A Day in the Life of Jennifer Dougna

Jennifer Dougna once said, “My inbox was exploding, and journal editors were calling me. It was just crazy. You could see this tidal wave coming towards you, you know?” and for the world’s most sought after scientist that was what her life was like. A giant, kaotic worldwin moving at a fast pace, but what will she do when her life slows down and is she prepared for when she retires? Will she apply for Whole life care if she hasn’t already and will she encourage her sons to prepare financially as well?

A question many people have is, what will the institute do after Jennifer Dougna retires? What I want to know is how will she continue on her legacy after she is truly gone? Does Mrs. Dougna have protection in plan for her and her family if she were to pass away? Does Jennifer have a hybrid long term insurance plan set up for her husband and two boys who are about to head off to college?


At the edge of the Berkeley campus in California, a crowd is growing in anticipation of seeing Dougna. She is there in the first floor conference room of the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI) ready to speak in front of a group of her peers. As the students file in she is asked a few questions and then the class begins. Doudna is the executive director of IGI which is an academic initiative program run by UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco. IGI aims to fulfill the promise of CRISPR which Dougna helped discover. 

CRISPR is a powerful genome-editing tool.


Dougna goes over a few mundane tasks such as updating the room on equipment updates and lab life. After she finished, a plant biologist gave his presentation. The first of the many presentations for that day. He now is updating the room on a project overseen jointly by Dougna and Berkeley colleague Brian Staskawicz, too create a gene edited rice. After the presentation is a postdoc there to interview for a spot on the team. The grad student is from the California Institute of Technology. He moves rapidly through slides while describing a chemical technique known as direct evolution.

Years ago Dougna’s was on a much smaller team of only about 25 people, now she has not only a larger team consisting of graduate students and postdocs, but a more diverse group of people. Her team is more diverse not only in what projects they explore, but also in different types of scientists those projects attract.

As Dougna’s classes have grown she has had to change the way she runs her lab. Her new type of class is more independent and more likely to work with another student to solve a problem then relying solely on her. Dougna has said, “It’s more of a management thing, and I never thought I would love it,” she says of this acquired skill. “Incredible science happens when you get the right person on the right project at the right time. Figuring that out for each person and project in the lab is a constant jigsaw puzzle.”


As she approaches her white board in her next class, her puzzle skills are on full display. She is interviewing the Caltech chemists in her lab’s conference room. She has been patiently waiting while others quiz and question the hopeful postdoc, but now it is her time to come alive and the white board soon fills with charts and lists as she outlines her ideas for the project that this student may be working on, if he is hired. This project would open up a new area of science within the lab.

11:35 A.M. 

After her meeting she walks into her office to see two students sitting in her office, from Gladstone, a nonprofit research institution based in San Francisco. Their main goal is to tackle unsolved diseases. Both their mission and Doudna’s align to pinpoint the genetic cause and treatment of diseases. This meeting is about using CRISPR to find a novel drug target against cancer. She offers to introduce the two students to two oncologists who she believes could further help them.


Dougna carries her lunch back into the congress room and continues with a series of meetings. As she finishes up her last meeting she jots down in her little black notebook about connecting the two Gladstone scientists to collaborators. She continues to work on things such as her line-by-line budget checks.


Dougna goes back into her office with her assistant to go over her schedule and then after her meeting with her assistant ends she relishes the small amount of time before she must shift her focus again to another topic.


Dougna is back in the conference room to meet about CASX, a next-generation enzyme that helps snap DNA. This new gene editor is far more improved then its older counterparts.

Buy 4:00PM.

Her next client is already waiting outside the room and she set down a computer on the table. Dougna gets on the conference call that has already begun. At the end of the meeting the person outside the waiting room picks up the computer and walks out of the room. 


Dougna always texts her husband at five thirty, whose lab is just above hers on the second floor and they ride home together.

With two boys about to go to college Dougna plans on taking a year long sabbatical. What will she do with this time? Maybe plan for the future for her sons and husband by looking into retirement and hybrid long term life insurance for her two boys and herself. With her taking a sabbatical I hope she is able to sit down and talk with her husband and sons about the options they have in hybrid long term life insurance for not only herself and her husband, but her two boys who will need a plan of their own soon. Hybrid long term insurance can help Jennifer Dougna and so many others and now it’s easier than ever. With just a click of the keyboard and mouse people can sign up for hybrid long term care insurance from home in a time frame they choose.  Getting an independent agent to help walk you through the process all from your own home or office makes getting your plans in order easier than ever. I truly hope Jennifer Dougna and her husband find the time to set up their own hybrid long term care insurance plans in the near future.