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December 4, 2014
Society News

GSA and the Drosophila research community are pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Victoria Finnerty Undergraduate Travel Awards! The Awards support travel costs for undergraduates to present their research at the 56th Annual Drosophila Research Conference in Chicago, Illinois, March 4–8, 2015:
  • Jonathan Cohen (Swarthmore College)
  • Alexander Kneubehl (Ohio Northern University)
  • Kiu Ming April Kong (York University)
  • Meera Namireddy (Rice University)
  • Irina Pushel (Michigan State University)
  • Anna Zeidman (Brown University)
Congratulations to the winners! [more…]

David Baker of the Protein Design Center at the University of Washington is soliciting suggestions from the GSA membership on recombinant protein biosensors that would be of interest to the community. If you would like to take part in influencing the direction of this research, please send a brief message describing the small molecule or protein for which an in vivo biosensor would be of interest, what questions could be answered with the biosensor, and a description of the community most likely to benefit from this reagent. [more...]

The GSA Journals

Fierce or friendly rats: Listen to NPR's Science Friday radio interview with Alex Cagan, one of the co-authors of a study in the latest issue of GENETICS on two groups of rats selected for either tameness or aggression for more than sixty generations. Read more on the study at Genes to Genomes, the GSA journals blog.

Predictive histone acetylation: Histone lysine acetylations are largely considered redundant epigenetic markers of activity. They are used as targets in the treatment of HIV and cancer without complete understanding of the distinctive localizations of different histone acteylations. In the latest issue of G3, Rajagopal et al. uncovered patterns of histone acetylation that are predictive of the location and function of promoters, enhancers and gene bodies.
Distinct and Predictive Histone Lysine Acetylation Patterns at Promoters, Enhancers, and Gene Bodies. Nisha Rajagopal, Jason Ernst, Pradipta Ray, Jie Wu, Michael Zhang, Manolis Kellis, and Bing Ren G3 2014 4:2051-2063

How the cat got its spots (and hearing problems)
Does your cat have a white belly? Or maybe white "socks" or other patches of white on its flanks or face? Or is it entirely white except for a few patches of color? Then, unless it happens to be a Birman, it probably descends from one particular cat. We don't know exactly when this cat lived, but we do know that a fragment of DNA leftover from ancestral retroviral infections inserted itself into a new location in the cat's genome.

A guide to the Exome Aggregation Consortium data
Across the enormous "reference set" of human exomes announced at the 2014 American Society for Human Genetics Meeting, on average there's a variant every six bases. In the first of our reports from the ASHG meeting, Exome Aggregation Consortium (ExAC) lead analyst Monkol Lek (Massachusetts General Hospital/Broad Institute), has written a practical guide for geneticists looking to explore their-favorite-genes in the publicly-available exome data.

Members in the News

Congratulations to the 16 GSA members, including 5 of our journal editors, who were named  2014 AAAS Fellows by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Election as a Fellow is an honor that recognizes contributions to innovation, education, and scientific leadership. [more...]

Mike Snyder
Source: Stanford
CAP profile
"We'd know basically nothing about what human genes do if we didn't have these model organisms." GSA member Mike Snyder describes the latest ENCODE studies with a comparative analysis of mouse gene expression in The Washington Post.

Our cats, ourselves: GSA member Razib Khan writes about a recent study he co-authored comparing the genomes of domestic cats and wildcats and discusses the 'co-domestication' of cats and humans in a New York Times Op-Ed.

Included in this Issue:

November Issue

November Issue


Visiting Assistant Professor, Stetson University Biology Department, DeLand, FL

Asst. or Assoc. Professor, Plant Quantitative Genetics, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA

Assistant Professor - Tenure Track, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

POSTDOC at Oregon State Univ: testing candidate genes for disease resistance in snails, Oregon State University, corvallis, OR

Director, Research Ops, Phoenix Children's Hospital, Phoenix, AZ

Clinical Geneticist, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC

Faculty in Human Genomics, UC Davis Genome Center, Davis, CA

Faculty in Human Genomics and Bioinformatics, UC Davis Genome Center, Davis, CA

Pediatric Geneticist, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, Hollywood, FL

Interdisciplinary: Research Leader Supervisory Research Plant Physiologist or Research Plant Pathologist or Research Geneticist (Plants), USDA ARS FSCRU, Corvallis, OR

Assistant Professor in Molecular Developmental Biology, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA

Genetic Counselor, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

Education and Professional Development

It's nearly the start of 2015—have you thought about your next steps? You can start by making an individual development plan to help assess your strengths and weaknesses and match your professional development activities with your career goals. Two online tools can help: myIDP and FASEB's Annual Review Tool. If you aren't sure what you'd like to do next, check out GSA's career resources for undergrads, grads, and postdocs; explore your options with the American Society of Human Genetics careers flowchart; and check out GeneticsCareers.org.

While preparing for your next steps, consider the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education's recently updated "Guide to Resumes and Curricula Vitae." If you are considering a career in industry and aren't sure about a postdoc, keep an eye out for an "academic-style postdoc in a pharmaceutical setting," which may give you the best of both industry and academia. You can also assess industry employers with the results of the Science Careers 2014 Top Employer survey.

"You have 10 seconds. Make me care about your research." A blog post by 'the entomologist formerly known as Bug Girl' describes five important ways you can improve your scientific writing geared towards the general public.

Funding, Fellowships, and Awards

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. Several GSA members have been honored with the Gruber Genetics Prize in recent years.

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.


In the wake of the Republicans taking control of the U.S. Senate, Democratic strategist Paul Begala suggests that President Obama and the Republicans can find common ground in supporting biomedical research and NIH funding.

Speaking of midterm election results, FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) has profiled some of the newly elected Members of Congress who have a connection to science and the likely leaders of key Congressional committees.

Congressman Rush D. Holt, Ph.D., who will retire from the U.S. House of Representatives at the end of his eighth term, will join the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), as chief executive officer and executive publisher of the Science family of journals. Holt, a research physicist and former teacher, will begin at AAAS after his legislative term ends, during the association's Annual Meeting, February 12-16, 2015.

The European Commission has decided to abolish the post of Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) to its President. The CSA is currently the top scientific role in the Commission, and was established in 2012. Prior to the decision, several organizations had expressed concern that the post "concentrated too much influence in one person"; following the decision, many scientific leaders, including Sir Paul Nurse (quoted in The New Yorker), expressed concern about its potential detriment to the future of evidence-based policymaking in Europe.

And finally...

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This short video explains how defects in the NGLY1 gene lead to disease, and is also useful for explaining the role of genetics in health. It was produced by a foundation started by parents of children afflicted by NGLY1 deficiency.

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: December 11, 2014. Send items (and feedback) to GSA's Communications and Engagement Manager, Raeka Aiyar, raiyar@genetics-gsa.org.