Behind the specs

Chris Valcke
PhD, Chief Product Development Officer

Please share a bit about your  background.

After completing my undergraduate electrical engineering degree in Belgium (KULeuven), the call of adventure took me to graduate studies at the UCLA School of Engineering, in the department of System Sciences. My advisor had a joint appointment with the School of Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, which enabled me to do my research in biomedical engineering. After earning my engineering PhD, I completed a post-doc in respiratory physiology. Seeing how engineering can impact patient lives would set the direction for my  career.

In the 1990 biotech boom in San Diego, I joined a startup and developed a closed-loop drug delivery medical device. This challenging system design exposed me to all aspects of the medical device lifecycle including quality systems, clinical trials, regulatory and manufacturing. The advent of genome sequencing took me to the in-vitro diagnostics (IVD) world and the never-ending pursuit of multiplexing the detection of more analytes in a smaller footprint. I’ve been fortunate to experience both startup environments and large multinational organizations with a better appreciation of the importance of a strong culture, vision and mission.

Can you tell us a little bit about your role at Atonarp?

I joined Atonarp as Chief Product Development Officer and lead the global research and development organization. My priority is to translate the development of the digital diagnostics assays and algorithms on the ATON System for clinical diagnostics and the mass spec applications on the ASTON System into world-class products to enable our customers with novel tools for in-situ metrology in industrial process control and diagnostics.

What drew you to join Atonarp?

Atonarp has developed a disruptive technology platform to deliver real-time, actionable, comprehensive digital molecular profiling platform that is poised to revolutionize a broad range of applications across the semiconductor, industrial, life sciences, pharmaceutical, research and clinical diagnostics industries. Supported by a great team of employees, leadership and board members, I believe the Company is in a unique position to drive advances in both industrial and healthcare applications.

What qualities does a person in your position need to possess?

As a product developer, a keen interest in the client and end-user is the foundation to understanding how we can identify and understand the problem, then solve it.

Once our direction and priorities are clear, we need to execute collaboratively. These are complex challenges, so getting the sparks of innovation, the flawless execution and the product delivery all require contributors cross-functionally to work as one team.

Finally, open communication is a key ingredient in building a trusting culture and creating an environment where every team member can excel.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Living on the sunny west coast of the US provides ample opportunities for enjoying the outdoors. Whether hiking, biking or camping near the beach or in the mountains, I am ready to explore new trails. With the family, we also enjoy traveling the world and visiting new destinations to discover the local cuisines and cultures. Having grown up in a car dealership, I have a vice for anything that gets me to my destination faster…