Caplan Wins First Postdoctoral Mentoring Prize

Dr. Michael Caplan, the C.N.H. Long Professor and chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at the Yale School of Medicine, has received the University’s first Postdoctoral Mentoring Prize.

The new prize, to be presented annually, honors a Yale faculty member who best exemplifies the role of a mentor to his or her postdoctoral scholars.

“The postdoctoral years, sandwiched between graduate education and independent careers in academia or elsewhere, constitute a crucial stage in the career trajectories of young scholars,” notes Provost Peter Salovey. “Good mentoring can make the difference between career success and failure.”

Nominations for this award were solicited from the postdoctoral fellows at Yale. Those who nominated Caplan described him as an exceptional mentor for three reasons: He checks in with his lab members daily to talk about experimental data and to challenge them to think creatively about interpreting their results. He helps postdoctoral scholars advance their own careers by helping them to think strategically about their futures, providing extensive feedback on their grant proposals and participating in mock job interviews as they prepare for real interviews. And he maintains a family-friendly climate in his lab that acknowledges and accommodates the challenges of balancing family and career.

In all, there were over 40 nominations for the inaugural Postdoctoral Mentoring Prize. “These nominations demonstrate that many Yale University faculty members provide exemplary mentoring of their postdoctoral scholars,” notes Salovey.

Honorable mention goes to the following faculty: Hannah Brueckner, Department of Sociology; Menachem Elimelech, Department of Chemical Engineering; Nathan Hansen, Department of Psychiatry; Jack Harris, Department of Physics; Gil Mor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences; and Scott Strobel, Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry.

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