Celebrating Dr. Carlos Bustamante, National Hispanic Heritage Month 2021

Having a father as an infectious disease doctor brought Carlos Bustamante an early exposure to medicine. But still, Carlos always imagined he would grow up to become a lawyer. With a confident demeanor and powerful voice, Carlos could command a room. He thrived in debate club and theater classes and had been convinced since he was young that law would suit him best.  

If not for his nomination by his high school to go to the National Science Foundation Camp, his affinity for legalese and legal arguments may have taken root. Instead, science camp hastened his curiosity toward science. 

Carlos would go on to spend his last high school summer learning modern physics and applied mathematics, which served as his first immersion in STEM — and his introduction to people who shared a passion for it. “I began associating myself with the kids who’d much rather spend their summers at math and science camp instead of the other cool things high school kids could do in Miami,” Carlos said. “Nerd-Carlos was able to realize his full nerd-potential.” This opened his world up to new possibilities and influenced his education and career journey to genomics and health.  

Fast-forward to today, when Dr. Carlos Bustamante has built upon those underpinnings from a teenage science camp to become a prominent scientist, investor, and academic accelerating genomic discoveries in understudied human populations. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Carlos shares more with us about his life, education, career, and how he became a world-renown leader in science pioneering initiatives that ensure representation and inclusion in health. 

Hi, Carlos. Thanks for taking the time to share more about your life and career journey with us. Can you tell us more about your life growing up as young Carlos?  

I migrated to the United States from Venezuela when I was seven years old. When we arrived in Maryland, there were no Latinos. We had to travel all the way to Washington D.C., about an hour away from our house, just to experience anything that reminded us of home. It sometimes felt like I was a fish out of water. Believe it or not, when we moved to Miami during my high school years, I experienced culture shock. So many people were speaking Spanish, it was fascinating! Suddenly, the tables were turned. I went from being part of the minority to part of the majority. 

As we study the African American and Hispanic/Latinx populations, we’ll get admixed data, sure, but it will then require us to think about admixture. Admixture is a part of life and we must embrace that.”

What inspired you to eventually channel your career towards population genetics?  

I discovered population genetics shortly after high school. My AP Biology teacher gave me a book upon graduation, The Genetics Basis of Evolutionary Change, by Richard C. Lewontin. It was a beat-up, old copy but I read it with pure fascination. “Wow, this is incredible,” I thought. I had enrolled in a 6-year BA/MD program at the University of Miami and started working in a research lab. One day, by sheer luck, I stumbled upon a lecture by a former post-doctoral fellow of Richard C. Lewontin who emphasized the power of understanding genetics, evolution, and what they can tell us about human traits. I went to many lectures after that, took countless biology classes, and came to the realization that my educational path needed some modifying. I thought to myself, “I don’t think I want to give up two years of school in replace of work. I’d much rather focus on school for the next four years and figure out what I want to do after then.” So, I decided to pull out of my program and transfer to Harvard, where eventually I had the opportunity to work directly with Richard C. Lewontin himself.

STANFORD, CA – SEPTEMBER 20: Population Geneticist Dr. Carlos Bustamante is photographed at the Stanford Medical Center in Stanford, CA for the MacArthur Foundation Awards. (Photo by Don Feria/Getty Images for The MacArthur Foundation Awards)

What a great introduction to science! How did this further influence your career in genetics?   

Between 1994 and 2001, I learned everything I could about population genetics and statistical genetics. When I applied to my MD/Ph.D. program, my goal of bringing complex disease genetics to medicine was shot down by so many people. They would tell me I was crazy and that it’d never work. “We don’t even have the human genome complete,” they would say. “You should really go study molecular biology and developmental biology.” In fact, even Lewontin said to me, “That’s a terrible idea. Theoretical population genetics is really hard and you’re likely never going to get a job.” It was all that I wanted to do, so I figured if it did not work out, I will drive a taxi or something.  

