February 19, 2014



GSA Journals Survey: Help Us to Help You!

The GSA journals want to better respond to your scholarly publishing needs, and to better serve researchers in genetics, genomics, and related fields. We need your opinion on important decisions and topics like:

    • How can we improve our review process?
    • What frustrates you about getting an article accepted?
    • What's really important to you in choosing a journal for your articles?
    • Would you like to see more papers on emerging model organisms, human genetics, and other topics?
    • How do you find the most relevant journal articles?

If you haven’t done so already, please help us by completing this survey:


GSA will use your input to improve GENETICS and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics for authors and readers alike. For every completed survey, we will donate $1 to UNICEF or Partners in Health (up to $2,000).

Thank you very much for your time and input. Please note that all results are anonymous.

Society News

GSA is now accepting applications for the GSA Undergraduate Travel Awards, to be used to support travel costs for undergraduates presenting their research at a GSA conference. The current round of awards will support travel to the following conferences:

The GSA Undergraduate Travel Awards were established to promote excellence in undergraduate research and education.  Applicants must be GSA members and may only use these awards to present research at a GSA-sponsored meeting. Apply online by March 21, 2014.

Abstract submission is now open for the GSA-sponsored 11th International Conference on Zebrafish Development and Genetics, June 24–28, 2014, in Madison, WI.  Keynote speakers include John Postlethwait (Univ of Oregon) and Sarah Tishkoff (Univ of Pennsylvania). Don’t miss your chance to present at this renowned conference–the abstract submission deadline is March 26, 2014.

Registration and abstract submission are open for the GSA-sponsored 16th International Conference on the Cell and Molecular Biology of Chlamydomonas, June 813, 2014, at Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California.  Organized by Krishna Niyogi (Univ California Berkeley) and Winfield Sale (Emory Univ), sessions will be organized to provide the maximum number of opportunities for interdisciplinary group discussionDeadline for abstract submission, registration, and housing is March 13, 2014.

Valentine’s Day was last week!  If you didn’t have a chance to share your love for GSA, please consider donating to the Society.  Your generous gifts to the General Fund help support the GSA Undergraduate Travel Awards; GSA poster awards; GSA education activities including educational programming at GSA conferences; GSA advocacy activities; and much more.  You can also donate to specific funds, including the DeLill Nasser Award for Professional Development in Genetics, the Chi-Bin Chien Award, and the Victoria Finnerty Memorial Fund for Undergraduate Travel AwardsWe appreciate your support – and we love you back!

There will be a special event at this spring’s Drosophila Research Conference anticipating the forthcoming release of The Fly Room, a feature film based on the story of Calvin Bridges’ daughter Betsey. The film includes a re-creation of the famous Fly Room at Columbia University, the birthplace of modern genetics. The film was written and directed by geneticist-turned-filmmaker Alexis Gambis. Learn more from a podcast interview with Gambis from The Week.

The GSA Journals

Fruit Flies Get Complex
A pair of papers from the February issue of GENETICS illustrate how fruit flies could be applied as tools for understanding the genetics of complex human diseases. He et al. and Park et al. describe a Drosophila melanogaster model of neonatal diabetes, which can be caused by misfolded proinsulin. Although the model is Mendelian, the severity of the disease phenotype varied continuously across different genetic backgrounds, causing it to behave as a complex trait. The authors exploited this variation to look for associated QTLs and revealed a possible link between heparin-sulfate protein modification and the response to protein misfolding. 


Included in this Issue:

January Issue

February Issue



Assistant Professor - Tenure Track, Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, MO

Postdocs at Center for Human Genome and Stem-cell Research (HUG-CELL), Human Genome and Stem Cell Research Center, São Paulo, Brazil

Postdoc fellow and technician positions, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN

Health Scientist Administrator, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD

Statistical Geneticist, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC

Senior Statistical Geneticist, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC

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

Genetic Counselor 13161, Children's National Health System, Washington, DC

Genetic Counselor 12881, Children's National Health System, Washington, DC

Senior Bioinformatics Scientist, Inova Translational Medicine Institute, Falls Church, VA

Aging Males and Aneuploidy
Do aging males make poorer quality sperm? Older mothers face a well-established risk of producing eggs with chromosome abnormalities, but it is less clear how age affects meiosis in males. In the February issue of GENETICS, Vrooman et al. investigate chromosome dynamics during spermatogenesis in mice of different ages. They found that meiotic errors increased with mouse age, but this did not seem to result in more aneuploidy at metaphase II. Their results suggest that although meiosis was more error-prone in the older males, aneuploid germ cells were effectively eliminated by cell cycle checkpoint mechanisms.

Members in the News

GSA Member Sama Ahmed, a graduate student at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), was part of the team that produced the winning video for FASEB’s Stand Up for Science competition.  The video, "Funding Basic Science to Revolutionize Medicine," makes the case about how investment in basic research can lead to tremendous advancement in medicine.  Congratulations to the six UCSF trainees on the production team, who will receive a $5,000 grand prize.  Click here to read an interview with Sama and learn more about the video-making process.

