FacebooktwitterlinkedinYoutubeGoogle +

October 29, 2014
Society News

A reminder that abstract submissions for the 2015 Drosophila Research Conference, to be held March 2015 in Chicago, are due November 10. Make sure your research is featured here for all the Drosophila community to see. Students and postdocs will also have the chance to participate in a variety of education and career development sessions. Check out this video including testimony from leaders in the Drosophila community on why you should attend.

The Node has posted a report on this year's Zebrafish Development and Genetics conference sponsored by GSA, including great memories of exciting science, new technologies, the enthusiastic zebrafish community, and beautiful University of Wisconsin–Madison.

GSA is accepting renewals for the 2015 membership year. If you join or renew before November 15, you are eligible to win prizes including free registration to an upcoming GSA conference, free extension to your GSA membership, an Amazon.com giftcard, and a copy of Conversations in Genetics. 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. And we'd like to remind postdocs that they can take advantage of the opportunity to join both GSA and the National Postdoctoral Association and save on both memberships!

The GSA Journals

Last week, the GSA journals launched Genes to Genomes, a new blog on genetics and genomics research and scholarly publishing. Read the stories behind the latest research in GENETICS and G3, find guest posts from young researchers and leaders in the field, and stay up to date with publishing tips and announcements from our editors. Find and subscribe to the blog at http://genestogenomes.org.

Kym Boycott
New GENETICS editor Kym Boycott
We're pleased to announce rare disease geneticist Kym Boycott (Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario) has joined the GENETICS Editorial Board. Following Editor-in-Chief Mark Johnston's call for submissions of human genetics research, Dr. Boycott is a welcome addition to the board's growing list of editors with expertise in human genetics. [more...]

In time for National Bat Week and Halloween, the latest issue of G3 includes research on sensory rewiring during the evolution of echolocation. Hudson et al. compared the genomes of two bat species that navigate using very different senses. Myotis davidii is an echolocator with small eyes adapted for dim light. In contrast, Pteropus alecto forages through vision and smell, but cannot echolocate. The authors identified genes encoding visual proteins that have degenerated into pseudogenes in M. davidii but not P. alecto and also found extreme codon usage bias in a set of vision and hearing-related genes. They suggest that the evidence of codon usage bias reflects selection on translation efficiency, and that overall, the results paint a picture of sensory rewiring that combines both genetic decay and gain-of-function.

Read all the 2014 GSA award essays and interviews in this month's issue of GENETICS:

Unanticipated Success Stories: An Interview with Angelika Amon

"...history tells us you can't predict where the next advance will come from." – Angelika B. Amon
Twists and Turns: My Career Path and Concerns About the Future

"It felt as if I had two full-time jobs, working on my PhD thesis on the one hand and being a political operative on the other." Frederick M. Ausubel
Survival of the Fittest Tools

"Continued tool and reagent development is critical for the survival, expansion, and evolution of the Drosophila field." – Hugo J. Bellen
Yeast Systems Biology: Our Best Shot at Modeling a Cell

"Harnessing the expertise and power of the entire yeast research community in a coordinated manner would represent the ultimate systems level approach; biology's version of sophisticated CERN-like science."– Charlie Boone
It's Not About You: A Simple Proposition for Improving Biology Education 

"Years later, after the facts of biology are distant glimmers, they may still be able to call upon the process, the logic, and the utility of science to make important life decisions." – Robin Wright

Included in this Issue:

October Issue

October Issue


Preclinical Faculty Position in Psychiatry, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD

Post-Doctoral Fellowships Available, Duke University Medical Center, Dept. Molecular Genetics & Microbiology, Durham, NC

Assistant Professor in Stress Biology, Department of Genetics, Development, and Cell Biology, Iowa State University, Iowa State University, Department of Genetics, Development & Cell Biology, Ames, IA

Tenure-Track or Tenure-Eligible Position in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, NIDDK, NIH, NIDDK / NIH, Bethesda, MD

Assistant Professor, Geneticist, Millersville University, Millersville, PA

Faculty Positions in Life Sciences, Yale-NUS College, Singapore

Geneticist/Clinician, Carter Consulting, Inc., Atlanta, GA

Multicultural Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Genetics, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI

Plant Geneticist, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, VA

Programmer Analyst I: Genomics, Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, UC San Diego, La Jolla, CA

Postdoctoral Fellows – Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology, UC San Diego, La Jolla, CA

Postdoctoral Fellows - Computational Biology of Psychiatric Diseases, UC San Diego, La Jolla, CA

Sr Territory Account Manager Informatics Solutions - Western US, Illumina, Santa Clara, CA

Postdoctoral Fellow: Genomics , High-Throughput Sequencing, UC San Diego, La Jolla, CA

Postdoctoral Fellow: Genomics, Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, UC San Diego, La Jolla, CA

Bioinformatics Scientist, Illumina, Santa Clara, CA

Curation Scientist, Illumina, Santa Clara, CA

Post-doctoral Research Fellows in Human Genetics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, New York

Members in the News

Three GSA members were honored at last week's annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG). Victor Ambros (Univ of Massachusetts Med School) and Gary Ruvkun (Harvard Med Sch and Mass General Hosp) received the Gruber Prize in Genetics (pictured at left) in recognition of their pioneering discoveries of the existence and function of microRNAs and small interfering RNAs. Ambros, Ruvkun, and plant biologist David Baulcombe received the $500,000 prize and a gold laureate pin at ASHG's annual meeting. David Valle (Johns Hopkins Univ), a GENETICS editor and a member of GSA's Education Committee, received ASHG's Victor A. McKusick Leadership Award, including a plaque and $2,500 prize, in recognition of his significant impact on human genetics research and education. [more...]

