Meet the 23andMe Team: Cary Kempston

Cary, a software engineer at 23andMe, works on a wide variety of systems, from processing raw data from the lab to working on the customer-facing website. Most of the site is developed in Python on top of MySQL and Apache, all running on Linux. Cary has mostly worked on the backend of the website, and most recently worked on large parts of the 23andWe infrastructure.

Cary on the 23andMe Service:

“I really like the genetic comparison feature. It’s interesting to see both how close we all are genetically and how human migration patterns are reflected in our genetics.”

“Also, my parents are 23andMe customers too, and it’s been interesting to see through the Compare Genes feature that I’m more similar to my mother than my father in genes that relate to circadian rhythms and pigmentation. I do have my mother’s complexion and eye color, and I’m a night person just like her (my father’s a morning person).”

“I also have a personal interest in 23andWe, the research part of 23andMe. In addition to having worked on the feature, I’m also interested in the research opportunities provided by it. I, my mother, and her father all suffer from congenital anosmia – the lack of a sense of smell. Little is known about it because it’s very rare and not considered very serious (and generally isn’t, unless there’s a gas leak). It would be almost impossible to fund a traditional research project on congenital anosmia, but perhaps with the low-cost research opportunities afforded by 23andWe, we’ll finally be able learn more about its genetics.”

Cary on being a 23andMe employee:

“I joined 23andMe as a software engineer after studying computer science at Stanford. I had previously been interested in biology, but my engineering classes didn’t leave me with too much time to study the hard sciences. It almost feels like I haven’t left school because I’m still learning new things every day.”

“I feel lucky to have joined such a great company – although I started right out of school, I was given real responsibilities right away, and quickly saw my contributions go live on the site.”


Think you have what it takes to join Cary on the engineering team? Check out our jobs page!






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