NorthenLab: Exometabolomics linking genomes with environments to understand how webs of microbes sustain biomes

New Lab Member Highlight: Mimi Lynde

The Northen Lab is excited to welcome Mimi Lynde to the lab as a new research associate. Learn more about Mimi in the following interview!

What is your area of expertise? Could you talk a little bit about your background and what brought you to your field? 

I majored in Biochemistry, I particularly loved chemistry in undergrad, but it was pretty sterile and felt a bit removed from reality. I was more curious about chemistry in the context of life and biology. For example the browning of cooked foods like meats and breads are maillard reactions, or how purple cabbage can act as a pH indicator, and how those chemical reactions worked on the molecular scale. I also find a lot of joy with baking and cooking, it’s wild how similar chemistry and baking are. I used to work at bakeries and until very recently as a sous chef in a commercial kitchen, and there are many parallels I can draw between working in a kitchen and a lab. I decided I wanted to work in more of a research type lab since I didn’t  have the chance when I was in college, which is what led to me to this position at LBNL. I can happily say that leaving the culinary world for this job was the right choice for me!

What research topics or experimental techniques are you most excited to work on in the Northen Lab? 

I’m excited to learn more about LCMS and how to maintain these very cool machines, and interpret the data they help collect. I also find the samples we get and run to be pretty rad; I am very excited about running some samples that are from river runoffs of Yellowstone hot springs containing extremophiles. There is a lot of very interesting stuff happening around LBNL, and being able to contribute, learn and experience new things is what I am most looking forward to.    

Could you name a favorite book, piece of music, video game, or movie?

I really enjoy funk music; I recently went to the Greek Theater here in Berkeley to see Khruangbin. They’re a pretty neat trio from Texas, the bassist and guitarist are a couple and their good friend plays the drums. A lot of their music is instrumental and is sampled by other musicians, so you might have already heard their songs. 

Is there anything you are excited to see or do in the Bay Area? Or, if you have been here before, any recommendations? 

I’m excited to keep going to shows at the Greek Theater, it being an outdoor venue mitigates most of my covid anxiety. I’m also pretty stoked to check out a bunch of cool new restaurants in the area! There’s a restaurant called DAYTRIP which focuses on fermentation, which is another aspect of cooking that I really enjoy. I also want to go to Wahpepah’s Kitchen, a newly opened restaurant that is owned and operated by Native American Crystal Wahpepah, who focuses on indigenous ingredients and recipes.