Never forget that humility is the mark of greatness

Welcome to The Short Read, our weekly peek behind the curtain at the people who make this amazing community tick. Make sure to check back every Tuesday for the latest installment.

Angela Kaczmarczyk received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley where she studied developmental biology and investigated regeneration of germline cells in crustaceans. After grad school she moved out to Boston and taught molecular biology lab classes and scientific communication. After teaching she served as a visiting scientist at the Broad Institute where she worked on optimizing library construction methods intended for single-cell RNAseq. In early 2016, she co-founded Boston Open Science Laboratory (BosLab), a community lab in Somerville that offers lab classes, community projects, and educational events. Learn more about BosLab at http://www.boslab.org/

What are you working on right now?

At BosLab we’re always busy maintaining our laboratory and helping our members work on their personal projects which include minION sequencing, engineering yeast, hacking probiotics, and filming educational lab videos. With 20+ members we need to expand certain parts of the lab, so we’re currently looking into getting a larger lab fridge and a biosafety cabinet for mouse cell culture work. We’re also preparing for our fundraiser “DIY Biology on Tap” which will be hosted at a local brewery next week.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your work at the moment?

Our biggest hurdle right now is getting the non-profit status so that we can receive larger grants to support the activities we do at BosLab. There is a lot of paperwork involved in this, but thankfully we’re getting plenty of help from our pro bono attorney and other community labs.

Name one big development that you would like to see in your field the next 18 months.

I’d love to see more community labs and biohackers publish their projects in open-access journals. For example, BioCoder is a quarterly newsletter that encourages the DIY biology community to publish their work in article format.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I’m proud of our growing BosLab community: our incredible team, members, volunteers, and participants. BosLab offers a laboratory space, classes, journal clubs, book clubs, seminars, workshops and larger outreach events. None of these activities would be worthwhile without the help and participation of all these amazing people.

Which scientists, living, dead, or fictional, would you invite to dinner, and why?

I’m currently reading The Discovery of Insulin, by Michael Bliss for BosLab’s upcoming book club event. This book provides a fascinating account of the discovery of Insulin, which revolutionized the treatment of diabetes. I would invite Dr. Fredrick Banting, who was a part of the team who worked on discovering insulin. I’d want to hear his stories first-hand. I’d also want to hear his thoughts on Open Insulin, an awesome project led by a team of devoted biohackers to drive the cost of insulin down.

What advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?

Make time to volunteer for an organization outside of your academics or job. Starting this earlier in your career helps you develop healthy work-life integration skills, and it gives you valuable experience that you wouldn’t necessarily get through your academic program. It’s also an excellent way to give back and strengthen your connections with your local community.

Opinions and views expressed in The Short Read are the interviewee’s and not those of the home institution


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Who would you like to see interviewed for The Short Read? Let us know via contact@frontlinegenomics.com