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

Management for Scientists: What Makes a Good Manager Anyway?

Posted by Joanne Kamens | Dec 9, 2014 9:22:00 AM

8_types_of_managers

“I'm slowly becoming a convert to the principle that you can't motivate people to do things, you can only demotivate them. The primary job of the manager is not to empower but to remove obstacles.” – Scott Adams, Dilbert cartoonist

If that is all it takes, then how come there are so many bad managers? New managers are rarely chosen because they have demonstrated skill at managing and this is especially true in science. It is assumed that if you are good at science and you are smart, you can be a good manager. The kind of smarts and the type of skills that it takes to be a good scientist are not the same ones it takes to be a competent manager (much less a really good one). While getting your PhD or doing a postdoc few science trainees will have opportunities to work on Emotional Intelligence or to hone delegation skills, for example.

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How-to: 5 Steps to a Great Panel Discussion

Posted by Joanne Kamens | Oct 22, 2014 9:57:29 AM

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

microphonePanel discussions are becoming a ubiquitous format for events and sessions in scientific conferences. They can result in lively discussions with both panelists and audience fully engaged. They can also be dull and painful to sit through (imagine the entire audience playing Candy Crush or reading email). My advice is always "don't do it unless you can do it well" – even the smallest program. I don't mean have fancy food or a fantastic view (these are nice if you can afford them). I am talking about making sure the audience is interested, educated and talking as a result of the content. Here are some of my tips to organizing and running a memorable panel discussion.

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Future of Research Conference - Remarkable Opening Session

Posted by Joanne Kamens | Oct 7, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Dr_BourneIt was with a sense of relief that I attended the amazing, postdoc-driven Future of Research Conference at Boston University last week.  This fantastic city-wide effort was led by two amazing postdocs, Kristin Krukenberg and Jessica Polka from Harvard Medical School and a long list of supporters from all of the research centers in Boston.  I was relieved because it finally feels to me like the postdocs are taking some steps to control their own future in science (see my previous blog on this).  Indeed, that was a primary message delivered by many of the speakers.  As Dr. Polka said as she started things off, “We are all capable of contributing to change.” 

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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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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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