GSA News

August 1, 2012   

Attention graduate students and postdoctoral researchers! Develop leadership skills and professional contacts in genetics through volunteer service with GSA. The GSA Board of Directors invites you to help advise and inform them by serving as an advisory representative to the GSA Board or as a member of one of the Society’s committees. Selected grad students and postdocs will be directly engaged in helping the GSA leadership develop the Society’s future goals, objectives and activitiesApply online by August 17, 2012.

Mark your calendar for the 54th Annual Drosophila Research Conference, sponsored by GSA on April 3-7, 2013 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington DC. The keynote speaker is 2011 Nobel Laureate Jules Hoffmann (CNRS and Univ of Strasbourg, France) who has studied the genetic and molecular mechanisms of immunity in insects.  To see the plenary speakers and important dates for abstract submissions, registration and hotel reservations, visit the conference website.

The 2012 Yeast Genetics and Molecular Biology Meeting is now underway at Princeton University. Follow the GSA Facebook page and Twitter feed for updates, and look for the hashtag #YEAST2012.

The GSA Journals

GSA’s journal GENETICS is pleased to announce the following additions and transitions to its Editorial Board:

GENETICS welcomes new Associate Editors Enrico G. Petretto (Imperial College, London), Steven J. Sandler (Univ of Massachusetts), Eric A. Stone (North Carolina State Univ), and Jeff Wall (Univ of California, San Francisco).

Associate Editor Gary A. Churchill (The Jackson Lab) was appointed Senior Editor, Methods Technology and Resources; Senior Editor Oliver Hobert (Columbia Univ) was appointed Reviews Editor; Associate Editor Krista Nichols (NOAA Fisheries) was appointed Senior Editor, Complex Traits; Lauren McIntyre (Univ of Florida) transitioned to Senior Editor, Genome & Systems Biology from her role as Senior Editor of Complex Traits.

Grants and Prizes

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a request for applications for the NIH Director’s Early Independence Awards. The program is designed to move exceptional scientists directly from PhD to independent research. Approximately 10 awards are anticipated for up to $250,000 in direct costs per year over a five-year period.  For more information, visit the websiteLetter of intent (optional) is due December 30, 2012Deadline for application: January 30, 2013.

The Vilcek Foundation is accepting applications for the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science 2013.  The Foundation will select three foreign-born biomedical scientists with records of exceptional early achievement to receive a $35,000 cash prize.  Candidates must have been born outside the United States, be naturalized U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and be no more than 38 years old.  Application Deadline: August 14, 2012.

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of NIH issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for “Research to Understand and Inform Interventions that Promote the Research Careers of Students in Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences (R01).” For more information, visit the website. Letter intent due: September 24, 2012. Application deadline: October 24, 2012

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of NIH is offering funding for the “Career Development Program in Omics of Lung Diseases.”  The long-term objectives of the program “are to develop multidisciplinary career development programs that will equip new MD and PhD investigators with the knowledge and skills to apply pan-omics and intergrated approaches to elucidating genomic and molecular bases of lung disease.”  NHLBI intends to commit up to $1 million in fiscal year 2013 and up to $2.25 million for the subsequent four years to fund up to eight awards. For more information see the website. Letter of intent due: September 26, 2012. Application deadline: October 26, 2012.


The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), a coalition of 26 biomedical research associations including GSA, expressed its disappointment with the fiscal year (FY) 2013 appropriations bill approved last month by a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee (see text). The bill essentially flat funds the NIH, ignoring the more than 2% rise in biomedical inflation expected next year.  There is also other language in the bill that places constraints on how NIH manages its funding.  The legislation is not yet final; it still needs to be approved by the entire U.S. House of Representatives and coordinated with U.S. Senate funding legislation.  If you want to keep apprised of legislation affecting scientific funding, sign up for the FASEB Take Actionpublic policy information.

FASEB is also disappointed with the passage of the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (GAPSCA) by the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  According to a FASEB press release, “This legislation ignores the scientific advice of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), would halt valuable ongoing disease research, and could severely compromise human health in the event of an emergent disease threat for which no other model is appropriate.”  FASEB issued an Action Alert for those who may wish to contact their Senators about this issue before the bill comes before the full Senate.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Chief Scientist Catherine Woteki  released a series of white papers on implementing the previously-released Action Plan for USDA Science. They describe priority areas including global food security, bioenergy, nutrition and childhood obesity, climate change, food safety, and sustainable agricultural systems. Woteki, who is also the USDA Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics, said in a blog posting that “these papers provide detailed descriptions of our work in these areas, and we hope they will serve as resources for those interested in these important issues.”

GSA Members in the News

Congratulations to three GSA members who are among the 50 recently named as 2012 International Student Research Fellows by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). The three researchers are: Philip Coen (Princeton Univ) of the United Kingdom; Hélène Fradin (New York Univ) of France; and Mira Pronobis (Univ of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) of Germany.  This program was launched last year by HHMI “to support international students in their third to fifth years of graduate school,”in the U.S., “who often have difficulty getting funding to support their studies.”   Each fellowship “is worth $43,000 a year,” according to HHMI information.

GSA also congratulates early career members David Gresham (New York Univ), a G3 associate editor, and Jeffrey Ross-Ibara (Univ of California at Davis) for being among nine researchers named as DuPont Young Professors. These awards are “designed to provide start-up assistance to promising young and untenured research faculty working in areas of interest to DuPont,” according to the company. Gresham is studying the regulation of cell growth and mRNA decay in the budding yeast, and Ross-Ibara’s research is on the population genetics of maize. 

Other Meetings

Do you have an idea with commercial potential?  If yes, apply now for the UC Entrepreneurship Academy, September 11-13, 2012 at the University of California, Davis.  This three-day academy is open to upper division undergrads, graduate students, postdocs and faculty in science and engineering from any university.  Seminars and interactive sessions enable participants to work with venture capitalists, angel investors and entrepreneurs to help move their research out of the lab and into the world.  For more information on the schedule and costs, visit the website. Deadline for applicationAugust 10, 2012.

In Memory

GSA mourns the passing of its former President Margery “Margie” (Schlamp) Shaw. Shaw, who was professor and director of medical genetics at the University of Texas Health Science Center and founder of the Health Law Institute at the University of Texas, was also professor-at-large at Cornell. She served as GSA president in 1978 and as president of the American Society of Human Genetics in 1982. GSA extends our condolences to Dr. Shaw’s family.



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