The Faces of Luminex: Kurt Hoffacker, Chemistry R&D
Developing immunoassay technology and platforms takes innovation and hard work on a number of fronts—hardware, software, reagents, and more. We count on Kurt Hoffacker, Director of Chemistry R&D, to ensure that reagent development goes smoothly, and ultimately leads to products that integrate well with the rest of the Luminex systems. He has been a key member of our chemistry team since 1999. He holds two chemistry degrees—a bachelor’s from the University of Chicago and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Q: What are your responsibilities at Luminex?
A: I am the connection between the chemistry R&D department and the bigger corporation. I work with optical engineers, software engineers, and biologists, and our department works with hardware R&D to determine what they need from us in terms of reagents and support for Luminex instruments. Together, we try to find the best solutions to research challenges. I’m still a bench scientist, as well.
Q: What did you do before this job?
A: I was in school before joining Luminex. I’ve been working on beads and dyes for xMAP® Technology ever since.
Q: What drew you to Luminex?
A: Luminex’s clinical focus gave me a sense of being part of a noble cause. What I do here goes into products that really help people, and it makes me proud to be involved in that.
Q: Not many people stay at a company for 20 years. What has continued to appeal to you about Luminex?
A: When I joined the company, there were 60 or 70 employees. The company has gotten so much bigger since then, and my role has grown as well, which has been very exciting. With every new product or field that Luminex explores, I get to keep learning something new.
Q: If you weren’t a Chemistry R&D Director at Luminex, where would you be?
A: I really don’t know. Being a scientist has been my dream job since elementary school. I remember working with chemistry sets I inherited from my dad and my uncle—old sets that contained real chemicals, so there was a little bit of danger. I did some of those experiments on the porch in the back yard, and I remember really loving that.
Q: What is something about you that no one at Luminex knows?
A: I worked my way through college with jobs at RV factories. My dad worked in the finance department there, so he would call around and ask about summer openings. I worked in a welding shop one summer, building pieces of seats to bolt onto the frames. I spent a couple of summers on assembly lines, building van campers and Class Cs—those are the bigger RVs.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do in Austin on the weekend??
A: My family—my wife, my ten-year-old son, and I—have dogs, a cat, chickens, and ducks, so that keeps us pretty busy. We also maintain a garden and take care of our fruit trees—peaches, pears, apples, and pomegranates.