Team Highlight | Aavi: Why I joined Parallel

June 30, 2021
Aavi Bhakta

Hi! I’m Aavi, and I’m one of the newest members of the Parallel Health team. If you’re a participant in Parallel’s current IRB-approved study, I’m likely one of the people prepping your samples to be sequenced. :) 

I’m really excited about Parallel. But before I tell you why, here’s a little bit about me:  I‘m originally from Michigan. My passions are playing basketball and watching major sports: I am an extremely loyal and avid Detroit sports fan. My favorite book is The Kite Runner. And I’ve loved cooking ever since I was a kid; in fact, I recently started to take lessons from my grandmother on how to make Gujurati food, which I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science in Genomics and Molecular Genetics. Originally, my plan was to go to medical school, but I realized that there is so much exciting innovation in biotech, and decided that I want to be a part of that cutting-edge advancement. Switching gears, I felt like the best way forward was to do a Master’s program in one of the largest biotechnology hubs in the world, San Francisco. That's how I ended up in the Bay Area.

When I was looking for a company to join, Parallel immediately caught my eye because it’s in a space that is so relatable to me and, I believe, most people in general. We all have faces that sometimes don't act the way we want them to and so, we buy products to help make those problems go away. The problem is that skin care products aren’t specific enough for the individual so it may not solve the problem you want it to. For example, I had (and still have) an issue with face acne especially around my upper cheeks and sometimes forehead. I have had this issue for years and it has just now started to clear up a little bit in the last two years. When I was in high school, I visited a dermatologist and she prescribed me a sulfur-based face wash. I used it, but I couldn’t tell if it was working or if the acne was just going away on its own as time passed. I really just wanted something that I could put on my face and see immediate results; I was not seeing that, but I kept using what the dermatologist prescribed because who am I to question a certified dermatologist. It is a difficult situation to know that there are a lot of products out there, but not know which ones are right for you. Soon thereafter, my mom and sister really got into facial and skincare products and recommended the ones they were using. I used them, but still, I couldn’t tell if they were working. I still use them, but I’m doing it blindly. There are no products that I know of that can do what Parallel is doing right now, and that is why I wanted to join the company.

Parallel is really compelling because it uses cutting-edge sequencing technology to create personalized microbial products. I believe that the solutions we’re developing will create a  revolution in the biotech and skincare world. We’ll actually have science-based products that work and, because they are clean and natural, won’t have negative side effects. This is exactly the type of innovation that inspired me to switch from pursuing a medical degree to a biotech degree. I want to be part of a company that really makes a difference for people, and with skin health, Parallel is one of those companies.

As a side note, on the show Shark Tank, the sharks always say that they invest in a company more so because of the founders. For example, if the founders come into the tank with a great idea or company but are not willing to learn or listen or are not passionate enough, then the sharks won’t invest. The shark has to feel that the founders are completely dedicated, passionate, intelligent, and can work well together. Natalise and Nathan fit that mold perfectly, and I knew that I wanted to be around them and learn from them. It’s one of the main reasons I was so excited to join the team.

Thanks for reading a bit about my story and why I’m excited about what we’re building at Parallel. If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to write to us at questions@parallelhealth.io. Our IRB-approved skin microbiome study is now oversubscribed,  but if you’re interested in skin health, we invite you to sign-up for our waitlist

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