Ananda B. Amstadter, Ph.D.

Distinguished Mentor Award

Ananda B. Amstadter, Ph.D., [View Image]Ananda B. Amstadter, Ph.D., Associate Professor with tenure, Department of Psychiatry and the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics (VIPBG) at VCU came to VCU in 2010. She also has affiliate appointments in the Departments of Psychiatry and Human and Behavioral Genetics. Her research focuses on risk and resiliency in the wake of trauma or stress related conditions. With 186 peer-reviewed publications, 20 book chapters, 20 invited lectures, and over 135 conference presentations to her credit, it might be surprising that such a busy and productive person is celebrated for the time and attention she takes to mentor her students and colleagues.

The Director of VIPBG, Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., Rachel Brown Banks Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry,and Professor of Human and Molecular Genetics, comments, . “I have had a long professional career and worked with a large number and variety of academic physicians and psychologists. I can say with confidence that Dr. Amstadter is among the very best mentors I have ever had the pleasure to work with. The broad facts speak for themselves. Since arriving at VCU, she has mentored 4 young faculty and/or senior post-docs with the goal of obtaining a K award and been successful with every single one of them. She has been a primary mentor on four funded F31s, several PERQ grants, a NARSAD Young Investigator Award and served as primary mentor for three VA MIRECC fellows.”

“In fact, it is because of Dr. Amstadter’s unparalleled mentorship that I chose to stay at VCU for my clinical psychology training...Her knowledge, kindness, approachability, and dedication to her mentees’ success is unparalleled and, indeed, has fostered my development as an academic and future mentor. Her ability to face roadblocks with tenacity and creativity has instilled confidence within me to face the difficulties my career will likely bring,” states Sage E. Hawn, M.S., VIPGS Clinical Psychology Doctoral Candidate (6th year). “Specifically, she has shown me that it is possible to be a young, successful woman in academia and not lose one’s self. Despite her success, she is warm-natured, generous, and fun! For me and many others, she serves as an exemplary model of what a successful, innovative, and family-oriented academic can be. For taking me under her wing and teaching me to fly, I am forever grateful.

Dr. Amstadter’s talents have been recognized with the 2016 and 2020 Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics Outstanding Mentor Award. She has formally mentored over 30 research trainees and informally mentored dozens of students and faculty colleagues.

“As I grow in my career and develop mentorship roles of my own, I have her to thank as a model and guidepost for the type of mentor that I want to be and the type of research and training environment that I want to foster. A perfect example has been her thoughtful and creative approach to our broader lab group during the pandemic and our new work-from-home lives—she has managed to keep us supported and connected, all while motiving great, continued work in the field and reminding us of the importance of joy and self-care.” Christina Sheering, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, VIPBG.

One of Dr. Amstadter’s most impactful talents is recognizing people who would work well together, making connections among them and with experts inside and outside VCU, and seemingly effortlessly monitoring the new relationships to assure they are as successful as possible. Daniel Bustamante, B.S., Ph.D. Student, Integrative Life Sciences - Behavioral & Statistical Genetics, VIPBG agrees. “She enthusiastically reaches out to people in any stage of their career to foster collaborations. She is extremely approachable and generous, and fosters an academic environment of collegial work, dialogue, familiarity and constantly sets in motion a harmonious state of continuous feedback among our lab members.”

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