October 9, 2013


Society News

Graduate students and postdocs: this is your last chance to apply for GSA’s DeLill Nasser Award for Professional Development in Genetics (Deadline: October 11, 2013), which supports $1,000 in travel costs for graduate students and postdocs to attend national and international meetings and to enroll in laboratory courses. GSA is accepting applications for awards for conferences and courses held between January 1 and June 30, 2014. This includes—but is not limited to—the 55th Annual Drosophila Research Conference and 11th International Conference on Zebrafish Development and Genetics. Applicants must be GSA members. See the GSA website for a detailed description of the review criteria and a link to the application.

Promote public awareness of foundational research during the shutdown…GSA asks you to proclaim that WE ARE RESEARCH!  Help represent face of science—it’s important for you to do something, even if you only have two minutes to spare.  Efforts can be as simple as getting your lab together to say that “We Are Research” and sending us the photo or posting it on Facebook or Twitter.

Abstract submission and registration are now open for the 55th Annual Drosophila Research Conference, to be held March 26–30, 2014, in San Diego, California.  Don’t miss the exciting lineup of speakers, the new Trainee Bootcamp, and your chance to network with the best in the field!  The deadline for workshop requests is November 5. Be sure to nominate deserving new PhDs for the Larry Sandler Award by December 22.

Don’t forget to submit your workshop proposals for the 11th International Conference on Zebrafish Development and Genetics by October 15!  The conference will be held June 24–28, 2014, in Madison, Wisconsin

The website for the 2014 Yeast Genetics Meeting has gone live!  Check out the cornerstone awards and lectures for the meeting, the conference organizers and program committee members, the lineup of education and professional development programs, and much more.  The Yeast Genetics Meeting will be held July 29–August 3, 2014, in Seattle, Washington.

The GSA Journals

GENETICS October is online! Lo et al. describe strategies to create precise, heritable mutations of any selected locus in Nematode species spanning 300 million years of evolutionary divergence using TALENs and CRISPR/Cas9. This is part of a continuing series of articles describing genome editing using CRISPR/Cas0 nuclease in C. elegans; look for more next month. Also check out Kent Golic’s Commentary discussing similar advances in Drosophila.

G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics welcomes new Associate Editor Emma Huang (CSIRO). Dr. Huang’s research focuses on statistical genetics, and she’s currently working on bioinformatics for agribusiness.



The National Institutes of Health (NIH) permanently closed the doors on its Office of Science Education (OSE) on October 1. K-12 education has “never been part of our formal mandate. And frankly, it has never been a very high priority for NIH, ”  said NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak. OSE’s most visible activity has been its Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), which will no longer be offered.

The Chronicle of Higher Education published an article by Jason Farman, A Manifesto for Active Learning,” with ideas and tricks of the trade worth noting, including “The Classroom is Not the Classroom” and “Technology Should Not Be Banned from the Classroom.” 

Awards, Fellowships, and Contests

FASEB wants you to Stand Up for Science!  Create an exciting, informative, 1-4 minute video to help educate Americans about how science is funded, and you could win $5,000.  Submissions must be received by November 30, 2013.  For inspiration, check out the 2012 winning video.

Two C. elegans researchers have been named as winners of the 2013 Faucett Catalyst Awards, which are meant to stimulate research by C. elegans scientists on problems relating to parasitic nematodes: Jonathan Hodgkin (University of Oxford) and Jennifer Watts (Washington State University). GSA helped facilitate the awards with support from the Faucett Catalyst Fund.


SHUTDOWN.  As most will know, the US federal government has been in shutdown mode since the beginning of fiscal year 2014 on October 1. GSA has assembled information about what the federal government shutdown means for you, and continues to update the page as new information becomes available.  Federal employees remain the hardest-hit, with many prevented from working. As such, e-mails and phone calls to government scientists and agency program officers are likely to go unanswered, and they will be absent at professional meetings. While those supported by federal grants are generally able to continue existing activities, submission of new proposals, peer review panels, and activities that require approval by agency staff are on hold.

The impact of the shutdown on NIH was in the public eye with news that the NIH Clinical Center was not enrolling new patients in clinical trials. The US House passed a bill last week that would have restored current funding levels to NIH through December 15, but both the Senate and White House objected to the piecemeal approach to reopening the government.

A recent article in Wired highlights the devastating effects of the shutdown on basic biomedical research, including loss of life, as many research animals may be euthanized. “There’s a difference between using an animal to obtain knowledge of human disease, and just having to engage in a mercy killing for no outcome, and with an enormous loss to science and to resources,” says a government scientist, who remained anonymous because they were instructed not to speak with the media. “It’s a waste of money, a waste of time, a waste of people, a waste of animals.”

Other Meetings of Interest

Registration is now open for the Impact of Large-Scale Genomic Data on Statistical and Quantitative Genetics Conference, to be held November 24–26, 2013 at the University of Washington in Seattle.  The conference features talks from over thirty leaders in statistical and quantitative genetics.  Early registration deadline is October 31.

And finally…

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

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 18, 2013.  Send items to Beth Ruedi, eruedi@genetics-gsa.org.