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Community icon Community Spotlight: Krisandra Cuenta, Corporate Counsel

Community Spotlight: In each newsletter, we invite you to learn a little more about your colleagues in the tech transfer community. For this interview, we thought it would be fun to introduce you to one of the Addgene employees (or “Addgenies”) that helps technology transfer professionals, like you, process outgoing and incoming materials on a daily basis.

Krisandra Cuenta joined Addgene in December of 2017 as Addgene’s newest Corporate Counsel on our Legal and Tech Transfer Team. In addition to advising the senior counsel and management on the company’s legal matters, she assists in processing deposit agreements and in managing our relationships with our colleagues at academic tech transfer offices.

Addgene (AG) - Why did you decide to work for a nonprofit organization?

Krisandra Cuenta (KC) - Upon graduating from law school, I knew that I wanted to work for an organization with a strong social mission. I wanted to be at a place where I knew that my work had meaning—that every task I completed would contribute to furthering a mission that would help better the world in some way. At a nonprofit, I can do exactly this!

AG - What is a typical day like for you at Addgene?

KC - A typical day for me involves negotiating and processing agreements regarding both our deposits and requests for materials. So, I’m constantly in communication with Tech Transfer Offices, PIs, and various other lab members throughout the process. I also work on an array of internal legal projects, which gives me the opportunity to collaborate with every team within Addgene. While any given day can be predictable, the projects that come my way can really range, so I’m always kept on my toes!

AG - What do you find most rewarding about your job?

KC - I know I’ve only been working at Addgene for six months, but it really is difficult to only pick one thing. I guess I would have to say that it’s incredibly rewarding to see ideas come alive at Addgene. Our culture is conducive for idea generation. So, we’re constantly thinking of ways to make processes more efficient in the name of furthering our mission of sharing science. These ideas don’t just implement themselves overnight. So, when those ideas finally “go live,” I’m always excited to witness and be part of the joy and sense of accomplishment that my co-workers feel. I’ll never tire of being amongst such a dedicated group of individuals.

AG- What coursework, prior jobs, or other experiences do you believe have helped you at Addgene?

KC - Two specific experiences come to mind. During my first year in college, thirty of my peers and I were given funding to run our own start-up, which we called Data Bands. Through this experience, I learned to value the importance of innovation. I also gained firsthand knowledge into the creativity behind coming up with an idea, the challenges of executing that idea, the rewarding feeling of breaking even, and the gratification of donating our proceeds to the community. Then, during my second year of law school, I was selected to be one of seven student attorneys in the IP CO-LAB, Northeastern University’s student-led Intellectual Property Clinic. During this experience, I cultivated my legal skills while collaborating with fellow student entrepreneurs at various stages of their ventures on their legal matters. Given these experiences, I feel like I can connect with the story of Addgene’s founding on a deeper level. It’s this appreciation that I believe has helped me to acclimate into my new role and thrive at Addgene thus far.

AG - Do you currently hold any internal Addgene records or accolades?

KC - Does officially doubling the legal team in size count? Unfortunately, no Addgene records or accolades just yet, but I’m definitely trying to get a Halloween team costume contest win under my belt. I heard the bar got raised last year so maybe I should start brainstorming now!

AG - What is your favorite Addgene memory?

KC - This past February, I attended my first AUTM annual meeting in Arizona. I didn’t know what to expect, but it ended up being such a wonderful experience. Having had just two months of experience in tech transfer, I was still fresh, trying to get a grasp of everything. This gathering not only gave me the insight I was looking for, but it also gave me a new perspective of the work we do at Addgene. On more than one occasion, attendees raved about how Addgene makes their job so simple and easy. That was definitely a highlight for me! And so was meeting Dean Kamen in person! I’m looking forward to maintaining the connections I made and for next year’s annual meeting!

AG - What do you do for fun?

KC - Friends, food, family, and travel pretty much sum up my free time. I’m a huge foodie so I’m usually out in the city grabbing a meal with friends at a restaurant we’ve been dying to try. If I’m not in Boston, then I’m most likely back home in NJ spending quality time with my family. As for traveling, I’m always looking for an excuse to get away and immerse myself in other cultures. So far, I’ve been to 23 countries! It’s about to become 24--heading to Switzerland this summer!

AG - What is your favorite tv show, book, or movie and why? Please no spoilers!

KC - One of my favorite movies is Ocean’s Eleven. Actually, if any one of the films in the series is playing on TV, without fail, I’m watching it. In general, I love heist movies, but the reason why I especially love the Ocean’s trilogy is because there’s also a ton of humor, a touch of romance, and tight bond amongst the crew that’s super relatable. So, you can only imagine how excited I was to find out that they’re doing a spinoff with Sandra Bullock, who also happens to be one of my favorite actresses! I can’t wait for Ocean’s 8 to be released!