Ask Adam: vol. 11

Quartzy co-founder Adam Regelmann is an MD-PhD. He bypassed a career in gastroenterology to launch Quartzy with Columbia colleague Jayant Kulkarni. Each week Adam answers five questions about science, medicine, and pop-culture.

Is it dangerous to eat raw eggs—either on their own or in, say, cookie dough?

Yes, they are dangerous. They contain Salmonella from chicken poop. You get it on your hands when you crack the egg, and you get it into the egg itself. They do make pasteurized eggs—those are safer. Dose is important. With Salmonella, definitely the more you have the more likely you are to become ill. Having a bite of cookie dough or cake batter probably won’t give you problems.

If two doctors arrive at an accident scene before first responders, who is in charge? Is there a protocol?

They don’t teach you any protocol in medical school for that. It’s usually pretty rare that that happens. Usually, it’s very quickly assessed. As a physician at the scene of an accident, there are very few things you can do. You can’t fix any broken bones on the scene. You can check for pulse and breathing. You can perform CPR or the Heimlich maneuver. You can hold their head in place, or make sure other people don’t move them, to make sure they don’t exacerbate any spinal injuries they’ve sustained. You can apply pressure to stop bleeding. And you can comfort them. You can’t put any IVs in. As far as seniority goes, I’d rather have a resident treating me at an accident because they’ve most recently seen hyperacute issues, rather than someone who has been practicing outpatient medicine for 20 years.

Are there any chemical/household cleaners you especially love?

I am kind of cynical when it comes to chemicals in cleaning solutions. In most cases, water, vinegar, soap, maybe baking soda, will take care of most of your needs. I don’t like the fact that the manufacturers of these household cleaners don’t tell you all the chemicals that are in them. When you buy food, they have to tell you the chemicals in it. Chemical cleaners don’t have to do that. All of that stuff goes into the air and we breathe it, so we should know what’s in it.

Are there any TV shows or movies that accurately depict lab research?

The only time labs get any play on TV shows is forensic labs, when they send things in for testing—like CSI. Research labs don’t get much attention because the time scale for lab research is so long. It’s amusing to me to think of this idea of making the lab an Aaron Sorkin-like drama with fast-paced dialogue and people moving from bench to bench. It would be his biggest challenge, because the day-to-day is a lot of sitting while a gel runs or a blot transfers. Ninety percent of the time, your experiments fail and you have to tweak and repeat them. The time scale for taking care of patients is way shorter, and the stakes for each individual situation are much higher, so there’s much more of an opportunity for medical drama.

How does managing a lab compare to running a startup?

There are parallels with running a startup and lab management. There’s the research side, which is very similar because you need to iterate quickly and rebound from failure. You need to be analytical—understand how to interpret data.

And then on the people side, there are some parallels, too. As labs increase in size, more process, like Quartzy itself, needs to be put in place because people need to know what everyone else is doing. People like familiar processes, but when you try to change something, they don’t like it. So understanding what motivates them helps you introduce new processes because you can explain the value that personally impacts them. One difference is that it’s easier in a startup setting to all be pushing for the entire company’s success. Even if people are in different departments, they see how their contribution pushes the company forward. Where in a research lab, there are a lot of independent projects, and everyone is trying to move their own career forward as fast as possible. Getting everyone motivated by a higher-level vision than just their own personal process is a lot harder in the lab.


Quartzy is the world’s No. 1 lab management platform. We help scientists easily organize orders, manage inventory, and save money. We’re free and always will be. Visit Quartzy.com or reach out at info@quartzy.com.

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Greg Schindler

Greg has a BA from Stanford (English/Football) and MS from Oregon (Journalism). He's our Director of Marketing and Pastries.

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