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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

Developing Transferable Skills During Science Training

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Jun 3, 2014 10:14:00 AM

You 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.

Check out Joanne's Reddit AMA

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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Topics: Career, Career Readiness

The Stingy Scientist: How the Baby Gel Box Was Born

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Apr 15, 2014 11:11:00 AM

It is probably good news for our environment that more people are paying attention to living a “green” life and creating less waste.  Most communities seem to have recycling programs and it seems to me that most Addgenies make an effort to avoid plastic bags and to conserve resources where possible.  At the lunch table, for instance, we have a plastic container problem…reusable containers pile up by the sink after lunch as fewer and fewer people use plastic bags.  We also try to recycle our discards according to the Cambridge, Massachusetts guidelines and wear an extra sweater so we don’t have to turn up the heat when there is a bad Northeastern chill.

Check out Joanne's Reddit AMA 

Few of us spend much time thinking about conserving resources in the labs. Disposable plastic materials are fairly inexpensive in this country and we are quick to throw out chipped or imperfect equipment.  We can’t safely recycle these materials either. 

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Topics: Fun, Lab Tips

Negotiating Work and Life: How to Find the Joy

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Mar 20, 2014 11:04:00 AM

This article was originally published on the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) Electronic Laboratory Neighborhood.  

Work/life balance. Is it truly possible to bring all aspects of our lives under control? Balance is a myth and should not even be the real goal. We are all constantly negotiating our energy and attention. The goal is to maximise the time you are enjoying both work and personal life.

There are no easy answers to negotiating a demanding career in science with other interests and priorities, but many find it helpful to obtain support and ideas from those who seem to be managing. Being reminded of the seemingly simple actions we can take to help ourselves can be an appropriate first step.

Check out Joanne's Reddit AMA

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Topics: Career, Fun

Mentoring for Scientists: I Have a Mentor, What Now?

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Mar 6, 2014 2:12:00 PM

This is the fifth and final post in the Addgene Blog Mentoring for Scientists Series. The entire series and additional resources can be downloaded in E-Book format at the end of this post.

If you have been following the posts in this Mentoring for Scientists series, you have: realized the value of having a mentor, developed some strategies for finding mentors and, perhaps, asked someone to support your career development as your mentor. How do you make the most of this new relationship? Consider adding formality and active goal setting to your mentoring relationships, so that you can reap rewards in the form of reaching career development goals.

Check out Joanne's Reddit AMA

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Topics: Career, Mentoring for Scientists

Form Your Own Peer Mentoring Group: A How-To Guide for Scientists

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Feb 18, 2014 11:22:39 AM

This is the fourth post in the Addgene Blog Mentoring for Scientists Series.

I have been thinking a lot about Mentoring for over 10 years. Many successful scientists describe having a “posse” of mentors as one key to their success. But how do you find these elusive teachers, supporters and advisors? I tried to start a more formal mentoring program at my company, but there weren't enough senior people willing to step up and be matched with the many interested mentees. So I experimented with a group mentoring format where 1 mentor met with a group of mentees to get more “bang for the buck”.


Listen to our podcast interview with Harvard Medical School researcher Connie Cepko to learn about her mentoring style.

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Topics: Career, Mentoring for Scientists

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