Meet the 23andMe Team: Brian Hawthorne

Brian spends his days deep within the heart of the 23andMe web infrastructure. He is a software engineer with long experience in the biomedical field, having previously supported pharmacogenomics and brain imaging endeavors. In addition to being ready and willing to automate himself out of a job, Brian is obsessed with producing beautifully designed, well factored code. An engineer friend once referred to him as a member of the “Order of the Golden Ziggurat” (a shadowy society of engineers fanatically devoted to code beauty). Brian also sometimes works on user-facing features, and actually enjoys writing javascript, though his command of the dark art of CSS cannot match that of the UI wizards he works with.

Brian on the 23andMe service:

“Understanding that knowledge is power, I’m excited to know as much as possible about myself. 23andMe empowers its customers (including me!) by providing them with a wealth of new personal information that would have been completely inaccessible just one year ago.”

“I am also very excited about 23andMe’s prospects for generating novel research results from genome-wide association studies. The expense of collecting enough data to derive relevant findings from an association study is simply prohibitive for most traditional research groups. Overcoming that expense by the economy of scale puts 23andMe in a unique position to pioneer a more productive and fundamentally new paradigm for genetic research.”

Brian on being a 23andMe employee:

“The group I work with here is like an engineering SWAT team. I’ve learned much more from them in the past nine months than I would have working independently or with a company that invested less time finding and selecting the best. The emphasis placed on security is also unparalleled. Knowing that the engineers responsible for our core security infrastructure have come straight from top positions in the online finance industry gives me great confidence in the security of my genetic data. Of course we have plenty of fun here too – Rock Band, Segway polo, movie nights, and meals provided!”

Think you have what it takes to join Brian in engineering? Check out our jobs page!