Every scientist runs into it at some point: that moment when there’s a new discovery to pursue but instead of funding, there are only fumes.
For Dr. Jason Bielas, that moment came in the summer of 2015. A Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center geneticist who develops novel technologies and studies cancer mutations, Bielas had just launched CypherSeq, a promising method to more accurately pinpoint genetic mutations. Bielas believes the technology will not only help researchers understand how environmental agents — think cigarette smoke, air pollution — cause cancer, but can also be used to detect cancers much earlier.
It’s one of many new research tools that the entrepreneurial scientist helped develop since coming to Fred Hutch in 2008.
“We follow the biology,” Bielas said of the work done in his lab. “And because of that we’re a little more diverse than you otherwise would be.”
Because his team members often start their progress toward answering difficult scientific questions with the development of new methods, their work “more often than not reveals new insights into biology that exceed the scope of the hypothesis being tested, driving us down new and exciting pathways of discovery,” Bielas said.