Covaris, Inc. head Justine Laugharn speaks at BHWF – Beacon Hill Times

2021-12-14 23:26:55 By : sally zhu

Despite the heavy snowfall, members of the Beacon Hill Women's Forum (BHWF) crowded the Hampshire library on Tuesday, February 12, eager to hear the head of Covaris, Inc. Justine Laugharn give a speech, "Yes , You can have everything!" 

The project was started by neighbourhood narrative speakers Gil and Dampello (owners of The Designers); Leather Clothiers, Inc. is located on Charles Street in Pinckney. Since 1984, Jill and Dan have been offering a wide variety of off-the-shelf and custom handmade leather clothing, bags and accessories, including hats and headwear. The members of BHWF are very happy to see an example of their work-a beautiful dress designed and customized for President Seneda Bautista. In addition, the duo specializes in the modification, repair and cleaning of any leather, suede, wool skin and fur items. With the mission of highlighting local designers, this store also sells jewelry and silk scarves handmade by others in the area. 

Keynote speaker Justine Laugharn leads Covaris, Inc., a biotechnology company founded in 1999, known for its precision instruments most commonly used for nucleic acid fragmentation (a key preparation step for DNA sequencing). Before her husband Jim invented the Covaris device, scientists relied on the use of enzymes known to have certain sequence deviation effects, or a more primitive mechanical DNA shearing method, which required a handheld ultrasound probe and the sample to be cooled on an ice bucket. Covaris uses focused acoustic wave technology, which is a completely different method with automatic time and temperature settings. The widespread adoption of Covaris instruments has changed the rules of the game, reduced labor, significantly improved reproducibility, and allowed the use of less starting material, which is particularly advantageous when using precious tissue samples collected from patients. 

For example, using the Covaris instrument, today's oncologists are not limited to molecular characterization of wet tissue specimens to understand the potential genome of a cancer biopsy, but can also use formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue available in the pathology laboratory. Today, Covaris is by far the main technology for global DNA fragmentation. It can be seen in various laboratories and core facilities in research institutions and hospitals, including nearby MGH and pharmaceutical companies. For example, if someone finds a research publication in the field of epigenetics today, then Covaris is likely to appear in the methods section. Laugharn informed the members that the main application areas of Covaris instruments are gene therapy, oncology, epigenetics and methods of combining pharmaceutical ingredients. The company provides instruments of different sizes and functions, as well as continuous innovation in consumable products and protocols for various applications. 

Accompanied by her daughter Fiona, who lives in London, Laugharn summarized her life experience of great success in the field of biotechnology from childhood to today. Laugharn and three other siblings grew up on the Jersey Shore in a commuter suburb of New York City. Laugharn recalled that claiming to be a tall and shy teenager, the 8th grade blood typing laboratory course stimulated her interest in the field of biology. Throughout the school year, she excelled in mathematics and science. In high school, she joined the Forensic Association and received public speaking training (don't mistake it for forensic science in science). As a nature and life science enthusiast, hiking has always been one of her favorite pastimes​​. She also spent four years in a sailing team as a girl scout. 

Laugharn went on to earn a bachelor's degree in biology from Boston College, a minor in chemistry, and an internship at Tufts Medical Center, where she performed lymphocyte electron microscopy research. After traveling in Europe for a year, she returned to the field of microscopy in the MGH Pathology Laboratory. Laugharn quickly became enthusiastic about laboratory equipment and became interested in the complex software components of microscopes. Then, she quickly learned to code and studied for a master's degree in engineering at Boston University. With her background in biology and her newly acquired engineering skills during the boom of the technology industry in the 1980s, she started as a pure software engineer and then transformed into a liaison between an engineer and a customer. She excels in her new roles in marketing and sales. In 1986, she became the cover girl for handheld computers-her idea was that a lady holding a computer would make it look fashionable. 

After leaving the handheld computer, Laugharn worked at Bard Electrophysiology at the exciting moment of the defibrillator. She met her husband, Jim, and soon formed a family with two children and a corgi. As expected, taking into account the busy work schedule including travel, while having a young family is a challenge. During that extremely busy time, her husband founded Covaris, Inc. Although initially hesitant to join his startup company, she took over all financial, human resources, and IT responsibilities-she has extensive experience in these areas. Laugharn told the members how she learned to “accept a lot of risks” while showing photos of Covaris in their 2,500-square-foot Winchester home, as well as the current 40,000-square-foot facility in Woburn, in addition to innovation and strategic planning, all The manufacturing also happened. The company is preparing for further expansion and is expected to set up new distribution centers and registered offices internationally.

"Business is like an organism," Laugharn said. The key to her success lies in anticipating the changing needs of consumers and focusing on innovation, while ensuring top quality products. Another piece of advice given by Laugharn is the importance of "Don't overreact to both good news and bad news, so as not to derail". Members also like to learn its namesake from the "covariance" in statistics. Currently, she is "practising retirement" and exploring next steps after Covaris-perhaps in a non-profit organization related to nature. 

Members are happy to have the opportunity to continue talking with Laugharn and her daughter at the "Afterglow" party in 75 Chestnut. For more information on the numerous activities offered during the current BHWF season and to purchase memberships, please visit

The Hidden Garden Tour is scheduled to take place on May 16th

The 2019 Beacon Hill Hidden Garden Annual Tour is scheduled to be held on Thursday, May 16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The annual trip to the hidden gardens of Beacon Hill is to commemorate the long tradition of urban gardening in Boston.

From now until May 9th, you can save $10 by buying an early bird ticket of $50.

Full price tickets for May 10th to 16th @ 60 USD.

Our website will help you plan a great day in Beacon Hill. 

Local students are recognized for academic excellence at Tufts University

Eoghan Downey of Beacon Hill was selected as the dean of Tufts University for the fall semester of 2018. Tufts University’s Dean’s Honor Roll requires a semester grade point average of 3.4 or higher.

Tufts University is located on campuses in Boston, Massachusetts, Medford/Somerville and Grafton, and Talloires, France, and is recognized as a leading research university in the United States. Tufts University has a global reputation for academic excellence and training students to become leaders in all walks of life. More and more innovative teaching and research programs are spread across all campuses of Tufts University, and cooperation between the faculty, staff and students of undergraduates, postgraduates and professional courses of each university is widely encouraged.

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