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March 3, 2015
Society News

GSA is now accepting applications for two of our travel awards:

  • The DeLill Nasser Award for Professional Development in Genetics supports graduate students and postdocs traveling to courses and conferences between July 1 and December 31, 2015. While there are no GSA conferences being offered during this cycle, DeLill Nasser Awards are, as always, available to support any genetics-related course or conference that can benefit one's career. Applications are due April 3, 2015. [more...]
  • The Undergraduate Travel Awards provide assistance for undergraduate researchers to attend the 20th International C. elegans Meeting, June 24-28, 2015, at the University of California, Los Angeles. The awards are intended to promote excellence in undergraduate research and education by supporting travel costs for undergraduate students attending a GSA conference and presenting their research. Applications are due March 20, 2015. [more...]
It's time for the 56th Annual Drosophila Research Conference! The conference starts tomorrow (with onsite registration available starting at 3:30pm) in Chicago and continues through Sunday, March 8th. GSA is also pleased to welcome to the meeting the six winners of the Victoria Finnerty Undergraduate Awards, four winners of our DeLill Nasser Awards for Professional Development in Genetics, and winner of the FASEB MARC (Maximizing Access to Research Careers) travel grant. Keep up with the meeting and join in the discussion on Twitter under #DROS2015.

A reminder that registration and abstract submission are now open for the 20th International C. elegans Meeting, June 24-28, 2015, at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Also of interest to Worm Meeting attendees: we are pleased to announce a new workshop for 2015: "Preparing your educational resources for online publication." Co-sponsored by CourseSource, this workshop shows educators how to prepare their teaching resources for publication in an online repository. After learning how to navigate the submission process for GSA PREP and CourseSource, attendees will have a dedicated time to work on their submissions while "TAs" are standing by to answer questions. Apply now for this exciting new workshop! Applications are due May 29, 2015.

The GSA Journals

Do you use LaTeX to write your manuscripts? Then submitting to GENETICS and G3 is about to get easier! The GSA and Overleaf (formerly WriteLaTeX) have announced a new partnership, which will give authors submitting to the GSA journals access to the award-winning Overleaf collaborative cloud-based writing and reviewing tool. Custom GSA journal templates will soon be available to help authors write their work and submit to GENETICS or G3. Read the announcement here.

Will you be at the 56th Annual Drosophila Conference this week? If you have a question about our journals or just want some publishing advice, meet GENETICS Editor-in-Chief (EiC) Mark Johnston, plus GSA Journal editorial staff Cristy Gelling, Ruth Isaacson, and Tracey DePellegrin, and one of the more than 25 of our scientist-editors who'll be at the meeting! GENETICS and G3 are sponsoring the opening night reception, so come talk to us there or stop by our booth!

From Medici et al.
Model on the catwalk: How animals regulate their size is crucial for understanding both normal development and cancer. In the March issue of G3, Medici et al. describe the FlyCatwalk, an automated system to sort live Drosophila based on morphometric traits. The FlyCatwalk can detect gender and quantify body and wing morphology parameters at a four-fold higher throughput than manual processing.

  The FlyCatwalk: A High-Throughput Feature-Based Sorting System for Artificial Selection in Drosophila
Vasco Medici, Sibylle Chantal Vonesch, Steven N. Fry, and Ernst Hafen
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics March 2015 5:317–327

Neuroprotective NSF1: Degradative pathways such as autophagy play a crucial role in eliminating toxic or misfolded proteins. In the February issue of GENETICS, Babcock et al. demonstrate a novel neuroprotective role for N-ethylmaleimide sensitive fusion protein (NSF1) in Drosophila, showing it is required to maintain fusion events required for autophagy and lysosomal trafficking under periods of stress. Overexpression of NSF1 rescues neurodegeneration in a model of Parkinson's disease.

  A neuroprotective function of NSF1 sustains autophagy and lysosomal trafficking in Drosophila
Daniel T. Babcock, Wei Shen, and Barry Ganetzky
Genetics February 2015 199:511-522

Included in this Issue:

March Issue

February Issue


Postdoctoral Position – Host-Microbiota Interactions - Duke University, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC

Senior Research Technologist, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN

Genetic Counselor - Cancer, Enterprise Medical Services, Memphis, TN

Computational & Laboratory based Post-Doctoral Fellowship Opportunity, Institute for Aging Research, Boston,

Senior Level Postdoc-Research Fellow, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

Ohio Children's Hospital seeking Pediatric Medical Geneticist, Enterprise Medical Services, Dayton, OH

Bioinformatics Quality Engineer – Clinical Genetics (3825) QIAGEN, Qiagen, Redwood City, CA

Tenure-track Assistant and Associate Professor of Genome Medicine and Science, Gachon University, Sungnam,

Sabbatical Replacement - One Year Term, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI

Communications Director, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

Medical Officer, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

Members in the News

Congratulations to GSA members Evelyn M. Witkin (Rutgers University) and Stephen Elledge (Harvard Medical School; HHMI), winners of the 14th annual Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences for their studies of the DNA damage response. The award of $35,000 will be presented to the winners on April 17, 2015 at the Wiley Prize luncheon at The Rockefeller University. [more...]

