ofma 2024

Arvind Varsani - Outstanding Faculty Mentor awardee spotlights


As we celebrate this year’s Outstanding Faculty Mentors, we would like to showcase the winners’ remarkable work in mentoring. Their stories illustrate the profound impact of mentorship on both the mentor and mentee. These heartwarming testimonials aim to express their gratitude for the difference their mentor has made in their lives. We are fortunate to have such dedicated and caring individuals as mentors in the ASU community!

Arvind Varsani - Outstanding Postdoctoral Mentor

Professor, School of Life Sciences and Biodesign Center for Fundamental & Applied Microbiomics, Division of Natural Sciences, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Arvind Varsani is a professor at the Biodesign Institute (Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics) and School of Life Science. He is a molecular virologist who works across plant and animal ecosystems from the tropics to polar regions. His research uses traditional virology, microscopy, molecular and cellular biology techniques in conjunction with modern sequencing techniques, synthetic biology and bioinformatics to characterize and understand virus dynamics.

Arvind V







What does being recognized as an Outstanding Faculty Mentor mean to you?

I am thankful to my mentees for nominating me for this award in the first place. It acknowledges my efforts in creating an inclusive and individualized mentoring environment and a safe work environment that positively impacts my mentees and their experience at ASU. 

What is the value of mentorship?

It provides guidance and support for mentees with their career goals in mind. This should also include creating communities and spaces for community members with a sense of belonging. As a mentor, one of my core goals is to foster independence and resilience, advocate for embracing one’s identity and for equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility for members of the ASU community.

Do you have any advice for a new mentor? 

Be patient, be an active listener, be empathetic, provide clear and succinct guidance and have difficult conversations when needed. We are a diverse community with different challenges (both personal and academic) and even though we all have our core values within our mentorship philosophy, tailoring mentorship to individual needs is essential. Be prepared to accommodate new skills from continuing education that address challenges in your mentees' current environment. It is crucial to learn from your mistakes and reassess your mentoring based on the feedback from your mentees.

Arvind Varsani nominating mentee: Karla Vargas

What is the value of mentorship? How has it impacted you academically, professionally or personally?

I am deeply grateful to my mentors, whose unwavering support and guidance have been invaluable in helping me reach where I am today. I have been incredibly fortunate to have wonderful mentors who generously shared their knowledge and, most importantly, looked beyond my work in the lab and academic potential. Mentees have complex lives and personal commitments beyond research, and true mentors recognize this, dedicating themselves to the holistic growth of their mentees, both professionally and personally. That has been my experience. My mentors have recognized my unique circumstances and fostered a sense of belonging. My mentors have made a profound and lasting impact on me, and I cannot thank them enough for their support.  

Why did you nominate your mentor?

For over 18 months, I have had the opportunity to witness Professor Varsani’s remarkable role as a guide and supporter to his mentees. His dedication to cultivating a safe environment for the team has been truly inspiring. Professor Varsani’s commitment to his mentees' personal and professional development is evident through his holistic and empathetic approach to mentorship. He goes above and beyond to tailor guidance to the individual goals of his mentees, constantly providing constructive feedback and opportunities for growth. I strongly believe that exceptional mentorship deserves recognition and celebration. Professor Varsani undeniably deserves acknowledgment for his impactful contributions as a mentor.


Edited by Marjani DeHoff