I finished my Ph.D. program in 2001, and fortunately for me, the human genome project was completed just three months before.  

I started teaching statistics at Cornell University after my Ph.D. and postdoc and worked with Andy Clark on a database of human genetic variations. I spent 3 years mining data and together, we wrote 7 Nature and Science papers off my dataset that ultimately set my career. I eventually was awarded tenure and made a Full Professor at Cornell University and gave me the opportunity to start a new Department from scratch as inaugural Chair of Biomedical Data Science, where we did a bunch of human-genome-like projects.  

Between 2004 – 2007, if there was a principal component plot that had multiple populations in it, odds are it came from Bustamante Labs

That could not have worked out any better for you – great timing. You were part of the 1000 Genomes Project. How was that experience?  

It was eventful. During the 1000 Genomes Project, Francisco M. De La Vega and I pushed to sequence the first Mexican genome and the first African American genome. The project concluded with 2,500 samples, but that was never the original design. The original design only included samples from Africa, Europe, and Asia. They never intended to have any samples from the Americas or South Asia, for several reasons. Because we understood the importance of the patterns of add mixture, we raised our hands and said, “No, this is wrong. You can’t exclude people. This is a missed opportunity.”  

Dealing with vulnerable populations and populations that do not wish to participate in biomedical research is a tough problem. You obviously want to respect and honor that. At the same time, if our number one goal is to enable medical and disease genetics at scale, then we don’t need a perfect population model, we need patient engagement. As we study the African American and Hispanic/Latinx populations, we’ll get admixed data, sure, but it will then require us to think about admixture. Admixture is a part of life and we must embrace that.  

The 1000 Genomes Project went from 1,200 samples to 2,500 samples, partly because a passionate group of us got together and said, “This is important, the data is telling us it’s important.” We made rational scientific arguments that ensured the medical genetics studies that we are powering are properly powered in these understudied populations.  

My whole motto for running my lab is, ‘Come in, build something cool, and take it with you.’ ”

As they say, never underestimate the power of passion. What are you working on now? 

Having spent some time at Cornell and Stanford and advising companies like Luna creating innovative technology for health discovery, my next passion project is to scale. We need to have a million genomes networked with clinical data across a wide range of diseases that will power a ton of discovery.  

During COVID, I spent some time at Stanford sequencing patients. My hypothesis from this experience is that through sequencing COVID-19 discard, you can build an incredible database. Nearly everyone has had a COVID-19 test or two and if we had access to that material and permission to sequence their genome, we could build the world’s greatest databases. And I’m particularly excited to focus on the Latin American population, because of its significant impact by COVID and its underrepresentation in research. 

You have worked on so many projects that have positively changed health discovery as we know it. Of your entire experience, what are you most proud of?  

The network of talented people who have trained and collaborated with me – these people I will stack against anyone. My former students and post-docs are now running the big biobanks at Mount Sinai they are playing major roles in 23andMe and Ancestry.com. It has been an embarrassment of riches, and I am so proud of them.  

My whole motto for running my lab is, “Come in, build something cool, and take it with you.” Now this network is passionate about coming together to work on a big mission, a mission to build the largest database of Hispanic/Latinx genomics and health data relevant to testing and eventually to pharma.  

Great motto and inspiring story you have experienced so far. Thank you for all your dedication.  

Genevieve Lopez
Head of Digital Engagement at Luna
gen@lunadna.com
(760) 218-8333

About Luna

Luna’s suite of tools and services connects communities with researchers to accelerate health discoveries. With participation from more than 180 countries and communities advancing causes including disease-specific, public health, environmental, and emerging interests, Luna empowers these collectives to gather a wide range of data – health records, lived experience, disease history, genomics, and more – for research.

Luna gives academia and industry everything they need from engagement with study participants to data analysis across multiple modalities using a common data model. The platform is compliant with clinical regulatory requirements and international consumer data privacy laws.

