With hobbies such as geo-caching and hiking, it’s clear that Mark Bessem enjoys finding a path through challenging terrain. And as Manager Bioinformatics at BaseClear, he provides the tools to find the answer they are looking for in the enormous datasets produced by Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) projects. “Microbial genomics projects generate a massive amount of data, and projects are becoming more intricate as the field develops. My job is to ensure that the data is analysed within a standardized pipeline to produce reliable results that clients can depend on. We strive for continual improvements to make the best use of innovations and fully meet customer needs” he comments.
Mark’s role at BaseClear is to manage a team of bioinformaticians that analyse the NGS output and convert it to a form that can meet clients’ needs. The Bioinformatics team provides many standardised workflows that meet the requirements for the majority of the projects that BaseClear handles, and they can also work together with customers to create a customised workflow. Quality is very important to Mark: “Customers need to be confident that the results are reliable and trustworthy.”
Mark has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Bioinformatics, and he worked at several universities as a bioinformatician. An important project in his career his involvement with the Dutch national Non-Invasive Prenatal Test program between 2014 and 2018. This program uses genome-wide shallow sequencing technology to detect certain chromosomal aberrations in early pregnancy. “In this project, I learned how to set up a genomics-based program in a very structured and standardised way. There was a lot of collaboration required. I appreciated the close teamwork within that project, and that’s something I try to bring into my role as Manager Bioinformatics. I try to find out everyone’s potential to get the best out of the team.”