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Career Development Story: Thomas, Bioinformatics Penzberg



Almost 4,000 miles away from Foundation Medicine’s headquarters in Cambridge, the team in Penzberg, Germany works rigorously and passionately to not only carry out our crucial mission of transforming cancer care, but also to act as a place of transformation and constant innovation - qualities that Foundation Medicine prides itself on.  

The Beginning  

I started working with Foundation Medicine in 2017 as a bioinformatician. I was the first bioinformatician hired in Penzberg. Since then, I have developed significantly and have taken on numerous leadership roles in Penzberg. Seeing the team grow from just a handful of employees to over 60 has been a very rewarding journey. 
Part of the reason I came to Foundation Medicine was because I wanted to go back to my academic roots with genetics and sequencing again. It all developed very quickly after that. As the Director of Bioinformatics and Technology, I oversee a lot of the complex system processes that are involved in studying genomic profiles, as well as IT infrastructure and supporting software that helps our physicians and patients make informed decisions. Throughout my four years here, the style of thinking and how we operate as a team has evolved. Though Foundation Medicine is growing more and more every day, the common thread of being passionate and true to the mission hasn’t changed from the first day I started. 

Leadership In Penzberg 

As I have progressed through the company, the leadership team has been spectacular. When I look back on it, I see that Vera, who is Penzberg’s Managing Director and VP of International Operations, started out in a similar role where I am now. We’ve climbed up the ranks and seen this company grow together. It’s a rare thing to have such natural transitions like we did. And it’s an even rarer thing to do it together. The way we stay together and we trust each other is very unique. 

As someone who is on that leadership team now, it’s my duty to make sure that all the team members work well together (which they seem to always do) and accomplish the goals and tasks that we put forth to support our overall mission of transforming cancer care. Empowering my team members has been something I’ve had to adjust to, and am still learning how to do, but it is incredibly rewarding, because we are all incredibly passionate about the work we do. Though I have had to adjust to a leadership position, it’s been very rewarding because my team members are amazing. They don’t always need me to direct them all the time because they often already know what they need to do. The team is constantly thinking about what’s next. I can only grow if the team grows, not necessarily just in numbers, but in our way of thinking, our methods, our priorities, and the technological and scientific innovation that we are committed to. And we do just that every day. 

Wider Lens 

Something that we emphasize is keeping the big picture in mind. We are helping patients in everything we do every day we step into the office (remotely and physically). Each sample we come across is someone’s life and a family relying on our work in order to inform crucial decisions. It’s important to remember that when working at Foundation Medicine, you’re a part of that critical process.  
We hope to further shape the future of Penzberg as an international hub by bringing our important work further across all of Europe, and ultimately the rest of the world. We believe that extending our reach is crucial in order to help more patients globally. We’re excited and proud of what we’re doing now and what comes next for Penzberg. We all are the face of Foundation Medicine in Penzberg! 



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