Mark JensenSenior Principal Scientist We share the feeling that what we do every day has meaning beyond the paycheck.
Mark Jensen, senior principal scientist, Research Programs Administration, is the scientific lead for the Genomic Data Commons (GDC), which he describes as “NCI’s main resource for collecting and distributing cancer genomics data.” Before joining the Frederick National Laboratory (FNL) 3.5 years ago, he worked for NCI’s Cancer Genome Atlas project.
Jensen and two other senior professionals manage the GDC’s ongoing development and operation. For him, that has meant designing efficient ways to store, retrieve, and relate several types of clinical and genomic data, as well as developing methods to ensure the data’s accuracy and quality.
“I help establish and maintain strong relationships between the GDC and experts in the scientific community,” he said. “Their input helps us to craft policies and procedures that maximize the GDC’s benefit to the community and prepare it for future growth.”
Jensen and his colleagues also manage the GDC through an ongoing partnership with NCI and a subcontractor at University of Chicago. Together, they build tools that help cancer biologists understand how errors in the genetic code of human tissues contribute to cancer.
“Many investigators do not have the computer or human resources to take advantage of these massive datasets,” Jensen said. “The GDC is working to make it easier for cancer scientists to get answers to their creative and important questions, whether their labs are large or small.”
The rest of our interview with Jensen can be read below:
Public Affairs: How did you become interested in your line of work, and what drew you to the Frederick National Laboratory?
Jensen: Prior to coming on board at FNL, I worked for the Data Coordinating Center for NCI’s Cancer Genome Atlas project. When the opportunity came along to help build a system that could further unlock the promise of that one-of-a-kind set of cancer data, I jumped at it.
Public Affairs: What is one thing you enjoy about working at the Frederick National Laboratory?
Jensen: I really value the expertise and professionalism of my colleagues and their commitment to FNL’s goals of finding cures and improving public health. We share the feeling that what we do every day has meaning beyond the paycheck.
Public Affairs: What accomplishment(s) at the Frederick National Laboratory are you most proud of?
Jensen: Our team was fortunate to have been recipients, along with our NCI colleagues, of a 2017 NIH Director’s Award for work on the GDC. For me, the accomplishment that represents, and that I am most proud of, is the level of trust and confidence that we have built with our project sponsors over the last three and a half years. The great work that we have been privileged to participate in, I believe, flows from that positive relationship.
Photo by Richard Frederickson, staff photographer