Congratulations to GSA member Joseph S. Takahashi for his election to the Institute of Medicine. He is an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and professor and chair, department of neuroscience, and Loyd B. Sands Distinguished Chair in Neuroscience, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. Election to the IOM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. [more...]

The Washington Post is among the media outlets covering new research from GSA member Douglas Portman (Univ of Rochester Sch of Med & Dentistry) showing that C. elegans males will opt for a mate rather than a meal. The research further ties this change in behavior to the number of food receptors that males and females display.

Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates recently blogged about a visit to Cornell University, saying that he "probably had the most fun brushing up on how plants have sex." This is thanks to GSA member Ed Buckler (USDA and Cornell Univ), who helped guide Gates through the contributions that genetics is making to improving crops and increasing the efficiency of plant breeding. Buckler and his colleagues are developing sophisticated computer models incorporating plant genetic maps and details about their traits to assist in the design of the most effective crosses to achieve desired characteristics.

Congratulations to GSA's Tracey DePellegrin for being appointed editor-in-chief of the Council of Science Editors journal, Science Editor! Tracey is the executive editor of our journals GENETICS and G3. "I hope to continue the scholarship and reputation for excellence that Science Editor is known for," says DePellegrin. "We want to provide an authoritative voice and venue for discussion on the latest developments affecting scientific publishing, including topics as diverse as journal data policies, ethical, legal and social issues, public access, research funding, and new publishing models, among others."

Education and Professional Development

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded approximately $31 million to three initiatives in the "Diversity Program Consortium," intended to increase diversity in the biomedical workforce. The program has three components, one of which is the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN), which will be a "nationwide network of mentors and mentees spanning all disciplines relevant to NIH missions." GSA is thrilled to be a partner with the funded NRMN consortium; we will soon be actively recruiting mentors for underrepresented minorities in genetics as well as geneticists to be mentored. In addition to NRMN, GSA will also be introducing our own mentoring activities in the near future as part of a separate initiative for our members.

Are you interested in a job in industry? If so, check out this blog post with some tips on how PhDs can make the transition. Suggestions include avoiding over inflation of your title, but making sure not to undervalue yourself.

The White House Office of Management and Budget has clarified that students and postdocs are engaged in both research and training, meaning that career development activities are integral to the position. This announcement makes it clear that participation in activities designed to expand scientific experience and knowledge or directly prepare postdocs for future employment can be charged to federal research grants.

Funding, Fellowships, and Awards

This is the last chance to apply for the National Science Foundation's 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.

Nominations are being accepted through November 30 for the Dan David Prize. Three prizes of $1 million each will be awarded, including one in bioinformatics. The Dan David Prize also offers 20 scholarships each year to outstanding doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers studying related topics. Applications for these scholarships are due March 10, 2015. Several GSA members have received the Dan David Prize in recent years.

The Gruber Genetics Prize is seeking nominations of individuals "who have made original discoveries in the fields of genetic function, regulation, transmission, or variation or in genomic organization" to be considered for its 2015 award. The $500,000 award is given annually to 1–3 scientists in recognition of groundbreaking contributions to any realm of genetics research. Nominations, which must be submitted by December 15, are evaluated by a Gruber Foundation committee made up of individuals nominated by GSA and ASHG.

Nominations are also open for the $500,000 Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research, which is designed "to encourage and recognize extraordinary and sustained contributions to improving healthcare and promoting innovative biomedical research." Submissions are due December 3, 2014.


As we approach election day in the United States, several journalists are looking forward to the prospects for federal research funding after the election. See, for example, coverage from Science and Nature.

The National Science Foundation has been engaged in a prolonged battle with the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on the integrity of peer review. The committee's chair, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) has been asking for copies of NSF's confidential peer review documents because of concern that the agency is wasting taxpayer dollars. The committee's ranking member, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), responded that the chairman's actions "are sending a chilling message to the entire scientific community that peer-review may, at any time, be trumped by political review."

Thanks to the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) for shining the spotlight on GSA in its current issue of the FASEB Washington Update, where they described several of our major 2014 advocacy activities. GSA members are encouraged to subscribe to FASEB's Washington Update to keep current on the latest policy developments impacting biomedical and biological research.

And finally...

Thanks for helping us reach 3,000 likes on Facebook and more than 3,800 followers on Twitter! Keep up with recent highlights like these by joining us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+:

Scientists at IRB Barcelona dance for cancer, Alzheimer's and diabetes research! Show your support by viewing and sharing - a donation will be made by their sponsors for every view. Dancing along is optional.

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: November 6, 2014. Send items (and feedback) to GSA's Communications and Engagement Manager, Raeka Aiyar, raiyar@genetics-gsa.org.