As a mentor, Jamboor Vishwanatha feels it is of critical importance to demonstrate a strong commitment from himself, and to expect the same from his mentees. An important focus of his mentorship is to impart self-reliance in the career development of mentees, with the expectation that mentees will complete the desired tasks relevant to their present research career status, enabling them to progress to the next stage along the trajectory for a sustainable career in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.
Dr. Vishwanatha engages in two general categories of mentoring activities. He serves as a faculty member to students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty who have trained in his laboratory, and he promotes opportunities for underrepresented students and faculty through various institutional, regional and national programs. Together, these activities have resulted in mentoring of more than 3,200 students and faculty.
As a faculty member, Dr. Vishwanatha has personally trained and mentored 36 undergraduate students (34 from underrepresented groups) from the partnerships he has built with minority serving institutions. He is an advisor to several minority serving institutions for their specific student development programs. He has mentored 17 graduate students, and of these, 10 are women and six are individuals from other underrepresented and disadvantaged groups. Of the six, two are faculty, one is working in the biotechnology industry, one is a veterinary doctor, and two are currently in Ph.D. programs. He has personally trained 19 postdocs, five of whom are women. Eight of the postdocs have achieved faculty positions, nine are in the biotechnology industry, and two are in non-academic positions.
He is currently the principal investigator of two short-term research training programs (one for undergraduates and one for health professional students), a P20 Center of Excellence in Health Disparities, a Department of Defense-funded prostate cancer training program for underrepresented students, and a minority-based training program in the state of Texas. He is also the principal investigator for the National Research Mentoring Network and a National Institutes of Health Common Fund initiative to diversify the biomedical workforce.
Dr. Vishwanatha’s honors include:
- American Society for Microbiology Indo-US Professorship, 2005
- Outstanding Achievement Award, Society of American Asian Scientists in Cancer Research, 2012
- ASM-IUSSTF Indo-US Teaching Professorship, awarded by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF), 2014
- Senior Scientist Gold Medal Award from the Association of Biotechnology and Pharmacy, India, 2014