DNAnexus Snapshot: Five Minutes with Cristin Smith


In a series of Snapshot blog posts in the coming months, we’ll be spotlighting some of our fascinating team members to give you a better sense of who we are.


This week we’re talking to Cristin Smith, marketing programs specialist. Since coming to DNAnexus in August 2010, Cristin has built on her experience with sales operations to take on marketing full-time.

Q: What do you do at DNAnexus?

A: I work on our marketing programs, which involves getting the word out about DNAnexus through online advertisements, e-mail campaigns and the corporate website. I started out splitting my time between marketing and sales but as the company grew, I devoted more and more time to marketing and it is now my full-time focus.


Q: What did you do before you joined?

A: I got my MBA at Santa Clara University. Before that, I was doing R&D in a lab working on forensic science and food testing products at Applied Biosystems. My bachelor’s degree is in genetics, but I’ve always been interested in marketing and sales, which is why I went back for my MBA.


Q: What was it about DNAnexus that attracted you to the company?

A: In addition to being interested in joining a startup, I was impressed by the team’s intelligence and friendly nature.  I also found the vision of the company compelling. I had been one of those people struggling in the lab trying to make sense of sequencing data, so I experienced first-hand the need for a company to do what DNAnexus does. It doesn’t take long to generate a large volume of data, but how do you efficiently get something useful out of it?


Q: What have you learned since coming to DNAnexus?

A: It was interesting for me to learn more about bioinformatics because that’s something I hadn’t really worked on before.


Q: If you weren’t working at DNAnexus, what would you be doing?

A: I would be one of those professional travel guide writers. I love traveling.


Q: Tell us something about yourself that nobody at DNAnexus knows.

A: I was big into the television shows The New Detectives and Forensic Files back in high school — that’s how I got into the science.


Q: Fill in the blank: There is probably a genetic link to: ______________

A: Risk-taking behavior.  There have been a number of studies on this so it isn’t a novel idea, but I think the research is fascinating.


Q: If you could have anyone in history’s genome sequenced, whose would it be and why?

A: I’d sequence Gregory R Smith’s genome.  He started college at age 10 and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize at 12.  I’d be curious to see what genes are correlated with being a child prodigy.


Q: If you could have your genome sequenced, what would you hope to find or not find?

A: I wouldn’t mind finding out that I’m a genetic carrier for a few of Gregory R. Smith’s child prodigy traits.  Maybe my kids would get lucky and be able to skip a grade or two.