Dr. Hiten Madhani Wins 2015 Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Each year, the ASGD and GDAA call for students and alumni to nominate faculty who have gone above and beyond their duties as professors, providing academic, professional and personal support and dedication to student mentorship. The Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award is an exceptional opportunity for trainees to express their appreciation for the faculty mentors who have changed their lives.

The Associated Students of the Graduate Division (ASGD) and the Graduate Division Alumni Association (GDAA) have selected Dr. Hiten Madhani, MD, PhD, as this year’s Outstanding Faculty Mentorship Awardee.

Dr. Madhani is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. A graduate of UCSF himself, Madhani now focuses on researching “the battles within and between organisms that drive the evolution of eukaryotic organisms,” as described on his lab website. Specifically, the lab studies the mechanisms of chromatin- and RNA-based gene control and mechanisms of fungal virulence.

Elected to the American Academy of Microbiology last year, he is the author of a textbook on yeast as a model organism, and Nature Genetics described it as “one of the most pleasantly readable books in biology...a ‘must read’ for anyone beginning to experiment with yeast.”

Dr. Madhani received glowing nomination letters from former students, and it is clear that he is deeply committed to both his science and the scientists in his lab.

In keeping with the clarity of his book, Madhani’s nomination letters describe him as “a superb lecturer, presenting topics thoroughly, cogently, and in a historical context.” Beyond his thorough knowledge of scientific history and current inquiries, his deep “admiration for scientific ingenuity and clever experiments is contagious.”

On a more personal level, one letter described Hiten as “a truly life-altering mentor…[whose] deep intellectual curiosity and pure excitement for science kept me excited about my work, even when things were going slowly.” Madhani is deeply committed to his students’ work, sending emails even on nights and weekends because he is hard at work thinking about what experiments to do and “contacting intellectual or scientific collaborators…from all over the world” for even small questions. As a scientist, Madhani leads by example, working hard even though he has already “made it” because he is simply that excited about the science.

Importantly, as physician-scientist, Madhani is supportive of his MSTP students who have to return to medical school well beyond their time in his lab.

Dr. Madhani will unfortunately be traveling during the Graduate Division Commencement Ceremony at the William J. Rutter Center on the Mission Bay Campus on May 16. Phillip Dumesic, an MSTP student and former member of the Madhani Lab, will present the award.

While Dr. Madhani was the recipient of the award, there were many other deserving nominees. The other nominees are listed as follows:

  • Manish K. Aghi, Biomedical Sciences and Neurological Surgery
  • Allan Balmain, Biochemistry and Biophysics
  • Charles Chiu, Laboratory Medicine
  • Ryan Hernandez, Bioengineering & Therapeutic Sciences
  • Richard M. Locksley, Medicine
  • Emmanuelle Passegue, Medicine
  • Betty Smoot, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences
  • Elizabeth Watkins, Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine
  • Noah Zaitlen, Medicine