DNA Vending Machine

Those of you who have done the DNA extraction activity—either with our CSI camps or on your own—will love what that experiment has gone on to inspire. This DNA vending machine is a blend of art, science, education, and the crazy connections between the two. Take five minutes out of your day to give this a watch… it’s worth it.

Where Are They Now: Cool Jobs Alumna Dr. Erika Ebbel Angle

Dr. Erika Ebbel Angle

Cool Jobs alumna, biochemist, and former Ms. Massachusetts Dr. Erika Ebbel Angle has had a lot on her plate lately. In addition to serving as CEO and founder of Science from Scientists, a Boston-based non-profit that strives to improve science and technology awareness in local middle school and late elementary students, and filming the Dr. Erika Show, Dr. Ebbel Angle has been hard at work establishing her budding biotech company. We recently caught up with Dr. Ebbel Angle to find out how her many STEM endeavors are going.

Dr. Ebbel Angle writes:

KennedyIn the last couple of months I have been actively working on obtaining funding and launching my biotech company called CounterPoint Health Solutions. In order to allow me the time to do this it was necessary for me to hire an Executive Director (ED) for Science from Scientists (SFS).  In my previous post I spent a great deal of time discussing SFS. SFS sends real scientists into classrooms to teach curriculum relevant, hands-on oriented science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) lessons twice a week for the entire school year. Our goals for SFS include scaling to additional locations both in Massachusetts and Nationally. We have been fortunate to have forged working partnerships and sponsorships from additional companies such as Raytheon and Cubist pharmaceuticals in addition to institutions such as the Whitehead Institute. Growing SFS is one of my main goals and despite hiring the ED, I will still remain active as Chairman and Founder. Hiring an ED for Science from Scientists will allow me greater flexibility to work on starting CounterPoint.

This transition was emotionally and mentally challenging, as I was used to being the CEO :).  Allowing another individual to have this type of responsibility was definitely something I needed to adjust to. Despite these changes, however, I am absolutely excited about CounterPoint. CounterPoint’s purpose is to discover biomarkers which can be used as early prediction tools for various neurodegenerative and cardiovascular conditions, and which can potentially be used as treatments for these same diseases. It was necessary to create a business plan, decide on the initial goals an plans for the company, rent an office, build a biosafety hazard level 2 lab and to start “pitching” the business plan to potential investors. I had limited experience in understanding how a “for profit” is started. It was necessary to learn many things including various types of “stock” and what it meant to have an “A” round of investing. I have been enjoying the sensation of learning new things even though sometimes it can be overwhelming and tiring.

In certain ways challenges associated with raising money for a non-profit are similar to those of a for profit company. However, the scale at which money is raised is different. Many donations for SFS ranged between 10-25 thousand dollars, whereas initial funding for CounterPoint was above one hundred thousand dollars. Yet another adjustment and growing experience for me 🙂

science from scientistsBeing part of this new start-up is just beginning and I am optimistic. In many ways the experience is definitely challenging, as I had grown accustomed to being CEO of Science from Scientists. I had given the SFS “pitch” hundreds of times, which made it a story I was able to tell in my sleep. There was something “secure” and “safe” about SFS. This sensation has now changed to “mutable” and “new.” I have learned that no matter what my feelings are, patience, perseverance and hard-work will at least help to keep things moving forward.

 To find out more about Dr. Ebbel Angle and the journey that led her to her cool job, check out her original Cool Jobs interview!