2019 Recipients: Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring

On June 7, 2019, the first-ever recipients of the Dean’s Awards for Excellence in Mentoring for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars were honored at an informal ceremony in the atrium of Genentech Hall at UCSF's Mission Bay campus. Each of the six awardees received a certificate and $500 stipend. Honorable mentions were also recognized and received certificates.


The Graduate Division and the Office for Postdoctoral Scholars are pleased to recognize the grad students and postdocs below for their outstanding work as mentors for their colleagues. This newly-established award recognizes the contributions of trainees who have formally or informally taken on some of the responsibilities typically held by traditional mentors, supervisors, and sponsors during their training, particularly in the areas of research, career and professional development, or social and inspirational mentoring.

Graduate Students


Francesca AloisioFrancesca Aloisio

Barber Lab

Nominated by Diane L. Barber, PhD (Professor)

“Francesca is truly exceptional in her consistent and outstanding mentoring in research and professional development. I have never encountered a student who gives so much to mentoring.”

“...she has had a profound impact on the research progress, career guidance and professional advancement of countless students.”

Adair BorgesAdair Borges

Bondy-Denomy Lab

Nominated by Senén Mendoza (PhD student, Tetrad)

“Without Adair’s leadership at the Graduate Queer Alliance (GQA) and her mentorship within, GQA may have remained a social RCO, without the goals of systemic change to improve the lives of many underrepresented and oppressed minorities.”

“As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Adair is adept at guiding peers through shifts or discoveries in identity.”

Melissa SpearMelissa Spear

Hernandez Lab

Nominated by D’Anne Duncan, PhD (Director of Diversity and Learner Success, Graduate Division)

“Melissa is an exemplary role model and a talented scientist, who is dedicated to mentoring the next generation of scientific leaders.”

“…she shows tremendous initiative to reduce barriers for underrepresented students in science, and to champion for the work of diversity, outreach, and inclusion at UCSF.”

Honorable Mention: Graduate Students

Arpana Arjun | Developmental and Stem Cell Biology
Allison Girasole | Neuroscience
Hannah Joo | Neuroscience
Beatriz Osuna | Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Faten Sayed | Neuroscience

Postdoctoral Scholars


Jeremy BianeJeremy Biane, PhD

Kheirbek Lab

Nominated by Sayi Boddu (UCB undergrad and lab member)

“A major theme of Jeremy’s mentoring style is fostering a culture of excitement and comprehension…he teaches the idea and purpose behind every technique, rather than just the methodology.”

“…I see him as a complete mentor, providing professional and scientific guidance, as well as personal support.”

Sara RubinSara Rubin, PhD

Department of Psychiatry

Nominated by Meredith Van Natta (PhD student, Sociology)

“Sara’s indefatigable attention and patient instruction allowed me to develop a strong grasp of methods that were new to me at the time, and I was able to turn a class project into a research paper that is now under review at a scientific journal.”

“She created space for me to express my struggles as well as encouragement for me to rise above them when I was ready.”

Erica SanchezErica Sanchez, PhD

von Zastrow Lab

Nominated by D’Anne Duncan, PhD (Director of Diversity and Learner Success, Graduate Division)

“Dr. Sanchez takes a very tailored approach to mentor her mentees, where she treats each mentee as a unique individual with their own experiences and needs, to build strong long-lasting relationships.”

“In addition to supporting rising graduate students in their activism, Dr. Sanchez has been at the forefront of mental health advocacy in graduate and postdoctoral training.”

< Honorable Mention: Postdocs

Long Le | Desai Lab
Pauline Marangoni | Klein Lab
Matt McCarroll | Kokel Lab
Laura Sanman | Altschuler and Wu Lab
Vasudha Srivastava | Gartner Lab
Ariane Thompson-Lastad | Osher Center
Linda Vo | Bluestone Lab


Nominations for the 2020 Dean's Awards for Excellence in Mentoring will be accepted in spring 2020!