Bio Careers Blog


Welcome to the Bio Careers Blog. Opinions expressed on this blog are those of the bloggers, and not necessarily those of Bio Careers. Any registered member of our community is free to post comments on the blog. Postings and comments must conform with the  RULES.
Andrea Habura

03.04.2016 |    3,087 |   reply |
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“At scientific conferences, there are three classes of attendees: Eminents, Lowlies, and Everyone Else. Grad students, of course, fall into the Lowlies group. An ecotone, or edge effect, where all three classes come into contact can yield higher biodiversity and productivity than in any one group by itself.” – Stephen Hale.  If you’re reading this site at all, you’ve probably had a few chances to study the ecosystem of scientific conferences. (Hale’s essay, which I think you’ll find amusing, is here. However, if you’re a good scientific ecologist, you’ll spend some time studying another group that Hale doesn’t talk about much,...


Andrea Habura

02.01.2016 |    3,399 |   reply |
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If you’re trying to make your products better, it’s nice when your customers almost have to fill out a user feedback form. “Publish or perish” is nothing but upside if you want to figure out what scientists are doing in the lab. One of the things we do here at my...


Andrea Habura

12.28.2015 |    3,832 |   reply |
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When I meet people at cocktail parties, I tell them I build robots for a living. Which is the truth, but not the whole truth.  As you know, if you’ve been reading my blog posts, I'm a microbiologist who moved into the scientific instrument industry after about 20 years in academic...


Andrea Habura

11.11.2015 |    3,966 |   reply |
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“What is it that confers the noblest delight? What is that which swells a man's breast with pride above that which any other experience can bring to him? Discovery!  To know that you are walking where none others have walked; that you are beholding what human eye has not seen before;...


Andrea Habura

09.07.2015 |    4,750 |   reply |
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You’ve probably seen it; millions of people have. One of the first videos done by the animation company Animusic, Pipe Dream is a fun computer animation of a mechanical percussion orchestra, with little balls caroming off of drums and xylophone keys and cowbells before tucking themselves neatly back into funnels...


Andrea Habura

08.10.2015 |    5,401 |   reply |
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Nature recently published an opinion piece about the things budding 21st century scientists need in their training (http://www.nature.com/naturejobs/science/articles/10.1038/nj7560-371a).  Of the seven people who contributed to the article, four emphasized the need for scientists to learn non-scientific professional and leadership skills, the sort that are not often seen in a traditional academic-research...
Tags: internships for life science


Andrea Habura

05.25.2015 |    7,753 |   reply |
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One of the best things about a science education is that it teaches you to see the bones beneath the skin.  In some cases, literally (hello there, anatomy people!), but mostly in the sense that we learn to see the hidden processes that drive the physical world. Being a scientist means...
Tags: how things work, seeing things what the naked eye can’t see


Andrea Habura

04.22.2015 |    7,407 |   reply |
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It’s a very busy time at my company: one of the kids is about to leave for college.  We’ve been planning this for a while, as you’d expect, but there’s always a last-minute flurry of activity before you get the youngster out the door. And you always worry about the kids...


Andrea Habura

02.09.2015 |    8,934 |   reply |
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Admit it: you have a “lucky” PCR machine, don’t you?  As any experimental biologist can tell you, working at the bench has a strong element of tradition and muscle knowledge. If I’m running a Western blot or pouring a gel, I’ll probably do it a certain way, because that’s the way...
Tags: biology experiments as computer programs, lab superstitions


Andrea Habura

12.12.2014 |    8,067 |   reply |
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Several years ago, I was doing field research in a remote and extremely cold site, and I had to take a multi-day survival training course before they would let me out on the ice unsupervised.  On our first day of “Happy Camper School,” my classmates and I were given a list:  “Bring:...


Andrea Habura

11.10.2014 |    7,927 |   reply |
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“Cursed is the man who has found some other man's work and cannot lose it.” – Mark Twain What is your work, anyway? Not your research project, but your work. The sort of job you’re really suited for. If you got a traditional biologist’s education, you may not be sure. Academia is...
Tags: bioinstrumentation, what job suits me best


Andrea Habura

09.05.2014 |    15,682 |   reply |
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“…the world is, indeed, filled with a number of things… not only the wondrous creatures of the sea, but the marvelous hand and machine tools, and the stupendous assortment of plastic materials (both natural and manmade) available, as our own rich heritage from nature and from man’s creativity...” – Dr. Zach...
Tags: bioinstrumentation, toolbuilding for scientists, World Maker Faire


Andrea Habura

08.15.2014 |    12,282 |   reply |
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There are two kinds of people in the world: people who think the world can be divided into two kinds of people, and those who don't. However, I rather like the metaphor of "foxes" versus "hedgehogs." It was coined by the ancient Greek playwright Archilochus, but it's famous thanks to...
Tags: hobbies for scientists, programming for scientists, side gigs for PhDs


Andrea Habura

07.14.2014 |    9,345 |   reply |
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In the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, our intrepid hero reluctantly does something completely senseless: he leaps off a cliff “from the lion’s head,” into a bottomless chasm to prove his faith and get to the Grail that he’s been hunting. (If you somehow missed the movie, the...
Tags: attending conferences, conference for inventors, how to be a successful inventor


Andrea Habura

05.16.2014 |    10,607 |   reply |
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As you know from my previous blog entries, I’m a biologist who makes lab equipment for a living. In my new work life as a machine builder, I spend much of my time working with engineers. It’s great fun, and I’m learning tremendous amounts from them.  One of the most interesting...
Tags: difference of engineers and biologists, thought processes of a life scientist and engineer


Clement Weinberger

07.21.2011 |    11,973 |   reply |
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Don’t you see that flying saucer over there? No, I don't see it. Why not? – “because it’s not my problem.” Douglas Adams, from The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy” Think back for a moment on how you found your first grad school mentor or thesis advisor. How did you get...
Tags: lab, MS, PhD


Ping Xiao

05.22.2011 |    21,813 |   1 reply |
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Once upon a time, there was an eagle that grew up with a group of chickens. He thought of himself as a chicken too, enjoying a routine life the same as everybody else. His master was very angry when trying various methods to get him to fly, but he couldn’t....
Tags: Academia, Changing careers, industry, self-improvement, transitioning


Ping Xiao

05.10.2011 |    16,511 |   1 reply |
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What have you done for yourself lately? This is not a question about getting a massage or spending a weekend relaxing in the country. It is a question to jolt you into paying attention to your own professional development. With so much thought and energy rightly focused on the global...
Tags: Changing careers, questions, self-improvement, Skill Building, transition


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