September 25, 2013


Society News

We’re already looking forward to next year at GSA with the start of the 2014 membership year. You can renew your membership for 2014 at the GSA website and lock in the full set of membership benefits, including discounted registration fees for GSA conferences, a personal subscription and reduced fees for publishing in GENETICS and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, many educational and professional development resources, and much more. New for 2014 is a five-year Regular Membership option and the opportunity for postdocs to join both GSA and the National Postdoctoral Association at a 20% discount. Those who join or renew before December 1, 2013, will be eligible for our raffle featuring a variety of exciting prizes!

Undergrads!  It’s your last chance to apply for the Victoria Finnerty Undergraduate Travel Award (Deadline: September 28, 2013), which honors the memory of Victoria Finnerty and supports travel costs for undergraduate GSA members to present their research at GSA’s Annual Drosophila Research Conference. Applications must be accompanied by two letters of recommendation. Please see the GSA website for additional details and a link to the application.

We are currently accepting applications for the DeLill Nasser Award for Professional Development in Genetics (Deadline: October 11, 2013), which supports travel costs for graduate students and postdocs to attend national and international meetings and to enroll in laboratory courses. GSA is accepting applications for awards for conferences and courses held between January 1 and June 30, 2014. This includes—but is not limited to—the 55th Annual Drosophila Research Conference and 11th International Conference on Zebrafish Development and Genetics. Applicants must be GSA members. See the GSA website for a detailed description of the review criteria as well as a link to the application.

Vote in the
GSA election—polls closing soon!  Voting is a member benefit, and helps guide GSA’s plans and priorities via the makeup of the Board of Directors.  Don’t let your vote go to waste—this is your GSA!  Thank you to those members who have already voted.  Those who have not yet voted for 2014 officers and members of the Board of Directors will continue to receive e-mail reminders with their registered voter code.  Please vote before the deadline: Monday, September 30, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

The GSA Conferences

Abstract submission and registration are now open for the 55th Annual Drosophila Research Conference, which will be held March 26–30, 2014, in San Diego, California.  Don’t miss the exciting lineup of speakers, the new Trainee Bootcamp, and your chance to network with the best in the field!

The website for the 11th International Conference on Zebrafish Development and Genetics is now live!  The conference will be held June 24–28, 2014, in Madison, Wisconsin.  Be sure to submit workshop proposals by October 15, 2013.  Graduate students and postdocs are encouraged to apply now for a DeLill Nasser Travel Award to attend this exciting conference.


The GSA Journals

In a G3 September commentary, Functional Genetics in the Post-genomics Era: Building a Better Roadmap in Drosophila, Rob Kulathinal describes two papers from the Perrimon laboratory published in this month’s issues of sister journals GENETICS and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, each describing a new online resource that can assist geneticists with the design of their RNAi experiments:
  • Matching RNAi reagents to genes isn’t as simple as one might think. In September’s GENETICS, Hu et al. describe a set of strategies and an accompanying online tool, Updated Targets of RNAi Reagents (UP-TORR), useful for accurate and up-to-date annotation of cell-based and in vivo RNAi reagents. UP-TORR allows users to choose the most appropriate RNAi reagents at the onset of a study, as well as to perform the most appropriate analyses of results of RNAi-based studies.
  • FlyPrimerBank is a comprehensive qPCR primer database for Drosophila that helps researchers in the selection of primers for small- or large-scale studies. In September’s G3, Hu et al. describe how FlyPrimerBank is more flexible than most resources in that it provides an interface for submission of user feedback on primers in the database and for submission of alternative experimentally validated qPCR primer sequences.

Education and Professional Development

Find out how to introduce the theme of sustainability into your courses with minimal effort, or make it a big idea in an intro bio course!  The Sustainability Improves Student Learning (SISL) initiative provides a variety of resources related to sustainability in higher education. Consider introducing some into your classroom this semester.

Tickets go on sale September 27 for the 6th Annual Imagine Science Film Festival, which highlights how data is expressed through visual storytelling.  Some topics include "Data Clustering," "Shaping Expression," and "The Art of Code."  The festival will take place October 11–October 18, 2013, in New York City and Jersey CityGSA is a supporting sponsor of the festival through our involvement with The Fly Room.

September has provided a plethora of excellent articles about professional development! Get some advice on: writing an effective abstract for a research article; being a more effective educator; conducting research at a primarily undergraduate institution; improving presentations; and writing a good cover letter.

Members in the News

GSA was saddened to learn of the passing of Fred Sherman, a former Board member and the recipient of GSA’s 2006 George W. Beadle Award for distinguished service to the genetics community, as well as the yeast community’s Lifetime Achievement Award.  He was considered one of the fathers of modern yeast genetics and played a crucial role in establishing S. cerevisiae as a model system.  We thank him for his years of service to the Society and to the yeast community.

Awards and Fellowships

The International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge is accepting entries to the competition until September 30, 2013.  The challenge, created by NSF and Science, is meant to celebrate science visualization and encourage its continued growth.  Winners will be chosen for photography, illustration, posters & graphics, games & apps, and video.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is giving undergraduates the opportunity to conduct research at its Janelia Farm Research Campus for 10 weeks with the Janelia Undergraduate Scholars Program.  This program provides a small cohort of scholars with room and board, travel, and a $4,500 stipend.  Matriculated undergraduates or masters students are eligible for this program, which is receiving applications until January 15, 2014.


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has approved nine areas of research to focus on in 2014 under the BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies).  These areas were identified as high-priority by a working group of the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director; the group will continue to develop a longer-term scientific plan for the initiative over the course of the next six months.

The NIH is seeking comments from the scientific community on its draft Genomic Data Sharing Policy, which applies to large-scale human and non-human genomic data generated from NIH-supported research.  This includes relevant data from model organisms, microbes, and microbiomes. Please review the policy and provide your opinion on both the handling of non-human data and their intended handling of human data by November 20, 2013.

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: October 4, 2013.  Send items to Beth Ruedi,