The goal of the SRS Mentor Mentee Award is to link trainees with limited sleep/circadian mentoring options in their chosen field of interest to mentors that can provide rich, face-to-face opportunities in state-of-the-art research techniques and methods.

“I participated in the Sleep Research Society (SRS) Mentor-Mentee program during my last year in graduate school, a few months prior to beginning my postdoctoral fellowship at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR). Dr. Miranda Lim, a neurologist and researcher at the Portland VA/Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU), was my mentor in the year-long program. When the program year began, Dr. Lim and I corresponded via Skype and telephone to plan for our collaborative project. With the money provided by the program, I visited Dr. Lim’s lab and helped clean and organize data that she had previously collected. After my visit, we continued analyzing data and prepared a manuscript that was published the following year in Behavioural Neurology.

Participating in the SRS Mentor-Mentee Program was beneficial for reasons beyond simply gaining a publication. This program acted as a bridge between my doctoral and postdoctoral careers. During graduate school, I studied sleep-dependent memory consolidation and emotional processing in healthy young and older adults. However, during my postdoctoral fellowship, I switched gears to study sleep and performance in military servicemembers. Unfortunately, at that time, I had very little knowledge or background on military populations. Interacting with Dr. Lim and her team at OHSU provided the opportunity to discuss the unique sleep challenges that Veterans and military servicemembers face. Having this perspective facilitated the transition into my postdoctoral fellowship the following year.

Overall, participating in the SRS Mentor-Mentee program was an invaluable experience. The SRS prides itself on training the next generation of sleep and circadian scientists through SRS trainee programs and awards. Unfortunately, this program – and many other unique SRS trainee programs – are highly under-utilized. I strongly recommend this program to any graduate student or postdoctoral fellow who wishes to make connections outside of their lab or who wishes to broaden their scientific prowess. To make the most out of the program year, I encourage trainees to make connections with potential mentors at academic conferences and to begin planning early. Any interested trainees may contact me to learn more about the benefits of participating in this program.”

Janna Mantua, PhD
Walter Reed Army Institute of Research