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News & Press: Events

Hansen to be Presented with 2017 NPA Garnett-Powers & Associates, Inc. Mentor Award

Thursday, January 12, 2017   (0 Comments)
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January 12, 2017


Malene Hansen, Ph.D., has been named the recipient of the 2017 NPA Garnett-Powers & Associates, Inc. Mentor Award. The award recognizes a faculty member who has engaged in exceptional mentoring of postdoctoral scholars. Hansen will be presented with the award at the 2017 Annual Meeting, March 17 - 19, in San Francisco, CA.


Hansen is an associate professor in the Program for Development, Aging and Regeneration at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP), a nonprofit research institute located in San Diego, CA. She obtained a Master of Science in biochemistry in 1998, and a doctorate in molecular biology in 2001 both from Copenhagen University, Denmark. Hansen subsequently carried out postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Cynthia Kenyon, Ph.D., at the University of California, San Francisco. She started her laboratory at SBP in 2007, and currently serves as associate dean for student affairs in SBP’s recently accredited graduate program, and as faculty advisor on postdoctoral training for SBP’s 120 postdoctoral fellows.


Hansen has been recognized with several awards, including an Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar in Aging Award, a Julie Martin Mid-Career Award in Aging Research supported by the Ellison Medical Foundation, and a American Federation of Aging. Her lab is currently funded by R01 grants from both the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Since 2002, she has published more than 40 research articles, reviews, and book chapters. On numerous occasions she has served as an ad hoc reviewer for top-tier scientific journals and for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She is the 2018 co-organizer of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s meeting on Mechanisms of Aging, and is the co-chair for the 2020 Gordon conference on Autophagy.


She was nominated by Joey Davis, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, The Scripps Research Institute; Caroline Kumsta, Ph.D., postdoctoral associate, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute; and Deepti Wilkinson, Ph.D., scientist, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson and Johnson.


In her nomination letter, Kumsta stated that Hansen's "positive influence on SBP postdoctoral training has helped all local San Diego institutions improve as we collaboratively provide programs for postdocs, compare notes, and challenge each other to be our best. I believe this has created a community that can serve as an example at the national level." Wilkinson's letter stated that "Malene exemplifies commitment to mentoring and service. I have always marveled at her ability to simultaneously run a very successful research program while mentoring not just her own lab members but trainees within the greater academic umbrella of the La Jolla Scientific Mesa."


Hansen currently mentors five postdoctoral fellows, two research assistants, and an undergraduate student. During her independent career, she has mentored 16 undergraduate students, nine research assistants, two graduate students, and nine postdoctoral fellows. Several international master’s students have also visited her lab to carry out their studies. She has both served and is currently serving on 16 predoctoral committees both nationally as well as internationally. Her trainees have earned multiple awards and fellowships for their excellent communication skills and research, e.g., her first graduate student and first postdoctoral fellow both obtained independent funding from the NIH (mentored F31 and K99 awards, respectively), and a co-mentored postdoc also recently received a K99 award.


Davis wrote, "...all of my interactions with Dr. Hansen have provided me with an example of someone who understands that the role of a mentor is not to use their mentee for their own success, but to help guide that mentee towards his or her individual goals. I believe that this is why Dr. Hansen’s lab is so successful – when she focuses on the success of her mentees, they want to work hard to make the whole lab a success."


Hansen has dedicated considerable time and effort in the mentoring and development of her postdocs, and the NPA applauds Hansen for her contribution to the postdoctoral community.


The members of the selection committee included Julie Fabsik-Swarts, M.S., CFRE, CAP, NPA executive director; Josh Henkin, Ph.D., career counselor/founder, STEM Career Services, treasurer, NPA Board of Directors; Barbara Natalizio, Ph.D., AAAS science and technology policy fellow, National Science Foundation; Yvette Seger, Ph.D., director of Science Policy, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, vice chair, NPA Board of Directors; Kate Sleeth, Ph.D., interim associate dean of administration and student development, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, chair, NPA Board of Directors.


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