March 13, 2013


The deadline for making hotel reservations for the 54th Annual Drosophila Research Conference, April 3-7, 2013 in Washington, D.C. is March 13, 2013 Advance registration for the Drosophila meeting is available until March 20.  After that, only onsite meeting registration is available at full price.

The abstract submission site for the 19th International C. elegans Meeting is now OPEN! The keynote address will be given by Victor Ambros (Univ of Mass Med Sch), a former GSA Board member and 2006 recipient of the GSA Medal.  Invited speakers include Tony Hyman (Max Planck Inst, Dresden, Germany), Benjamin Podbilewicz (Technion, Israel), GSA Secretary Anne Villeneuve (Stanford), and Marian Walhout (Univ of Mass, Worcester).  The meeting will be held June 26-30, 2013, on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles.

The GSA Journals

Cutting-Edge Across Five Continents: Two reviews on genomic selection are featured in February's GENETICS .  Young scientists from Mexico, Australia, The Netherlands, the UK, and the US, invited because of their fresh approaches, collaborated to write the articles. de los Campos et al. reviewed whole-genome regression and prediction applied to plant and animal breeding; Daetwyler et al. evaluated data simulation, validation, reporting, and benchmarking. We're still accepting submissions for the Genomic Selection collection, published across GENETICS and G3.

GENETICS and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, the journals of the Genetics Society of America, are seeking a Journals’ Assistant Editor to work with the Editors-in-Chief, Senior Editors and the Executive Editor to fulfill GSA’s mission to identify and communicate significant discoveries and advances in genetics.  The Journals’ Assistant Editor will work closely with the Editorial Board and staff to increase the profile and impact of the GSA Journals by helping to recruit new submissions, identify new content, and broadcast our journals to new audiences. Candidates must have a PhD in Genetics or a related field, strong interpersonal skills, be an accomplished written and oral communicator and be enthusiastic for science.  The position is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and requires some travel.  For more information about the job, read the detailed job description. Apply with a cover letter, resume, salary history, and two or three writing samples at this website.  Additional information is available from FASEBGSA is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

John Roote and Andreas Prokop published a comprehensive training package for basic Drosophila genetics in February's issue of G3. The package includes a manual that covers everything from fly history to transgenics, a practical training session, a PowerPoint presentation, and a guided exercise. Science Omega also talked with Prokop about the versatility and importance of flies.


GSA Education

GSA is now accepting submissions to GSA PREP, its Peer-Reviewed Educational resource Portal!  If you have a laboratory exercise, laboratory protocol (e.g., quick and inexpensive DNA extraction), in-class exercise, image/animation, or a course syllabus, please submit it to be part of GSA’s database of educational resources to share with colleagues. Submissions will be reviewed for completeness, accurate descriptions of their successful execution and intended audience, and core concepts and core competencies to improve the quality of genetics education.  Resources accepted into the portal will be citable, allowing the authors to list the resource on their CV.  Submit your teaching materials today! 

Reviewers wanted:  If you’d like to be a reviewer for the resources submitted to GSA PREP, please join our Education Special Interest Group and complete the SIG survey.

Graduate Student Opportunity

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is challenging graduate students to submit innovative ideas with the potential to improve graduate education and professional development. The Innovation in Graduate Education Challenge will award prizes of $1,000 to $3,000 to those submitting the best ideas to enhance graduate training to prepare students for tomorrow’s opportunities and challenges. Submissions must be received by April 15, 2013.

Undergraduate Opportunities

GSA is accepting applications for the GSA Undergraduate Travel Award, which provides support for undergraduate members to present their research at a GSA conference.  The upcoming round of applications will support students attending the 19th International C. elegans Conference from June 26-30, 2013, at UCLA.  Application deadline: March 29, 2013.

The National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) is offering summer research opportunities for qualified undergraduates.  The “Undergraduate Summer Institutes in Kidney, Urologic and Hematologic Diseases (R25)” will provide summer research experiences that are relevant to the mission of the Division of Kidney, Urologic and Hematologic Diseases (DKUH) of NIDDK. Application due date:  June 3, 2013.  Although not required, a letter of intent is strongly encouraged to be received by DKUH by May 3, 2013.  For additional information, contact Dr. Tracy Rankin.

