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September 17, 2014
Society News

GSA is pleased to announce the results of the elections to our Board of Directors:
  • Vice-President (and President-Elect):  Stanley Fields (Univ of Washington)
  • Director:  Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena (Univ of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
  • Director: Craig Pikaard (Indiana Univ)
  • Director: Deborah Yelon (Univ of California, San Diego).
Each will begin a three-year term on January 1, 2015. We are thrilled to welcome these accomplished individuals to our Society's leadership. GSA is also very grateful to our Board members whose tenures end on December 31, 2014 – Past President Michael Lynch (Indiana Univ) and Directors Marnie E. Halpern (Carnegie Inst for Science), Mohamed A. F. Noor (Duke Univ), and John C. Schimenti (Cornell Univ) – for their dedicated service. [more...]

This is your last chance to nominate deserving individuals who represent the breadth and strength of genetics for the 2015 GSA Awards. Honor your outstanding colleagues who have distinguished themselves among the community of geneticists by nominating them for the following GSA Awards:

To help provide a diverse pool of nominees that represents the excellence in our discipline, GSA encourages the nomination of women and deserving individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in science. The deadline for nominations is September 21, 2014.

The GSA Journals

RNA Binding Networks: Posttranscriptional regulation is a significant driver of genetic variation in mRNA levels, report Fazlollahi et al. in the latest issue of G3. The authors dissected yeast posttranscriptional regulatory networks by identifying QTLs that modulate regulatory activity of RNA binding proteins. Co-CRISPR: In the latest issue of GENETICS, Kim et al. report improvements to the efficiency of CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing in Caenorhabditis elegans, including methods for detecting homologous recombination (HR) events and a co-CRISPR strategy to facilitate both sgRNA selection and recovery of homologous events. The authors find that HR efficiencies using CRISPR are remarkably high, making it possible to precisely edit the C. elegans genome without selection.

Have a timely result that you want you to publish quickly? Think GENETICS' Communications!
GENETICS is pleased to announce our new Communications article type, which provides a format for expedited publication of particularly significant and timely observations or advances. Communications receive the same rigorous peer review as Investigations, but ensure that authors can share time-sensitive results as fast as possible. Authors must submit a pre-submission inquiry that includes an abstract and a cover letter detailing why the findings are particularly significant and timely. For more information, please read the Instructions for Authors or contact the GENETICS editorial office at genetics-gsa@thegsajournals.org.

Members in the News

NPR's Morning Edition reports on the boom and (mostly) bust of NIH funding. Among the stories told is that of GSA member Dan Burke (Univ of Virginia), who may have to close his lab after losing the sustained funding he has had since 1987. See below for other coverage of the biomedical research funding crisis from NPR.

GSA member Chris Todd Hittinger (Univ of Wisconsin–Madison) has received an NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity Award. The program links functional, genetic and phylogenetic/taxonomic dimensions of biodiversity, offering opportunities to make rapid advances in understanding the generation, maintenance and loss of biodiversity. His research project will focus on "The Making of Biodiversity across the Yeast Subphylum."
Chris Todd Hittinger, University of Madison–Wisconsin. Source: Lab website

Included in this Issue:

August Issue

August Issue


Tenure Track Assistant Professor - Integrative Functional Genomics, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

Assistant/Associate Professor, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, MN

Statistical Geneticist, RTI International

Budding Yeast Epigenetics, Research Assistant or postdoctoral track, MD Anderson.org, Houston, TX

Scientist, Computational Genetics, Biogen Idec, Cambridge, MA

Postdoctoral Bioinformatics Fellow – Genomics of complex childhood diseases, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

Post-Doctoral Fellowship, The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), Phoenix, AZ

Senior Scientific Communications Manager, The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), Phoenix, AZ

Post doctoral fellow, Rosenzweig Lab, Division Biological Sciences, UnivMontana, Missoula, MT

Postdoctoral Fellow, Rosenzweig Lab, Division Biological Sciences, UnivMontana, Missoula, MT

Temporary Consultant in Clinical Genetics, National Centre for Medical genetics, Dublin, Ireland

Education and Professional Development

Happy National Postdoc Appreciation Week! GSA is joining with our colleagues at the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) to recognize the postdoc members of our community. Throughout this week, institutions have arranged special events to celebrate contributions postdocs make to research and development. GSA appreciates our nearly 1,000 postdoctoral members, and we encourage you to take advantage of joint membership with the NPA. Check out this map to find NPAW events near you this week!

