Here at Luminex, we’re proud to design and manufacture the products we sell—whether we’re synthesizing dyes for multiplexing or building clinical assays. In our synthesis group, we count on Brett Osburn, Lead Manufacturing Chemist, to help ensure the quality of our products. He has two bachelor’s degrees: one in chemical engineering from Texas Tech University, and the other in music performance from Baldwin Wallace University.
Q: What are your responsibilities at Luminex?
A: My main responsibility is ownership of the synthesis manufacturing space, which includes all of the equipment, optimization, maintenance, and more. It’s also taking ownership of various development projects, both for products that are being integrated into our manufacturing space and for experiments we’re doing to create new products, or to optimize existing ones.
Q: How did you get to this position?
A: I started at Luminex back in 2014 in the reagent formulation division. After developing an understanding of the products, the leadership team moved me to the synthesis group. I worked my way up and was promoted to lead manufacturing chemist a few months ago. It’s been a whirlwind! My favorite part about being here is having the opportunity to develop and deepen my technical understanding. This year, I was sent to Lehigh University for an intensive course on polymer chemistry, which was a valuable learning experience.
Q: What did you do before this job?
A: I had just graduated with my bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering before I joined Luminex. The path I took to get that degree is kind of unusual; I started out as a chemical engineer, but going into my junior year of college, the economy fell apart. Rather than competing in a tough job market, I decided to take more schooling and pursued a music degree at another university for three and a half years. When I finished there, I came back and completed my chemical engineering degree.
Q: What kind of music do you play?
A: I’ve played the viola since I was 10 years old. Now, I play as a member of the Austin Civic Orchestra.
Q: What drew you to Luminex?
A: When I was first looking at jobs, I wanted to have a more direct impact on improving people’s lives. Luminex really caught my eye because of its mission to better the field of medicine and the quality of healthcare testing and instruments. I help create products that will eventually go into diagnosing or studying disease.
Q: If you could solve any clinical or genetic challenge, what would it be?
A: If I had my way, cancer would be instantly detectable and treatable. It would be almost as simple as going to the doctor for a cold; you’d get a shot and you’d be good to go. Cancer treatment and outcomes are really heartbreaking.
Q: What is something about you that no one at Luminex knows?
A: About eight years ago I spent a month in the summer backpacking through Europe. A big chunk of my family lives in the United Kingdom, so I visited them and then jumped on a train and started my journey to Paris. I traveled on my own, which was very liberating. My favorite place by far was Venice. It was bizarre to be in a city with no cars — it’s so quiet and still. It looks like it did 200 years ago, and you get a feeling of being connected to the past in a way that you don’t often find in the US.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do in Austin on the weekend?
A: Getting Tex-Mex—whether it’s tacos at Torchy’s or chips and queso at a nice place downtown.