PRIDE Q&A WITH NATHAN HIGGINSON-SCOTT, CTO AND SVP OF DRUG CREATION AT SEISMIC THERAPEUTIC!June 10, 2022 | By Kelly Wilson
For the month of June, we'll be featuring LGBTQIA+ staff and residents in the LabCentral community. This month features Nathan Higginson-Scott, CTO and Senior VP of Drug Creation at Seismic Therapeutic.
How do you celebrate Pride and what does it mean to you?
When I was in my 20s (and maybe early 30s) Pride month to me was a good excuse for a party, going to Pride parades and just having fun. But I was sort of doing that blindly without really thinking too much about the spirit of why I was doing that every June and why it matters. Now I celebrate Pride for different reasons. The fun bit is still important but what it really means to me is that (1) it is a reminder that things were not always how they are now, of how far we have come as a society, and how hard the LGBTQ+ community has fought (and it has really had to fight hard and still does!!) just to have many of the same rights as cis-gender straight folks (3) It also reminds me that we are so fortunate here in Massachusetts (and back where I am from in the UK) where we don't just have equal rights but there is a lot of acceptance and affirmation in society and in many workplaces. But elsewhere in the US and in many other countries around the world it still isn't such a great picture and there is still much work to do to achieve universal equality with the backdrop of the specter of more divisive politics and the fragility of our hard fought for rights (4) finally I like that Pride month is a reminder for everyone that love is love regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
What is your favorite part of working with Seismic?
Quite honestly it is the diversity of people I get to work with and the fact that we accept everyone for who they are, treat everyone the same and in that way we think about diversity, equity and inclusion as three important pillars to our company culture. When I mention diversity I mean it in so many dimensions – work and life experience, race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, and religion....this diversity at Seismic brings vibrancy and uniqueness in how we do things, the ideas we come up with, how we innovate, how we deliver, how we support each other and how we can feel comfortable bringing our whole authentic selves to work every day. My other favorite part of working at Seismic is that I feel energized wholeheartedly by our mission to integrate cutting edge computational and lab based technologies and know-how from the disciplines of machine learning, protein engineering, structural biology and translational immunology to meaningfully accelerate the discovery and development of drugs for autoimmune diseases with high unmet medical need – basically we are using the latest bleeding edge technology and our extensive experience in the industry to get drugs to patients in need sooner. We are truly focused on that mission.
Tell me about your family/partner.
I moved from the UK to the US on my own in 2010 leaving my family behind (it was hard!) and I was only planning on staying a couple of years. But then in 2012 I met this wonderful American guy (Ryan) and we moved in with each other the same year and got married 2 years later! He is a Senior Director of Global HR Operations at a tech company in Boston and grew up around here. We got married in the UK in 2014 where same-sex marriage was legalized earlier that same year whilst in the US it was not recognized at the federal level. Of course, we were super happy the following year with the US Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges where marriage equality became the law of the land in the US and granted same-sex couples in all 50 states the right to full, equal recognition under the law. Fun (but actually serious) fact: prior to federal marriage equality in the US there were actually ~1,100 federal rights and responsibilities same sex couples were denied access to.
If you had to pick one type of food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I think it has to be something from England! And I think it has to be fish and chips! So good and so quintessentially British and I love it (maybe with a side of mushy peas!)