Design software for research.
We are Mekentosj, a Springer Science+Business media company that writes innovative software for researchers.
It all started way back in 1995 when Tom and Alex both signed up to study Medical Biology at the Free University in Amsterdam. Tom is originally from Twente a region in the east of The Netherlands, while Alex lived in Aalsmeer, a flower city not too far from Amsterdam.
They became good friends pretty soon afterwards. After their study they both ended up at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) in 2000, where they did their PhDs together.
While doing their PhDs they started building software to address the daily needs in the lab. Soon they realized they were not the only ones who could use those programs and they made them available for free on their website, mekentosj.com. In 2004 they won their first Apple Design Award, followed by two more in the following years. That was when things really started taking off, and the rest is history.
Tom and Alex received their degrees in November 2006, after which Alex moved to Cambridge in the UK for a postdoc at the European Bioinformatics Institute while Tom moved back to Twente for a postdoc at the University of Twente.
While Tom continues to pursue an academic career, Alex decided that what started as Mek&Tosj would become Mekentosj Inc, and he now lives the indie life.
In March 2009 Matt said goodbye to the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge to join the team to push limits further and create revolutionary new software for scientists. Charles followed in May, giving up his job as Chief Scientist at a Stanford startup to start on a great new adventure.
In March 2010 Matt was recruited by Amazon's web services to build the next revolution in Cloud computing and Mekentosj welcomed two new adventurers to our expedition. Constantine Nicolaou, Matt's long time collaborator from Sanger, joins from Beirut, along with Mark Bate, legendary architect of the largest Xserve cluster in the southern hemisphere, who dials in from Melbourne, Australia.
With the number of Papers users growing, the arrival of Christine Buske as our very first Papers Genius could come at a better time in February 2011. Christine does her best to improve every possible aspect of the Papers user experience. More and better information on the website, tutorials, documentation, support, you name it. There's no question our Papers geniuses can't handle.
In September 2011 the mekentosj team received some serious extra iOS development horse power in the form of Ben Schuster-Böckler. From sunny Barcelona Ben is working on the next generation Papers for iOS and it will come as no surprise he aims at making it nothing less than revolutionary.
The first few months of 2012 already have brought 2 new faces to the mekentosj virtual office in the cloud. Matt Petty joined us as our new Livfe lead developer, taking our initial first steps with Livfe and turning it into all the goodies we envisioned it to bring to Papers, we really can't wait to see what he can do with all this online paper power.
We also saw the arrival of Kaisa Piipari to the support team. Kaisa is our first aid expert when it comes to problems or questions regarding Papers. In addition, together with Christine Kaisa brings some serious girl power to the team as well!
In November 2012 we became part of Springer Science+Business media, where we continue to develop Papers in new and exciting ways.
By designing novel and innovative software we aim to make the lives of scientists easier and hope to improve science as a whole.
Called iBen for a reason
Founder and CEO
Digital craftsman and Bitsmith
Our man in Palo Alto
First aid expert
Our Wall Street analyst
Master of Futuristic Devices
It all started out as a hobby driven by a long-time interest for both design and technology.
I was introduced to the Mac when my dad brought home one of these "portable" classic Macs when I was about 14 years old, and almost immediately I started experimenting with Photoshop et al. During university I earned some money in my spare time by designing and building websites, but it wasn't until about the time I started by PhD that Apple introduced Mac OS X and with it came the free set of developer tools that finally made it easy enough for someone without the classical IT background to start building his/her own Mac applications.
Together with my best friend and fellow PhD student Tom Groothuis we started building a number of tools for molecular biologists, which we distributed for free under our "mek en tosj" monicker. It didn't take long before the hobby started to get out of hand as the popularity of our programs started to soar.
When the time came to pick a postdoc I knew one thing for sure, the programming was something I was so passionate about that it should be part of the postdoc rather than a spare time project. That's why I picked the text mining group at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge UK, also driven by an interest in the changes that were/are ongoing in the scientific publishing industry. I applied for a two year EU Marie Curie fellowship which I was fortunate to get, however it would take a few months between the end of my PhD and all the bureaucracy before I could get started in Cambridge. This was when I decided to build Papers. I got the idea for this "iTunes for PDF files" already two years earlier, but never had the time to do it. I did tell everybody I knew about it, but no one had done it and now finally I had some spare time on my hands.