VIDEO: How your cells play the music of your DNA .
Credit: Nature with support from Illumina
The Roadmap Epigenomics Consortium, led by GSA member Manolis Kellis (MIT), was featured in several news reports for their recent publication of the largest human epigenetic map to date. Nature News took the opportunity to explain epigenetics using a symphonic analogy (right).

GSA member Susan Wessler (University of California, Riverside) has been re-elected as home secretary of the National Academy of Sciences. She will continue to be responsible for the membership activities of the Academy during her second four-year term beginning July 1, 2015.

The Rat Genome Database, a project co-established by GSA member Howard Jacob and based at the Medical College of Wisconsin, has received a new four-year, $8 million grant from the NIH.

NPR reports on the glut of postdocs, claiming that only 1 in 10 biology PhDs will secure an academic position. GSA member Gary McDowell is interviewed.

Education and Professional Development

The author of February's Primer in GENETICS, Gretchen Edwalds-Gilbert (Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges), reminds us that "Location is Everything." This Primer accompanies Merwin et. al.'s 2014 GENETICS article "Genetic analysis of the ribosome biogenesis factor Ltv1 of Saccharomyces cerevisiae," and explores the cellular processes that produce mature ribosomes. Core concepts covered by this Primer/article pairing include genomic control of development and effects of mutations on proteins and function. Use of this resource will also help students develop core competencies, including hypothesis testing and data interpretation. Consider using this in your classroom this semester along with the Model Organism Primer describing yeast as a model system!

"Women of color in science face a double whammy of discrimination," according to a blog post at ScienceCareers covering a report released in January. The report indicates that the scientific workplace offers no respite from stereotypes based on race or gender, and is an important step in learning more about a "relatively understudied group" in science.

Funding, Fellowships, and Awards

The L'Oréal For Women in Science program recognizes and rewards the contributions women make in STEM fields and identifies exceptional women researchers committed to serving as role models for younger generations. The program will award five postdoctoral women scientists in the United States this year with grants of up to $60,000 each. Applications are now open to candidates from a variety of fields, and are due March 20, 2015.

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) has reported that the success rate for research project grants—mainly R01s—has increased to 25% for fiscal year (FY) 2014, up 5% from the year before. In a blog post, NIGMS director Jon Lorsch attributes the increase, in part, to a number of adjustments to the institute portfolio and funding policies last fiscal year in order to bolster NIGMS support for investigator-initiated research.

The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) invites underrepresented minority postdocs and professionals in academia, industry, government, and nonprofits to apply for their 2015 Summer Leadership Institute, held in Washington, DC, July 20-24. This course features a comprehensive leadership curriculum and includes opportunities for networking, professional development, and focused mentor interactions. Apply by March 16, 2015.

The McKnight Memory and Cognitive Disorders Award from the McKnight Foundation assists scientists working to apply the knowledge achieved through basic research to human brain disorders that affect memory or cognition. The Foundation is interested in proposals that address memory or cognition under normal and pathological conditions. For more information and eligibility criteria, please see the award website. Applications are due April 1, 2015.


FASEB is seeking feedback on its new report Sustaining Discovery in Biomedical and Medical Sciences: A Discussion Framework. The document examines the challenges facing researchers and presents a series of recommendations to alleviate them: first, the entire research community must strive to make optimal use of existing resources while escalating its advocacy for predictable, sustainable growth in research budgets; second, the community must take a careful look at the way it funds research, making certain that incentives are provided to encourage the best science and reduce the amount of time spent seeking for funding; and third, action must be taken to improve preparation and utilization of the workforce. Comments are requested by March 10, 2015.

NIH has issued several requests for information (RFIs), seeking feedback from the research community on a number of topics of relevance to the genetics and model organism communities. GSA members are encouraged to share their perspective:

  • NIH is seeking feedback on the role of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) in the future biomedical research enterprise. Community input will inform discussions of a Working Group of the Advisory Committee to the Director that is charged with reviewing the mission, organization, and programmatic priorities of the NLM, and articulating a new strategic vision for the NLM. Responses accepted through March 13.
  • As previously announced, NIH's Office of Research Infrastructure Programs has issued an RFI to inform the development of its next five-year strategic plan, including for the Division of Comparative Medicine, which is one of the primary supporters of resources for model organism research. The deadline for feedback has been extended till March 16.
  • NIH is seeking feedback on sustaining biomedical data repositories as part of its Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative. The RFI seeks information on a variety of topics, including sustainable financial models, innovation, evaluation on the value of repositories, best practices, partnerships, needed technological developments, human capital, and life cycle of repositories. Responses accepted through March 18.
  • The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) is seeking feedback and novel ideas that might bolster the effectiveness of the institute's undergraduate student development programs to enhance diversity in the biomedical research workforce. Responses accepted through April 15.

FactCheck.org challenges comments made by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) last fall that question the value of investing in Drosophila research and claim that NIH funding has been increasing "for years." GSA member Hugo Bellen provided information about the contributions of fruit fly to the research enterprise (see his recent article in GENETICS about this topic). The piece concludes that "Paul is entitled to his opinions on where government funds are best spent, but the study of flies has yielded important benefits to human health."

And finally...

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VIDEO: The PBS NewsHour considers how people decide whether to accept scientific evidence.
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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: March 12, 2015. Send items (and feedback) to GSA's Communications and Engagement Manager, Raeka Aiyar, raiyar@genetics-gsa.org.