Employee Spotlight: Itxaso Garay

We know that creating a more sustainable world will take all of us. And everyone on the Perfect Day team plays a crucial part in helping us achieve this common goal.

Itxaso Garay is an example of the thoughtful, passionate people who drive our mission. As an Associate Scientist who has recently joined our Discovery team from High-Throughput Screening, Itxaso embodies the optimism and determination of Perfect Day in so many ways.

We sat down with Itxaso to learn about her work on the Discovery team, her lab superpowers and more…

What initially drew you to Perfect Day and what has changed since your time here?

Sustainable agriculture and how we can improve the food ag space has always been a big interest of mine. I wanted to work in a field of science that I am passionate about.

I am vegan and had heard of Perfect Day so it was the right opportunity to align my values with my goals and also learn more about precision fermentation!

At Perfect Day, I am constantly learning new things with every project I am working on. It’s very rare that I have a typical routine since the current project I am working on has taken so many different routes, but I love getting to work with different people and stay up to date on new scientific research. I also love getting to share ice cream that my company made with my friends and family!

What about sustainability specifically motivates you?

I feel a responsibility to do everything I can to find climate solutions for a more habitable, equitable world. I am lucky enough that I have a skillset that allows me to work for a company whose mission and product aligns with my passion for making the world a better place.

I have always been curious about the natural world so sustainability feels like a good fit.

What is the high-throughput screening team in charge of? What was the project that made you shift to DISCO (Discovery)?

I joined the high-throughput screening team (HTS) in April of 2021, where I worked on a technology development project with aggressive goals. In the last quarter of 2021, we were able to advance the project to the point that DISCO agreed to take over the technology for further development – and I stayed with the project, becoming a member of the DISCO team. DISCO has a ‘scrappiness’ I really love, I welcome “high risk, maybe will fail, definitely unexpected” projects.

My mindset is to always design experiments based on the idea that you’ll fail and what can you learn from those failures “or didn’t work exactly as it was planned”.

Can you share your Tuesday schedule with us? What did each hour of your day look like?

I am onsite most days and Tuesday is the day that the other member of my team in Berkeley, Janine Lin, is on site. We take advantage of this by booking out a room with a huge whiteboard for a few hours to check in, talk about data, and plan our next steps. The whiteboard gets covered with ideas and graphics from our brainstorming. This kind of problem solving is a lot of fun and my one of my favorite parts of science. I will spend the rest of the day finalizing data or setting up experiments based on our conversation. Alternatively, I might spend the afternoon in the lab working on experiments for our project and listening to music or a podcast while I am busy.

What’s your lab superpower? What do people in your lab know you for?

My superpower is my ‘Move Fast’ mindset, I try to work by being adaptable and showing great flexibility in the ever-changing scope of the project I lead.

People know for my love of meeting new people and getting to interact with different work styles. New people and ideas energize me.

What is it about you that most folks don’t know?

That’s tough – definitely a few things come to mind.

I love to travel, did a lot of that before the pandemic – I’ve been to 5 continents

I like going to concerts – live music is the best, I love the energy of crowds

I like trying new things – so I never order the same thing on the menu twice and I am constantly trying out new hobbies.

Last one – I’m a BIG fan of the show Survivor – I am actually trying out this year.

What PD launch were you most excited for? Why?

I was excited by the partnership with Coolhaus. They have delicious and inventive products that I am excited to share with my friends. I also like that they are another small scrappy company that is out here making a significant impact. It seems like a notable example of staying true to what made you passionate in the first place and finding success that way.

We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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