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News & Press: Events

2016 NPA Garnett-Powers & Associates, Inc. Mentor Award Recipient Announced

Tuesday, February 2, 2016   (0 Comments)
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February 2, 2016


The recipient of the 2016 NPA Garnett-Powers & Associates, Inc. Mentor Award is Shannon Manning, Ph.D., M.P.H. The award recognizes a faculty member who has engaged in exceptional mentoring of postdoctoral scholars. Manning will be presented with the award at the 2016 Annual Meeting, March 4-6, in Grand Rapids, MI.


Manning is a Michigan State University (MSU) Foundation associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. She earned her Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Michigan in 1993, and after earning her doctoral degree in molecular epidemiology in 2001, she served as an emerging infectious diseases research fellow through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Her current research focuses on the molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics of bacterial pathogens including diarrheagenic E. coli and group B Streptococcus, a leading cause of bloodstream infections and meningitis in newborns. Her research focuses on the pathogenesis, virulence and evolution of bacterial pathogens in human and animal populations, and determining how genetic variation contributes to differences in clinical outcomes. Since 1998, she has contributed to over 55 publications and book chapters, and some of her recent work has been featured on Michigan Radio, WKAR, and in multiple news sources. She currently serves as an ad hoc reviewer for the National Institutes of Health and as the primary mentor for seven undergraduate researchers, six graduate students, two postdoctoral fellows, and four research assistants.


Manning has mentored several undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students along with 22 graduate level rotation students since her appointment at MSU. She has also served or is currently serving on 18 graduate student committees. Her undergraduate and graduate students have earned multiple awards and fellowships for their outstanding research work and presentations.


She was nominated by Wonhee Cha, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, Michigan State University; Rim Al Safadi, Ph.D., assistant professor, Biology department - Faculty of Sciences, Lebanese University; and Pallavi Singh, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, Michigan State University.


In her nomination letter, Singh shared that Manning “emphasizes life-long learning with prominence on big-picture idea that would consequently benefit society as a whole.” Singh went on to say “her support for her postdoctoral trainees further continues by helping them build their careers as academicians, industrial or governmental scientist based on their inclination. Mentoring opportunities in lab, to beef-up their experience as mentors and boost confidence, is one such example. This assists in improving communication skills while equipping us with the tools to face challenges we may encounter with our subordinates or students in future as team leaders or advisors. Patience and treating every person with respect are important virtues that she embodies. No opinion or idea of a trainee is dismissed irrespective of their experience level.” She additionally states that “she takes care that we are well supported in an effort to keep us motivated and productive while giving the flexibility and room to perform in a manner suitable to the individual.”


Manning was credited with providing with a productive and open work environment. Her nominators described her as extremely patience and compassionate, listening to all thoughts, ideas, and troubles, and trying to accommodate all needs as much as possible. Her lab has an open door policy, her solutions “pragmatic and fruitful.”


Safadi noted that Manning has been an “excellent friend, teacher, mentor and a great inspiration for me. She has inspired me to pursue my goals and projects with hard work and dedication….Her knowledge, ethics, enthusiasm and warmth create a very positive learning and challenging environment for students and researchers in her laboratory. Dr. Manning will forever remain a major contributor or behind my success and achievements.”


The NPA believes that the quality of mentoring is one of the most important factors in determining whether a new researcher has a successful postdoc experience, and it clear that Manning has gone above and beyond in the care and development of her trainees.


The members of the selection committee included Belinda Huang, Ph.D., NPA Executive Director; Keith Micoli, Ph.D., Director, Postdoctoral Program, New York University (NYU); Barbara Natalizio, Ph.D., AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, National Science Foundation, Oversight Officer, NPA Board of Directors