jet engines, so it was easy to learn. I always loved my programming part of my job, and I wanted to visualize manufacturing data for my team while I was at Genentech. A lead software engineer told me I should try studying Full Stack Engineering and since then I have never looked back.
Elements: How is your work advancing the Lab’s research in the biological sciences?
Akiyo: I am advancing our mission by helping scientists advance the Lab’s research by making the KBase web app easier and faster to use. I find it exciting to see how the work I produce makes it easier and faster for them to do their work.
Elements: The Lab’s main location is not that far away from your current location in Emeryville. What are you looking forward to once you are co-located with the Joint Genome Institute team and others on the hill?
Akiyo: The wildlife and the grand view. You would never spot a deer or turkey in Emeryville. It will be nice to be able to take a quick break, rest my eyes while I look at the greenery that makes up the campus. I am also looking forward to meeting people outside of the goofy KBase team. Come meet us; you will find that we are plenty entertaining!