March 5, 2014



Society News

Registration and abstract submission 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, is closing on March 13, 2014.  Organized by Krishna Niyogi (Univ of California, Berkeley) and Winfield Sale (Emory Univ), sessions will be organized to provide the maximum number of opportunities for interdisciplinary group discussion.  Don’t miss this exciting conference!

Deadlines are fast approaching for the GSA-sponsored 11th International Conference on Zebrafish Development and Genetics, June 24–28, 2014, in Madison, WI: 

  • Abstract submission and registration are now open; this is your chance to present at this renowned conference which will feature keynote speakers John Postlethwait (Univ of Oregon) and Sarah Tishkoff (Univ of Pennsylvania). The abstract submission deadline is March 26, 2014.
  • Take this opportunity to show your artistic sideDesign the meeting logo, which will be featured on the Program Book and meeting T-shirt.  Please submit your original artwork by March 26, 2014 to
  • Nominations are also being accepted for the Chi-Bin Chien Award. This honor, established by the zebrafish research community and GSA in memory of Dr. Chi-Bin Chien (1965–2011), will be given to an outstanding graduate student, postdoctoral trainee, or recently appointed faculty member from any country who has made significant contributions to the field of zebrafish research and has exhibited the generosity and openness that characterized and motivated Chi-Bin. The awardee will be granted a cash award and international recognition as an invited speaker at the biennial International Conference on Zebrafish Development and Genetics.  Nominations for the Chi-Bin Chien Award should be submitted by the candidate’s PhD or post-doctoral mentor by email by March 26, 2014 to
Trainee Awards

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.  The awards enable GSA undergraduate members to present their research at a GSA-sponsored meeting. Apply online by March 21, 2014.

Now is the time for graduate student and postdoctoral members of GSA to apply for DeLill Nasser Travel Awards for Professional Development in Genetics. Awards of $1,000 each will be awarded for travel to national and international conferences or laboratory courses. These conferences and courses should take place between July 1, 2014, and December 31, 2014. Please note that this includes—but is not limited to—the following GSA Conferences in 2014:

The deadline for applications is April 4, 2014. Don’t miss this chance to receive funding that could make a difference to your research and career!

The GSA Journals

Many thanks to all who participated in our GSA Journals Community Survey! We had 1359 respondents, and gleaned some extremely valuable feedback! A total of $1359.00 will be donated to UNICEF and to Partners in Health. After our survey analysis is final, we’ll report on the most interesting findings!

Included in this Issue:

February Issue

February Issue



Research Scientist, Perlstein Lab, San Francisco, CA

Medical Genetics – Associate or Full Professor, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Content Scientist, Qiagen, Redwood City, CA

Content Selection Scientist, Qiagen, Redwood City, CA

Faculty Biochemistry, Des Moines University, Des Moines, IA

Postdoc research associate, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
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

Coral reefs around the world are “bleaching,” a threat caused by breakdown of the symbiosis between the coral animals (cnidaria) and the dinoflagellate algae that live within their cells. Yet this crucial symbiotic partnership is poorly understood. In the February issue of G3: Genes|Genomes|GeneticsLehnert et al. study gene expression patterns associated with the symbiotic state using the sea anemone Aiptasia. This fast-growing cousin of corals maintains a similar symbiotic relationship with dinoflagellates, but it can also survive without its symbionts. This allowed the authors to compare transcript abundances between symbiotic and aposymbiotic (dinoflagellate-free) anemones. The results provide important clues to how the symbionts regulate their relationship and serve as a crucial genomic resource for future studies.

Education and Professional Development

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is recognizing that many more PhDs are finding careers outside of traditional academia rather than tenure-track positions; to support this, NIH has committed to two rounds of funding for the Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) award program. BEST awards give academic biomedical training programs resources to help their trainees enter the research workforce outside of academia.  A report on the program from Science Careers explains that “BEST programs expose trainees to a variety of careers, such as policy, biotechnology, or science writing. NIH views BEST awards as catalysts, and expects institutions to foot the bill eventually.” Several members from the GSA community are involved in these efforts.

GSA PREP original resources now have 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.

An article in The Chronicle of Higher Education focuses on leveling the playing field for women in science. The article reports a finding that “having children is a career advantage for men; for women, it is a career killer.” The article by UC Berkeley professor Mary Ann Mason suggests four major actions: better (and more) child-care options, effective dual-career policies, childbirth accommodations, and compliance with Title IX.

Members in the News

GSA member Andrew Adrian (Univ of Iowa), a Trainee Advisory Representative to the GSA Board, has been selected to receive the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award.  The award recognizes graduate students with an “interest and aptitude for contributing to science and public policy.”  Award recipients travel to Washington, DC, to meet with congressional delegations, and also take part in a science communication training program.

Funding, Fellowships, and Awards

The National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) is now accepting nominations for the new NABT Genetics Education Award, co-sponsored by GSA and the American Society of Human Genetics. The Genetics Education Award recognizes K-16 educators for innovative, student-centered classroom instruction promoting the understanding of genetics and its impact on inheritance, health, and biological research. The award includes a combined $1000 cash prize ($500 from each sponsor), a recognition plaque to be presented at the NABT Professional Development Conference, and one year of complimentary membership to NABT.

The American Society of Human Genetics is accepting applications for two Fellowship programs: the Genetics & Public Policy Fellowship, and the Genetics & Education Fellowship, which is new for 2014.  The Genetics & Public Policy Fellowship is “for genetics professionals with an advanced degree who are early in their careers and interested in the development and implementation of genetics-related health and research policies at a national level. The fellow will have the opportunity to participate in policy analysis … and to work directly within the U.S. Congress.” The Genetics & Education Fellowship is “designed as a bridge for genetics professionals wishing to transition to education careers” and includes several unique experiences that will allow the Fellow to learn about education initiatives and community involvement.  Applications for both are due on April 25, 2014.


Close the Innovation Deficit, “an effort by leaders of the business, higher education, scientific, and high-tech manufacturing communities,” has produced a 4-minute video focused on the importance of strong federal investments in education and research in combating the “innovation deficit,” defined as “the widening gap between the actual level of federal government funding for research and higher education and what the investment needs to be if the United States is to remain the world’s innovation leader.”

House Representatives Jim Cooper (D-TN) and Randy Hultgren (R-IL) wrote an op-ed about the Golden Goose Award, which rewards basic research that has led to significant benefits such as the discovery of GFP and Taq polymerase.  They point out that some federally funded basic research benefits humans in “unexpected ways,” and close with the statement: “the Golden Goose Award reminds us that federally supported scientific research is the goose that lays golden egg after golden egg.  We will do our best to ensure that Congress does not take that for granted.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required for this article) conducted a survey of thousands of university researchers, trying to ascertain if the reduced federal funding seen in recent years is having a “temporary or enduring” effect on their laboratories.  The main conclusion: “for better or worse, the nation’s scientists have embarked on an unequivocal downsizing of their capability to perform basic investigative research.” More than three-quarters of the over 11,000 respondents have been taking on fewer students and postdocs in recent years, and a good number of researchers have had to abandon key research questions central to their laboratory’s “mission.”

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: March 14, 2014.  Send items to Beth Ruedi,