GSA News

September 19, 2012   

The GSA election is underway.  Thank you to those members who have already voted.  Those members who have not yet voted for 2013 officers and members of the Board of Directors will continue to receive e-mail reminders with your registered voter code.  Be a part of GSA’s future. Please vote before the deadline, Friday, October 19, 2012 at 11:59 p.m.

GSA has joined with the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) to challenge our members to take action to highlight the research work you do to elected officials and the public. During Advocacy Week, October 1-5, 2012, we hope you will help GSA and ASCB emphasize the importance of research by joining together with the “We are Research” campaign; it can be as simple as taking a picture of your lab or talking to your neighbors about what you do.

GSA Awards and Opportunities

Hurry! The deadline -- Friday, September 21, 2012 -- is fast approaching for nominating your colleagues for the 2013 GSA awards that honor outstanding contributions in the field of genetics and genetics education.  The awards are:

Attention Undergraduates!  The GSA is now accepting applications for the GSA Undergraduate Travel Awards to attend meetings held between December 1, 2012 and May 30, 2013.  This application process also includes the Victoria Finnerty Undergraduate Travel Award for the 2013 Drosophila Research Conference.  Applicants must be GSA members who are attending a GSA-sponsored conference to present their research. Deadline for submission:  Friday, September 28, 2012. (Note: There will be a second round of applications for conferences that occur June 1–December 31, 2013.)

Grad Students & Postdocs:  Applications for the first round of 2013 DeLill Nasser Awards for Professional Development in Genetics are being accepted until Tuesday, October 16, 2012Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers may apply for this $1000 travel award to attend any national or international meeting or to enroll in a laboratory course occurring between January 1 and June 30, 2013. (Note: There will be a second round of applications at the start of 2013 for travel to meetings or courses that take place July 1–December 31, 2013.)

Volunteer judges are needed for GSA-sponsored awards that will be presented to students at SACNAS 2012 in Seattle, Washington, Thursday, October 11 to Saturday, October 13, 2012. Please complete this form to register as a judge.  GSA members who already plan to attend this conference or members for whom this conference is in their local area, are especially encouraged to participate.

GSA Conferences

The deadline for abstract submissions for the 5th Strategic Conference of Zebrafish Investigators (SCZI), January 19-23, 2013 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, CA, is Tuesday, October 16, 2012.  Principal investigators (PIs) are encouraged to submit their abstracts, register for the meeting and submit housing reservations to this limited-attendee meeting for senior researchers.

The abstract submission site for the 27th Fungal Genetics Conference, March 12-17, 2013 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, CA, is now open.  To view the preliminary program, visit the website.

The GSA Journals

Read the September issue of G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, which features 16 original research articles that include studies in cattle, sitka spruce, yeast, nematodes, mice, Drosophila, and trout.

In its September issue, the journal GENETICS launched a new “Toolbox” series of reviews that describe resources—both practical and intellectual—available for the study of less commonly used experimental organisms. Read the first Toolbox article by Stolfi and Christiaen, which describes the experimental tools available for studying the sea squirt, Ciona intestinalis, an increasingly popular organism for developmental biologists.

Members in the News

Congratulations to GSA member Marty Chalfie, who along with Roger Tsien and Osamu Shimomura were among those receiving an inaugural “Golden Gooseaward, a program conceived by Congressman Jim Cooper (D-Tenn) to demonstrate the benefits of federally funded scientific research that has resulted in great benefits to society. The trio won the award for their discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein as a research tool, which has “led to numerous medical research advances and to methods used widely by the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries” and for which they won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008.  

Three of six teams selected to receive Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Collaborative Innovation Awards, a $40 million investment by HHMI over the next four years to support potentially transformative team research, include GSA members as either the lead investigator or as collaborators.  GSA members who are team leaders are: Norbert Perrimon (Harvard Med Sch), and Danny Reinberg (NYU), whose project includes two GSA member collaborators, Shelley Berger (Univ of Penn) and Anandasankar Ray (UC-Riverside).  GSA member James Wilhelm (UCSD) is a collaborator on another project.

Three GSA members are among the 40 Vision and Change Leadership Fellows selected as members of the PULSE (the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education) program, a joint initiative of the National Science Foundation, HHMI and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that will recommend models for improving life sciences education for undergraduate students. Congratulations to David Marcey (California Lutheran Univ), Kathryn Miller (Wash Univ of St. Louis) and Jo Anne Powell-Coffman (Iowa State).

GSA member Hugo Bellen will receive the 2012 Gill Award from the Linda and Jack Gill Center for Biomolecular Science at Indiana University Bloomington. In addition to receiving $25,000 and a plaque, Bellen will discuss “Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS)” at the 2012 Gill Symposium next month.

Career Development

Graduate students and postdocs have a new free online tool to help you “develop a step-by-step plan for reaching” your “career goals,” called myIDP (Individual Development Plan).  Developed by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, the Medical College of Wisconsin, UCSF, AAAS, and Science Careers, with support from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, myIDP provides trainees with exercises to assess their career skills, interests and values, and provides resources for 20 common scientific career paths.


Congress is expected to pass a continuing resolution (CR) this week which would keep the federal government operating through March 27, 2013. A CR is needed because Congress has not yet passed federal appropriations for fiscal year 2013, which begins on October 1, 2012. Although the CR includes a 0.6% across-the-board increase in funding from current levels, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and federal agencies are expected to be very conservative in committing resources because of the looming dramatic effect of sequestration (see below).

In a Congressionally-mandated report issued last week, OMB has detailed how the automatic, across-the-board cuts known as sequestration will impact each federal agency as of January 2, 2013. Unless Congress agrees to a new deficit reduction plan, the agencies which support the research of many GSA members would see their budgets cut by 8.2% from current funding levels. This would mean reductions of more than $2.5 billion for NIH, $570 million for NSF, $400 million for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and $58 million for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food & Agriculture research and education activities.



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