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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

Is this the right place for me? 8 tactics for choosing a lab

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Oct 2, 2018 8:56:53 AM

Why is choosing the right lab such a big deal? It’s actually something you CAN choose and it will make a huge difference for your future career and life. You might see a lab head as choosing you, but in reality, you are giving your hard work and talent for many years (at a very low salary I might add). You have a right and responsibility to choose a lab where you can thrive and do your best work. This post is focused on choosing a lab, but almost all of these guidelines can apply to any workplace or job. It amazes me when the most analytic scientists seem to toss data-driven reasoning out the window when making decisions. We think scientists make choices based on logic and reason, but often our decisions are based on emotions and assumptions. I’m not just talking about simple things like “Which route should I take to get to work?”; we often make important life decisions without much logic - even choosing a training lab where we will spend the next 6 years.

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Topics: Career, Career Readiness

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 Readiness, Career

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, Career Readiness, Science Communication

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