Educators, we need your help! The deadline for nominations for the 2015 GSA Awards is fast approaching.  We welcome your informed suggestions to help us expand the pool of nominees for the Elizabeth W. Jones Award for Excellence in Education, which recognizes significant and sustained impact on genetics education. The award will honor an educator who has promoted greater exposure to and deeper understanding of genetics through achievements such as the following: distinguished teaching or mentoring; development of innovative pedagogical approaches or tools; design of new courses or curricula; national leadership; and/or public engagement and outreach. Nominations are due September 21, 2014.

An article in Chronicle of Higher Education's career section provides advice to graduate advisors on how to best support students who wish to pursue non-academic careers. The article also offers suggestions for students on navigating the transition out of academia.

Funding, Fellowships, and Awards

NIH has awarded more than $64 million to 6 research institutions to create a database of human cellular responses, the Library of Integrated Network-based Cellular Signatures (LINCS). This database will catalog cellular and molecular responses to perturbations like drugs and genetic variation.

The Emergency Ebola Initiative by the Wellcome Trust and partner funders will support research to swiftly investigate new approaches for treating, preventing and containing the disease during the current epidemic in West Africa. It will also support research into the ethical challenges of testing experimental medicines during epidemics. Please see the call for proposals for further information.

The deadline is approaching for the Fulbright-Fogarty fellowships in public health to promote clinical research in resource-limited settings. These fellowships are awarded to medical or graduate students interested in global health, with placements in Asia, Africa, and South America. Applications are due October 14, 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.


The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected its new Assistant Director for Biological Sciences: James L. Olds, a neuroscientist at George Mason University. He is also the Shelley Krasnow University Professor of Molecular Neuroscience, where he led the international Decade of the Mind project that helped to shape President Obama's BRAIN Initiative. Olds has played a central role in scientific public policy development at all levels, ranging from Commonwealth of Virginia and the White House to advising heads of ministries internationally. He will begin his NSF appointment in October 2014.

GSA members and others are encouraged to participate in an upcoming advocacy webinar, "Make Your Voice Heard: Join FASEB's efforts to advocate for research funding!" You will learn about the new advocacy resources from FASEB and how you can join with GSA to advocate for research. This free webinar will be offered on Thursday, October 2, 2014, at 12 pm EDT. RSVPs are mandatory by e-mail to Meghan McCabe at mmccabe@faseb.org.

NIH's National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) has issued a formal request for information (RFI) to assist the institute in its strategic planning process, which will help guide their programs and priorities over the next five years. NIGMS has developed a draft statement of broad goals and objectives to help guide the process, which includes several themes mentioned in the white paper GSA provided to NIGMS earlier this spring. GSA will offer comments on behalf of the Society. Other individuals and groups are also encouraged to provide feedback before the September 26, 2014 deadline. [more...]

The White House is confronting the challenge of reproducibility in science as part of their updates to the Strategy for American Innovation. One of the questions they pose for public comment is: "Given recent evidence of the irreproducibility of a surprising number of published scientific findings, how can the Federal Government leverage its role as a significant funder of scientific research to most effectively address the problem?" asks a notice from the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Economic Council in the Federal Register. Public input is due September 23, 2014.

NPR has featured the current funding crisis for biomedical research in a series of stories. Last week, All Things Considered told the stories of researchers who had left the lab, including one who started a liquor distillery and another who runs a grocery store, and Morning Edition focused on the challenges of maintaining new research facilities that were built during better times. This week, Morning Edition talked about the impact on patients as intense competition has made it harder for scientists to confirm research results and replicate experiments.

The National Research Council has released its review of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the agency's chief competitive grants program. The report concluded that AFRI plays a critical and unique role in the nation's R&D portfolio, but that it has not been given the adequate resources to meet contemporary and (likely) future challenges. Spurring Innovation in Food and Agriculture suggests simplifying the AFRI program structure and rebalancing the portfolio to give top priority to fundamental research with an emphasis on investigator-driven science. [more...]

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+:

Why you should stop believing in evolution: The World Science Festival's Chief Digital Officer tells The Week: "Evolution is nothing more than a fairly simple way of understanding what is unquestionably happening. You don't believe in it — you either understand it or you don't"
Source: The Week; Credit: Denis Scott/CORBIS

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: September 25, 2014. Send items (and feedback) to GSA's Communications and Engagement Manager, Raeka Aiyar, raiyar@genetics-gsa.org.