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Welcome to a high-level overview of

Mentorship in NPSL & NPTL


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My dear, late friend Ben Barres (Chair, Stanford Dept. of Neurobiology) wrote: "As with good parenting, I believe that one should give to one’s trainees until it hurts to do so" [1-3]. I fully agree. The most important aspect of mentoring is, in my view, consistent Open Communication which forms deep relationships and helps a group be a true Research Family. The award that has the most meaning to me is The 2010 Stanford University Postdoctoral Scholar Mentoring Award, as it resulted from our Research Family thriving and having fun (Stanford Report (2010) pdf url).

[1] Barres BA (2017) Stop blocking postdocs’ paths to success. Nature 548:517–519. pdf url   [2] Barres BA (2013) How to pick a graduate advisor. Neuron 80:275–279. pdf url   [3] Huberman A (2018) Ben Barres (1954-2017) Neurobiologist who advocated for gender equality in science. Nature 553:282. pdf url

Trainee placement summary (as often requested by funding agencies)

  • Predoctoral (PhD) students that have completed their training: 21

    • 14 of 21 (65%) went on to postdocs positions and/or tenure-track faculty positions

      • 5 of 14 (36%) now postdocs: Daniel O’Shea PhD; Xulu Sun PhD; Eric Trautmann PhD; Saurabh Vyas PhD; Megan Wang PhD.

      • 8 of 14 (57%) now tenure-track or tenured professors: Cynthia Chestek PhD -- Associate Professor, University of Michigan; John Cunningham PhD -- Full Professor, Columbia University; Vikash Gilja PhD -- Associate Professor, UC San Diego; Jonathan Kao PhD -- Assistant Professor, UCLA; Matthew Kaufman PhD -- Assistant Professor, University of Chicago; Paul Nuyujukian MD PhD -- Assistant Professor, Stanford University; Sergey Stavisky PhD -- Assistant Professor, UC Davis; Byron Yu PhD -- Full Professor, Carnegie Mellon University

      • 1 of 14 (7%) now in industry: Cora Ames PhD

    • 7 of 20 (35%) went on to industry: Afsheen Afshar MD PhD; Nir Even-Chen PhD; Justin Foster PhD; Werapong Goo PhD; Rachel Kalmar PhD; Zuley Rivera Alvidrez PhD; Gopal Santhanam PhD.

  • Postdocs that have completed their training: 19

    • 14 of 19 (74%) went on to tenure-track and tenured professorships

      • 5 of 13 (38%) now pre-tenure Assistant Professors: Chand Chandrasekaran PhD; Jonathan Kao PhD; Matthew Kaufman PhD; Chethan Pandarinath PhD; Paul Nuyujukian PhD; Sergey Stavisky PhD.

      • 3 of 13 (23%) now tenured Associate Professors: Cynthia Chestek PhD, Vikash Gilja PhD; Mark Churchland PhD.

      • 4 of 13 (31%) now tenured Full Professors: Aaron Batista PhD; John Cunningham PhD; Ilka Diester PhD; Byron Yu PhD

      • 1 of 13 (8%) now deceased: Paul Kalanithi MD

    • 5 of 19 (26%) went on to other medical / corporate opportunities:

      • 1 of 5 (20%) now a neurosurgeon at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC, San Francisco, CA) and in neurotech industry (Neuralink Corp., Fremont, CA): Matthew MacDougall MD.

      • 1 of 5 (20%) now a neurosurgeon at Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF, Palo Alto, CA) and Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering and Neurosurgery at Stanford: Stephen Ryu MD.

      • 1 of 5 (20%) now at CTRL-Labs / Facebook Reality Labs / Facebook (Burlingame, CA) and Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford: David Sussillo PhD.

      • 1 of 5 (20%) now at Apple (Cupertino, CA): Sharlene Flesher PhD.

      • 1 of 5 (20%) now postdoc: Jonathan Michaels PhD.