Members in the News

Congratulations to Cornelia Bargmann, David Botstein, and Eric Lander, members of the GSA community who are the recipients of the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, which recognizes excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life.  GSA's Model Organisms to Human Biology - Cancer Genetics Conference in 2012 featured not only Botstein and Lander but two other recipients—Charles Sawyers and Bert Vogelstein—as well. Each of the 11 recipients will receive a $3 million prize and be invited to present public talks targeting a general audience. These lectures, together with supporting materials, will be made available to the public, allowing everyone to keep abreast of the latest developments in life sciences, guided by contemporary masters of the field. The Breakthrough Prize was established with sponsorship from several leading tech executives including founders or senior leaders from Apple, Google, 23andMe, and Facebook.

Former GSA Treasurer (2002-2005) Bruce Weir (Univ of Washington, Seattle) wrote a biographical memoir of C. Clark Cockerham (1921-1996), a prominent quantitative and population geneticist who was on the faculty of North Carolina State University.  The memoir is now available online at the National Academy of Sciences website.

Sequestration Looms

Unless Congress passes legislation immediately, automatic, dramatic, across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration will go into effect on March 1. All federal science agencies will see immediate cuts. In a speech last week, President Obama warned that the “meat-cleaver approach” of sequestration “will jeopardize our military readiness…[and] eviscerate job-creating investments in education and energy and medical research.” These cuts would result in thousands of fewer research grants being funded by NIH, NSF, and other federal agencies. Former NIH director Elias Zerhouni said in The Washington Post that the cuts “would be a disaster for research” and “maim our innovation capabilities.”

GSA is joining with our advocacy partners to encourage our members to contact their elected representatives in Washington to urge them to find a solution that prevents sequestration. Nearly 20,000 e-mails have already been sent to Capitol Hill in response to FASEB’s e-action alert, but your Senators and Representative need to continue to hear from you.  Please call or email today.

Should sequestration go into effect on March 1, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has already given preliminary notice on how the agency will respond, building on an earlier notice about NIH operations under the current Continuing Resolution:

  • NIH will likely reduce the final fiscal year 2013 funding levels of non-competing grants.
  • NIH expects to make fewer new competing awards.
  • Individual Institutes and Centers will assess allocations within their portfolio to maximize the scientific impact and announce their respective approaches to meeting the new budget level.


The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has issued a policy memorandum directing federal agencies with more than $100 million in research & development expenditures to make the published results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication and requiring researchers to better account for and manage digital data resulting from federally funded research. The GSA journals, GENETICS and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, already offer public access to publications and data consistent with this new policy directive.

OSTP has released for public review and comment a proposed policy aimed at maximizing the benefits of life sciences research while minimizing the odds that the results of such research will be misused. The proposed policy responds to concerns that some important and otherwise beneficial avenues of life science research have the potential to generate information or capacities that, in the wrong hands, could be used for harmful purposes—dual use research of concern. The new draft policy establishes certain oversight responsibilities for universities and other research institutions. Public comments on the proposed policy are being accepted through April 23, 2013.

As part of its Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative, NIH has issued a Request for Information (RFI) on training needs in bioinformatics. The RFI will inform a workshop that NIH is planning to discuss training and education needs in how to manage and utilize large complex data sets. Those with expertise, experience, or suggestions on how to improve doctoral and postdoctoral training, short-term training, or new curriculum or training materials to target the use of Big Data are encouraged to respond. Comments, which may be submitted through March 15, 2013, are especially invited from graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in addition to other scientists and institutions.

Other Meetings of Interest

The 26th annual Mouse Molecular Genetics meeting will be held September 18-21, 2013 at the Wellcome Trust Campus in Hinxton, Cambridge, UK.  For more information, visit the website.

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Deadline for next issue: March 8, 2013.  Send items to Phyllis Edelman,