From leading the development of Novodiax’s polyHRP platform technology and rapid immunohistochemistry assays to designing instruments and tools that help improve immunoassay test workflows (e.g. ihc Slide Manager), Jin Wu, PhD has been an instrumental part of the Novodiax team dedicated to delivering cutting-edge, high quality products for our customers. For this first installment of our Meet the Team series, we sat down with Jin, Novodiax’s VP of Innovation, to learn a bit about his work and how that translates into what customer see from our products. Let’s meet Jin!
How long have you been at Novodiax, and what brought you here?
Since 2010. I joined the company at a very early stage with Jianfu Wang (co-founder and CEO), and Song Qing Zhao (co-founder and Chief Medical Officer). I was finishing up 10 plus years as an academic research scientist at Stanford University and I was curious about roles on the industry-side where I could have a more immediate impact through my work. That’s when a friend told me about Novodiax. It was a brand-new startup at the time and I saw a really big opportunity to help advance medical diagnostics to have a direct impact on improving healthcare for millions of people.
Tell us about your role and what your average day looks like
I am very hands-on, and I like to explore and do work across disciplines. Over the past ten years at Novodiax, I’ve been involved in pretty much everything. In the early years, I invested a lot of time in the lab and on experiments related to conjugation chemistry (when we were first developing our polyHRP platform technology and novel applications like ihcDirect® rapid immunohistochemistry assays and companion diagnostics) as well as regular old handiwork around the lab and office. Recently, we created the Department of Innovation at Novodiax to focus on developing new product lines. This is where I spend most of my time nowadays. If you’re hanging around the lab, you will often find me designing, fabricating models and tinkering with 3D printed prototypes for new instruments, diving into the latest research and advancements in immunoassays and/or immunotherapies, and thinking of new ways to help end-user patients via our customers.
What’s the best part of your job?
Getting to explore (which is what I liked about academia) while also being able to have a very direct and speedy impact on peoples’ health. We’re constantly developing new products and product lines, and that means more sensitive diagnostic tools aimed at various cancers and autoimmune disorders, new possibilities in targeted therapeutics, and overall better patient care.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Life science is complicated, and many of the challenges we experience in developing new products don’t always have immediate or simple solutions. You sometimes have to spend a lot of time on trial-and-error before seeing a small breakthrough. A lot of times that requires a good amount of both luck and instinct, but that’s also part of what makes my job fun and rewarding.
What’s the coolest project that you’ve worked on at Novodiax?
Leading the development of our polymerized horseradish peroxidase (polyHRP) platform technology. It was very rewarding, after years of effort and lots of experimentation, to see the polymer conjugation process work successfully. Then we were able to do all sorts of cool stuff with it, like developing a rapid 10-min IHC test for Mohs surgery that replaces “Slow Mohs”.
What excites you about this industry? Where do you see it going?
The potential impact that our products can have on peoples’ lives. There’s also so much change and innovation coming to the field of surgical and cytopathology at such a rapid pace – from more precision to new diagnostic and treatment possibilities. Our technology is really well-suited to help enable a lot of these innovative new applications. And I’m excited that I get to work on that.
What are your interests outside of work?
I have a lot of DIY projects in and around the house, especially gardening and planting. Also participating in Boy Scouts activities with my two sons camping in the wilderness such as hiking, playing badminton, and golf.
One fun project I did was designing Novodiax’s company logo. The fun fact is that there is a double meaning in our logo, referencing the fact that we create IVD (in vitro diagnostics) products. Not everybody catches this at first, but after explaining or playing the animated version of the logo for them, everyone says “woah!” Check out the ending of our instructional video to see for yourself.
How others at Novodiax describe Jin
Friendly, willing to lend a helping hand, inventive, inquisitive, equal parts creative and analytical, knowledgeable, and a man of letters
If you have any other questions for Jin, feel free to leave them in the comments down below or contact us directly. Also, if you get a chance, drop by the Novodiax booth at one of these upcoming trade shows and meet us in person!