Life Scientists:Looking for a Job? Consider the Cannabis Industry

Posted in BioBusiness, Career Advice

According to a recent article, the 2013 to 2014 US market for legal Cannabis (medical and recreational) grew 74% from $1.3 billion to $2.7 billion. Industry analysts predict that the legal marijuana industry is (and will continue to be) the fastest-growing industry in the US over the next 5 years with annual revenues topping $11 billion by 2020.  And, as the industry grows so will employment opportunities. At present, salaries associated with various job functions in the Cannabis industry range from $50,000 to $90,000. As many businesses that support the Cannabis industry continue to grow, the competition for qualified employed will intensify and salaries will concomitantly rise. Currently,, there aren’t enough trained job candidates to fill the many job openings at Cannabis companies. I am sure that many of you who hold graduate degrees in the life sciences are wondering why I am pitching jobs in the Cannabis industry.

First, traditional jobs for PhD-trained life scientist are getting scarcer and the election of Donald Trump suggests that this trend will not be reversed anytime soon.

Second, consider that growing and cultivating marijuana and extracting cannabinoids (the pharmaceutically active molecules in Cannabis buds) require a background in laboratory methods, chemistry, biology and in some cases plant science. For those of you who may not know, the medical Cannabis market is focusing almost exclusively on cannabis extracts and vaporization of these extracts (rather than smoking) is the preferred delivery methods. This suggests that those of you with backgrounds in biomedical engineering and medical devices  can leverage your expertise and skills to obtain jobs in the delivery side of the cannabis industry.  

Third, the expansive growth and sheer economic size of the Cannabis industry suggests that other jobs that require a life science background are likely to emerge. These include quality control/assurance jobs for strain identification, diagnostic jobs to determine THC levels/intoxication, molecular biology and bioinformatic jobs to continue to explore and unlike therapeutically relevant molecules from the Cannabis genome and synthetic biology jobs to increase cannabinoid yields and reduce production costs. Finally, there is currently a dearth of qualified job candidates with scientific backgrounds to fill entry level grow and extraction jobs in the Cannabis industry.

At present, the industry is mainly dominated by long time Cannabis growers, people who use marijuana on a regular basis and some moxy business people/investors who see an an enormous upside for the Cannabis industry. Put simply, now is the time to get in on the ground floor of an industry that is exploding and will ultimately become a legal multibillion dollar a year industry. While I’m sure that neither you nor your parents/family envisioned a career in Cannabis, the jobs are there and ripe for the picking (pun intended).

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!!!

DNA Portraits: Promoting Science Literacy?

Posted in BioBusiness

There is no question that DNA, genome sequencing and personalized medicine are on their way to becoming part of the American lexicon. While most Americans haven’t a clue as to what these words mean, many have jumped on the “DNA bandwagon” because of television shows like CSI and its derivatives and high profile genetic information companies like 23 and Me, which was co-founded by Anne Wojcicki a Yale undergraduate biology major and wife of Google founder Sergey Brin.

Countless numbers of Americans have sent DNA samples to be analyzed by 23 and Me and other genetic information companies to learn about their ancestry and possible health implications contained in their genetic codes. Although the technologies used by these companies may not be ready for prime time-use for personalized medicine purposes, they are scientifically sound and relevant. Imagine my surprise when I read about a company called DNA11 that promises to create customized art from a person’s DNA. Yup, you heard me correctly—a customized DNA portrait! 

Here is how it works. Customers send a cheek swab (DNA sample) to the company and they sequence it. Then, a personalized DNA portrait is constructed from the code. Clients get to choose the color and size of the portrait and can also elect to have up to four person’s DNA added to it! And the best part is that it only costs $199 (starting price)! Of course, DNA samples are marked with anonymous codes and are supposedly destroyed after portraits are rendered.

DNA 11 is the brain child of Nazim Ahmed a former DNA imaging salesperson and Adrian Salamunovic a web designer. I have to admit that I thought the idea was a cool one! But, then again, I am a geeky scientist and the transformation of science into art is an intriguing proposition! Also, if positioned correctly, DNA11 could help to promote scientific literacy in the US.

The company has been featured in the New York Times, Wired Magazine and others on “The View” CNBC and the Discovery Channel. Moreover, both Nazim and Adrian have reportedly made millions and their products were recently featured on a recent CSI episode. Recently, the company announced that a portion of its revenue will be donated to charity. Nevertheless, I can’t imagine that, these days, most lay people have enough disposable income on hand to spend it on a less-than-useful DNA portrait. That said, I have been known to be wrong in the past. And, I have learned over the years that anything is possible in America–not that there is anything wrong with that!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Genetic Profiling!!!!!!!


National DNA Day 2010

Posted in Career Advice

National DNA Day is a unique day when students, teachers and the public can learn more about genetics and genomics! The day commemorates the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003, and the discovery of DNA’s double helix.

The annual event started seven years ago is sponsored by the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health. To learn more about the activities that are planned for this year’s celebration, please click here.  And this year, you can become a fan of the day on Facebook!

Have a great day celebrating, but please remember to clone responsibly!!!!!!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Sequencing!!!!!!!!!!

Got Biology? This List Does!

Posted in BioEducation

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed important biological, genetic or other life sciences information quickly? Sure, you can Google the topic but it takes time to wade through all of the search results until you find the right one!

Carol Brown from sent me a list of the “100 Best Reference Sites for Science Students.” The list contains information for chemistry, environmental science and even geology.  I extracted the life sciences websites from the list and posted them below.  

  1. Biology Online: On this site you can post questions in a forum, look things up in a bio dictionary, and read all kinds of informative articles and tutorials.
  2. Everything Bio: Check out this resource to find a glossary, textbooks, images and a range of other online biology tools.
  3. Life Science Dictionary: Try out this dictionary to look up life science terms and identify their meanings.
  4. Molecular Biology Glossary: Students of molecular biology will appreciate this valuable research tool.
  5. National Biological Information Infrastructure: Want to know and read about the research being done in the life sciences? Check out this site.
  6. Biology Reference: You can look up loads of helpful biology terms in this online encyclopedia.
  7. Biology Nation: From finding the best biology grad programs for looking up biology terminology, this site is a one-stop resource.
  8. Dictionary of Cell and Molecular Biology: Search through this online dictionary to refresh your memory on the parts of the cell.
  9. BioScience: With a dictionary, encyclopedia, links, software, and custom search tools, you’ll find more reference material than you could ever need on this site.
  10. All Experts: Biology: Have a biology question you just can’t seem to find the 
  11. Amino Acids Repository: Use this site as a reference on amino acid properties alone and in proteins.
  12. Table of Standard Genetic Code: This site is a great reference when trying to remember which part of DNA goes where.
  13. Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms: Don’t know how to say a particular term? No worries, this glossary will tell you and more.
  14. Human Genome Acronym List: Don’t have a clue what the ASHG is? This site can help you look it up.
  15. Genetics Resources on the Web: Search through this site for the best genetics resources the web has to offer.
  16. National Human Genome Research Institute: This site offers a number of helpful educational resources for students young and old.
  17. Genetics Virtual Library: Search by organism or topic to find the genetic information you need to do your homework.
  18. Genetics Home Reference: Those studying genetic disorders will appreciate this quick online reference for conditions.
  19. GeneTests: Even if you’re not in medicine, you’ll be able to find interesting and compelling information on this site.
  20. Gene Cards: You’ll find a collection of concise information on just about every gene out there on this site.

While I can’t vouch for the quality of the  list, it looks to be pretty informative.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Studying!!!!!!