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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

Career Coaching for Scientists: Why and Where Do I Find One?

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Jan 29, 2015 8:25:00 AM

Professional Career Coaching can be an excellent tactic for scientists making a career shift or who wish to improve their current job situation. What can a coach do that is different from an advisor, boss or mentor? First, professional coaches have experience and knowledge to help scientists transition out of the academic sphere into a different meaningful career in science. Supervisors in the academic infrastructure are not always as effective in mentoring for this transition. Second, a coach will help you set goals and then hold you accountable for carrying through on the actions you committed to. Finally, hiring a paid coach will make you take the experience more seriously and I have seen, without exception, that this helps people do a better job at reaching their goals. 

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Topics: Career, Career Readiness

Management for Scientists: Seeking Feedback

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Jan 8, 2015 9:34:00 AM

This is the second in a 5 part series on Management for scientists. Subscribe to the Addgene Career Advice Posts here.

This second installment in the Management for Scientists series will focus on an aspect of communication especially important for a manager – getting feedback from the team. Successful management can almost be boiled down to one, key concept: Creating a culture of excellent, effective communication between all members of a team. As described here in a 2012 Intuit blog post, a study coming out of MITs Human Dynamics Laboratory identified five characteristics of very successful teams.

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Here they are annotated with my comments:

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Topics: Career, Management for Scientists

22 Hot Plasmid Technologies from 2014

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Jan 6, 2015 12:21:53 PM

Updated Mini-transposon Vector for Bacterial Mutagenesis or Gene Targeting

Victor de Lorenzo's lab has engineered a modular mini-Tn5 vector that can be used to generate random mutagenesis libraries or to insert heterologous genes, reporters, or other markers into a target genome. They did this by selecting the important elements from existing transposon and vector systems and creating an all-synthetic vector that included only the elements needed for function.

The lab validated this vector, called pBAM1, by conducting random mutagenesis in the soil bacterium Pseudomonas putida and demonstrate that they can successfully create GFP fusion proteins with a variety of genes across the genome. Although this tool was published in 2011, it was only recently made available through Addgene and we want to highlight it for use in your research.

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Topics: Hot Plasmids, Lab Tips, Plasmid Kits

Management for Scientists: What Makes a Good Manager Anyway?

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

 This is the first in a 5 part series on Management for scientists. Subscribe to the Addgene Career Advice Posts here.

 

“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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Topics: Career, News, Management for Scientists

How-to: 5 Steps to a Great Panel Discussion

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

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

Panel 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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Topics: Career

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