GSA News

June 1, 2011   

Paid Advertisement

The Genetics Society of America invites applications for the position of Executive Director, to begin service as soon as October 1, 2011 at GSA offices in Bethesda, MD.  The Executive Director reports directly to the President/Board of Directors and is the chief administrative officer of the Society.  Phil Hieter, Chair of the search committee says, "This is a great job with huge potential to have major impact on the field of genetics at all levels. The staff at GSA is terrific, and the adjacency with the offices of the American Society of Human Genetics (including some shared staff) is a great bonus. The new Executive Director will play a critical role in developing initiatives that enhance genetics research, teaching and outreach, foster collaboration and scientific exchange, and articulate the value of basic science in society. The position has a generous salary and benefits package, long term stability, and a mutually beneficial and rewarding relationship with the Board of Directors and GSA members at large."

To review responsibilities and qualifications, please see the ad at the link above.  For more information on GSA, please see our website.  Please pass this information along to colleagues who would be interested in this position.  Deadline for application:  August 1, 2011.

It’s just a few more weeks before publication of the inaugural issue of G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, GSA’s new open access peer-review journal.  G3 is focused on publishing large-scale datasets of high quality and utility, and provides access to full datasets and related research via links within the articles.  If you have completed data-rich foundational research, you are encouraged to submit an article to G3 for review!

Members in the News

Congratulations to five GSA members who were elected to the National Academy of Sciences in May:   James A. Birchler (Univ of MO, Columbia); Daniel E. Gottschling (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Res Ctr); GSA Past President Scott Hawley (Stowers Inst); Steven E. Jacobsen (HHMI, UCLA); and David M. Kingsley (HHMI, Stanford Univ Sch of Med).

Congratulations to GSA Board Member Susan Wessler (UC-Riverside) who recently was named by the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) as the recipient of their prestigious Stephen Hales Prize, which honors exceptional research accomplishments and service to ASPB.  According to the press release, “Wessler is being honored for her groundbreaking contributions to the field of transposon biology.”

Among the authors of an article in BMC Bioinformatics 2011 entitled, “Toward an interactive article: integrating journals and biological databases,” are GSA members President Paul Sternberg (Caltech), Publications Committee Chair Tim Schedl, (Wash Univ, St. Louis) and Karen Yook, (Caltech) along with Journal staff, Tracey DePellegrin Connelly and Ruth Isaacson.  The article highlights the semi-automated system used to hyperlink the model organism databases in articles published in the GSA Journal, GENETICS, to ensure accuracy with entities in the database.  This system, which ensures interactive articles that are rich in data with high accuracy, is also being used to hyperlink articles in G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, GSA’s new online, fully open-access journal which emphasizes data quality and utility.


Next-generation sequencing, among other new techniques, has helped researchers amass an overwhelming amount of data, and geneticists have struggled to find an effective and efficient way to store and analyze these data.  The National Science Foundation has provided $1.2 million for several researchers to test Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing as a potential solution.  Microsoft will be examining the limits of this new platform, while NSF can fund other components of these projects besides hardware.


The full House Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill. The bill provides $229.5 million for the USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), The funding level is $35.5 million (13%) below the FY 2011 continuing resolution level of $265 million and $95.5 million below the President’s request of $325 million. Although several amendments were offered, none addressed USDA research. A list of amendments adopted by the full committee can be found in a press release available on the committee website. The complete bill text, committee report, and statements by Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Ranking Member Norm Dicks (D-WA) are also available on the committee website.

The National Science Foundation released a new strategic plan for 2011-2016, entitled Empowering the Nation Through Discovery and Innovation.  In its Vision statement, the plan states that “To ensure the United States remains a world leader in research and education, NSF must maintain an emphasis on funding fundamental, merit-reviewed research across the fields of S&E while paying special attention to potentially transformative research and education.”  To access the full report, click here.

The Federal Drug Administration has warned several more companies that their direct-to-consumer genetic testing may require FDA approval before being marketed and distributed to the public.  The FDA began questioning the legality of unrestricted DTC testing in June 2010, when it sent letters to companies such as 23andMe warning that their product may fall under a section of the 1976 Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act.

The National Human Genome Research Institute has approved $123 million to expand the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE), which seeks to identify all functional genetic elements in the human genome. This next phase of the ENCODE project includes $15-$20 million to be put towards research that expands the encyclopedia for both humans and mouse, although the emphasis will be on human genetics. This decision may leave the projects included in modENCODE, a vital sibling encyclopedia exploring the functional genetic elements in Drosophila and C. elegans, scrambling for funding.


GSA members may be interested in several meetings being held at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory this year: 



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