Joanne Kamens

Dr. Kamens is the Executive Director of Addgene. She has worked in pharma and biotech and has been doing career advising for scientists since 2003. She serves on many nonprofit boards and is an advocate for diversity and equity in science.

Recent Posts

Celebrating Outstanding CRISPR/Cas9 Achievements at the Dr. Paul Janssen Award Dinner

Posted by Joanne Kamens | Sep 15, 2014 2:05:00 PM

Janssen_awardScientists are excited by somewhat unusual things. For example, I am not that interested in meeting movie stars, but when I met the astronaut Jim Lovell I was speechless (the club of people who have been in space is pretty small). Therefore, I was delighted to be invited to the ceremony for surely what is one of many awards that will be bestowed upon discovers of CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering, Dr. Jennifer Doudna and Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier. I was joined by Addgene Scientist Matt Ferenc (one of our resident CRISPR experts) at the 2014 Johnson & Johnson’s Dr. Paul Janssen Award dinner which took place at the New York Public library. Being in the presence of scientific heroines is always inspiring. I was especially excited to attend this event because Jennifer did her graduate work one floor above mine in the lab of Dr. Jack Szostak, who went on to win the Nobel Prize. Dr. Doudna has had a host of other impressive mentors including Tom Cech, Robert Tijian, Tom Steitz and Joan Steitz.

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A Conference By Postdocs For Postdocs: Future of Research

Posted by Joanne Kamens | Sep 2, 2014 11:05:00 AM

This post was originally published on LinkedIn. Follow Addgene on LinkedIn for repository news and updates.

futueofresearchScientists must do science to be happy. What do we have to change to ensure that all scientists can have successful careers doing science in some form? There is a lot of talk about the state of scientist training in the US and around the world. There are rumors that we are training too many scientists and some propose radical changes to the way we view the graduate school and postdoc training years.

There is no doubt that there are too many scientists in the pipeline were they all to pursue jobs in academia. Certainly funding for academic research and training is getting tighter and competition is fierce. However, I believe there are plenty of great jobs out there for science PhDs. The problem is that too few of these trainees are sufficiently prepared during their 6-12+ (!) years of training to get jobs. They are not exposed to the vast non-academia career landscape and there is insufficient (or no) emphasis on developing transferable skills to enable pursuit of these diverse opportunities after training.

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How to Make Friends and Meet People at a Scientific Conference

Posted by Joanne Kamens | Aug 7, 2014 9:58:12 AM

networking_event

There is essentially no better place for a scientist to make new relationships than at scientific conferences. Conferences provide the opportunity to meet people who are interested in the same things you are on a deep level. Right away you have something in common. Namely, the scientific question you are interested in and this is a great ice breaker. Of course, real relationships go further and grow over time, but being interested in the same phosphate of your favorite kinase is a good start. 

Perhaps you think that meeting other scientists is not a priority for your career. Actually, it is crucial for all scientists, academic and non-academic, to always be meeting as many other scientists as possible.

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Scientist Networking: What is an Informational Interview?

Posted by Joanne Kamens | Jul 1, 2014 11:42:00 AM

Networking-for-scientists-informational-interview-AddgeneTraining as a scientist in the academic system has many pluses. I delighted in my graduate school years for allowing me to focus wholly on the science I love. This immersive nature of academia often means that scientists-in-training rarely get the opportunity to learn about the myriad of diverse, nonacademic careers that will be available once they have a graduate degree in science. I find it ironic that we do all of our training as scientists (5-12 years worth!) with academic scientists who can’t help us learn about the nonacademic sphere where most of us will be working

It should be no secret that one of the best things you can do during your training is meet interesting people doing interesting things. I call this building relationships because networking has gotten a bad reputation (as in…”I just hate networking”). Scientists enjoy learning new things. Building new relationships is all about learning new things from other scientists doing interesting work. Consider this to be like any other research project. You’ve met someone whose career interests you or you want to pursue someone doing a job you wish you knew more about – how do you make a connection? An Informational Interview is a great next step in your research.

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Developing Transferable Skills During Science Training

Posted by Joanne Kamens | Jun 3, 2014 10:14:06 AM

teamwork-and-communicationYou are finishing your PhD or perhaps you have almost completed a postdoctoral position… or two. You have learned a lot. Whether you are pursuing an academic career path or moving in a nonacademic direction, there are many “transferable” skills you have developed in addition to learning how to be a scientist. Why not stack the deck in your favor? Look for opportunities to practice transferable skills in ways that will also enhance your science training and that will put you in position to pursue a diverse set of career paths. 

Here are some concrete things you can do to develop those transferable skills while you are also learning to be an excellent scientist.

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Addgene is a non-profit plasmid repository that promotes scientific sharing. Our blog extends this mission by providing a platform for scientists to share practical tips and cutting-edge research.

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