I’m a software engineer with a deep interest in biotech and health. I work as a consultant at the Broad Institute, where I write software for use in human genetics research. I’m also building Penumo, a startup that helps families affected by genetic diseases get involved with research. I’m based in San Francisco and Boston, and often traveling between the two.
As I've written about on this site, I'm fascinated by the ways that health and wellness interventions are going to evolve in the coming decades - fitness, health assessment, longevity, hormone therapy, nootropics, etc. I'm hoping to write some of the code to make that happen. We often talk about how software is eating the world, but it's only begun to touch these areas.
I'm always on the lookout for new fun projects, feel free to email me if you want to chat - brettpthomas@gmail
2010-2014 — Genomics Research
For 3+ years after college, I worked in genomics research at the Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital, working with Mark Daly and Daniel MacArthur.
I started as a general bioinformatics analyst, contributing to a bunch of different projects in human genetics, including the GATK and PLINK/SEQ. After I learned the ropes for a couple years, I started building xBrowse, a web-based platform for discovering the genes and variants that cause Mendelian diseases. Briefly: doctors and researchers send samples to the Broad Institute for DNA sequencing, and then use xBrowse to parse through the results (to save them from looking through an Excel file with 1 million rows.) I was exposed to a variety of Mendelian disease research, and Penumo developed from conversations about how the next generation of human genetics research might unfold.
Since college, I’ve also consulted on a few apps and websites in the health and wellness space. I built the MGH Virtual Visits website, which is used by doctors and patients at MGH to conduct asynchronous virtual appointments, via dynamic health questionnaires. I've also built prototype apps for personal trainers to run online coaching programs, patients with depression to track outcomes, and genomics researchers to assess the quality of DNA seqeuncing data.
2006 - 2010 — Harvard College
I graduated Harvard in 2010 with a computer science major and economics minor. I bounced around quite a bit in college. At first I wanted to study economics, then government and environmental science, and finally settled on computer science. Fun fact: when I first sat in on a computer science course my sophomore year, I had no idea what software development even was - I thought I was going to be building hardware.
1987 - 2006 — Massachusetts
I grew up in the suburbs south of Boston - first in Marshfield, MA then Norwell, MA. I went to a Montessori school through 5th grade, then public school and graduated from Norwell High School in 2006. I grew up with a great group of friends and family, including my parents Gary and Cindy and sister Rachel.