Postdoctoral researcher Ravi Chawla

It’s not just faculty members who provide mentorship at Scripps Research. Inside the more than 175 active labs at Scripps Research, experienced personnel such as postdocs, senior grad students and staff scientists regularly share their knowledge and advice with trainees.

So, last year, the institute created a new award to recognize exceptional mentorship by non-faculty, and the inaugural recipient of the Award for Trainee Mentorship is Ravi Chawla, PhD. An American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellow, Chawla is supervised by Assistant Professor Lisa Racki and Professor Ashok Deniz, both of the Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology.

“Throughout my scientific career, I have rarely encountered individuals as supportive and encouraging,” wrote one student who nominated Chawla. Another shared that Chawla “regularly asks insightful questions that allow me to think deeper and have a better understanding of my work as a whole,” adding that he is always “calm, confident, upbeat and lighthearted while at the bench.”

Chawla says it was an “incredible honor” to be recognized. “Throughout my career, I have been lucky to have found mentors who have helped me succeed. To know that my mentees feel that the efforts I’ve made to connect and work with them has made an impact inspires me to practice continual improvement at mentoring.”

A chemical engineer, Chawla investigates the stress pathways of bacteria that enable their survival with the aim of identifying molecules that can interfere with these pathways and thereby prevent infection. Chawla received his PhD at Texas A&M University. He joined Scripps Research in 2020.

The Award for Trainee Mentorship was created through a collaborative effort between organizers of the Summer Program Application Mentorship Program, the Career and Professional Development Office, the Society of Fellows and the Graduate Student Council.