By providing privacy-protected individuals a way to continually engage, Luna transforms the traditional patient-disconnected database into a dynamic, longitudinal discovery environment where researchers, industry, and community leaders can leverage a range of tools to surface insights and trends, study disease natural history and biomarkers, and enroll in clinical studies and trials.

Celebrating Joe Beery, National Hispanic Heritage Month 2021

His father had been a talented self-taught engineer who was a machinist building aircraft engines at General Electric. All the while, their family wasn’t detached from practicality. In addition to his job as a machinist, Joe and his father repaired cars, bakery equipment, and meat processing equipment. They lived in New Mexico and spent summers on the farm in Colorado. Joe reflects often on that childhood of necessity, the fixes, and curious tinkering, as his backbone for facing down challenges and overcoming problems through well-thought solutions. 

Joe Beery, CEO at Luna

In college, Joe studied business computer systems and programming at the University of New Mexico, where he advanced his interests in systems integration and software performance optimization, which channeled his talents from farm fields and on to fields in technology.  

This concoction of tech-savvy problem solving led to Joe’s early rise from manufacturing to software development for Motorola, before leading the Company’s semiconductor products division Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) teams. From there, he shifted to the tech aspects of the airline industry, serving as Chief Information Officer for America West Airlines and then US Airways over a 10-year period.  

Amid these successes, Joe and his wife Retta faced tenuous adversity in 1996, realizing their newborn twins — Noah and Alexis — suffered from persistent tremors, seizures, and a mysteriously debilitating loss of body control. Doctors, unable to trace back to the cause, initially diagnosed Noah and Alexis with cerebral palsy.  

The exhibited symptoms, though, didn’t fit this diagnosis, as Joe and Retta continued to see their children spiral in dissipation. Desperate but determined, Joe and Retta retooled. Equipped with an outlook for facing down challenges and solving complex problems, Retta poured herself into research, sought research studies for Noah and Alexis to participate in. Ceaselessly, for years on end, until they landed on solutions.

Technology, problem-solving, and perseverance coalesced in 2008 when Joe took his career into biotechnology, at Invitrogen, the biotech company that became Life Technologies and was later acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific.  

Their family now existed in the realm of science and solutions, and Retta sought to have Noah and Alexis’s DNA samples sent to Baylor College of Medicine for sequencing analysis. There, answers began coming back. Noah and Alexis had genetic mutations affecting the synthesis of dopamine and serotonin, far afield from initial diagnoses of cerebral palsy. Doctors accordingly modified their treatment to include adding the serotonin precursor 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) to their treatment. Noah and Alexis quickly rebounded and thrived.   

The perseverance of parents unafraid to face down problems, teamed with evolving opportunities in health discovery and advancing technology, helped Joe and his family to live strong, healthy lives.  

Now, as Luna’s Chief Executive Officer, Joe is scaling its platform to further unite people, communities, and researchers to accelerate health discoveries. “It took 15 years to get a definitive diagnosis to treat their rare genetic disorder, “Joe said. “Today with Luna, we would have found that in 15 months.”  

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Joe shares more with us about his life and career journey, and how he became a prominent health tech executive spearheading health initiatives for the greater good.  

Hi, Joe.  Thanks for taking the time to  share more about your life and career journey.  Can you share more about your life growing up as young Joe?   

My mom’s maiden name is Velasquez. She grew up in southern Colorado and did not speak English until she went into high school. My dad grew up in Elkhart, Indiana. They met when he was stationed at the Army base in Colorado Springs. I was the first grandchild within both families and blessed to have both cultures influence my life growing up. I spent my summers on the farm with the Velasquez family, which included my grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. The winters were spent in Albuquerque, New Mexico while I was in school. I was fully emerged in the Hispanic culture. 

Diversity is not about your looks or your ability to speak a language but how you think and your life experiences.”

When did your interest in tech start? What inspired you to eventually take this career path?  