Education and Professional Development

GSA PREP original resources now have Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs)! GSA is committed to publishing top-quality, useful resources in genetics education in our peer-reviewed education portal. We're also committed to promoting and disseminating your work so it receives the most usage in the classroom, and makes the most impact on you CV. To that end, we have secured a Crossref Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for these resources. The DOI prefix is associated with GSA and used with our journals, GENETICS and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics. Submit your in-class exercises, laboratory exercises and protocols, images and videos, and even full courses to GSA PREP for peer-review today!  Average time to decision is 21 days.

In The Scientist’s “What Women Need to Succeed in Science,” Huda Zoghbi and Paul Greengard suggest ways to help women choose and succeed in scientific careers, highlighting guidance, recognition, and image as key elements to increasing the number of women in leadership positions in the research world.

Just what is the toll of graduate school?  In terms of mental health, it may be quite high, according to an article in Science Careers.  The few published studies investigating the mental health of graduate students in the US show a high rate of depression, anxiety, exhaustion, and hopelessness. At one institution, one in ten graduate students had contemplated suicide during their graduate career. The article offers suggestions for alleviating some of this mental toll, including keeping in touch with others—whether formal support groups or just informal “gripe sessions”—and not being afraid to seeking out help.

Funding and Fellowships

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has increased its 2014 fiscal year (FY) stipends for the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) and the Minority Access to Research Career (MARC) program.  Undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs will all see increases. See the stipends broken down by trainee level here.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program has two tracks of interest to GSA members: the Noyce Scholarship Track, which provides funds to higher education institutions to support programs for undergraduate STEM majors and post-baccalaureate students to earn teaching credentials and commit to teaching in high-need K-12 school districts; and the NSF Teaching Fellowship/Master Teaching Fellowship Track, which supports STEM professionals who enroll as NSF Teaching Fellows in master’s programs leading to certification.  Full proposals are due by March 5, 2014.

A blog entry from Jon Lorsch, Director of NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Science (NIGMS), provides data about funding trends and success rates at NIGMS.  Not surprisingly, the success rates sank to its lowest level in two decades, a result of FY 2013 sequester cuts and increasing numbers of applications. NIGMS will see a 2.9% increase in the FY 2014 budget; you can see their spending plan here, and a description of NIH-wide FY 2014 policies here.


After long debate, the House and Senate have finally passed the final version of the “Farm Bill.” Although most of the attention is devoted to elements like farm subsidies, food stamps, and nutrition programs, the Farm Bill also authorizes the US Department of Agriculture’s research programs, including the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and its Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. The new Farm Bill allows for a new non-profit Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, which would receive up to $200M in federal funding each year and will be matched by outside donations.

The Coalition for the Life Sciences (CLS) has released the schedule for the 2014 briefing series of the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus.  GSA members Michael Rosbash and Larry Goldstein will be among those speaking at these briefings, which inform and educate Members of Congress about potential and actual advances in health care made by our investment in biomedical research. During each session of Congress, the country’s leading research scientists provide Members of Congress with monthly briefings about cutting-edge research, and many of the advances highlighted in their presentations have led to an improved understanding of the cause of and treatment for human disease. Briefings are free and open to the public.

Other Meetings of Interest

The University of Washington is holding the 19th Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics in Seattle, WA, July 7–25, 2014.  This institute will introduce attendees to the latest methods in statistical genetics, including modules in Bayesian statistics, QTL mapping, gene expression analysis, and much more. The early-bird registration deadline is June 9, 2014, and modules are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Scholarships are available.

The University of Washington is also holding the 6th Summer Institute in Statistics and Modeling in Infectious Disease in Seattle, Washington, July 7–23, 2014. This institute offers more specific statistical techniques related to infectious disease profiling.  The early-bird registration deadline is June 9, 2014, and institute scholarships are available.

And finally…

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

  • Last week, NIH Director Francis Collins blogged about the work of Jay Shendure, Associate Editor for the GSA journal GENETICS. Shendure plans to create all single-letter variants of hundreds of major genes and then study them both in vitro and in vivo to figure out which variants cause or raise the risk of disease.
  • The Node continues its day in the life series, with profiles of an Arabidopsis lab and a sea squirt lab; the sea squirt Ciona intestinalis was the focus on a Genetic Toolbox Review in GENETICS
  • I got 99 problems…and all of them are cat genomes.
  • A microbiologist and a photographer have made "portraits" of celebrities made out of bacteria isolated from their own arms.
  • The New York Times reports on recent studies of aggression in Drosophila, which it terms a "fight club for flies."
  • Cancer Research UK has unveiled a free mobile game, "Play to Cure: Genes in Space," in which players navigate a landscape based on real genetic data. The way you fly the spaceship identifies potential patterns in the data.
  • CBS Sunday Morning reported on how Drosophila are being used to study cancer, including the ability to make fruit flies that mirror an individual’s tumor.
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: February 28, 2014.  Send items to Beth Ruedi, eruedi@genetics-gsa.org.