The first beta of Papers was released right at the time I started my postdoc and it was a success right from the start. In fact it was so successful and offered so many opportunities that it was soon difficult to focus on my actual postdoc and after a year I realised that this was the thing I was really passionate about and was what I wanted to concentrate fully on. That was when I decided to quit my job and become the company founder of Mekentosj Inc. 5 years later and Mekentosj has become part of Springer Science+Business media, an exciting new chapter for Papers and Mekentosj.
- Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org - Tweet me: @mekentosj
Founder and CEO
Charles Parnot is a mutant scientist recently metamorphosed into a Mac OS X software developer.
During my PhD in Paris and postdoc at Stanford University, I used molecular biology and biophysics to study the activation of G-protein-coupled receptors, a class of membrane proteins particularly relevant for drug development.
I also developed a computational approach to analyze the dynamics of this activation process, and later set up the Xgrid@Stanford cluster to help with the computations. I then spent 4 years as chief scientist at ConfometRx, a biotech startup focusing on G-protein-coupled receptor crystallization, with the goal of accelerating drug design and drug development.
I always liked writing Cocoa code in my copious free time and I am the author of GridStuffer and of the GridEZ framework. Recently, I made the jump to full-time developer and joined the Mekentosj family to work on a super-duper top-secret new project in sunny California.
- Email me: email@example.com - Tweet me: @cparnot
Our man in Palo Alto
Like the other guys here at Mekentosj, I got interested in computers fairly early in life when my parents bought us an Intel 286-based PC. The main aim of my efforts in those days was to play games such as Prince of Persia, but that required a lot of tinkering to squeeze every bit out of the abundant 256kb of RAM my machine was equipped with.
While I did program a little bit in Basic and Pascal, and taught myself how to set up and administer a Linux machine, I didn’t consider myself much of a computer person until I started my undergraduate studies in Bioinformatics at the Free University Berlin.
It was during those years that I bought my first Apple machine, the beautiful first white iBook. Like many people who switch from Windows (or in my case, Linux) to Mac, I was amazed by the streamlined design not only of the machine, but also of the user interface and the underlying system. Needless to say I haven’t owned a non-Apple computer ever since, but it took another 4 years before I actually started developing programs for Apple machines.
It was one night in a pub, sometime during the last months of my PhD in Cambridge, that I started talking to Matias about the upcoming opening of the iTunes App Store. We didn’t hesitate and started a company in our spare time that has since gone on to produce a number of successful iOS apps.
Finally in 2011, Alex approached me about taking over the iOS part of Papers. I was thrilled to be part of the team, having used Papers throughout my PhD and later during my time as a postdoc at the CRG in Barcelona. I have plenty of plans and ideas on how to take Papers for iPad and iPhone to the next level: expect great things!
- Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org - Tweet me: @dagams
Called iBen for a reason
I am Matias, and I'm an iOS and Mac developer hailing from Cambridge, UK.
Much like the rest of the awesome team at Mekentosj, my passion for writing software for scientists has formed as a combination of working in science, and from a ridiculously long standing interest in computers and programming. I begun my professional career in software at the fresh age of 19 by working as a Java programmer in a new media company close to my home town in Finland, before leaving for London to pursue a biosciences degree at Imperial College. After training as a biochemist, I decided to blend my scientific and computing interests into a computational biology PhD at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.
My interest for programming Cocoa applications was sparked by a data visualisation and management problem which hit me early on during my graduate studies. Soon after I had begun writing a Mac based solution to the problem (iMotifs), the iPhone SDK arrived. This very quickly lead to me becoming a scientist by day and a Cocoa geek by night. Indeed, within months I had teamed up with another Sanger trained biogeek Ben to start developing iPhone software as Pear Computer LLP, and now two years and several iPhone and iPad apps later, I am shamelessly in love with this technology and its potential. However, most of all I am extremely proud to join Mekentosj and take what I've learned to make the lives of scientists easier and more productive by means of kick-ass software.
