Friday, 27 September 2013 00:00

An Invisible-Becoming-Visible Minority?

We recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr's I Have a Dream speech. A critical step towards civil rights was established at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Fifty years later, we are seeing in real time the fastest civil rights movement in history. In 1996, only 27% of Americans agreed that those in same-sex marriages should have the same rights as traditional marriages. In 2013, this number is 53% [1].

Published in COMPASS Points
Friday, 20 September 2013 00:00

What Is ASCB’s Celldance?

When I first heard of the ASCB Celldance contest, I thought it might involve an interpretative dance, so I steered clear of it. But it's actually a great chance for grad students and post-docs to make use of their beautiful scientific movies for cash prizes, and the guidelines are extremely simple. Any ASCB member can submit their very own movies (4 minutes max) that illustrate a cellular process in an educational way.

Published in COMPASS Points
Thursday, 12 September 2013 00:00

How to Use Prezi to Make a Dynamic ePoster Talk

ePoster talks are an exciting new format being debuted this year at ASCB. During normal poster sessions, selected posters will be displayed on large monitors in meeting rooms for 30 minutes each. Following this, presenters will give a 3-4 minute run-through of their posters, which are required to incorporate multimedia content.

Whether you've been selected to present an ePoster this year or are looking to adapt this format for use at your own meeting, you're probably wondering what tools are at your disposal.

Published in COMPASS Points
Friday, 06 September 2013 00:00

What I Really Learned in Graduate School

I learned a lot in graduate school. I learned about receptor tyrosine kinases, and oncogenic transformation, and how to do a western blot. But more importantly, I learned about myself, and I acquired many skills that help me to be not only a better scientist, but to be more engaged and successful in life. Here I have compiled several COMPASS members' ideas on some of the most valuable lessons they learned in graduate school – and many extend far beyond the laboratory.

Published in COMPASS Points
Friday, 30 August 2013 00:00

The Revolution of Online Education

I successfully designed my spaceship to blast oncoming meteors out of the way, when I realized that my code was sick. I was taking "An Introduction to Python" online through Coursera (described below). The course was offered from Rice University and it consisted of about four 10- to 15-minute video lectures each week with two quizzes and a mini-project due every Saturday. The mini-project was especially challenging; the assignment was to program a game, and as the course progressed, the games became harder. The final exam was to program a version of Asteroids—complete with a moving spaceship that could fire at rocks and make them explode.

Published in COMPASS Points
Friday, 23 August 2013 00:00

Hack Your Science

As the media constantly remind us, "hackers" are typing very fast in an effort to steal your identity and co-opt your website to display pictures of dinosaurs wearing hats.

Published in COMPASS Points

Have a follow-up question after watching the video, or want to get Joanne's take on a related topic? COMPASS members will present selected questions to Joanne during a followup Google Hangout. This will be recorded and posted to YouTube as a response to the original video.

There are 3 ways to get your questions to us:
1) Leave a comment on the YouTube video
2) Tweet it @AmerSocCellBio and @JKamens
3) Fill out the anonymous form.

We look forward to receiving your questions by September 20!

You can meet Joanne at the ASCB Annual Meeting in New Orleans where she will present at a Career Discussion Panel at 11:00am on Monday, December 16th.

Published in COMPASS Points

Today's new graduate students generally begin their studies expecting to follow the well-trodden path to academic success: earn a PhD, do a short stint as a postdoc, get a faculty position, and work feverishly toward tenure. Yet a growing body of evidence shows that many of these students will someday find themselves traveling a different road. With the explosion of biotech and the corresponding rise in patent law, science policy, and journalism, biomedical PhD graduates have more career choices than ever.

Published in COMPASS Points
Friday, 09 August 2013 00:00

How Can We Let Them Know?

Science is at the crossroads: Amazing discoveries are being made every day but there is a severe reduction in funding for biomedical research. Most scientific funding comes from government agencies, and I believe it is put toward the common good of both scientists and nonscientists. But do nonscientists believe that?

Published in COMPASS Points
Friday, 02 August 2013 00:00


When the public thinks of scientists, they probably think of Albert Einstein. After that they probably can't think of too many. Indeed, the majority of the public can't name a living scientist. There have been attempts to reverse this statistic and engage scientists with the public. Presumably, a public well versed in science can make better-informed policy decisions. At the very least, a public that understands and values science is necessary for the sustainability of science.

Published in COMPASS Points
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