December 18, 2013



Members in the News

Congratulations to the 17 GSA members named as Fellows of AAAS, the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Fellows are elected by the AAAS Council from nominees submitted by steering committees representing each of 24 AAAS sections; AAAS members who have made scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science are eligible for these Fellowships. The new fellows will be honored during the February 2014 AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Two members of the GSA community have been honored as recipients of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, a $3 million prize “to recognize excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending life.”  Congratulations to Michael N. Hall (Biozentrum, Univ of Basel), honored “for the discovery of Target of Rapamycin (TOR) and its role in cell growth,” and Alexander Varshavsky (Caltech), honored “for discovering critical molecular determinants and biological functions of intracellular protein degradation.”

Society News, a joint project of GSA and the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), has had a very successful launch.  The site now hosts 50 career opportunities across the breadth of our discipline, including academic, industrial, government, and nonprofit jobs, as well as listings for postdoctoral and student positions.  This free service to the genetics community provides a forum for matching qualified job seekers with careers in all areas of genetics. Job seekers can register today and post CVs to be seen by potential employers!  If you have an opening in your laboratory or institution—or if you know of other interesting positions available elsewhere— please post those opportunities. Registration, posting, and searching are free, quick and easy!

Only five more days for thesis advisors to nominate deserving new PhDs in Drosophila research for the Larry Sander Memorial LectureThe Award will honor an outstanding new doctorate who will speak at the 55th Annual Drosophila Research Conference, March 26–30, 2014, in San Diego, California. Deadline for nominations is December 22, 2013.

Congratulations to our membership drive winners!  GSA members who joined or renewed for 2014 by December 1 were placed into a random drawing. Congrats to Bhavna Tandon, David Baillie, L. Bertani, and Kenneth Paigen, winners of GSA’s Conversations in Genetics interview series with leading geneticists; to Jerome Teuliere, who won a $50 gift card; to Kate Majeski, who has received an additional year of free GSA membership; and to Ying Huang, who won free registration to one of the exciting GSA Conferences slated for 2014 or 2015.

Interested in science writing?  Write an article for The GSA Reporter!  We are looking for submissions for a 750-word piece that addresses one of the following topics:

  • predict where your field is heading over the next 5 years;
  • discuss the challenges of working in the lab today; or
  • predict or observe emerging sub-disciplines and important questions in your field.

Submit your article to Beth Ruedi by January 3, 2014, and your piece could be selected for publication in the Reporter, which is distributed to more than 5,000 geneticists worldwide!

The GSA Journals

The December issue of the GSA journal G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics features research articles reporting findings across the tree of life: rainbow trout, Chinook salmon, chickens, cichlids, C. elegans, Drosophila, wheat, yeast, E. coli, wild tomatoes, and of course - humans! Check out G3's mutant screen reports, genetic screens, methods and tests, databases, software packages, maps, and genetic prediction articles—all open access.

The December issue of GENETICS features articles on sex-specific variant effects in Drosophila, persistent antibiotic resistance, transvestites and pheromones, De novo gene formation, and the evolutionary genetics of the genes underlying phenotypic associations for loblolly pine, to name a few.

The Saccharomyces Genome Database (SGD) reports on a new paper by Huberman & Murray just published in the December issue of GENETICS that adds to our understanding of mating systems in yeast.

Did you know that GENETICS publishes a Methods, Technology, and Resources (MTRs) section? These highly-read papers provide some of the most interesting MTRs being used in genetics today. Take a look, or submit your own article for consideration as part of this section.

Education and Professional Development

Almost at the end of your semester?  Did you try a new activity, laboratory, or resource that seemed to work well? Then it’s time to submit your educational resources to GSA PREP, GSA’s peer-reviewed educational resources portal! Share the resource you developed with other educators, and get recognition for your contributions.  GSA PREP allows you to have a peer-reviewed online publication without formal pedagogical research and assessment. Submit your in-class exercises, laboratories, protocols, original images/animations, or even an entire course!  See the instructions for authors and reviewers to learn more.


