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11 July 2019

Questions & Answers with Nicholas J. Amato, Ph.D.

by Moderna

We caught up with our colleague Nicholas Amato after an inspiring evening at Boston’s Symphony Hall, where he shared his musical talents as a member of the Kendall Square Orchestra’s Symphony for Science—in support of the fight against Frontotemporal Disorders.

Nicholas talks about science, music and what happens when the two meet…

Name: Nicholas J. Amato, Ph.D.
Role: Senior Scientist
Years at Moderna: 3.5 years
Hometown: Norwalk, OH

What exactly does your role entail?
Analytical and Bioanalytical Assay Development to support the needs of Moderna’s research platform for characterizing current and new advancements in messenger RNA (mRNA) and associated delivery vehicles. My contributions allow us to improve our product and increase our understanding of the associated biology.

Nicholas playing cello

What do you love about your career choice?
It was a journey of fate, where preparation and curiosity met opportunity, landing me exactly where I am supposed to be.

What drew you to Moderna originally? And how has Moderna changed since?
The possibility of being a part of a company that could truly revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry drew me here. Over the past 3.5 years, the science has continuously become more interesting as we learn, expand our technology and foster new capabilities.

What’s been your favorite part of working at Moderna?
The passionate people, incredible science and continuous opportunities for personal and career growth.

Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere: family, friends, colleagues, music, science and nature.

Nicholas and Moderna colleagues

Moderna colleagues gather at Symphony Hall in support of Nicholas and the Symphony for Science

If you could go back in time, which decade would you visit and why?
I would choose not to go back. I believe we are all exactly where we need to be and being anywhere else would directly impact the trajectory of myself and others. See Back to the Future, Flash or Fringe.

What are your three favorite things to do on the weekend?
Sleep in and wake up without an alarm (I am not a morning person, contrary to popular belief… I am just disciplined with the help of my seven alarms). Be spontaneous (since I am extremely scheduled during the week, I appreciate having very few set plans on the weekends). Improve the economy (shopping).

How does your role at Moderna affect your life outside of the office/lab, and how do your hobbies and passions impact your job?
As a cellist in the Kendall Square Orchestra, my role as a musician involves similar requirements to my role as a scientist—to pay meticulous attention to the details, to collaborate toward a common goal, and to lead and be led. So when I improve one area, I am also improving the other.

What are your three office/lab must-haves for a successful workday?
Coffee, music and purpose.

Which Moderna core value do you most embody—bold, collaborative, curious, relentless?
It’s a four-way tie as my job requires me to embrace and utilize these values daily.

We’re always looking for smart, talented and passionate people like Nicholas. Want to join the team? See all open positions and find out more about why it’s good to be at Moderna.