Meyer is a University of Utah Scientific Computing and Imaging (SCI) Institute professor and USTAR researcher. One of only three in the biotech field to make the list, she was surprised by her inclusion. “I don’t think of myself as someone who is in business, but rather as someone who is passionate about my work and research,” she said. “But I think this embodies what USTAR (the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative) is all about.”
She is listed at number 24, beating out the likes of Ken Parks of Spotify and Jeff Fong who served as the design lead for the Microsoft Windows phone. However, it is two other names Meyer topped that caught her attention. “I beat out Björk and Shaquille O’Neal, so that’s my claim to fame,” she said.
Meyer is grateful for the honor of being listed among so many talented business people. “It is exciting that people see what I do and think it is going to make an impact on the lives of those I work with,” she said. “In academia, it is not traditional to be rewarded in this way, so it’s great that the external praise validates my work.”
Her focus is on answering the more complex scientific questions and less about broad spectrum questions. Unlike many of the other visualization programs available, Meyer works closely with her collaborators to develop solutions to their long term needs. “The types of questions I deal with are the result of my work with my collaborators,” she said. “I create solutions so my collaborators can make their great discoveries.”
Meyer has helped create software programs such as MizBee, a visualization tool used to see genetic information on chromosomes. She is quick to point out the programing is not the most complicated part of what she does, rather, it is the commercialization element that poses the greatest challenge.
Meyer sees her research as “a long tail form of business.” She cited an article from WIRED magazine originally printed in October 2004 which popularized the idea. The long tail concept refers to the strategy of selling a large number of unique items with smaller quantities sold of each. The article pointed to Amazon.com as an example of this model. “You can buy anything on Amazon,” Meyer said. “They have a lot of different things that not everyone needs and it works for them.”<
Referring back to the long-tail model, she realizes finding a way to market to a very specific target, or finding ways to make her work appeal to a broader spectrum of people to be the main challenge. “The programing is not the commercial part,” Meyer said. “The upper layer, what goes on top, that is what will make it more broad and available to more people.”
“I really feel there is a lifetime’s worth of work for me to do in Biology,” Meyer said. “At the heart of it, I care about creating tools that impact the lives of my collaborators. Working with real people, with real families and lives and designing tools that fit their needs, that is my passion.”