Included in this Issue:

December Issue

December Issue



Molecular Genetics Lab Director, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS

Pediatric Geneticist, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS

Ph.D student in Bioinformatics / Computational Biology, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Postdoctoral Fellow in Computational Biology / Bioinformatics, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Postdoctoral Fellow on Cancer Genetics/Bioinformatics, University of California, Davis

Postdoctoral Fellow, Zaitlen Lab, University of California, San Francisco

Medical Geneticist, Junior Faculty level, Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, New York, NY

Bioinformatician/Scientist, DNAnexus, Mountain View, CA

Scientist Positions, Livestock Improvement Corporation Limited, Hamilton, New Zealand

Communications Manager, American Society of Human Genetics, Bethesda, MD

Postdoctoral Fellowship, British Columbia Cancer Agency, UBC

Tenure Track Faculty Position in Human Genetics and Genomics, University of California, Davis - Genome Center

Research Computational Biologist or Research Molecular Biologist or Research Geneticist (Plants), USDA-ARS

Assistant Professor and Entomologist (Insect Evolutionary Genomics), University of California, Riverside - Department of Entomology

Tenure Track Assistant Professor: Molecular Basis of Arthropod-Vectored Human Disease, University of California, Riverside - Center for Disease Vector Research

GENETICS has published the sixth in its series of Primers, designed to make it easy to bring primary research literature into the classroom. The December issue of GENETICS presents a Primer that focuses on cell-specific gene expression knock outs, “SMG-ly Knocking Out Gene Expression in Specific Cells: An Educational Primer for Use with ’A Novel Strategy for Cell-Autonomous Gene Knockdown in Caenorhabditis elegans Defines a Cell-Specific Function for the G-Protein Subunit GOA-1,’” by Philip Meneely and Jordana BloomEach Primer is tied to a current article in GENETICS and lays out the necessary background, explains the hypothesis or approach, describes the methodology, guides the reader through the results, and provides a precise summation of the discussion. The list of Primers on the GSA website now includes the core concepts and competencies in genetics that are covered by each Primer, to help integrate the resource into your curriculum. Primers are great additions to your courses and make primary research accessible to your students.

Funding and Fellowships

Apply now for a California Science and Technology Policy Fellowship, offered by the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST).  These fellowships “place professional scientists and engineers in the California State Legislature for one-year appointments” to provide the legislature with “critical, unbiased scientific and technical advice.”  If you are interested in science policy, this program could be the opportunity you’re looking for; you don’t have to be from California!  The CCST will be accepting applications until February 28, 2014.


A two-year budget deal negotiated by members of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives would establish overall government spending levels for fiscal years (FY) 2014 and 2015 and alleviate cuts already in place as a result of the sequester.  The proposed agreement would increase discretionary spending in FY 2014 and 2015, which could provide welcome relief for research funding.  Specific levels for individual agencies would be determined by funding bills that will be proposed by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees over the next few weeks. The overall budget deal passed the House last week on a bipartisan vote of 332-94, and a Senate vote is expected later today.

FASEB has issued an E-Action Alert, encouraging everyone in the scientific community to contact their Senators and Representatives to urge them to support robust funding levels for the nation’s research agencies in the final FY 2014 appropriations. FASEB recommends funding levels of $32 billion for NIH and $7.4 million for NSF. We encourage you to respond to the alert and contact your elected officials today; this is our last chance to increase funding levels through September 30.

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues has released a new report, Anticipate and Communicate, which discusses “the management of incidental and secondary findings in clinical, research, and direct-to-consumer settings.”  The report suggests trying to anticipate these types of findings and proactively putting into place a plan of action.

Based on discussions at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) meeting in early December, NIH is beginning to think about new methods of funding, including those that might consider evaluation of researchers themselves instead of their research proposals, and potentially expanding the Pioneer Awards program. Several members of the ACD noted concern that this could make it even more difficult for new investigators to get their first grant.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has released a new report assessing the role of the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC): Oversight and Review of Clinical Gene Transfer Protocols: Assessing the Role of the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee. The IOM concludes that much of recombinant DNA research reviewed by the RAC introduces no special concern, so recommended that RAC oversight only be required for protocols that raise exceptional or unknown risk and when another oversight or regulatory body cannot adequately review the protocol.

Other Meetings of Interest

The 6th Annual Conference on Understanding Interventions that Broaden Participation in Research Careers will be held May 16–18, 2014, in Baltimore, MD.  This conference “was established to facilitate dissemination and exchange of hypothesis-based research on interventions…that broaden participation in science and engineering research careers.”  Graduate students and other researchers, evaluators, and faculty in STEM are encouraged to attend.  Abstract proposals for workshops, presentations, and posters must be submitted by February 3, 2014.

Abstracts are being accepted for the Human Genome Meeting 2014, “Genome Variation and Human Health,” which will be held April 27–30, 2014, in Geneva, Switzerland.  The conference will examine “all aspects of genome exploration and its impact in international health,” including a wide range of topics, from animal models to the ethical, legal, and social implications of genomics.  Submit abstracts by January 29, 2014.

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: January 3, 2014.  Send items to Beth Ruedi,