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August 20, 2014
Society News

Xenopus ConferenceIt's almost time for the 15th International Xenopus Conference! The meeting, which joins the GSA conference portfolio this year, will take place in Pacific Grove, CA, August 24–28, and will feature over 230 talks and poster presentations, as well as roundtable discussions focused on career advice and women in science. Congratulations to Sarah Abdul-Wajid (UC Santa Barbara), Edwin Traverso (Univ of Puerto Rico), and Theodor Zbinden (Univ of Puerto Rico), who will be traveling to this conference as recipients of the FASEB MARC awards for underrepresented groups in research.

Time's running out to cast your vote in the election of the next GSA Vice-President and three Directors. Candidate biographies and statements are available on the election website. Please check your e-mail for the personalized voting code necessary to submit your choices. Polls close September 8, 2014.

Early career geneticists: let your voice be heard! Graduate student and postdoc members of GSA may apply for representative positions on several GSA committees or to be an advisory representative for the GSA Board. We are currently accepting applications for a two-year term beginning January 2015. Applications are due September 5, 2014.

The GSA Journals

Cover Contest: GENETICS and G3 invite you to submit original images for our first ever Cover Art Contest! One winning image will be selected for each journal and featured on the cover of an upcoming issue. Winners and runners-up will also be highlighted on the forthcoming GSA Journals blog, GSA Facebook page, Twitter account, and website. Winning entries will also be shown on postcards and other promotional materials distributed at scientific conferences. For rules, submission guidelines, and FAQs, please see the contest site and email questions to


Drosophila embryo expressing an APC2 transgene lacking all ß-catenin binding sites. ß-catenin (Armadillo, shown in red) is still destroyed in the interstripe regions. Source: Yamulla, Kane and Moody et al.

True Stripes: During Drosophila development, the key Wnt signaling protein ß-catenin accumulates in "stripe" regions that correspond to the Wg morphogen gradient, but is destroyed in alternating "interstripe" regions. This proteolysis of ß-catenin is regulated by a multiprotein destruction complex that includes the tumor suppressor Adenomatous Polyposis Coli (APC). Many models of APC function emphasize phosphorylation of its ß-catenin binding sites, but in the latest issue of GENETICS, Yamulla, Kane, Moody et al. show that APC2 mutants lacking ß-catenin binding-sites retain destruction complex activity. Notably, Robert Yamulla, one of the study's lead authors, won a GSA poster award for presenting this work at the 55th Annual Drosophila Research Conference earlier this year in San Diego.

FISHing for Errors: The recently published tomato genome was assembled with the help of a high-density linkage map. In the latest issue of G3, however, Shearer et al. use FISH and optical mapping to show that scaffolds representing a third of the sequenced genome and several thousand genes were incorrectly ordered and/or oriented. The authors suggest that other large genomes assembled using linkage maps alone may have similar problems.

Tomato synaptonemal complex spread showing FISH localization of four BACS, reversed phase (left) and fluorescent (right). Source: Shearer et al.

Members in the News

Over 130 population geneticists, including many GSA members and journal editors, have written to the New York Times Book Review to state that their research was "misappropriated" by Nicholas Wade in his recent book entitled, "A Troublesome Inheritance" on race, genetics, and evolution. Their response was also covered on CBC Radio's Day 6.

Congratulations to Mala Murthy (Princeton Univ), who is among the recipients of the National Science Foundation's Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) to enable new technologies for understanding how complex behaviors emerge from the activity of brain circuits, in support of President Obama's BRAIN Initiative.

Would you like to see your name here? We're always interested in promoting the achievements of our members. Keep us updated when you or your research make the news, by contacting Raeka Aiyar at

Included in this Issue:

August Issue

August Issue


Tenure-Track Faculty Position in Cell Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Faculty Position in Genomics, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Technician/Research assistant position available, Perlstein Lab PBC, San Francisco, CA

Cytogenetics and FISH Laboratory Supervisor, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI

Postdoctoral Fellow in Stem Cell and Developmental Biology, Harvard University Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Cambridge, MA

Postdoctoral Associate, Duke Molecular Physiology Institute, Durham, NC

Assistant Professor in Biology, University of Delaware, Newark, DE

Scientific Associate, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK,

Postdoctoral fellow, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD

Quantitative Methods in the Study of Families and Health & Family-Based Intervention and Evaluation, University of Utah College of Social and Behavioral Science, Salt Lake City, UT

Assistant Professor - Wheat Molecular Geneticist, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID

Education and Professional Development

GSA is looking for volunteers! We need help staffing the GSA booth at two inspiring conferences serving underrepresented minorities in STEM. Each conference has two to three days of exhibit time where volunteers talk to participants about the benefits of a degree in genetics, career opportunities for geneticists, membership in GSA, the GSA Journals, GSA awards supporting students and postdocs, resources for genetics education, and more! In addition, each conference needs judges to assess posters and presentations.

