An Interview with Jane Fife: Promoting Plant Growth and Controlling Disease
Posted 19th December 2016 by Jane Williams
Jane Fife has nearly 20 years of expertise in application technology and agricultural biologics. Joining 3Bar Biologics in 2016 as Chief Science Officer, her responsibilities include new product development and leading 3Bar’s long-term R&D portfolio.
What does a typical day like for you?
Working in a start-up company, there are no typical days. Things are very dynamic, with lots of ups and downs, and you have to be comfortable changing course frequently. I end up wearing a multitude of different hats, which means on any given day I can be doing anything from working at the bench pipetting plates to talking with prospective business collaborators about developing a joint development project. Of course, there’s also lots of emails and communication of test plans, next steps, etc. within our team.
What do you enjoy most about your research?
Developing solutions for smarter, more sustainable crop production. Agriculture in general is going through a tremendous era of innovation and technology development. As an agricultural engineer (while playing a microbiologist on the side), I’m fascinated by the microbiome and how we can find ways to “harness” microbes to more sustainably produce food. To this end, I enjoy connecting the dots to translate discoveries in the lab into viable products that can be applied within the field. Working across disciplines makes the work interesting and rewarding, as new ideas generally emerge from different ways of thinking about the problem.
What do you wish you had known at the start of your career?
How important it is to get out there and meet people. Networking both professionally and personally is not something I did very much of or very well during my early career. I was too focused on job “output”. Luckily, somewhere along the way, I learned how to more effectively network inside and outside of the company I was with. When it came time for me to make a career transition, my professional network became invaluable. To be effective, it takes dedicated effort to maintain and expand your network – I typically spend several hours a week just keeping up with my network.
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