Apart from Cocoa based technologies, I take a big interest in Java which I've written for a long while, and I'm also well versed in Ruby for general-purpose scripting and for the web (Ruby on Rails). In my free time I like to make loud buzzing noise.
- Email me: email@example.com - Tweet me: @mz2
Master of Futuristic Devices
I am Christine, your Papers Genius, and the Canada-based Mekentosj team member.
After getting my first Mac I fell in love. I have always liked computers and gotten along with them, as is expected from a bit of a geek. However, nothing ‘clicked’ as well with me as my Mac, and the potential I saw in its OS.
My background is as international as the company and I have lived in South America, Europe, and the Middle East. In 2002 I moved to Canada, where I am now in the process of completing my PhD at the University of Toronto. During my undergraduate degree I started freelancing and worked on many different types of projects: From copywriting, health journalism, designing and teaching corporate marketing workshops, to directing commercial voice-overs, and more recently translating research articles. Now, I am thrilled to bring my experiences to the Papers team.
In my spare time I dance salsa, like to run (completed my first half marathon in 2010), and I am learning how to write programs so I can extract data from my experiments using my Mac!
- Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org - Tweet me: @papersgenius
I am Matt, and I'm that developer with the mythical combination of front-end design and back-end development skills. I'm an aesthete who specializes in creating interfaces that are both usable and pleasing.
I'm the American midwest member of the team. I was born and raised in the midwest and, except for a brief four year stint in southern California, I've been a midwesterner my whole life.
My origin and background as a software developer starts as a coward. Fearful I would endanger my academic scholarship, I took my first programming class as a pass-fail course. I was interested in computers but so unsure of how I would do, and I didn't want to lose my full-ride for some stupid class I was taking on a lark. Perhaps needless to say, I passed, and I ended up being the guy getting knocks on his dorm door with pleas of help from classmates.
Unlike most of the Mekentosj team, I do not have a PhD, am not pursuing a PhD, nor am I ever allowed** to pursue a PhD. Instead, I married into the club. My lovely wife Laurie holds several degrees (two bachelors and two masters) and is currently pursuing her PhD in Sociology. While not nearly as impressive, I do hold two bachelors degrees (Fine Art and Information Systems) and a first degree black belt in American Kenpo Karate (I'm most proud of that last one).
With my wife in the throes of doctoral work, and acting as the family computer support, I began researching digital academic software. That's when I first discovered Papers, an amazing product that really knocked my socks off. When I learned Mekentosj was looking for a web developer I immediately threw my hat in the ring. I saw an opportunity to help craft an online experience as amazing as the desktop version. Now that opportunity is reality, and I get to work with smart people on a great product that I believe in, reifying the principals of design and usability. I'm a happy camper!
- Email me: email@example.com - Tweet me: @mattpetty
** I'm horrible at school. After living through the last part of my Information Systems degree, Laurie has banned me from ever returning to academia. Don't get me wrong, I love learning, but on my own.
Digital craftsman and Bitsmith
Hi! I’m Kaisa, your Papers Support First Aid in London, UK. I arrived here in 2003 to pursue a biochemistry BSc at UCL. I then continued on at UCL for my PhD research into metabolic disease models. I finished my graduate project early 2011, and went on to work on aging and metabolic disorders at the Imperial College London as a post-doctoral researcher.
I was introduced to Papers during my PhD. Because Papers was only available for Mac, I insisted on getting one, and haven’t looked back. Papers made reading and thesis writing such a great experience that I now can’t imagine how I managed without it. I’m therefore very proud to be part of the team! I’m probably the least geeky of us -- my focus is on helping our users to my best knowledge and to direct support messages to the Papers developer team. On my free time I like exploring great coffee, art and live music in London, and to spot urban pigeons.
- Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org - Tweet me: @kaisapii
First aid expert