Peter Adams named Mentor of the Year at 21st Annual Research Trainee Symposium

| Written by Miles Martin
Professor Peter Adams, Ph.D.

Peter Adams, Ph.D., has been named Mentor of the Year, a new honor from the Institute’s Office of Education, Training and International Services (OETIS) and the Postdoctoral Training Advisory Group (PTAG). The award was based on nomination letters submitted by postdocs and graduate students on the Sanford Burnham Prebys campus, and the winner was selected by a committee of PTAG members. The award was announced on September 22 at the 21st Annual Trainee Research Symposium.

trainees and posters
Trainees present their research to peers and faculty at the
poster session

“Professor Adams creates an environment that supports his postdocs in pursuing their research projects by motivating his trainees to experience new techniques, take on challenging projects and help them to decide the direction in which they want to move forward,” said postdoctoral associate Marie Berenguer, who presented the award to Adams. “He helps his trainees expand their professional networks and further develop their technical and transferable skills. Every trainee from the Adams lab submitted an abstract for this year’s Annual Trainee Research Symposium, a sign of Peter’s commitment to their training.”

In his comments when accepting the award, Adams spoke to his mentoring philosophy: “Some of you have asked me, ‘What’s the most important thing in a student or a postdoc?’ What I’ll say is that the most important thing is to take ownership of your project, so my mentoring strategy is, in a way, to put the burden on you. But I can only put that burden on you if you can rise to it and take that on, and clearly you do. You do a great job, so that makes my life very easy.”

Reading from nomination letters submitted by postdocs, Berenguer added, “Your positive vision and passion for science, your willingness to collaborate and help, and your kind personality were highly praised and stated as the major reason that you are a one-of-a-kind mentor who has positively impacted your lab members and also many other researchers across Sanford Burnham Prebys.” 

trainees and faculty enjoying refreshments
Trainees and faculty enjoy refreshments during a break

In addition to the award presentation, the day consisted of opening remarks from Hudson Freeze, Ph.D., and Alessandra Sacco, Ph.D.; presentations by graduate students and postdocs from labs across the Institute; and a keynote presentation from Principal Investigator Karissa Sanbonmatsu, Ph.D., from Los Alamos National Laboratories, about her work in epigenetics. President and CEO David Brenner, M.D., delivered closing remarks, which were followed by a poster session.

“Mentoring is one of the most important things senior faculty can do to advance the careers of their students and postdocs,” said Brenner during his comments. “It’s such a pleasure to join you all for this symposium today.” 

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