When CC Magazine wrote about Cambridge-based biotech startup Chroma Medicine in the fall of 2021, the company’s first two employees, Morgan Maeder ’06 and Sam Linder ’11, were busy building a team of scientists to revolutionize the treatment of genetically driven diseases.
One year later, Chroma now boasts 70 employees—and five of them are Camels. Computational biology scientist Erica Hildebrand ’10 and research associates Liam Lofgren ’20 and Adam Zhai ’22 have joined Maeder, who serves as senior director of payload sciences, and Linder, a cellular and molecular biology scientist, at the fast-growing company.
“We are very proud to be by far the best-represented undergraduate institution at Chroma,” Maeder said.
Lofgren first learned about Chroma after reading the CC Magazine feature article, “Gene Expression.” The piece detailed how Maeder and Linder were working to pioneer a new class of genomic medicines using a new epigenetic editing tool that mimics how cells naturally regulate gene expression.
“The science behind the company fascinated me—being able to turn on and off genes without cutting the DNA sounded like science fiction and I had to know more,” he recalled. “As a recent graduate, I really wanted to gain as much hands-on experience as possible, and I knew a start-up was a great place for that.”
He reached out to both Maeder and Linder, which led to an initial Zoom call that left Lofgren hooked. “Next thing I knew I was moving from New York to Boston,” he said.
Lofgren’s favorite part of the job is working with technology that could someday be used to treat everything from inherited conditions like sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis to cancers, neurological disorders, metabolic diseases and even viral and bacterial infections.
“Having the ability to turn off cancer genes, upregulate insulin production, and [use epigenetic editing for] a thousand other applications would completely change the face of healthcare and could save millions of lives worldwide,” he said, adding that he is grateful for the Conn connection that led him to Chroma.
“Without the network of Camels, I would not be where I am.”