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"What Makes a Good Mentor?" and 6 More FAQs About Science Mentoring

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Dec 17, 2013 9:47:07 AM

"The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own." -Benjamin Disraeli

Mentor, Sponsor, Advisor, Boss – who will help me advance my science career? We spend many years becoming scientists. It takes us a decade or more for just the “training” portion of our careers. In that time we may have only 2-3 formal supervisors that will provide guidance and experience. Navigating a fulfilling career in science can be challenging – is advice and guidance from only 2 people enough? 

For many years I’ve been organizing mentoring programs for scientists and doing training to help mentors and mentees have fulfilling, productive relationships. I will be sharing what I’ve learned along the way in this ongoing series of blog posts.

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

Drew Endy Introduces the Biobrick Public Agreement Plasmid Collection

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Dec 12, 2013 10:35:00 AM

Drew Endy's lab at Stanford develops engineered DNA systems capable of storing data and computing inside living cells. He's also a co-founder of the BioBricks Foundation, an organization working to advance biological engineering openly so as to benefit all people and the planet. For his many efforts in open science, Endy was recognized earlier this year by the White House as a Champion of Change, a program created as part of President Barack Obama's Winning the Future Initiative.

Endy's team made news in March with a publication in Science describing the development of “transcriptors,” transistor-like digital genetic switches that enable cellular computing. These logic gates built from transcriptors are now available at Addgene through the Biobrick Public Agreement (BPA) Plasmid Collection along with a BIOFAB kit comprised of well-characterized bacterial transcription and translation initiation elements.

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Interview, Investigator Feature, Synthetic Biology, Plasmid Kits

Kiran Musunuru on the Newest TALEN Genome-Editing System

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Dec 10, 2013 10:13:00 AM

The goal of Kiran Musunuru's lab in Harvard's Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology is to understand the basis for cardiovascular and metabolic human diseases. They do that by studying patients to uncover new gene variants associated with conditions of interest, then studying those variants in model systems: either human cells or mice.

In a recent issue of Cell Stem Cell, Musunuru, Chad Cowan and their colleagues describe a much more efficient tool for doing that disease modeling work in human pluripotent stem cells: a transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN) kit consisting of 834 plasmids. The researchers showed they could use their TALEN kit to quickly and efficiently generate human stem cells edited to carry mutant versions of 15 different disease-associated genes.

Addgene spoke to Musunuru about how the new kit works, the research the kit now makes possible, and how it compares to his CRISPR/Cas9 system.

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Topics: Plasmid Technology, Genome Engineering, Interview, Investigator Feature, Plasmid Kits

Overwhelmed? Take a Break With Our 5 Favorite Science Comics

Posted by Kendall Morgan on Dec 5, 2013 10:27:28 AM

We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine. So, as we ease (or, if you have your first cold of the season like I do, sniffle) ourselves back into our regular post-holiday routines, why not take a little time to appreciate the humor in science and in the lab? Addgene is after all a place that encourages people to take some time out every once in a while – just read Melina Fan’s post on lunch. Why should our new blog be any different?
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Topics: Fun

From our Table to Yours: An Inside Look at Lunch at Addgene

Posted by Melina Fan on Nov 27, 2013 9:54:00 AM

Right from the start, when we founded Addgene nearly 10 years ago, lunch felt like a family meal. My co-founders actually were my family (Kenneth Fan is my brother and Benjie Chen is my husband), and we were joined by Judy Tsai, a friend from graduate school. The four of us would eat together every day, sharing ideas for the company, but also talking about sports, movies, and just about anything.

As our organization grew, we continued this tradition. We now have over 30 full-time employees, so we created one long lunch table and we eat together Harry Potter-style.The shared lunches create a culture of openness and trust that comes from caring about your colleagues on a personal level, and employees often cite lunch as one of their favorite parts about working at Addgene.

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Topics: Fun, Inside Addgene

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