POA Spotlight#1

Short Bio:
Zak is a researcher who lived in Indonesia for 6 years, studying marine sponges and coral reef restoration techniques. He likes to work with pearl farms to explore the area for sponges, grow them, and study their chemicals for medicine.

In 2010-2011 he worked at Atlas pearl farm at their site in Raja Ampat, West Papua as a trainee farm manager responsible for between 200,000-400,000 pearl oysters. He also performed research with a pearl farm in Okinawa, Japan called Ryukyu Shinju where he studied the chemistry and molecular biology of marine sponge samples as a graduate researcher and lab assistant, with a follow- up as an Industry-Academia Collaboration researcher starting a farm culture trial of about 400 sponges for interesting chemicals and bath sponges. He also began culturing the coral fragmented from the pearling ropes and proposing coral reef restoration projects with government and local businesses. Between jobs in science he worked in Indonesia to support himself as a high school biology teacher, a pearl farm manager, and with non-profits for coral reef restoration and sustainable bamboo forestry techniques. These activities, and occasionally editing scientific journal articles for Udayana University in Bali on space satellite data, inspired him to take the warnings of global climate change seriously.

The ability to support himself doing something he loves is what drives him and what interests him for a career path. He is skilled in chemical and biological research, having experience with analytical chemistry techniques (HPLC, LC-MS, NMR), mRNA extraction and NGS (Next Generation Sequencing), sterile culture technique, and microbial library preparation. He holds a BA in Marine Toxicology from University of California at Santa Cruz and has studied abroad in Singapore and New Zealand, with graduate studies in Japan. He has enjoyed rich and varied life sciences experiences in Asia.

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