FDA Mentor Improves Public Health While Guiding Future Scientists
Chintamani Atreya, Ph.D., is dedicated to biological research and ushering in the next generation of student researchers. As an associate director for research in the Office of Blood Research and Review (OBRR) at the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), Atreya has invested more than 27 years into research related to pediatric viral vaccines and the safety of human blood from infectious disease-causing agents.
Throughout his career at the CBER, Atreya has mentored and offered his experience and knowledge to research participants.
The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Research Participation Training Program for CBER provides temporary scientific training for domestic and foreign scientists having an interest in medical, biological, chemical, toxicological, mathematical/statistical or other related sciences.
“I have a passion for biological research that started in my childhood,” Atreya said. “I was perplexed by the audacity of tiny microbes to cause diseases that we can’t even see with the naked eye. Over the course of time, I decided to be a research scientist in biological sciences and obtained a Ph.D. in life sciences as a first step in achieving my research goals.”
After postdoctoral training in molecular virology, Atreya began working with the FDA’s intramural research program in 1993.
“The purpose of my research at the FDA is to help improve public and patient health by contributing to the safety of our nation’s blood supply from infectious agents, improving the quality of the transfusion products and understanding the mechanisms underlying genetic disorders such as hemophilia A, a bleeding disorder,” Atreya said.
For more than 25 years, he has prepared the younger generation of science enthusiasts to become globally competitive through his expert guidance and instruction. While advising his mentees, Atreya believes strongly in assuring their work/life balance is intact so that they remain focused in the lab and fully prepared to conduct their experiments and research. “My day at work starts with entering my lab and having conversations with my staff ranging from their personal life to lab research with respect to any problems that I need to know and address immediately,” he said.
“Mentoring is rewarding when the mentee has benefited positively from my interactions with them,” Atreya said. “Many of my mentees have had an excellent experience with CBER and are out there in the world doing very well now.”
Atreya said he would recommend the program at CBER and mentoring in general to others. “It’s a positive experience overall, and mentoring helps to clarify one’s own thought processes on how to deal with complex situations in a scientific work environment.”The CBER Research Participation Program is managed by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) under an agreement between CBER and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). ORISE is managed for DOE by ORAU