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October 1, 2014
Society News

Today is your last chance to nominate an outstanding researcher or educator for one of GSA's 2015 awards! Submitting a nomination only takes a few minutes. Help us give your colleagues the recognition they deserve, and help us to honor a diverse sample of the genetics community!

Drosophila 2015Calling all Drosophilists: Registration and abstract submission is now open for the 56th Annual Drosophila Research Conference! The meeting will be held March 4–8, 2015 in Chicago and features a stellar lineup including GSA member Allan Spradling as the keynote speaker. Claim your early discounted registration today!

Some great coverage of the 15th International Xenopus Conference organized by GSA this August is featured on the Node, written by GSA member and postdoc Gary McDowell (@BiophysicalFrog ).

GSA is accepting renewals for the 2015 membership year. We’ve given you some motivation to renew early, including prizes you can win if you join or renew before November 15. New for 2015, GSA has added a membership category for K–12 teachers and community college faculty: please reach out to the educators you know and invite them to join the GSA community. [more…]

Did you know...that GSA provides a trove of online career resources tailor-made for students, postdocs, and early career faculty?

Travel Awards

Last chance for undergraduate researchers working with Drosophila to apply for the Victoria Finnerty Undergraduate Travel Award! These awards support travel costs for undergraduate GSA members to present their research at GSA's Annual Drosophila Research Conference. Applications must be accompanied by two letters of recommendation and are due October 3, 2014.

Graduate students and postdocs: don't forget to apply for GSA's DeLill Nasser Award for Professional Development in Genetics, which helps enable graduate students and postdocs to attend conferences and to enroll in laboratory courses. Submit applications now  to support travel to conferences and courses held between January 1 and June 30, 2015. These include—but are not limited to—the 56th Annual Drosophila Research Conference, the 28th Fungal Genetics Conference, and the 20th International C. elegans Meeting. To apply or to learn more, please see the GSA website; the deadline is October 10, 2014.

The GSA Journals

FlyBookFlyBook: GSA is pleased to announce a multi-year project to publish FlyBook, a comprehensive compendium of review articles presenting the current state of knowledge in Drosophila research. Beginning in early 2015, the articles will be published as a special collection in GENETICS, reflecting the Society's commitment to supporting fundamental research in model systems. At the helm of FlyBook are co-Editors-in-Chief Lynn Cooley (Yale Univ), R. Scott Hawley (Stowers Inst for Med Res), and Teri Markow (Univ of California, San Diego), who will collaborate with a select group of subject leaders acting as Section Editors. [more…]

Multiparental Populations (MPP) Collection: Over the last decade, several prominent MPPs have been developed in model organisms, including the Drosophila Synthetic Reference Population, the Arabidopsis Multiparent Advanced Generation Inter-Cross (MAGIC) population, and the Collaborative Cross/Diversity Outbred mice. Agricultural geneticists have also been taking increasing advantage of the approach, with many crop MPPs under development or in use. To encourage innovation and set standards in this rapidly-developing research landscape, the GSA journals have launched an ongoing thematic collection on multiparental populations. The September issues of GENETICS and G3 feature 18 articles from the collection, along with an editorial that discusses promoting community science via society journals, authored by editors DJ de Koning (Swedish Univ of Agricultural Sciences) and Lauren M. McIntyre (Univ of Florida). [more...]

CRISPR Cleans Up: A versatile new CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing strategy allows mutation, tagging, and gene deletion in C. elegans without the use of co-integrated markers or long homology arms, report Paix et al. in an article published Early Online in GENETICS. The strategy can be easily scaled up, and should allow systematic construction of precise ORF deletions and reporter fusions for every gene in the C. elegans genome, which has not previously been feasible for an animal model. [more...]

The Saccharomyces Genome Database (SGD) recently blogged about a GENETICS paper: "Just like people, different strains of S. cerevisiae get 'drunk' more or less easily," they note, describing a study by Lewis and coworkers which delves into the genetic basis of alcohol tolerance in yeast.

Have a timely result that you want you to publish quickly? Think GENETICS' Communications!
GENETICS' new Communications article type provides a format for expedited publication of particularly significant and timely observations or advances. Communications receive the same rigorous peer review as Investigations, but ensure that authors can share time-sensitive results as fast as possible. Authors must submit a pre-submission inquiry that includes an abstract and a cover letter detailing why the findings are particularly significant and timely. For more information, please read the Instructions for Authors or contact the GENETICS editorial office at genetics-gsa@thegsajournals.org.

