Life at Color — Meet Tally Portnoi (Software Engineer)

January 30, 2020

Tally Portnoi is a software engineer at Color, where she focuses on improving outcomes for the end users of Color. Today, Tally talks about what keeps her motivated to create tools that make genetic insights accessible and actionable. Tell us about yourself and what got you into Engineering. I grew up solving riddles, puzzles,... Read More

January 28, 2020

Lindsey Baab is a software engineer on the Color team, writing code that powers our leading population genomics platform. Today, Lindsey discusses starting her engineering career at Color, where she has the opportunity to own more projects... Read More

May 20, 2019

Tell us about yourself and how you got into Product Design. I went to Miami University in Ohio for college to study architecture (fun fact: we were a university before Florida was a state!). Two years in, I realized I didn’t want to be... Read More

March 12, 2019

It was winter 2014. Pharrell had just dropped Happy, the Rosetta probe landed on a comet, President Obama was opening diplomatic relations with Cuba… …and here at Color, the bioinformatics team had a problem. Our pipeline — the data... Read More

Building a public research database out of spare parts

February 8, 2019

A couple months ago, we launched a public research database with DNA, health history, and more from 50,000 of our clients. You might be surprised at how little work it took us: under four person-months total. Read on to hear how we designed and built it, went above and beyond... Read More

Stop paying the ETL tax – Color

January 31, 2019

I want to say one word to you. Just one word. Are you listening? …... Read More

Introducing LEAP: (Machine) Learning from Evidence to Assess Pathogenicity

October 3, 2018

If you’re a human reading this post, your DNA is about 99.9% the same as mine. It’s the 0.1%, our genetic variations, which make each of us unique. One of our most important jobs at Color is interpreting the significance of each of our clients’ variants. It’s especially... Read More

Color Q&AEmily Johnston, engineering manager – Color

July 30, 2018

Let’s start with your childhood. Were you a supergeek?Basically, yes. I grew up in a suburb of Ottawa, the capital of Canada. It’s a big telecom hub, so outside of government, the second largest employer was various combinations of Bells. My dad and a lot of my... Read More

When Science, Music & Art Meet Hackers – Color

July 3, 2018

Emily (designer) with Walter (engineer) Our biannual Hack Week tradition continues at Color! Unlike most software companies, Color’s Hack Weeks benefit from the in-house clinical and scientific expertise of our colleagues. So, rather than prototyping yet another gamified... Read More

Understanding the Difference Between Genetic Testing Technologies

June 6, 2018

The technology used in a genetic test makes a big difference in the completeness of the results. There is a common misperception that all genetic tests are created equally and the only difference is what areas they focus on — such as ancestry, digestive flora, prenatal... Read More

Software is Changing the Game for Genetic Counseling

June 6, 2018

“Genetic counseling is essential to the communication of results, and by doing it in an efficient way, the barrier of cost is a thing of the past.” I attended my first National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC) in 2008 when I... Read More

Engineered for Extreme Efficiency – Color

June 6, 2018

How creative thinking and Next Generation Sequencing delivers state-of-the-art genetic tests at the lowest achievable cost Inside the lab at Color Genomics, we’ve put together a mix of technologies and tactics that help us achieve two huge goals — performing the... Read More

Open Source at Color: A Statistical Risk Model for Cancer

June 6, 2018

10–15% of most cancers (in women and men) can be explained by inherited genetic mutations — which is why we built the Color Test, which analyzes 30 genes which are clinically relevant to the most common hereditary cancers. Separate from genetics, a person might... Read More

Hacking for healthy, happy humans – Color

June 6, 2018

We just wrapped up another Hack Week at Color — our most exciting one to date! It’s amazing what teams of talented, inspired engineers/designers can accomplish in 4–5 days. Teams described the week as “fun,” “hectic,”... Read More

It’s (another) hack week! – Color

June 6, 2018

At Color, we believe in new ideas and experimentation. So we’re pretty serious about hack weeks; our product, design, and engineering teams see them as a chance to take a step back from our normal cadence to brainstorm and build new ideas and experiences. In fact, many of... Read More

Color Q&A: Abdi Khalif, automation engineer – Color

June 6, 2018

Every week (or so) we’re going to chat with someone who’s doing something interesting here at Color. Congratulations, Abdi — you’re the first Color Q&A. Let’s start with your story. Where did you grow up? What interested you as a child? I grew up in Burnaby,... Read More

A search engine for the human genome Part I: the genome in software

June 6, 2018

Elasticsearch is an open-source, scalable search engine built on top of the Lucene core. First released eight years ago, it has since become among the most popular choices for search infrastructure, with hundreds of companies having deployed it in consumer internet applications.... Read More

A search engine for the human genome Part II: the case for search

June 6, 2018

In part 1 of this post, we discussed how genomes are represented in software, why comparing them is useful in a clinical lab setting, and some of the constraints around implementing Identity-by-State (IBS). For those who are new to genomics, it’s worth a quick read. To... Read More

Building a high-quality, reliable, and efficient bioinformatics pipeline

June 6, 2018

At Color we provide high-quality, physician-ordered, genetic testing at a low cost. A core component of this service is the bioinformatics pipeline: the software framework that processes data from the DNA sequencers in the clinical lab, finds genomic variants, annotates them for... Read More

Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the great Python 3 Migration

June 6, 2018

(with apologies to Jeremy Narby) Ouroborus, the mythical snake that eats its own tail Like any good software engineering team, we’re always updating our dependencies to make sure we’re running the most secure, bug-free versions. Recently, we tackled our oldest... Read More