My father did not go to college. In fact, I got my high school diploma before he did. Despite that, he is one of the most gifted engineers I have ever met. He eventually worked for most of his career at GE building aircraft engines. From a very early age, I learned to repair equipment and was interested in how machines work. We did many side jobs together. When I went to college, I was driven to be an industrial engineer. In my early days at the University of New Mexico, I found that I was more interested in the computer side of the engineering discipline. I would write programs for my fellow students, and they would do my calculus homework. This was the point in time that I realized that I was going to pursue a career in information technology.   

How has your heritage shaped your career today? What aspects of your heritage do you think have impacted the culture of your workplace?    

Overall, I think that my heritage has shaped me in two very specific ways. The first is my work ethic. Coming from a mixed family and from a minority group, I learned the value of working hard, working long hours, and going above and beyond to earn what you make.  The second is my perspective on diversity and what it means. I do not have the features or the last name, but I am at my core Hispanic. This makes for very interesting conversations in the workplace when someone finds out I am Hispanic and then asks if I speak Spanish. Diversity is not about your looks or your ability to speak a language but how you think and your life experiences.  

Well said.  Let’s talk more about your role as CEO of  Luna. What excites you most about your leadership role at Luna, personally and professionally?     

Luna is a super exciting company. We have all the elements that make for life-changing moments for individuals and researchers who use Luna, investors, and employees. We have a great product, incredible team members, and most importantly, we change the quality of life of people. I have had a wonderful career for over 30 years, and I want my legacy to be about what we do at Luna.   

Inclusion is recognizing the value of everyone’s lived experience and creating an environment that not just respects that but leverages that for the good of the individual and the team. ”

What do diversity and inclusion mean to you? 

 Diversity to me is about lived experiences and what lens an individual can use to solve a problem. It is connected to all aspects of an individual.  Inclusion is recognizing the value of everyone’s lived experience and creating an environment that not just respects that but leverages that for the good of the individual and the team. 

What one piece of advice would you give to others passionate about becoming leaders in technology? 

Technology is one of the most available careers. We can work and grow in technology regardless of where we live, how much education we have, and what our desire is to do. My advice is to use all these aspects to focus on the element that excites you and to use your heritage as a motivator and lever to expand in the field.   

Finally, what would you like your legacy to be?     

I want my legacy to be a combination of three things. First, is my faith and family. My greatest accomplishment is my relationship with my wife and my children.  Second, is my ability to be humble but courageous and always put the customer, employees, and the company first. Finally, I want to be known for working for companies and producing products that impacted people’s lives.   

Genevieve Lopez
Head of Digital Engagement at Luna
gen@lunadna.com
(760) 218-8333

About Luna

Luna’s suite of tools and services connects communities with researchers to accelerate health discoveries. With participation from more than 180 countries and communities advancing causes including disease-specific, public health, environmental, and emerging interests, Luna empowers these collectives to gather a wide range of data – health records, lived experience, disease history, genomics, and more – for research.

Luna gives academia and industry everything they need from engagement with study participants to data analysis across multiple modalities using a common data model. The platform is compliant with clinical regulatory requirements and international consumer data privacy laws.

By providing privacy-protected individuals a way to continually engage, Luna transforms the traditional patient-disconnected database into a dynamic, longitudinal discovery environment where researchers, industry, and community leaders can leverage a range of tools to surface insights and trends, study disease natural history and biomarkers, and enroll in clinical studies and trials.

Celebrating Javier Salazar, National Hispanic Heritage Month 2021

From a young age, Javier Salazar has been fascinated by finding solutions to complex problems, and more so, by how those solutions impact lives.  

Javier gained an interest in accounting at 17 years old, after taking college courses his senior year of high school. This early aspiration led Javier to take his first bookkeeping job by the time he was 20 years old. And within two years of that job in this field, he started his own bookkeeping company. “What I found most interesting about the marriage between finance and technology,” he said, “is understanding the client’s needs and figuring out the right system to implement. Understanding their business model and what their goals have been major deciding factors in what systems and processes we use.” 