If you are attending either of the conferences listed above, are interested in attending to staff the GSA booth, or are in close proximity to a conference and want to help out, please contact Beth Ruedi at by September 12, 2014.

Do you and your colleagues have an idea in mind for effective pedagogy? Does your institution or department want to change the face of undergraduate STEM education?  Does it already have a plan for an overhaul, but needs some financial support to implement these changes?  NSF's Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) program is accepting proposals for two tracks, "Engaged Student Learning" and "Institutional and Community Transformation," each with two tiers: "Exploration" and "Design and Development."  Proposals for exploration within the two tracks are due mid-October 2014; proposals for design and development are due mid-January, 2015.

Are you thinking about leaving academia? Famed science blogger Scicurious offers some practical tips on how to get started now along the career path of your choice.

Funding, Fellowships, and Awards Follow that cell

Follow That Cell
: The NIH recently announced the Single Cell Analysis Program (SCAP) Challenge, a $500,000 prize competition to spur the development of innovative, robust methods for single-cell analysis. In particular, they are seeking approaches that can analyze dynamic changes in individual cell behavior and function. The deadline is December 15, 2014

The NSF-funded Insect Genetic Technologies Research Coordination Network (IGTRCN) is a 5-year project to enhance the functional genomics capabilities of scientists working on model and non-model insect systems. Network participation is open to all interested scientists, postdocs, students, and technicians. Short-term training fellowships are also available; deadlines are October 1, 2014 and April 1, 2015.

EMBO Long-Term Fellowships  
Marie Curie Individual Fellowships for postdocs (both European and Global) provide opportunities to acquire and transfer new interdisciplinary knowledge and to work on research in a European context (EU Member States and Associated Countries) or outside Europe. The program particularly supports the reintegration of researchers from outside Europe who have previously worked there. Applications are due September 11, 2014.

FASEB's BioArt competition, which aims to share the beauty and excitement of biological research with the public, is now accepting entries of captivating, high-resolution biological images. FASEB will select ten image and two video winners from the categories: "Fluorescence and Electron Microscopy" and "All Other Life Science Images." Entries are due August 30, 2014.

So you think you can dance your PhD? Now's the time to step up for the annual AAAS competition: a dance-off between the major branches of science. The deadline for submissions is August 29, 2014.


NIH will be investigating the potential role of bias in awarding grants. A team will strip names, racial identification, and other personal information from some proposals before reviewers see them and look at what happens to grant scores. NIH will also conduct text analyses of reviewer critiques to see if there are differences based upon the applicant's race. This effort is one follow-up to a 2011 study which found that an African-American scientist is still only two-thirds as likely as a white scientist to be funded, even when controlling for publication record and training.

Are you a faculty member interested in science policy but aren't sure where to begin? AAAS is holding a webinar on September 4 at 2 p.m. EDT for an interactive discussion about how their Science & Technology Policy Fellowships can provide hands-on federal policy experience and enhance your career with policy-related skills, resources, and networks. Your questions can be answered by faculty colleagues, alumni fellows, and program staff. Sign up here for free.

NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences is running a Challenge Contest to make connections between basic research and medical advances. In particular, they are soliciting stories that clearly associate NIGMS-funded research with improvements in health; applications in medicine, industry, or technology; or other tangible benefits to the public and/or economy. Winners will receive $500; submissions are due October 20. These stories will help make the case for the value of supporting basic research.

NIH now requires that all annual progress reports received on or after October 1, 2014 include a section to describe how individual development plans (IDPs) are used to identify and promote the career goals of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers associated with the award.

Research in the News
And finally…

Recent highlights from the GSA's social networking platforms.  Keep up with the buzz by joining us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+:

A stained glass 'worm window' made using images of C. elegans with the muscles, embryo, and dissected organs dyed different colors. Source: The Scientist

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: August 29, 2014. Send items (and feedback) to GSA's Communications and Engagement Manager, Raeka Aiyar,