Written by coWORKer Linda Jay

Amit Kulkarni’s instinct to pursue what was then cutting-edge science–the field of BioInformatics–paid off in ways he could not have dreamed as he boarded the plane in Mumbai, dressed in a full suit, as a non-English-speaking 20-year-old who didn’t know the difference between Chicago and Dallas. Landing his first job with a small, Seattle-based branch of Merck Pharmaceuticals, Amit learned the ropes of genomics and genetics research.

Amit’s 13-year career with Merck provided a stability that allowed him to apply his out-of-the-box thinking to his personal growth. He committed himself to a meditation practice that over the years beckoned him from Seattle to a tiny spiritual community in Tomales, California,  to intensify his practice. This first stint of working remotely was a turning point around which Amit’s life would flourish. He never looked back to the routine 9-5 commuting life that most of his colleagues didn’t question.

So when, years later, enjoying living in downtown Petaluma with his wife and young son, Amit’s stability with Merck came to an end, he didn’t compromise. With the same fiery vision that attracted his spouse, Amit explored options with a commitment to maintaining a sane and happy lifestyle. As a result of that clarity and his past connections with brilliant colleagues, Amit found himself poised to enter the next cutting-edge merger of genomics and data science, now within the field of cancer research and treatment.

Accepting contract work with Moffitt Cancer Center, based in Tampa, Florida, Amit joined forces with ORIEN [http://www.oriencancer.org] – Oncology Research Information Exchange Network, combing and shaping the data of Stage IV cancer patients to inform treatment as well as future medical practice. The Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN) is a unique research partnership among North America’s top cancer centers that recognize that collaboration and access to data are the keys to cancer discovery.

Recalling that his father, who passed away soon after Amit’s now 6-year-old son was born, worked in accounts for Indian Airlines and his mother worked for years packing pills for a pharmaceutical factory, Amit feels grateful to have made his way to such inspiring intellectual work and to have attained such a gratifying work-life balance.

“I love WORK Petaluma. Although I have tried workspaces both at home and in co-working situations, I have never felt such a kind, vibrant and joyful environment to work in.  The environment created here is exceptional; I can’t recommend it enough,” Amit remarks.

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