GSA News

September 5, 2012

Coming soon to your e-mail box:  the GSA election ballot for 2013 officers and members of the Board of Directors.  All members who have paid their dues for 2012 will be e-mailed a ballot shortlyWatch for your ballot and be sure to vote before the deadline, Friday, October 19, 2012.

GSA is now accepting nominations for its 2013 awards that honor outstanding contributions to the field of genetics and genetics education.  The awards are:

The deadline for nominations for all awards is  Friday, September 21, 2012.

Attention Undergraduates!  The GSA Undergraduate Travel Award website is now open and accepting applications for GSA-sponsored 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 conference to present their research. Deadline for submissions:  Friday, September 28, 2012.

Attention Grad Students & Postdocs! Applications for the first round of 2013 DeLill Nasser Awards for Professional Development in Genetics will be accepted starting today, September 5, 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.  Application deadline:   October 16, 2012. (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.)

The website for the 27th Fungal Genetics Conference, March 12-17, 2013 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, CA, is now live! Co-organizers are Katherine Borkovich (UC- Riverside) and Francis Martin (INRA, Nancy, France).  The abstract submission site opens Friday, September 14, 2012Meeting registration and housing opens Friday, October 5, 2012. For more information, visit the website.

Education and Outreach

Volunteer judges are needed for GSA-sponsored awards that will be presented to students at two upcoming prestigious conferences that draw large numbers of researchers from groups traditionally underrepresented in scientific careers.  GSA members who already plan to attend these conferences or members for whom these conferences are in their local area are especially encouraged to participate.

  • GSA is sponsoring awards at SACNAS 2012 in Seattle, Washington, from Thursday, October 11 to Saturday, October 13, 2012.  If you are interested in reviewing student projects, please complete this form to register as a judge.
  • GSA is also sponsoring awards at ABRCMS 2012 in San Jose, California. On-site judges are needed from Thursday, November 8 to Saturday, November 10, 2012.  Interested members should complete this online intent form.

Postdocs often feel overworked and underappreciated. Recognize your postdocs during National Postdoc Appreciation Week, September 17-21, 2012.  The National Postdoctoral Association is encouraging institutions to plan a social event brunch, lunch, dinner, wine and cheese party, picnic or other reception to acknowledge and honor the contribution of postdocs to research and development at your institution and throughout the United States and Canada.  To see the list of registered activities and to get ideas for planning your recognition, visit the website.

The GSA Journals

The GSA Journals welcome two new editors: Brian P. Lazzaro (Cornell) for GENETICS and David Schneider (Stanford) for G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics.

The journal GENETICS is now offering readers new resources:

  • In August the Journal launched a new educational resource, the “Primer,” which serves as a teaching companion piece to a research article published in the same issue.  This first Primer, written by Primer section Editor Beth De Stasio (Lawrence Univ, Appleton, WI), accompanies an article by Stanley Polley and David S. Fay and introduces concepts of reverse genetics and RNAi, suppressor screens, synthetic phenotypes and phenocopy. 
  • Next week, the September issue of the Journal will launch a “Genetic Toolbox” series, reviews that describe available resources for studying less commonly used experimental model organisms.  The first article will describe the tools available for studying the sea squirt, Ciona intestinalis.  The Genetic Toolbox series highlights the increasingly important role such organisms play in our broad understanding of genetics.


You may have heard the word “sequestration,” but do you know how it may affect funding for scientific research? These automatic cuts are set to go into effect as of January 2013 as a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011. For example, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) expects to see an automatic 7.8% cut in its budget as a result of this federal deficit reduction plan, which means less research money for individual states.  The advocacy organization United for Medical Research has issued a new report and an online map outlining the amount of money and number of jobs each state can expect to lose when this plan goes into effect.  FASEB offered a similar analysis of the impact of sequestration earlier this year.

A federal appeals court has upheld the legality of NIH support for research on human embryonic stem cells. Although additional appeals may still be filed, the latest opinion continues to endorse NIH’s interpretation of the Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which bans the use of federal funding for research in which embryos are destroyed.

Grant News

NIH has implemented a new special review process for new and renewal applications for investigators who currently receive more than $1 million in direct costs. The new review process is not a cap, only an additional review to complement existing NIH policies for overlapping support. Additional information is available from an NIH blog post and in the official notice.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has released the funding solicitation for its Graduate Research Fellowship Program, which provides three years of stipend and educational support for graduate study in scientific fields supported by NSF. Those eligible to apply include college seniors and graduate students through the end of the fall term of their second year of graduate school. Deadlines vary by field; the life sciences deadline is November 19, 2012.

Other Meetings of Interest

While you’re planning for next year, consider attending the 2013 FASEB Conference on Biology of Cilia and Flagella.  The conference, June 23-28, 2013, will be held in Niagara Falls, New York. For more information, visit the FASEB website.

Members in the News

Congratulations to GSA member Susan A. Henry (Cornell Univ) who has been named recipient of the 2013 Avanti Award in Lipids from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) for her “studies in genetic regulation and signaling related to phospholipid and triacylglycerol metabolism in yeast.”  She will receive her award in April at the ASBMB annual meeting in Boston next year.

Congratulations to the two GSA members elected to leadership positions with the Society for Developmental Biology (SDB): Martin Chalfie (Columbia Univ), who is the SDB president-elect, and Pamela Hoodless (Terry Fox Lab, BC Cancer Agency), elected as the Canadian representative. Chalfie serves as chair of GSA’s Public Policy Committee.

The New York Times reports on the work of GSA member Edward Marcotte (UT-Austin) who is identifying human gene clusters by studying yeast. His lab has used the approach to find a drug that may be successful in slowing the growth of human tumors.

The Los Angeles Times reports on the work of GSA member Elaine Ostrander (NHGRI/NIH) explaining why dogs can be an excellent model system for understanding human genetic diseases.

In Memoriam

GSA extends its sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of GSA member Simon Chan, PhD, an associate professor of plant biology at UC-Davis, who passed away on August 22, 2012 at the age of 38.  Working with Arabidopsis, Dr. Chan’s laboratory “discovered a way to breed plants with genes from only one parent, making it possible to ‘breed true’ without generations of inbreeding,” as described in his UC-Davis obituary.

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