Josh Berman

Josh is one of the newest members of the ALS Therapy Development Institutes’ (ALS TDI) science team. He began in October of 2019 as a research intern as part of the Precision Medicine Program (PMP) but has now transitioned into a full time role as an Associate Scientist I as of January 2020. In his role he handles and prepares the in home blood samples that are collected as part of the PMP to check for certain biomarkers of disease progression. Josh originally heard about ALS TDI through a friend of his dad, who had met Dr. Steve Perrin, the President, CEO and Vice Chairman of ALS TDI, after working with him at multiple fundraisers. Josh was struck by the passion that the scientists had for their research and the ALS community as a whole. “After the first time out with Fernando and hearing both from him and other people who work here, why they’re here and what their job means to them. It really struck me as a place where people want to come to work and care about the research they are doing,” said Josh. “That was something I really wanted to join and contribute to.” Josh wants to continue to work in research because he likes “learning and thinking about science and being able to do this as a career is really fulfilling and enjoyable.”

Josh recently graduated from Boston University where he studied Neuroscience and Math. When he’s not working at the lab he likes to spend his time watching sports, mostly football and soccer, playing video games and reading comic books. His favorite teams to watch are Everton for soccer and the Patriots for football. His favorite video game to play is FIFA and his favorite comic book series is the Incredible Hulk because that is his favorite superhero. One fun fact about Josh is that he is able to complete a Rubik’s cube of any size.

 

Nicole Chen

Nicole has been a member of the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) team since November 2018. She is an associate scientist I and is a part of the Translational Research group. One of her main tasks is reprogramming fibroblasts into Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (IPSC’s) that can be used in all the experiments that take place in the lab. This process takes multiple months but after it is done the IPSC’s can be differentiated into the specific cell types that are needed for an experiment. On top of this she has been nicknamed the “mother” of the flow cytometry instrument. This instrument is used to differentiate between different cell types and then sort them while also giving quantitative and qualitative data about the cells. Nicole discovered ALS TDI through her advisor at Northeastern and is grateful she did. “I came for the interview without knowing much about ALS,” said Nicole, “The interview lasted all afternoon and I was introduced to what ALS is, what we do here and the history of the company. I left so interested in the company I knew it was where I wanted to work.” Her favorite part of working at ALS TDI is the close knit team and friendly atmosphere in the lab. “The team is amazing,” she said. “Everyone was so helpful to me when I first started it was a great transition and I feel like I learned a lot from my time here.”

Nicole graduated from Northeastern University with a Biology major, and both a Math and Business minor. Outside of the lab she is very active in sports. She is a member of a sailing club during the summer, enjoys snowboarding during the winter and routinely plays tennis and swims. She also takes a Sassy Hip Hop dance class with Monica, another scientist at ALS TDI. One fun fact about Nicole is that she plays the guzheng, a traditional Chinese plucked string instrument that dates back over 2,500 years.

 

Nick Hellmann

Nick joined the ALS Therapy Development (ALS TDI) Team in early May of 2019 as an associate scientist II on the Translational Research Team. He works with the robotics and automation side of the lab working on protocols that can automate the tasks that otherwise would need to be done by hand. His favorite piece of equipment to work with is the Cor2D2, a system that can complete a variety of tasks ranging from looking at how plates are growing to liquid transfers. “That system is one of the largest that I have ever worked with and it is complex but it also very rewarding when you can get a protocol finished and tested,” said Nick. “It takes more of a load off of what the researchers need to do.” The Cor2D2 helps to speed up the processes in the lab while also allowing it to run virtually 24/7. “We often have overnight runs that go for several hours which would just be impossible for the scientists to do that by hand,” said Nick. He originally found out about the position through a recruiter and after visiting the lab and meeting other members of the science team he knew this was where he wanted to work. “The position was something that I would definitely want to work in. It seemed like something where there’s a lot of work to be done for it and it has the potential to have an impact on so many lives besides my own,” he said.

Nick graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2018 with a major in Molecular and Cell Biology with a minor in Bioinformatics. “It’s funny, I’ve kind of switched my minor and major,” said Nick. “What I’m doing now is really considered bioinformatics work, the computer and automation side of the biology process, but I do still have that background in cell biology.” Outside of the lab Nick enjoys going for bike rides and has recently started mountain biking as well. He rode in the 2019 Tri-State Trek just over a month after starting at ALS TDI. When he’s not out riding a bike you can find him in the kitchen where he loves to bake or listening to a science fiction audio book. One fun fact about Nick is that he really enjoys doing pottery, a skill he learned after taking art classes in high school.