“Great mentors are inspiring, instill confidence, and help you see the bigger picture. Great mentors do not aspire to create copies of themselves, instead they recognize the value, strength, and aspiration of each individual and actively help them achieve their personal career goals. Great mentors launch you on the path of becoming an established independent researcher and future collaborator.”


Mentoring graduate students and postdoctoral scholars is not part of the curriculum in graduate schools. It’s a role that is passed on from one generation of faculty to the next.

Call for Nominations: 2022 Excellence in Postdoctoral Mentoring Award

Nominees must be current faculty members at UCLA, and the nomination must come from a current or recent postdoctoral researcher at UCLA. The postdoc may nominate a faculty member regardless of whether that faculty member serves as their primary formal advisor. The postdoc should submit the nomination form, as well as a nomination letter of no more than 600 words describing the impact of the nominee’s mentorship on their postdoctoral experience (more information is provided on the nomination form).

Deadline to submit nominations is 9/23/2022

Questions relating to nominations can be sent to the Mentoring Award Committee Chair, Valeria Gonzalez (pdaucla@g.ucla.edu).

For more information, please see the call for nomination letter.

In 2012, the Society of Postdoctoral Scholars began honoring exemplary faculty mentors in recognition of the importance of excellent mentorship for postdoctoral research success. Today, through the Excellence in Postdoctoral Mentoring Award the Postdoctoral Association at UCLA continues that tradition.

UCLA faculty members were honored at the Postdoctoral Scholars & Mentors Awards Ceremony on April 13, 2021, to express gratitude for their remarkable mentorship of postdoctoral scholars. Twenty-four faculty were nominated and two were selected to receive the award which is meant to recognize faculty who:

  • act as positive role models
  • develop a supportive lab or work environment
  • collaborate on the research project
  • encourage confidence and creativity
  • foster excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • help establish professional networks at this campus and others
  • actively support the transition from postdoc to independent research or other careers


2020/2021 Awardees

Clarice Aiello, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Nominated by postdoctoral scholar: Ana Valdés Curiel

”Professor Aiello greatly values networking and helping her group members, both postdocs and graduate students, create lasting and meaningful connections with others within the academic community.”

“Professor Aiello encompasses everything a postdoc and graduate student would want in an advisor. Her ability to communicate and her openness to creative ideas makes it easy for her students to succeed in academia.”

Elaine Hsiao, Integrative Biology and Physiology

Nominated by Jonathan Lynch

“Dr. Elaine Hsiao is an exemplary mentor for all her trainees, and displays an especially exceptional willingness to work for the benefit of her postdoctoral trainees. During the pandemic, she has been steadying, reassuring, and maintained goal-orientation and hope for her postdoctoral and graduate trainees.”

2020/2021 Nominees

  • Clarice Aiello, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Patrick Allard, Institute for Society and Genetics
  • Amander Clark, Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Naomi Eisenberger, Psychology
  • Chandra Ford, Community Health Sciences
  • Barbara Fuchs, Spanish and Portuguese
  • Eric Hoek, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Elaine Hsiao, Integrative Biology and Physiology
  • Alicia Izquierdo, Psychology
  • David Jassby, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Eleanor Kaufman, Comparative Literature
  • Jasper Kok, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
  • Hannah Landecker, Institute for Society and Genetics
  • Anna Lau, Psychology
  • Elizabeth Laugeson, Psychiatry
  • Sung-Jae Lee, Psychiatry
  • James Lloyd-Smith, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Paul Macey, Nursing 
  • Shaily Mahendra, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Paul Micevych, Neurobiology
  • David Miklowitz, Psychiatry
  • Elizabeth Nemeth, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care
  • James Rosenzweig, Physics and Astronomy
  • Marc Suchard, Computational Medicine and Human


2019/2020 Awardees

Nanthia Suthana, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences

Nominated by postdoctoral scholars: Matthias Stangl and Cory Inman

“Nanthia gave us invaluable feedback many times, about our strengths and also about the aspects of our work that can be improved, but always in a very professional, kind and constructive way, which we believe is extremely helpful for our personal and professional development.”

Kelly Lytle Hernandez, History and African American Studies

Nominated by postdoctoral scholar: Paris Adkins-Jackson

“At an interpersonal level, Dr. Lytle Hernandez has become a source of strength for myself and the other postdoctoral scholars. She advises each of us on navigating our careers and negotiating our benefits once we procure a position. Additionally, she has met with me numerous times around grant writing and community organizing. As a scholar activist, Dr. Lytle Hernandez has offered advice regarding partnering with key stakeholders to advance the needs of communities that look to our expertise for intervention.”

“Each of us postdoctoral scholars have primary mentors in other departments, but it is the love, time, and environment that Dr. Lytle Hernandez provides that truly contributes to our scholarship and advancement as academicians.”

2019/2020 Nominees

  • H. Clark Barrett, Anthropology
  • Catherine Cahill, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Disease
  • Amander Clark, Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Jason Cong, Computer Science
  • Xiangfeng Duan, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Naomi Eisenberger, Psychology
  • Timu Gallien, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Patricia Greenfield, Psychology
  • Alexander Hoffmann, Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics
  • Kirk Lohmueller, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Kelly Lytle Hernandez, History and Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies
  • Mayumi Prins, Neurosurgery
  • Steve Shoptaw, Family Medicine
  • Marc A. Suchard, Computational Medicine, Biostatisitcs, and Human Genetics
  • Nanthia Suthana, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences


Past award recipients


  • Christopher Giza, Neurosurgery
  • Patricia Johnson, Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics


  • Michael F. GreenPsychiatry
  • Edithe. D. London, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences; Molecular and Medical Pharmocology
  • Richard WirzMechanical and Aerospace Engineering


  • Aydogan OzcanElectrical Engineering & Bioengineering


  • Michelle CraskePsychology
  • Luisa Iruela-ArispeMolecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology


  • Douglas L. Black, Microbiology, Immunology, Molecular Genetics
  • Kendall N. Houk, Chemistry and Biochemistry


  • James BowieChemistry and Biochemistry
  • Mark CohenNeuroscience
  • Kelsey MartinBiological Chemistry