Included in this Issue:

September Issue

September Issue


Program Manager, Expecting Health, Genetic Alliance, Washington, DC

Genetic Counselor, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN

Assistant or Associate Professor in Genomics, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

Assistant Lab Director - Medical Genomics Lab, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

Asst Professor, Tenure track, Developmental Biologist, Dept. Biological Sci, Louisiana State U., Baton Rouge, LA

Assistant/Associate Professor, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

Assistant/Associate Professor of Biology, College of Coastal Georgia, Brunswick, GA

Tenure Track Assistant Professorship at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO

Lecturer or Senior Lecturer in Quantitative Genetics, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Curator of Ornithology - Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Denver, CO

Genetic Epidemiologist in Pediatric Cancer Survivorship, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA

Assistant Professor-Quantitative Genetics, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI


Members in the News

Steve Scherer, University
of Toronto.
Source: Wikipedia
Steve W. Scherer (Univ of Toronto), Deputy Editor-in-Chief for Human Genetics at G3, is being touted for the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his breakthrough work on the genetic basis of autism. Check out Thomson Reuters' predictions of Nobel prize winners based on their citation data. Announcement of the 2014 Nobel Prize winners will begin next week.

Congratulations to Jason Stajich (Univ of California, Riverside) for winning one of the National Science Foundation's first Genealogy of Life (GoLife) Awards! NSF has awarded $7.4 million in GoLife grants to support investigations of the evolutionary history of all species' lineages. Jason's research will focus on the study of zygomycete biodiversity.

Yeast, the final frontier: GSA member and G3 Associate Editor Corey Nislow (Univ of British Columbia) is regularly sending yeast to space to study genetic and cellular responses to microgravity and cosmic radiation. By using the yeast genome-wide deletion collection, these experiments should also help to enhance our understanding of the molecular basis of earthly processes like DNA damage.

NIH has just awarded $35 million to support Centers for Collaborative Research in Fragile X to better understand Fragile X-associated disorders and to work toward developing effective treatments. Among the recipients is GSA member Stephen T. Warren (Emory Univ), whose team will use patient genome sequencing to identify whether additional genes may affect an individual's likelihood of developing certain health problems associated with FMR1 mutations.

Education and Professional Development

In GSA PREP's new resource,"Fetching SNPs: A Dog Genotyping Laboratory for Undergraduate Biology," Keith Hartman (Elmhurst Coll, Wash Univ in St. Louis) and Eve Mellgren (Elmhurst Coll) provide educators with the framework for an open-ended three- or four-week laboratory unit that can be tailored according to the students' level. Available scenarios range from "DogPile ID: A who-dropped-it forensic case study," which simulates a DNA testing service and has a known "solution," to "Association with traits," which is open-ended and allows students to explore genotype-phenotype associations. Students collect samples for the class, develop their own hypotheses, and interpret the class results all while learning bench skills such as DNA extraction, PCR, and restriction enzyme digestion. Incorporate SNP-fetching into your classes this year!

The National Science Foundation has issued a challenge for "students enrolled in community colleges to propose STEM-based solutions to perplexing, real-world problems."  Students are asked to help with topical issues such as big data, sustainability, and improving STEM education. The deadline for submission of ideas is January 15, 2015, and the winners will receive professional coaching and cash prizes.

Inclusive science is better science
: an in-depth collection of articles by Scientific American and Nature Publishing Group investigates the connections between diversity and research and addresses persistent misconceptions. The series underscores the importance of diversity for excellence in science and innovation. The LGBT community is also discussed; although promising shifts in attitude and infrastructure are in play, it may be a long time before LGBT individuals feel accepted in science. Additional data collection and outreach efforts by scientists could help to address the challenges they face.

Funding, Fellowships, and Awards

The Simons Foundation has launched its Early Career Investigator in Microbial Ecology and Evolution Awards program. These awards aim to help launch and support the careers of outstanding young investigators who use quantitative approaches to study marine microbial ecology and evolution. Applicants must have held a tenure-track, tenured, or equivalent position for between three and eight years and currently hold such a position at a U.S. institution. Applications are due October 15, 2014

Nominations are being accepted until October 15, 2014, for the AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science. This award recognizes early-career scientists who demonstrate excellence not only in their research careers but also in promoting meaningful dialogue between science and society. The recipient of the award will win a prize of $5,000, a commemorative plaque, and complimentary registration and travel to the 2015 AAAS Annual Meeting in San Jose, CA.

