San Diego at Work: Molly He, Element Biosciences

Jun 08, 2022 - San Diego: Life. Changing.

In San Diego, you get so much more than sunshine and sand. Your coworkers are curious, mission-driven scientists, engineers, and innovators. You’re making waves in one of the world’s best life sciences hubs with a blazing hot startup scene.

And as biotech booms all over the world, San Diego is home to a unique team of dreamers who are working to accelerate the pace of scientific discoveries and transform the industry for everyone.

Meet Molly He, co-founder and CEO of Element Biosciences.

Born and raised in China, Molly moved to the United States to pursue her Ph.D. After a stint at pharmaceutical and genomics companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, she moved south to San Diego to pursue her genomics career—and co-founded Element Biosciences. “I found genomics fascinating because it’s very fast-paced and has a direct impact on human healthcare,” Molly says.

Genomics, the study of an organism’s complete set of DNA or “genome,” provides an individualized approach to preventative care and treatment.

Even the same type of cancer can be caused by different genetic mutations, requiring different types of medicine. By sequencing a person’s DNA to uncover which specific genetic mutation is behind a disease, patients and healthcare professionals can work together to choose the right treatment plan unique to the individual.

“This is precision medicine and how DNA sequencing can really improve your health,” Molly says. But DNA sequencing and the equipment necessary to do it can be expensive—and high costs can bar scientists from conducting this life-changing research.

Watch Molly’s video to learn how the Element Biosciences team is democratizing genomics to empower scientists. You’ll discover how San Diego’s life sciences and tech ecosystem helps talent thrive and the future she sees for other San Diego entrepreneurs.

Meet Element Biosciences.

Drawing on San Diego’s legacy of democratizing genomics, Molly co-founded Element Biosciences to open scientific discovery to a wider array of people—not just big companies and established researchers. The company just launched AVITI, its disruptive DNA sequencer that’s cheaper and easier to use, while delivering high-quality data.

The ultimate goal? To empower the entire scientific community with more freedom and flexibility.

It’s an idea investors believe in too. Launched in San Diego just five years ago, Element Biosciences has since raised $400 million in venture capital to expand the team and accelerate product development.

Ready to revolutionize genomics and DNA sequencing? Element Biosciences is hiring Staff Scientists, Research Associates, Software Engineers, Systems Engineers, and more.

Why San Diego?

“I can say San Diego chose me,” Molly says. “But when I came here, I immediately fell in love.” From San Diego’s great weather to its warm and friendly San Diegans, there’s no shortage of experiences to enjoy—and people to meet. When she’s off work, Molly loves walking on the beach with her daughter and enjoying Tijuana-inspired tacos at The Taco Stand. But it’s not all beaches and burritos here…

“One myth about San Diego is that the pace is very slow here,” Molly says. “I found that’s not correct.” In fact, Element recruits talented scientists, engineers, and business professionals from all over the country, including Boston and the Bay Area. A key draw—San Diego’s nearly 1,000 fast-paced biotech companies and research institutes, and the promise of fellow colleagues with a strong entrepreneurial bent.

“We’re very passionate about what we do and most importantly, we lift and empower each other,” Molly says. “I look forward to seeing many, many Elements start from scratch and grow big in San Diego.”

For Element Biosciences, sequencing is only the beginning.

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