Since those early days as a budding bookkeeper, Javier Salazar has gone on to become the Managing Director and CFO at TGG, a leading provider of outsourced accounting and business advisory services for small to mid-sized businesses. There he supports companies like Luna build financial strategies, raise capital, and attract investors. Javier attributes Luna’s mission and culture to selling him on joining its team. 

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we caught up with Javier to learn more about his life story, career journey, and how he became a successful leader in fintech. 

Hi Javier. Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Can you share a little about your life growing up as a young Javier? 

Growing up in Los Angeles, California with my sister and four brothers wasn’t always easy. There were a lot of fights in our full house, but there were also a lot of great memories. Both of my parents were hard workers. My father worked at Kaiser Permanente as a Warehouse Supervisor during the week and bought and flipped houses on the weekends. My mother immigrated from Mexico and pick strawberries in the field that eventually became the land on which the house she currently lives stands. 

I fondly remember my dad taking us on fishing trips every first Sunday of the month. Sitting there waiting to catch a fish taught me a lot about patience. I was fortunate enough to pass on this tradition to my 3-year-old son for the first time this summer. We taught him how to hook the bait and cast the line. He didn’t catch anything, but we all still had a great time.    

Integrity and teamwork are the two biggest factors of what I drive home with my team. We take pride in our work and ensure we deliver quality service. Most importantly, we work as a team.”

What a great skill to pass on to your son. Certainly, these will be some of his fondest memories, too. Can you share more about your career at TGG? How has your career evolved here? 

TGG has provided me with so many opportunities to change people’s lives. As Consulting CFO and Managing Director of a team of thirty-four, I’ve helped people sell their companies, complete data migrations, clean up their financials, and create policies and procedures to create efficiencies in their accounting department. I couldn’t ask for more opportunities within a company. 

How has your heritage shaped your career? What aspects of your heritage do you think have impacted the culture of your company? 

My parents have been great role models. They instilled a strong work ethic in me. As a result, I was motivated to be the first in my family to get a master’s degree and eventually apply my learnings to my career.  

Integrity and teamwork are the two biggest factors of what I drive home with my team. We take pride in our work and ensure we deliver quality service. Most importantly, we work as a team. TGG’s model for every client is a team of four, including a Staff Accountant, Accounting Manager, Controller, and CFO. We all have our assigned responsibilities, and it takes all of us to produce quality work. 

Integrity and teamwork are great characteristics to have for solving problems. That’s why Luna is thrilled to be working with you. What excites you most about working with Luna? 

I am so honored to be working with a company that is making such a huge impact in the world. The company’s mission and culture are beyond amazing!  

Embrace who you are and focus on your career. Don’t try to fit the mold of something that you’re not. Find the mold that fits you.”

What one piece of advice would you give to Latinos passionate about a career in finance and technology (fintech)?  

Growing up as a Hispanic American, I have been faced with many challenges throughout my career. At times, it felt like I was judged by the color of my skin, and I changed my habits to fit in. It wasn’t until I embraced my background and became more comfortable with who I am and where I came from that I started to feel accepted. My advice would be to embrace who you are and focus on your career. Don’t try to fit the mold of something that you’re not. Find the mold that fits you.

Well said, great advice. Recently, you’ve adopted your baby Noah through the Safe Surrender Program. That story, in itself, is beyond moving. How has that life experience impacted your life? 

Noah has been a true blessing to us. He is one of our two adopted children through the foster system. Adopting two children has taught my husband and me about compassion, patience, and unconditional love. Fostering a child is not easy, but we advocate for anyone with room in their home and heart to do so.  

Two adopted children? What an incredible path you’ve chosen. In conclusion, what do you want your legacy to be? 