Several funding opportunities with NSF for broadening participation and increasing diversity in STEM have upcoming proposal deadlines. Some of these opportunities fall under the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation Program: "Bridge to the Doctorate" (deadline: October 3, 2014); "Broadening Participation in STEM Education" (deadline: October 17, 2014); and LSAMP Alliance (deadline: October 17, 2014). Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are also invited to submit a proposal for the HBCU Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP), which provides awards for the development, implementation, and assessment of innovative models and approaches for preparation and success of HBCU undergraduates (deadline: October 27, 2014).

NSF has issued the solicitation for its 2015 Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Fellows will receive an annual stipend of $32,000 (anticipated to increase to $34,000) and a $12,000 annual cost-of-education allowance. The award provides three years of funding over a five-year fellowship period. Application deadlines vary by discipline, with life science applications due November 4, 2014.

Are you already an NSF Graduate Research Fellow? If so, consider applying for the new Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP), which enables research collaborations with partnering federal agencies. In its first year, GRIP partners include the Office of Naval Research, the Smithsonian Institution, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The first target application deadline is December 5, 2014.

NIH has just announced its first wave of investments totaling $46 million under the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. The funding will support more than 100 investigators in 15 states and several countries as they work to develop new tools and technologies to understand neural circuit function and capture a dynamic view of the brain in action


The Advisory Council for the National Institute of General Medical Sciences gave its stamp of approval for the Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (MIRA) at its September 19 meeting. MIRA would fund a lab's entire NIGMS-funded research program, as opposed to individual projects, and would be larger in size and longer in duration than the average project-based R01 grant. The MIRA program would also provide additional stability by seeking to tweak funding at renewal rather than cut funding entirely. GSA was among a small number of scientific societies to submit comments on the MIRA proposal.

FASEB has released new factsheets that detail the amount of federal research funding from several key agencies for each Congressional district. Click through to find out how much your district has received from NIH, NSF, USDA, and the Department of Energy Office of Science.

There's a new group helping to advocate for biomedical research funding. ACT for NIH is pushing for an immediate, significant funding increase for NIH, followed by steady, predictable budget growth in the future.

And finally...

Recent highlights from the GSA's social networking platforms.  Keep up with the buzz by joining us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+:

Why do Americans trust scientists less and less? A new study suggests that it's not necessarily because of ignorance. Policy discussions on sometimes controversial issues—for example climate, energy, food, and vaccines—make scientists appear less impartial as does receiving grant funding. Another factor against us is warmth. Scientists involved in teaching and communicating, however, are seen as warmer and more trustworthy than those who are not.

The graph above displays how standard professions are perceived by Americans. Credit: Susan Fiske, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

  • Science Magazine's list of the 'top science stars of Twitter' unwittingly highlights the poor representation of female scientists (only 4 of the top 50), prompting the community to curate their own lists and the hashtag #WomenTweetScienceToo
  • An infant's death and a father's sickness is explained by DNA sequencing
  • Drosophila go to space too! This video describes the research being done at the International Space Station on genetics and biology using fruit flies
  • A recent study on public communication in science indicates that scientific impact is higher for scientists who talk to reporters about their work and/or whose work is mentioned on Twitter
  • Where does DNA come from? Check out this video with scientists studying chemical evolution of DNA and RNA, which could help us understand the origins of life
  • An article in The New York Times discusses how the increased availability of testing broader panels of genetic variants can yield challenging results for doctors and confusing, not necessarily actionable results for patients
  • Rolling Stone reports on a long-term bet between Swedish scientists on who could incorporate more Bob Dylan lyrics into their scholarly articles.
  • What drove you to do a PhD? Join in the conversation now at #whyididaphd

Do you have a brief announcement to submit to GSA e-News?
e-News items include news about GSA members — new positions, book publication, awards or grants received and obits; short policy items; brief research news items and grant programs; and, award nomination announcements.

Deadline for next issue: October 9, 2014. Send items (and feedback) to GSA's Communications and Engagement Manager, Raeka Aiyar, raiyar@genetics-gsa.org.