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2020-21 Postbac Distinguished Mentor Awards

Watch a video in which Sharon Milgram discusses the importance of postbacs and mentoring, the Distinguished Mentor Award recipients talk about their mentoring philosophies, and the postbacs who nominated them explain why they are deserving of the awards.

The Winners

Vivian Guedes, PhD
NINR, Postdoctoral Fellow
Nominated by Jacqueline Leete

"Dr. Guedes goes above-and-beyond to help me tailor my postbac experience to my interests. For example, knowing that I am interested in how symptoms develop in TBI patients, in a review paper Dr. Guedes was writing, she asked me to write the section on “Symptoms Associated with TBI”, which I gleefully accepted, and is now published in Journal of Neurology. Dr. Guedes has offered to provide me with more technical wet lab training, but also was supportive when I was honest with her about my desires to be more involved in the clinical and data analysis aspects of the lab (e.g., she helped teach me R) and less involved in the wet lab. Moreover, I recently published a co-first author manuscript, and Dr. Guedes was instrumental in all aspects of the manuscript (developing the research question, data analysis, manuscript writing, etc.). This paper has gone through many ups-and-downs (2 rejections from journals) but Dr. Guedes has always been there supporting me through it and helping me resubmit the paper; I am thrilled that it finally got published last month! ...

Dr. Guedes’ advice for me is always: “apply for everything!” A particular instance I remember was when I was preparing to present a poster at the SLEEP conference. There was an opportunity to apply for a trainee merit award. I was not planning to apply for it since I wasn’t sure if I qualified, but Dr. Guedes encouraged me to apply anyways and helped me craft my essay. I am honored to have received this award!"

Pablo Miranda Fernandez, PhD
NINDS, Staff Scientist
Nominated by Marianne Naval

“Dr. Miranda has taken great care to nurture my professional growth.  Prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic, he would invite me to accompany him and our principal investigator, Dr. Miguel Holmgren, to Structural Biology meetings and Membrane Protein Interest seminars.  He was supportive whenever I attended the Office of Intramural Training & Education’s (OITE) career development seminars.  When stay-at-home orders for the pandemic were issued, Dr. Miranda would ask me if I had signed up for the latest PicoQuant or Zeiss spectroscopy seminars and allow me to ask him questions from select chapters of Bertil Hille’s Ion Channels of Excitable Membranes as a guided reading exercise.  Most recently, he told me not to apologize for having to change my work hours to accommodate an immunology course offered by the NIH Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES)...

He has a wonderful combination of intellectual vigor and this great sense of humor! ...

During my grad school interview cycle, we would spend a couple of hours each week discussing the research of faculty I might meet. I am happy to say that with his help, I was accepted to all of the neuroscience and biophysics doctoral programs to which I applied"

Mark Hoon, PhD
NIDCR, Principle Investigator
Nominated by Yizhen Zhang

"Dr. Hoon’s passion for science is infectious, and he is truly successful in achieving his goal of making sure I learn to independently think about science. This resonates throughout all levels of his mentorship from giving me an independent project to all our discussions...

Dr. Hoon has always been extremely adaptable to everyone’s needs ... He sets our lab schedule accordingly to make sure everyone’s needs are met before his own ...

Dr. Hoon genuinely cares about everyone's mental health. When I couldn’t complete as many experiments as planned, he was understanding, 'You cannot always get everything you planned done, especially now; there’s a pandemic!' Before and during the pandemic, Dr. Hoon highly encourages everyone to take vacations. When I didn’t take one, he kindly lectured me about the importance of a work-life balance and that “life is not always about work.”