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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

Addgene's a Nonprofit? Nonprofit Awareness Day 2017

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Jun 5, 2017 11:19:13 AM

When you think of a "nonprofit" organization what do you think of? Maybe the term brings to mind a social service organization like the Red Cross or the American Cancer Society, or maybe you think about a local food pantry or community arts organization. Many people are surprised to learn that Addgene is officially filed, recognized and operated as a nonprofit under the United States Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3). That means we were formed to benefit the public, not private interests. On this nonprofit awareness day, we layout the ways in which we promote our mission and work to enable researchers around the world.

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Topics: Inside Addgene

Addgene’s Viral Service - Why Virus? Why Now?

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Mar 23, 2017 10:30:00 AM

In the middle of 2016 Addgene started distributing a small but growing catalog of ready-made AAV and Lentiviral preps. This new Viral Service represents Addgene’s largest new initiative since we started distributing plasmids in 2004. We’ve already distributed over 500 viral samples to scientists all over the world. Now that the service is successfully launched, I would like to thank some of the people and organizations who helped us reach this milestone.

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Topics: Viral Vectors

What Do I Do Now? Academic v. Non-Academic Career Decisions

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Mar 9, 2017 10:40:00 AM

One of the less acknowledged perks of scientific and technical training is that these educational paths prepare you for a vast selection of career options.  Scientists are certainly following many diverse career paths these days.  A recent National Science Foundation study showed that 57% of PhDs in US Biomedical workforce will NOT go into “traditional” academic positions. More recently, I have been hearing exit survey data from postdoctoral programs in the Boston area that demonstrate that 85% of leaving postdocs pursue a career outside the traditional academic silo to tenured professor.  Non-academia encompasses millions of choices including pharma, tech transfer, management consulting, science communication, policy and the diverse options in nonprofit science. No one list can ever encompass them all. We can’t designate non-academic jobs as “alternative” anymore.

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Topics: Career, Career Readiness

10 Steps to a Perfect Science Talk

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Aug 23, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Like graphing data, choosing controls, or mixing clear solutions—public speaking is skill that any scientist can learn.  Any time you give a science talk, you are also giving a job talk. Even if not being interviewed, there could always be a future boss in the room, so it is a good idea to start thinking about public speaking early and often. Two of my jobs have indirectly resulted from someone seeing me speak in a non-interview setting. There are many resources on self-promotion (how hard it is for some people, especially women), visibility (how to get it, especially if introverted ), and networking (how to get people to remember you). What better way to accomplish all of these things naturally than to give a dynamite presentation?  To that end, let’s chat about giving science talks and how to make them serve you well. The happy byproduct might just be a career opportunity.

Check out Joanne's Reddit AMA

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Topics: Career, Science Communication, Career Readiness

Reaching out to China: Canton Nucleic Acids Forum (CNAF) 2015

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Dec 1, 2015 10:30:00 AM

Having never been to China myself, I was pleased to be able to participate when the organizers of the Canton Nucleic Acids Forum (CNAF) 2015 conference invited me to attend and speak about Addgene’s experience helping scientists share plasmids, especially those of the CRISPR variety (see slides from my talk below). Largely organized by Dmitry Samarsky, and a very welcoming team from China’s Ribobio, the illustrious speaker list attracted a host of sponsors based all over the world. With three Nobel Prize winners, one NIH Director and a co-founder of BGI-China presenting, it’s no wonder it was attended by over 300 Chinese scientists eager to hear current findings in nucleic acid science. I was delighted to see that the majority of attendees were scientists still working at the bench. It was a fantastic opportunity to talk to so many scientists who were potential Addgene requestors and depositors. China is in one of the top 10 countries in number of plasmid requests from Addgene.

Check out Joanne's Reddit AMA

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Topics: Scientific Sharing, Inside Addgene

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