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Changing Labor Laws Bring Increased Postdoc Wages

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 25, 2016 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed by Future of Research Executive Director, Gary McDowell.

On Dec 1st, the threshold at which salaried workers receive overtime payment for working more than 40 hours per week will increase from $23,660 to $47,476 per year, under updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

This is having a major effect on scientists within academia, most particularly postdocs working in the U.S., whose current salaries are below the new exemption level (the current average postdoc salary is estimated at around $45,000, but as I’ve discussed elsewhere (slides here) there are many postdocs paid at much lower salaries).

Postdocs (who are not in a primarily teaching role) come under this ruling, regardless of visa or fellowship status, in addition to certain staff scientists and those in technical roles. Therefore, institutions are responsible for ensuring that either all affected scientists are paid above this threshold or for tracking the hours that these scientists work and paying them overtime accordingly.

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Topics: Career, News

5 Reasons to Use Reddit for Science Communication

Posted by Tyler Ford on Oct 20, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Addgene Executive director, Joanne Kamens, recently participated in a Reddit AMA (short for “Ask Me Anything”) on r/Science. You can see some of Joanne’s comments on the AMA process below, but we also wanted to share some thoughts on why we decided to do an AMA in the first place and give you some reasons why you should consider using Reddit to share your science. While Reddit isn’t for everyone, particularly if you’re more interested in selling a product than communicating your ideas with people or discussing science, it is a great way to establish yourself as a thought leader and have real conversations with other scientists.

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Topics: Career, Scientific Sharing, Science Communication, Networking, Career Readiness, Mentoring for Scientists

6 Tips for Grant Writing

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 18, 2016 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed by guest blogger Sean Mac Fhearraigh, co-founder of ELISAAssays.com.

No matter what facet of academia you are in, grant writing can be the lynch pin that results in your success or failure and demands attention, practice, and honing of your skills from the start. Just like with any sport, hours of practice are required and no one lab or professor becomes an overnight success. Below I have detailed some tips to improve your grant writing and hopefully increase your success rate.

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Topics: Career, Career Readiness

Healthcare Consulting: A Door to the Business of Life Sciences

Posted by Guest Blogger on Oct 13, 2016 10:30:00 AM

This post was contributed by guest blogger Gairik Sachdeva.

Healthcare consulting is a fast-paced field, requiring people who are willing to quickly learn, and apply their knowledge to a variety of problems. In this post, I’ll share what I’ve learned as a healthcare consultant and give you an idea of what a career in this field involves, and why you might enjoy doing it. I’ll also talk about the skills you’ll need to do well as a healthcare consultant and what you could do to break into the field.

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Topics: Career, Career Readiness

CRISPR 101: Engineering the Plant Genome Using CRISPR/Cas9

Posted by Joel McDade on Oct 11, 2016 10:30:00 AM

CRISPR has taken the genome engineering world by storm owing to its ease of use and utility in a wide variety of organisms.  While much of current CRISPR research focuses on its potential applications for human medicine (1), the potential of CRISPR for genome engineering in plants is also being realized. There are a variety of reasons to consider using genome editing to change the genetic code of plants, including the development of crops with longer shelf life and the development of disease-resistant crops to increase agricultural yield (2,3). While it is certainly possible to select for desirable traits using traditional plant breeding approaches, these techniques are cumbersome, often requiring several rounds of selection to isolate plants with the phenotype of interest. Genome engineering, on the other hand, allows for targeted modification of known or suspected genes that regulate a desired phenotype.  In fact, CRISPR has already been used to engineer the genome of many plant species, including commonly used model organisms like Arabidopsis and Medicago truncatula and several crop species including potato, corn, tomato, wheat, mushroom, and rice (4). Despite the almost universal functionality of the CRISPR system in most organisms, some plant-specific changes to CRISPR components are necessary to enable genome editing in plant cells.  

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Topics: CRISPR, Plant Biology, CRISPR 101

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