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Showing posts from 2017

Making the Leap, Part 5: Let’s Make a Deal

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Negotiating a startup package can be an intimidating venture. Few of us scientists are well trained in business negotiation or contract law. Beyond that, there’s a great deal regarding startup packages that will seem unfamiliar to individuals making the transition to an academic faculty position. However, there are a few key guideposts that can help prospective faculty members successfully navigate the process from getting a draft offer to sealing the deal in a way that maximizes opportunities for success. Below I’ll discuss some of my experiences, as well as those of colleagues who have also recently made the leap.

Negotiation 101: It’s not personal, it’s business. How you conduct yourself in a negotiation process is just as critical as the substance of the discussion itself. After my interview process, I received offers from three institutions. My negotiating partner at each institution was the head of the program, department or division offering the position. In other words: they we…

Why Join ISEH? New Investigators Share Their Thoughts

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Following the International Society for Experimental Hematology (ISEH) Annual Conference in Frankfurt, some of you may be wondering what else you can get out of your ISEH membership. To give some ideas, we asked members of the ISEH New Investigator Committee (NIC) why they belong to ISEH.

Isabel Beerman (NIH, USA) added “One of the most valuable aspects of my ISEH membership is the access to the network of outstanding researchers. This is highlighted at the annual meeting. This intimate gathering promotes interactions with investigators at all career stages and allows for open discussions of developing research programs. In addition, interactions between members is fostered throughout the year by ISEH sponsored events on the website that highlight relevant publications and provide great educational opportunities from the introduction to hematology (Hematology 101) to learning about emerging technologies driving the field forward (New Investigator Committee Webinars).”

Nina Cabezas-Walls…

How to Make the Most Out of Your Lab’s Move

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“The lab is moving!” I must confess, when I heard these words from my mentor about a year and a half ago, my heart dropped. Lab relocation experiences are some of the worst horror stories that you hear from fellow researchers: precious samples lost, mouse colonies never recovered, months spent re-establishing protocols. Moreover, it also meant I would have to leave San Francisco, a beautiful city that I loved to live in, and where I found many friends. Being a scientist often means not having much choice of geographic location of your work. The choice of a particular subject or even broad field usually requires a move to a new city, or even a new country. Moving with the lab means making this choice again – do I leave my project and all the progress behind, or do I accept the delay in my research and go ahead. Now, two months after our move to New York, I would like to reflect on my experiences and that of my fellow lab members on our cross-country relocation from the trainee perspect…

When people can…

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As long as I can remember, there were people marching on the streets, either protesting or celebrating or even supporting the topic of the manifestation. It always fascinated me how powerful people can be, when they come together. In cases of manipulation of the public opinion this is of course not good. However, many times this can influence things in a positive way. Coming from a country like Greece, I have to admit that it was fairly frequent for me to see people getting together on the streets for a variety of reasons. Then, when I moved myself and my life to Boston, these events happened less frequently. I remember that I joined a protest in Boston once (although maybe this is not the right time to admit such a thing). It was about the Gulf war and people wanting their children to come back home. The subject of the protest was noble, however only a few people participated. Thus, it was to my great surprise and satisfaction when on April 22nd, 2017 the March for Science was organi…

Science in the Time of Google and Smartphones

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Today, we do business, communicate and thrive online. Smartphones have made the use of the internet affordable, quick and easily accessible. In a decade (if we consider the first iPhone launched in 2007), almost 9 out of 10 people in South Korea (the country with most users) and 7 out of 10 Americans now have a smartphone. How has the internet and the use of smartphones impacted the way we do science?

We use smartphones daily and have them on 24/7. We all have used the services of a technology company; however, the scientific community has not fully benefited from its use as other areas like business, marketing, music and television. But is there something we can do to increase our productivity or even better our science using the models of technology companies?

In order to get more perspective on this topic, I interviewed Vince Garcia, VP Travel & Lifestyle Services from American Express (AMEX), to get a corporate vision of this new “Google era” and smartphones.

How has business e…

Making the Leap, Part 4: Addressing the Two-body Problem

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All of us in the sciences have heard about the "two-body problem," a term often used to describe situations in which both life-partners or spouses are simultaneously seeking equivalent academic positions (i.e., faculty positions). How such couples can go about addressing this issue and gain employment for themselves is worthy of more than a single blog entry. A common variant to this situation is a dual-career couple where the spouse or partner works in an entirely different field. Depending on what the other individual, sometimes referred to as a "trailing spouse" does for their career (I'm personally not a fan of that term as it implies an inequality in the decision making between the employee and their partner), the ability of an institution to facilitate that person's employment varies widely. Frankly, the ability of an institution to facilitate employment for the partner can vary greatly regardless of the partner's field. This is based on the forma…

The cost of a postdoctoral experience and its impact on STEM diversity

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Academic diversity in the biological sciences isn't what it should be.  At the most basic level, representation by underrepresented groups in the top research universities in the United States is less than 5%1.  Despite gains in enrollment of underrepresented students in the biological sciences at the undergraduate and doctoral levels, these gains do not extend to the tenure-track realm, where representation has changed very little over the past three decades. 

At another level, because of the ferocious degree of competition in science today - for publication in high impact journals, for limited grant funds, for fewer tenure-track positions -- one might argue that academic diversity is slowly been shaped by a "1%" mindset.  Perhaps more than ever before, the institution you come from-- even the lab you come from-- influences where you will publish, whether you will attain funding, and ultimately whether you will succeed. My purpose here is not to grumble; I'm sure th…

Dissecting biological systems at the level of single cells

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A major focus of technology development over the past years has been on increasing sensitivity to work with low cell numbers. The ultimate goal for many cell biologists is to assay cells individually. The desire to do so is in part fueled by the increasing appreciation of extensive heterogeneity in many tissues. For example, tumors are very heterogeneous, and often include not only different tumor cell clones, but also differentiated cells, infiltrating T-cells, macrophages, and fibroblasts. In the hematopoietic system, it has become apparent that even the most sophisticated flow cytometry sorting scheme has limits: highly purified hematopoietic stem cells still exhibit heterogeneous behaviors when assessed using single-cell transplantation assays (Dykstra et al., 2007; Kiel et al., 2005). In this blog, we will outline some of the most exciting developments and state-of-the-art technologies that stand to transform our understanding of tissue organization.
Next Generation Sequencing of …