Meet the Innovator - Mike Siedlik, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at Infini Fluidics
This month’s Pennovation Works Meet the Innovator spotlight is Mike Siedlik, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at Infini Fluidics.
Before we get to know Mike, let’s get to know Infini Fluidics:
Infini Fluidics is working to optimize the manufacturing of high value therapeutics, drugs, cosmetics, and specialty chemicals through technological advancements in highly-scalable on-chip production. Their goal is to provide tech solutions to issues in pharmaceuticals for patient well-being, while keeping communities in mind with their revolutionary technology. Infini Fluidics have been at the Pennovation Center since their launch in 2020, and currently occupy an office space and a private lab at the Center.
Interview Questions - Meet the Innovator Mike Siedlik:
We had a great time getting to know Mike! You can check out our YouTube channel for a recorded version of this interview.
What has been the biggest challenge and the greatest silver lining throughout the pandemic within your company?
- So this is interesting because I haven't been part of the company for most of the pandemic, but I guess one silver lining that I'll mention is that our CEO, Sagar Yadavali, PhD, through his efforts, he's been able to successfully secure funding through NSF, SBIR, through the Wellcome Trust, as well as some pilot projects with various external partners. On a personal note, my silver lining is that I recently got engaged.
How would you describe yourself?
- Well, they say there are two types of people in the world. There are the people who make you want to drink and then the people who you want to drink with. I like to think that I’m the second.
What is one thing you would want people to know about your company?
- One thing that I want people to know about our company is that we are really focused on creating solutions to pharmaceutical problems that will improve patients’ well-being and communities around the world. And so to do that, we're focused on creating not only those technological solutions, but also a company culture where all team members are valued as we move forward.
What does a typical day look like for you at Infini Fluidics?
- I'd say right now there isn't really a typical workday. I've only been with Infini Fluidics for about a month now, and so my main tasks are setting up a lab space, ordering equipment, and getting equipment set up. So a typical day is dealing with whatever challenges present themselves, as well as just trying to check off these objectives that we have right now.
What is your favorite thing about Philadelphia?
- I do like the pretzels. I would say, though, that my favorite thing is probably the people. I’ve been able to forge deep connections with a lot of people throughout the city as well as in the neighboring area. So that, I'd say, is the most important thing to me.
Do you have any key mentors or people who have deeply influenced you?
- Two people who have deeply influenced me as mentors are my Ph.D. advisor, Celeste Nelson, Ph.D. at Princeton University, and my post-doc mentor, David Issadore, PhD at Penn. I would say that both have helped me grow as a scientist and engineer, as well as demonstrated how to be an effective and responsible leader.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
- I don't know if I can really think of any one thing. I would say that it feels like an accomplishment to get to where I am now, and that I'm very excited to be a part of Infini Fluidics.
What notable things have you been able to accomplish during your time here at Pennovation Works?
- In terms of things that we've been able to accomplish so far. For me personally, getting the lab space set up, once that is complete, I will feel proud of having accomplished that. In terms of the company I would say this initial support that we've been able to receive, the funding support that we've been able to receive, as well as the generally positive feedback we've gotten from both these nonprofit governmental agencies as well as potential industry partners.
What is the best part about working at the Pennovation Center?
- I've been working in the Pennovation space for about a month now, and I'd say that the best things that I've seen offered are certainly the facilities and the people. I really appreciate Sara downstairs, as well as all the other staff. They're very quick to respond to any issues that I have, as well as just the general facilities have been very much appreciated.
LIGHTNING ROUND QUESTIONS:
Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?
- I would say Chris Pratt, and we're actually from the same town in Washington.
What was your first job?
- My first job was a page at a public library in my hometown.
What type of music gives you energy throughout the week?
- The music that gives me energy throughout the week - I'd say this is a very important question and it ranges because it's a very diverse mix. There's times I need some classical to really help me focus, but then when I really need some energy, and I've needed some energy getting this lab space set up, I would say 90s and 2000s rap is my go to. So the Super Bowl halftime show really hit it for me.