That I made difference in people’s lives for the better. One of my favorite quotes is from Mother Teresa, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

Genevieve Lopez
Head of Digital Engagement at Luna
gen@lunadna.com
(760) 218-8333

About TGG

TGG is a leading provider of outsourced accounting and business advisory services for small to mid-sized businesses across industries. The TGG team delivers quality financial services, systems and insights that help small businesses thrive and, in so doing, serves a critical role in helping clients meet the day-to-day challenges of doing business. TGG Accounting has offices in San Diego and Boulder, Colorado. For more information, visit www.tgg-accounting.com.

About Luna

Luna’s suite of tools and services connects communities with researchers to accelerate health discoveries. With participation from more than 180 countries and communities advancing causes including disease-specific, public health, environmental, and emerging interests, Luna empowers these collectives to gather a wide range of data – health records, lived experience, disease history, genomics, and more – for research.

Luna gives academia and industry everything they need from engagement with study participants to data analysis across multiple modalities using a common data model. The platform is compliant with clinical regulatory requirements and international consumer data privacy laws.

By providing privacy-protected individuals a way to continually engage, Luna transforms the traditional patient-disconnected database into a dynamic, longitudinal discovery environment where researchers, industry, and community leaders can leverage a range of tools to surface insights and trends, study disease natural history and biomarkers, and enroll in clinical studies and trials.

Maritza Diaz, CEO and Co-founder, ITJuana

Celebrating Maritza Diaz, National Hispanic Heritage Month 2021

The household culture of encouraging education was the catalyst for Maritza Diaz’s success in STEM. She grew up in Ecuador with three siblings, with a father who encouraged education. “It will drive your future,” he’d say. But Maritza – without a role model in STEM, nor even a computer — hadn’t anticipated becoming a software engineer, never mind an influential tech executive who is now transforming the international digital workforce.

Maritza Diaz, CEO and Co-founder, ITJuana

Today, Maritza is the CEO and co-founder of ITJuana, a San Diego-based company creating an innovation economy in Tijuana, Mexico by partnering with California businesses to develop world-class software engineering centers in Tijuana. Through cross-border collaboration, ITJuana is helping Luna and other San Diego companies expand their software teams and create centers of excellence.

With more than 25 years of experience in IT and software engineering, and with deep knowledge of tech innovation, Maritza is a member of the Forbes Technology Council, sits on the board of directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco representing San Diego, and was named San Diego’s Business Journal’s 2021 CEO of the Year Rising Star.

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we caught up with Maritza for her to share more about her life story, career journey, and how she became a world-class tech leader.

Hi Maritza. Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Can you share a little about your life growing up as a young Maritza?

When I think about my life growing up, I can’t help but think of family and true happiness. I grew up in Ecuador; the third child of a very humble family. We didn’t really have a lot of material possessions but certainly, all of that was exponentially compensated for by the love and family support we had at home. My parents had to work very hard to ensure all their four kids had access to education. My dad would always tell me to go get an education because that will be the most precious possession I could ever have for my future — something he didn’t have access to when he grew up. I was really good at math and problem solving in general, growing up. So, I made the decision to pursue a computer science degree at the last minute during college course registration. Sometimes what you don’t plan are the things that work out for the best.

All my siblings and I eventually became engineers and hopefully made my parents very proud.

My parents had to work very hard to ensure all their four kids had access to education. My dad would always tell me to go get an education because that will be the most precious possession I could ever have for my future — something he didn’t have access to when he grew up.”

That’s impressive. I’m sure you made your parents proud. Even more so, that you’ve created what is considered to be one of the finest software organizations in the industry. Let’s talk about the inception of ITJuana. What compelled you to create such an innovative company?

ITJuana is all about generating new jobs for people who are hungry for new opportunities and who are very capable of delivering high value. Digital talent is in extremely high demand across the globe. All companies are now seeing digitalization as a core part of their business rather than a nice-to-have. This new reality has put a lot of pressure on digital talent attraction. ITJuana is solving the digital talent access problem for companies in the US by opening a new source of high-quality talent available in Latin America in a complementary time zone and at a fraction of the cost.

