CTSI recognizes three University professors for outstanding mentorship
At the CTSI Poster Session and Reception on Sept. 27, CTSI bestowed awards to outstanding research mentors:
- Mentor of the Year: Dr. Christine Wendt
- Biostatistical Mentor of the Year: Dr. Kyle Rudser
- Junior Mentor of the Year: Dr. Lisa Coles
Mentors are nominated by the mentees themselves, and include letters from at least one additional mentee and a colleague.
Mentor of the Year Award nominees are evaluated based on the research guidance they provided as well as their interpersonal and motivational skills, promotion of career development, mentor training record, and NIH biosketch.
Christine Wendt, MD, of the Minneapolis VA Medical Center has affiliate professorship at the Department of Medicine and is the VA Medical Center’s Section Chief of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep.
Her research focuses on biomarkers of disease using high-throughput mass spectrometry, specifically focusing on chronic obstructive lung disease, which is the third leading cause of death in the world.
Currently, she is identifying biomarkers and causal pathways in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease leading to lung cancer using a multi-omic approach including genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, computational and systems biology.
Excerpts from letters nominating Dr. Wendt
Letters nominating Dr. Wendt were full of praise and admiration for her dedication, scientific insight, interpersonal skills, and her extensive track record in helping mentees build confidence, overcome obstacles, and become successful independent researchers.
Following are excerpts from these letters:
“Dr. Wendt epitomizes the ideal mentor. She listens carefully and well, displaying insight and a very high level of emotional intelligence.”
“One of her greatest assets as a mentor is her even-keeled nature. It allows her to acknowledge shortcomings and setbacks while encouraging resilience and optimism as I try to overcome obstacles.”
“She makes her trainees a priority and is always present no matter what other commitments she may have. Her willingness to advocate on our behalf is second to none.”
“I owe a great debt to Dr. Wendt’s mentorship for many of my successes. I hold her scientific, ethical, and interpersonal skills in the highest regard. She is a pleasure to work with, and my more recent successes with grant writing are a testament to her skills as a mentor.”
Kyle Rudser, PhD, is an Associate Professor with the School of Public Health’s Division of Biostatistics and CTSI’s Biostatistical Design and Analysis Center.
Dr. Rudser works as both a collaborator and as a statistical methodologist in clinical and translational research. As a collaborator, he provides support for the design, monitoring, and analysis of clinical and translational research.
His contributions span a wide range of areas, with two areas in particular being survival analysis and clinical trials.
Excerpts from letters nominating Dr. Rudser
Mentees praised Dr. Rudser for being a devoted, energizing, and engaged mentor with keen insights, verbal communications skills, and an exemplary ability to bring out the best in his mentees.
Following are excerpts from letters nominating him for this award:
“Dr. Rudser takes his role as a mentor extremely seriously and works very hard to enrich the training environment for graduate students, fellows, and other trainees. He allows his mentees to work at their full potential and offers high-quality advice and guidance within the context of specific projects and in relation to the larger picture of the trainees’ future career goals.”
“He has a genuine enthusiasm for his work and the work of others. He goes the extra mile not only to explain his approach but to understand others.”
“Dr. Rudser despite his many collaborations and time-demands makes himself available for mentees and colleagues alike. His excellent verbal communication skills, willingness to share his knowledge, and expertise make him a pleasure to work with.”
“I know that through Dr. Rudser’s mentorship, I have become a better scientist, trialist, and academician. Moreover, his mentoring style motivates me not only to be productive in my own work, but to become a better mentor myself.”
Lisa Coles, MS, PhD, is the winner of this year’s award recognizing exceptional research mentors who are assistant professors. Dr. Coles is a Research Assistant Professor with the College of Pharmacy’s Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and a Research Associate at the Center for Orphan Drug Research.
Her research focuses on understanding mechanisms of action and optimizing dosing to enhance the safety and efficacy of drugs for treating rare neurological disorders, such as neurodegenerative diseases and epilepsy syndromes.
Excerpts from letters nominating Dr. Coles
Mentees and a colleague praised Dr. Coles for her dedication, approachability, patience, engaging personality, varied educational and work experiences, and for helping her mentees shine.
Following are excerpts from letters nominating her for this award:
“With Dr. Coles’ knowledge and expertise, dedication to quality pharmacy research, and genuine interest in her colleagues and students at the Center for Orphan Drug Research, she is truly an incredible mentor who deserves this recognition.”
“Along with teaching me, Dr. Coles also listened to me when I came across difficulties such as experimental set-backs, misunderstandings, or a shortage of supplies. During these challenges, Dr. Coles was very understanding, informative, and willing to give support.”
“I am honored to have Dr. Coles as one of my mentors and have benefited immensely from her thoughtful guidance. I am constantly impressed by her ability to balance several research projects, mentoring students, and personal life while maintaining an energizing demeanor and continue to thrive in all spheres.”
“In my 40 years at the University, Dr. Coles is the finest junior faculty to have mentored trainees that I have encountered. She is invariably patient, positive, and supportive and is able to convey a sense of excitement about research.”