May 28, 2014


Society News

GSA is proud to name nine early career scientists—four graduate students and five postdoctoral researchers—as recipients of GSA’s DeLill Nasser Award for Professional Development in Genetics for Fall 2014 conferences. The award provides a $1,000 travel grant for each recipient to attend any national or international meeting, conference or laboratory course that will enhance his or her career. [more...]

GSA also congratulates the eight recipients of the GSA Undergraduate Travel Awards for summer/fall 2014. These awards promote excellence in undergraduate research and education by providing financial assistance for undergraduate members to present their research at a GSA conference. [more...]

Abstract submission for the 15th International Xenopus Conference closes on June 10. Revisions may be made until June 11, 2014. The GSA-sponsored conference will be held in Pacific Grove, CA, August 24–28, 2014. Submit your abstract today!

Raeka AiyarGSA has a new Communications and Engagement Manager on board: Raeka Aiyar, PhD. Raeka has a BSc from the University of Waterloo (Canada) in Biology and Bioinformatics and obtained her PhD in 2010 from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany) in the lab of genome biologist and GSA member Lars Steinmetz. In addition to her track record in diverse areas of genetics research, she brings several years of experience in science communication and outreach to this new position. Raeka's interests in promoting good genetics research, engaging with researchers worldwide, and advocating for scientists align with GSA's mission to support the genetics community. Raeka is working to strengthen and enhance GSA communications activities—including social media, press, newsletters—and engage the membership in many of these activities. Please don’t hesitate to contact Raeka at with your ideas and feedback!

The GSA Journals

Brewing up the lager yeast genome: Crisp lagers taste different from robust ales because they are brewed with a cold-adapted hybrid: the lager yeast. In the May issue of G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, Walther et al. describe the genome and evolution of Saccharomyces carlsbergensis, the strain that kick-started the industrial-scale lager business in 1883. Lager yeast fall into two distinct types, and it has been argued that they arose from two independent hybridization events. The new sequence data suggest that in fact lager yeasts trace their origins back to a single hybridization and that S. carlsbergensis diverged from its hybrid ancestor by losing large chunks of the S. cerevisiae portion of the genome. The study, led by German researcher Jürgen Wendland in Copenhagen, Denmark, was also covered in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the Danish newspaper Ingeniøren. [more...]

Image credit: Joshua N. Burton, University of Washington

Untangling metagenomic mixtures: A new approach to studying microbes in the wild will allow scientists to sequence the genomes of individual species from complex mixtures. It marks a big advance for understanding the enormous diversity of microbial communities —including the human microbiome. The work is described in a G3 article published Early Online May 22.
“Our approach tells us which sequence fragments in a mixed sample came from the same genome, allowing us to construct whole genome sequences for individual species in the mix,” says co-corresponding author Jay Shendure, of the University of Washington’s Department of Genome Sciences. Shendure is also an Associate Editor for GENETICS.

How many times have you:

  • waited weeks to find out whether a journal will even send your manuscript out for review?
  • waited months for a first decision on your manuscript?
  • had editors handling your paper not be practicing scientists?
  • not been able to access data associated with a paper you’re reading?
  • received a decision letter on your manuscript that simply says, “respond to all the reviewers’ comments” with no additional guidance?

Even once is one too many times! Submit to GENETICS and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics and give your paper the attention it deserves.

Members in the News

Stephen Scherer
Source: Wikipedia

G3 Senior Editor Steve W. Scherer was featured in the Toronto Star for leading a Canadian genomics team that has created a formula to calculate the probability of developing autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) based on the presence of certain mutations. Scherer (Univ of Toronto) directs The Centre for Applied Genomics at The Hospital for Sick Children.

The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) reported on its recent Congressional Visits Day, which included AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award recipient Andrew Adrian, who is also one of the trainee representatives to the GSA Board of Directors. Thanks, Andrew, for helping make the case for sustained federal investments in research.

Included in this Issue:

May Issue

May Issue


Deputy Director, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

Post-doctoral Research Fellows in Human Genetics, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

Postdoctoral researcher in stem cell biology and host microbe interactions in Drosophila, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Postdoctoral Associate in Canine Genomics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, New Haven, CT

Genetic Counselor - Cancer, Sharsheret, Teaneck, NJ

Postdoctoral research associate, Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute, La Jolla, CA

Lab manager/research associate, Indiana University at Bloomington, Bloomington, IN

Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Maryland, College Park, Rockville, MD

Chief, Genomic Healthcare Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

Postdoctoral Associate in Somatic Mutation and Neurological Disease, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Epigenetics of Neural Development, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

PhD student in Cell Death Research, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR

Principal Research Scientist / Center Director, Center for Applied Clinical Genomics, Nemours, Wilmington, DE

Postdoc position in Developmental and Cancer Genetics, CECAD Cologne, Institute for Genetics, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany

Education and Professional Development

The GSA Education Committee has started an initiative to compile PowerPoint® slides to help teach genetics and genomics at the undergraduate and graduate level. The Committee envisions curating donated slides that will be categorized and distributed via GSA PREP, the Society’s peer-reviewed education resource portal. The slides must not contain copyrighted material, and most elements should remain editable. Presenter notes within PowerPoint are encouraged. The slides, like all original resources at GSA PREP, will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 international license. To learn more about potential subjects or to contribute slides, please email Education Committee member John Schimenti.

While numerous studies have shown that active learning pedagogies are more effective than lecturing, the latter still dominates across undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses. Educators at the University of Wisconsin–Madison performed a meta-analysis of 225 studies comparing lecturing and active learning across STEM curricula. The analysis revealed that failure rates for lecture courses were 34 percent on average, compared to an average of 22 percent in courses with at least some active learning. Active learning also improves exam performance, in some cases enough to change grades by half a letter or more. This integrated analysis provides even stronger support for institutional-level changes in education.

Funding, Fellowships, and Awards

The National Science Foundation (NSF) will open nominations for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) beginning June 2, 2014. PAESMEM recognizes outstanding mentoring of individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, women, individuals with disabilities, and those from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds or certain geographic regions. Awardees must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Individual awardees will receive $10,000 in cash, while organizational awardees will receive a $10,000 grant. Deadline for nominations is in October 2014—nominate your deserving colleagues for this prestigious award!


The U.S. House and Senate are in the midst of discussions about the fiscal year (FY) 2015 federal budget, which will begin on October 1. The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved $325 million in funding for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, the competitive extramural research funding program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This represents an increase of $9 million (2.8 percent) over the FY 2014 funding level.

NIH has agreed to accept the recommendation of a recent report from the Institute of Medicine that NIH’s Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) not be required to review all gene therapy protocols. In a statement, NIH Director Francis Collins agreed that RAC review will only be required when protocol review cannot be “adequately performed by other regulatory or oversight processes” (such as an institutional review board or biosafety committee) and the protocol poses particular concern for novelty or risk.

Hot new research

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: June 6, 2014. Send items to GSA's Communications and Engagement Manager, Raeka Aiyar,