Hongjun Song, Ph.D.

Landis Award for Outstanding Mentorship
photo of Hongjun Sun
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Trainees credit Dr. Song with purposeful, individualized mentoring that extends beyond science to their families and personal lives. A hallmark of Dr. Song’s approach is to help the trainee find a project that best fits both their interest and personality, with the goal of long-term success, and even if it doesn’t flow from the on-going research projects within his lab. As with many Landis Awardees, Dr. Song helps postdoctoral fellows develop their own research project that they will own and eventually take with them; Dr. Song then turns his research projects towards new directions so as not to compete with the postdoc as they become independent. Dr. Song fosters a collaborative lab composed of individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives, who range from undergraduates to senior researchers and are from all over the world. Moreover, all individuals are supported to pursue the career of their choice, make an important contribution that may be unique to their interests and skills, and are recognized for those contributions. Lab culture relies on both individuality and collaboration, scientific integrity, scientific rigor, and sense of community. Research in Dr. Song's laboratory focuses on two core topics: (1) neural stem cell regulation and neurogenesis in the developing and adult mammalian brain and how these processes affect neural function; (2) epigenetic and epitranscriptomic mechanisms and their functions in the mammalian nervous system. A corollary to this focus on functional mechanisms is to understand how dysfunction of these mechanisms may be involved in brain disorders.