April 16, 2021
LA JOLLA—Salk Associate Professor Sreekanth Chalasani has won the 2021 National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) Gallagher Mentor Award. The announcement was made at the 2021 NPA Annual Conference, which took place April 15 and 16. Chalasani was one of eight finalists for the prestigious award.
At Salk, he has made a host of discoveries around the brain, and developed a technique called sonogenetics, which manipulates neurons using ultrasound and has vast implications for therapeutics.
“We are extremely proud of Shrek and delighted he has been recognized for the positive influence he has made in the lives of so many young scientists,” says Salk President Rusty Gage. “This award is a fitting tribute, and the Salk Institute is fortunate to benefit from his contributions.”
According to the NPA, the award recognizes those who advocate for postdoctoral scholars; exhibit outstanding communication skills; embed diversity, equity and inclusion values in mentoring; demonstrate respect for the work and career paths of postdoctoral scholars; create productive working environments to enhance the postdoctoral experience; and show resilience and creativity as mentors during the pandemic.
“Recognition as a mentor is without a doubt the highest achievement one can receive, because it represents one’s positive impact on those who will help shape the future,” says Ed Krug, a former recipient of the NPA Gallagher Mentor Award and professor emeritus at the Medical University of South Carolina.
“I would like to thank current and former postdocs in my lab and the other labs that I’ve been fortunate to work with. This recognition really belongs to them. They have been instrumental in making me the mentor I am today,” says Chalasani, a member of Salk’s Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory. “STEM careers often require one to navigate multiple stages successfully. Each of these stages are also very competitive, thus making mentorship critical to the entire journey.”
Chalasani advises potential mentors to trust their instincts; be flexible; consistent; and true to their own values.
“Mentorship is a serious matter,” he adds. “You don’t turn on being a mentor on Monday and then turn it off on Tuesday. You have to be a mentor continuously, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”
For more information about NPA and the award, visit www.nationalpostdoc.org.
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