GSA News

July 18, 2012   

The GSA Board of Directors invites graduate students and postdoctoral researchers to serve the Society as an advisory representative to the GSA Board or as a member of one of the Society’s committees where you can provide information and advice in helping set GSA priorities and guide its activities. Selected grad students and postdocs will be directly engaged in helping the leadership form and advance the Society’s goals and objectives. Apply online by August 17, 2012.

Abstract deadline extended until July 25, 2012 for the Mouse Molecular Genetics Conference sponsored by GSA, October 2-6, 2012 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, CA.  The online housing and registration deadline is July 31.   To view the Plenary Session speakers, register for the meeting or to make housing reservations, visit the website.

Online registration is still open for GSA’s Yeast Genetics & Molecular Biology Meeting, July 31-August 5, 2012 at Princeton University in New Jersey.  Housing and Meal Plan registration is also still being accepted.  For highlights of the meeting, including the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement and Ira Herskowitz Awards and presentations of the Winge-Lindegren Address and the Lee Hartwell Lecture, visit the meeting website.

The GSA Journals

The July issue of GENETICS highlights several interesting articles, including one by T. M. Felix et al. that provides insights into the decline of the immune system with aging, which might have a genetic cause; be sure to read the abstract for “Age-Specific Variation in Immune Response in Drosophila melanogaster has a Genetic Basis.” Also see the other July highlights and the rest of GENETICS’ July contents.


Big Data: The New Natural Resource,” was the title of a congressional briefing last month, hosted by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Representative Steve Womack (R-AR) and organized by IBM. The goal of the briefing was to bring attention to big data issues and to call on the government to set standards and facilitate public/private partnerships.  Sen. Feinstein noted that the world’s data doubles every 18 months and that “maintenance of U.S. preeminence in supercomputing and analytics will be critical to our national security interests” and to “medical research.” David McQueeney, Vice President for Software at IBM Research, discussed thinking about big data as a natural resource.

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) welcomed Judith S. Bond, PhD (Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey), as its new president, beginning July 1, 2012.  Dr. Bond will serve one year as the president of FASEB, a coalition of 26 scientific societies, including GSA, which represents more than 100,000 scientists and engineers. Dr. Bond, who is a professor emeritus of biochemistry and molecular biology, did research on proteolysis, the breakdown of proteins into smaller amino acids, and particularly metalloproteases called meprins.  She also has a long-time interest in graduate education. 


The National Science Board (NSB) has issued its call for nominations for its two 2013 honorary awards: the Vannevar Bush Award, presented annually to exceptional lifelong leaders in science and technology who have made substantial contributions to the welfare of the nation through public service activities in science, technology and public policy; and the NSB Public Service Award, which honors individuals and groups that have made substantial contributions to increasing public understanding of science and engineering in the United States. Nominations for both may be made at the NSB website. Deadlines: November 1, 2012.

Funding Available

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a request for applications (RFA) for its NIH Director’s Transformative Research Awards. These awards support “individual scientists or groups of scientists proposing groundbreaking, exceptionally innovative, original and/or unconventional research with the potential to create new scientific paradigms, establish entirely new and improved clinical approaches, or develop transformative technologies.” Letters of intent (optional) are due by August 21.  Application deadline: September 21, 2012.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued a new solicitation for its Advances in Biological Informatics (ABI) program. The ABI program “is especially interested in the development of informatics tools and resources that have the potential to advance—or transform—research in biology supported by the Directorate for Biological Sciences at the NSF.”  The program accepts three major types of proposals: 1) Innovation awards to pioneer new approaches to the application of informatics to biological problems; 2) Development awards to provide robust cyberinfrastructure that will enable transformative biological research; and, 3) Sustaining awards to support ongoing operations and maintenance of existing cyberinfrastructure for continued advancement of priority biological research. Proposal deadline: September 10, 2012.

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at NIH recently announced an RFA for Institutional Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA).  NCATS expects to award approximately $110 million to fund up to 18 awards in fiscal year 2013.  The CTSA program is central to NCATS’ mission of “providing infrastructure support to facilitate translational research, promote training and career development for translational researchers, and developing innovative methods and technologies to strengthen translational research.” For more information on the RFA, visit the CTSA websiteLetter of Intent due dateDecember 10, 2012Application deadlineJanuary 8, 2013.

The NIH Common Fund is developing a new program on Extracellular RNA Communication (ERC), beginning in fiscal year 2013. “The program will provide foundational information about the synthesis, distribution, uptake, and function of extracellular RNAs that are involved in cell-to-cell communication that is critical for basic cell function and health,” according to recently released information by NIH.  For more information, visit the Common Fund website.  

ASHG Executive Vice President

The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), GSA’s sister society, is seeking applications from geneticists who are interested in serving as its next executive officer. Joann Boughman, PhD, who has served for 11 years as ASHG’s Executive Vice President (EVP), will be stepping down as of September 15, 2012 to become Senior Vice Chancellor of the University System of Maryland.  For information about the position, see the ASHG website.  To apply, see the online application. Application deadline:  September 15, 2012.



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