Meet the Vizgen Team: Sam Aviles

Q&A with Sam Aviles, Vizgen Reagent Production Supervisor


What is your favorite quote?

“Do or do not. There is no try.” ~Master Yoda

How did you end up at Vizgen? Why did you choose to join the team?

Sam: Shortly after my graduation from Brandeis, I worked in Dr. Jeff Moffitt’s (at the time) new laboratory for about two years helping to improve MERFISH technology in any way I could. When Dr. Moffitt had announced to his lab the formation of Vizgen, I hadn’t yet decided to switch from my academia career path to an industry one. To be honest, I didn’t even realize industry was an option for someone so fresh out of undergrad. But when I started the process of looking for my next job, Dr. Moffitt put me in touch with Jiang He, Vizgen’s Director of Scientific Affairs and co-founder of the company. I still had experiments I wanted to finish in  Dr. Moffitt’s lab, so I wasn’t really looking for the next job nor was I certain of leaving my academia path. However, Jiang was very generous in discussing the idea of a switch to industry with me.

And then the pandemic hit. As Jeff’s lab was moved into a work-from-home format, I found myself unable to continue my experiments. Jeff encouraged me to bump up my timeline for my next adventure, and Vizgen was one of the companies I interviewed with. I was already hooked on MERFISH by the time I started in Jeff’s lab, so meeting the team at Vizgen was all I needed to know that this was where I wanted to work and continue helping to make MERFISH the best spatial transcriptomics tech in the field!

Why did you become a scientist? What drew you to this field?

Sam: I was a petri dish baby, so my birth was literally a product of modern science. Besides the fact that I’ve been intertwined with science since before my birth, I always enjoyed my science classes the most growing up, even before I knew that I had been conceived via IVF.

My parents always encouraged me to follow the path that I wanted to, and eventually, that led me to the Neuroscience program at Brandeis. I always found learning how the brain works so fun, especially how the brain interacts with other parts of the body like the gut. Spatial transcriptomics technology opens the door to ever more impressive ways of unlocking the secrets of not just the human brain, but the entire human body! So, starting this journey of working with MERFISH technology was a no-brainer (pun intended) and I can’t wait to see what else we accomplish!

What do you like about working at Vizgen?

Sam: The people! Everyone is so generous and willing to lend a hand. We’re all a team so when one of us succeeds we all do!

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

Sam: Frisbee tossing, board/video gaming, and watching/reading/theorizing about anything and everything Star Wars, MCU, Critical Role, Dragonball, or One Piece


Interested in working with Sam and the entire Vizgen Team? Visit our careers page to review current openings.