In this two-part series, we sit down to talk with two senior graduate students, Ben Vincent and Niroshi Senaratne, from the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program at Harvard University to get the scoop on the ups and down of graduate student life. Senior graduate students can sometimes be elusive or have a certain mystique that makes them difficult to approach for the youngster just starting in the lab, but they are exactly the people you should talk to if ruminating the trials and tribulations of the modern PhD program. Don’t be fooled! Most senior graduate students are friendly and full of useful advice. Stay tuned for concrete advice on how to pick a lab and a project.
Born to a family in Malawi that pushed science education, Kingdom Kwapata grew up to be one of the best of the best students in his home country. He was selected as one of 600 scholars among 100,000 eligible to attend the University of Malawi where he focused on agricultural engineering through biotech. After graduating with a masters of science in Horticulutre Biotechnology, he did his PhD in Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology at Michigan State University with the backing of a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship. Dr. Kwapata now works as a lecturer in molecular genetics and biotechnology for Horticulture and Forest Crops at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources. He recently received an award from nonprofit and Addgene collaborator, Seeding Labs, for lab equipment that will help accelerate his research. Listen to learn more about Dr. Kwapata’s current work and thoughts on the need for more scientific collaboration across the globe.
In the third installment in our podcast series, we chat with new Addgene Board Member, Michael Koeris. Dr. Koeris did his graduate work in Professor Jim Collins' lab (then at Boston University, now at MIT) where he worked on understanding bacterial antibiotic resistance. During this time, Dr. Koeris and Professor Timothy Lu (a graduate student in the Collins' lab at the time) got the idea to engineer bacteriophage (viruses that infect bacteria) for use as antibiotics. To develop this idea, Drs. Koeris and Lu founded the biotech startup company, Novophage. As you'll hear Dr. Koeris explain however, the time was not right for the development of phage-based therapeutics. After a brief stint at the venture capital firm, Flagship Ventures, Koeris helped change Novophage's focus. The company went from developing therapeutics to developing phage-based tools for detecting pathogens in food products. Along the way, the company changed its name from Novophage to Sample 6.
We recently sat down with Addgene Board Member, depositor, and Harvard Medical School researcher Connie Cepko. Listen to the podcast below to hear all about the research being conducted in Professor Cepko's lab and to get some insight into her management and mentoring styles. If you'd like to learn more about Professor Cepko's recent work on developing GFP-activated proteins, read our recent blog post.
The Addgene Advisory Board consists of prominent members of the bioscience and tech transfer communities who help guide and promote Addgene in its mission to make research easier. Addgene is excited to announce that we’ve added John G. Doench, PhD to the Advisory Board. John Doench is Associate Director of the Genetic Perturbation Platform at the Broad Institute and has worked with many Addgenies to help improve the understanding, curation, and explanation of our CRISPR resources. We recently sat down with Dr. Doench for an interview to help further introduce him to the Addgene community.