June 19, 2013


GSA membership has reached a new high!  Spread the word about the Society and its increasingly strong voice for the genetics community and ask your colleagues to join or renew today!

The 19th International C. elegans Meeting kicks off next week in Los Angeles. This GSA conference will be the largest worm meeting in years. You can follow the proceedings remotely on the GSA Facebook and Twitter feeds; look for the hashtag #WORM2013 on both platforms. Do you have a question/problem/topic from your research that you'd like to brainstorm about with fellow attendees?  A designated tables will be available in the poster sessions for informal conversations. Tweet your topic at #WORM2013 and meet to get feedback from your colleagues.

The GSA Journals

Going to the International C. elegans Meeting in Los Angeles next week? Stop by the GSA Journals booth in the exhibit area and learn more about GENETICS and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics

If you have a mutant screen to publish, G3 has introduced Mutant Screen Reports in a short, easy-to-read format that illuminates your findings. Submit your screen today!

The South China Morning Post discusses how humans have fruit flies to thank for many life-saving drugs and treatments. The article references a training package on how to use flies in research, published in G3 earlier this year (Roote and Prokop, 2013).

GSA Members in the News

The Team
Arthur top left; Krinsky bottom left

Congrats to GSA members Benjamin Krinsky and Robert Arthur (both from Univ of Chicago), part of a team that won 3rd place in the National Science Foundation (NSF) 2013 Innovation in Graduate Education Challenge. NSF’s Division of Graduate Education challenged graduate students to offer “innovative ideas to prepare them for tomorrow’s opportunities and challenges…ideas with the potential to improve graduate education and professional development.” Ben & Rob’s team, The External Graduate Assistant Program, proposed graduate student externships in a variety of non-academic settings that would harness the structure already in place for teaching assistantships at the externs’ institutions. A summary in their own words is featured on the GSA website!



The Model Organism Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (modENCODE) project has launched a beta version of an educational portal entitled “Model Organisms and Modern Biology.”  The site includes a module exploring the life history of model organisms as well as important discoveries made using Drosophila and C. elegans.  Two other modules focus on gene expression and bioinformatics.  Use this site to introduce your friends, family, and students to modern biology using model organisms! Several GSA members are contributing to this project.

Awards and Competitions

Beginning in the fall of 2013, the Blavatnick Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) will begin accepting nominations for the Blavatnick Awards for Young Scientists.  These awards will provide $250,000 in unrestricted funds to three faculty scientists age 42 or under in life sciences and two other disciplinary categories. According to publicity, “the Blavatnik Awards program was designed to provide young, extraordinary scientists with the funding and recognition necessary to carry out the scientific work essential to address society’s current and future challenges.” Institutional nominations will open later this fall. The foundation and NYAS also offer a regional awards program for postdocs age 42 or under in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

The Vilcek Foundation will award three Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science of $35,000 each to young foreign-born biomedical scientists who demonstrate outstanding early achievement. Eligible work may be in basic, applied, and/or translational biomedical science.  The deadline for applications is August 14.

Funding News

A new report says that the genetics and genomics industry has returned nearly $1 TRILLION in economic activity to the U.S. economy in the last 25 years. That translates to $178 for every $1 invested in the Human Genome Project.  The Battelle study released by United for Medical Research supports the idea that austerity is counterproductive when it results in the reduction of scientific research funding.


In a unanimous 9-0 ruling, the Supreme Court held that “a naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated.” The Court ruled that cDNA is eligible for patent protection, however, because it is not naturally occurring.  Read more about the decision and its repercussions here.

Research!America has announced its inaugural Advocacy Academy, a program that will introduce and engage early career scientists in research advocacy and science policy. Postdoctoral fellows in health and biomedical sciences will learn how to incorporate advocacy and effective communications into their roles as scientists.  The academy will be held from September 11–12, 2013, in Washington, D.C., and all travel expenses are provided.  Postdocs interested in advocacy who are employed at one of Research!America’s member organizations should apply today!  The deadline for applications is July 3.

Please let us know how constrained budgets for federal science agencies are impacting your research including—but not limited to—the effect of sequestration by completing this survey launched to help scientific societies talk about the impact of budget cuts to policymakers in Washington.

And finally…

Some recent highlights from the GSA social networking platforms.  Join us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn:

  • BBC News Magazine examines why we study the fly, fish, mouse, worm, Arabidopsis, and more.
  • The National Human Genome Research Institute and Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History have launched a new interactive exhibit called “Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code.”
  • An Italian flash mob allowed researchers to protest an antiscientific attitude in the country and widespread misinformation about science in the media.
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 28, 2013.  Send items to Beth Ruedi, eruedi@genetics-gsa.org.