Double Take: Dan and Russ

Cross-functional collaboration is key to Eikon’s success. Fortunately, the leaders of our Research and Engineering teams, Chief Scientific Officer Dan Anderson and Chief Technology Officer Russ Berman, have fostered a collaborative environment that encourages scientists, engineers, research associates, bioinformatics specialists and others to work together towards the common goal of developing novel therapeutics against targets previously deemed “undruggable.”  

Dan and Russ’ ability to lead so effectively is rooted in their own genuine curiosity, innovative spirits and career histories.

Applying cutting-edge engineering and technology to biological processes has been central to Dan’s studies and career since he earned his PhD in cell biology and biochemistry from the University of California, San Diego.  

Dan went on to develop novel cellular and advanced microscopy assays to report on drug activity and mechanisms of action at Genentech, and later worked to industrialize phenotypic screening and utilize machine learning to advance drug discovery at Recursion Pharmaceuticals.  

As part of the launching team at Eikon, Dan played a key role in establishing the company’s interdisciplinary approach to drug discovery. He says that working with Russ Berman and the Engineering team is an especially rewarding aspect of his job.  

“Russ has compiled a team of seasoned experts who have a deep understanding of what we're trying to build at Eikon, and of how to achieve our objectives. Beyond their impressive technical proficiencies, the engineers on Russ’ team truly partner with the scientists on my team, and those partnerships lead to more efficient problem solving and output.”

As Eikon’s Chief Technology Officer, Russ Berman is responsible for leading Eikon’s hardware, software, automation, microscopy, and data groups. A former VP of Engineering at Pacific Biosciences, Russ started his career as a mechanical engineer then later worked as an electrical engineer and a software developer. He has more than two decades of experience managing technical teams at biotech companies such as Velocity11 and Agilent.

The way engineers frame and solve problems can be quite different from a scientist’s approach, says Russ. “Engineers are accustomed to being driven by requirements and deadlines, whereas scientists are often more exploratory and freeform in their pursuit of novel discoveries.”

Russ notes, however, that the Research and Engineering teams at Eikon embrace each other’s various ways of working and have devised innovative ways to move their collective work forward.  

“As our researchers use Eikon’s platform to uncover new science, ideas for new tools and algorithms often surface. Our engineers then build those new tools, thus improving our platform and enabling scientific discoveries which will again generate ideas for new tools. Every new iteration of our platform is a result of the fantastic synergy between the Research and Engineering teams.”

Another bonus to working collectively: there are a lot more victories to celebrate. And when there are problems, there’s a multi-disciplinary community of people to help solve them. We’re all in this together.