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Speaker profile: Nicolas Yeung

A scientist at DuPont Nutrition and Health, Nicolas Yeung’s research focus is on the effect of probiotics on human health. qPCR has enabled advances in his research, however it also comes with some potential sources of error. We had a chat with Nicolas ahead of the qPCR and Digital PCR Congress, where he will discuss the approaches to tackling these issues.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My days are varied as I wear many hats. If there is a large study whose samples need DNA extraction and compliance qPCR I set about doing that in the lab; if there is a study that needs a new qPCR assay developed I spend my day at my desk testing in silico probes and primers followed by optimization and validation in the lab; as of writing this, I have been trying to optimize our PCR assays with the QX200 ddPCR. I also manage issues in PCR methods that inevitably arise. A focus of mine, at the moment, is to try and contribute what I have learned through scientific publication, but as a neophyte to that area I am still exploring my own writing process. More often than not my days are mix of all of the above, along with the accompanying team/project meetings.

What do you enjoy most about your research?

I enjoy the challenge of developing new methods in the lab, by which clinical trial samples are analysed. I also love working with my team, collaborating to overcome obstacles to produce robust and valuable scientific information. Every day brings with it a new set of challenges to overcome and at heart, I am a problem solver. I enjoy developing, optimizing and maintaining methods in our lab.

What do you wish you had known at the start of your career?

Looking back I wish I had taken to heart the adage, ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’. During my university career I wish I had appreciated the opportunities to absorb different sources of information. I never would have imagined that legal processes or business management skills would be useful. At the time the idea of taking an “elective” sounded like a punishment rather than the opportunity to expand myself. Versatility is an incredibly valuable trait to have and nurture.

Are there any professional achievements you would like to share?

Part of my job is to develop strain specific qPCR assays for compliance testing of clinical trial samples. Every assay I develop is a major achievement for me, and professionally the challenges I overcome help me grow and develop my skill set. In that sense I view my career and professional achievements not as a string of goals accomplished or accolades accrued, but a journey of small wins each day that hopefully add up to a long an fulfilling career.

Visit here for more information about the qPCR and Digital PCR Congress. 

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