Luna is thrilled to be partnering with you for many reasons, especially your ability to find highly experienced team members who will help Luna continue to scale and expand its platform. What excites you most about working with Luna?

Your mission and products. The fact that Luna is touching people’s lives in a positive way is very attractive to me. Because of many years spent in the Biotech and Medical Device industries, I realize that I want to work on products with a mission, products that are impacting people’s lives, products that will transcend and become a legacy that we can be proud of.

Besides the product and the mission, I feel very connected with your values and priorities. The sense of building communities and bringing a diverse team together are some examples of the values that we share and that I am personally very passionate about. I truly believe we are uniquely positioned to achieve great results together.

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, what aspects of your heritage do you think have impacted the culture of your company?

I am a firm believer that one needs to know where they come from in order to understand what they want to become. Being a Latina in the US has been challenging and rewarding at the same time. I’ve seen firsthand the lack of representation of Latinas not only in the C-level suite but also in tech. Not having a role model in tech when I was growing up certainly limited my way of thinking and it took me many years to finally realize that I can do whatever I put my heart and mind to. I learned this on my own, but I wish it wouldn’t have taken me this long to get to where I am.

One of my goals with ITJuana is to empower the Latinx community to dream big, to believe they can achieve impossible goals. Through ITJuana, I am hoping to accelerate this process of achievement by providing opportunities for young talent, including students and graduates, to start a meaningful career very early and to have access to mentors and role models that they can lean on to achieve their career aspirations and work on meaningful products.

To all Latinxs out there — be smart, be thoughtful, be purposeful and join a career in tech today so that you can have an awesome future tomorrow.”

What one piece of advice would you give to others passionate about a career in a STEM field?

STEM, and particularly tech, is the future. COVID accelerated the need for companies to become digital and that generated tremendous opportunities and what I call, “jobs of the future.” Jobs that will solve very difficult problems through software, jobs that will be impacting people’s lives, and jobs that will generate economic growth in our region.

To all Latinxs out there — be smart, be thoughtful, be purposeful and join a career in tech today so that you can have an awesome future tomorrow.

Such great advice from such a prominent, influential leader. Lastly, what do you want your legacy to be?

I want to be remembered as someone who touched many people’s lives for the better.

“Remember where you came from,” was something my mother always told me growing up, too, and not only did it provide guidance towards finding my purpose, but it was also a reminder of the many lessons that came before me. Your story, especially your life growing up as young Maritza, was especially resounding and I appreciate you taking the time to share it with us in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Thank you.

Genevieve Lopez
Head of Digital Engagement at Luna
gen@lunadna.com
(760) 218-8333

About ITJuana

ITJuana is devoted to serving fast-growing, high-value market sectors that contribute to the growth of the Cali Baja region. With a nearshore model, working with the highest quality software engineers, data scientists, and creative designers from across Mexico and Latin America, ITjuana enables companies to create world-class software engineering centers of excellence in Tijuana, MX. For more information visit www.itjuana.com

About Luna

Luna’s suite of tools and services connects communities with researchers to accelerate health discoveries. With participation from more than 180 countries and communities advancing causes including disease-specific, public health, environmental, and emerging interests, Luna empowers these collectives to gather a wide range of data – health records, lived experience, disease history, genomics, and more – for research.

Luna gives academia and industry everything they need from engagement with study participants to data analysis across multiple modalities using a common data model. The platform is compliant with clinical regulatory requirements and international consumer data privacy laws.

By providing privacy-protected individuals a way to continually engage, Luna transforms the traditional patient-disconnected database into a dynamic, longitudinal discovery environment where researchers, industry, and community leaders can leverage a range of tools to surface insights and trends, study disease natural history and biomarkers, and enroll in clinical studies and trials.