GSA News

May 9, 2012   

GSA Meetings

Deadlines Approaching:

The abstract submission site is now open for the Mouse Molecular Genetics Conference, October 2-6, 2012 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, CA. Registration is now open for this conference, which is  the leading venue for researchers who apply the methods of genetics and genomics to fundamental problems in mammalian biology.

What is “America’s Next Top Model Organism”?  It’s the MOUSE, according to the votes from GSA’s eponymous exhibit booth at the 2nd USA Science and Engineering Festival, held April 28-29, 2012 at the Washington, D.C. Convention Center.  The GSA exhibit had examples of wildtype and mutant Arabidopsis, fungi, Drosophila, and mice. The Festival hosted 3,000 exhibits plus 100 stage shows and 33 author presentations.  It’s estimated several hundred thousand people attended the festival and GSA members were there explaining the importance of genetics research and the value of model organisms.  Our thanks to all the GSA booth volunteers for their energetic and engaging outreach efforts. See GSA’s Facebook photos to get a glimpse of this fabulous festival promoting science and engineering.

From the May 2012 GSA Journals:

Why is genetics difficult for undergraduates to learn? What genetics concepts do students typically struggle with?  In this month’s GENETICS, Smith and Knight identify common student conceptual difficulties and demonstrate that these incorrect ideas frequently persist despite instruction. Check out the article: “Using the Genetics Concept Assessment to document persistent conceptual difficulties in undergraduate genetics courses,” pp. 21–32, Michelle K. Smith and Jennifer K. Knight.

In this month’s G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, Ronin and colleagues describe a new approach for building consensus genetic maps using multiple mapping populations. They consider consensus mapping as a special version of the famous traveling salesman problem (TSP), referred to as synchronized TSP, and present combined heuristic and exact algorithms able to analyze dozens of populations with dozens/hundreds of markers per chromosome. Read the article: “Two-Phase Analysis in Consensus Genetic Mapping,” pp. 537-549, Y. Ronin, D. Mester, D. Minkov, R. Belotserkovski, B. N. Jackson, P. S. Schnable, S. Aluru, and A. Korol.

Funding Available

Female geneticists within their first three years as an independent faculty level researcher are invited to apply for the 2013 Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Award.  The award, administered by GSA and its sister society, the American Society of Human Genetics, and funded by The Gruber Foundation, provides $75,000 over three years ($25,000 per year).  One award will be given to a female genetics researcher studying human or non-human mammals and one to a genetics researcher studying model organisms.  The application is open to women scientists worldwide and is only offered every three years.  For more information about the award, selection criteria and the application, please see the GSA website.  Deadline for applications:  June 8, 2012.

GSA Member News

Congratulations to the five GSA members who were among the 84 Americans and 21 foreign associates elected to membership in the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) “in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.” The five members are Nancy Bonini (Univ of Penn), GSA Board Member 2007-2009; John Carlson (Yale), 2011 GSA Medal recipient; Andrew G. Clark (Cornell); Roy Parker (Univ of Arizona); and Eric U. Selker (Univ of Oregon, Eugene), GENETICS associate editor. Election to NAS is considered one of the highest honors for scientists in the United States.

Congratulations to this round of GSA Undergraduate Travel Award winners! GSA members Elizabeth Billquist (Hope College), Pegah Safabakhsh (Temple Univ), Betsy Schock (Wittenberg Univ), John Trung (UC Berkeley), Malgorzata Liro (UC Berkeley), and Marie Replogle (Univ of Wisconsin – Milwaukee) will be presenting their work at the Conference on Zebrafish Development and Genetics; Jessica Parks (Univ of North Carolina) will be presenting her work at MOHB – Cancer Genetics.  Stop by their posters and congratulate them in person!

GSA congratulates two members for being honored by the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB). Mary Lou Guerinot (Dartmouth) received the Dennis R. Hoagland Award, honoring her contributions and leadership in plant mineral nutrition, and Judy Callis (UC-Davis) received the Fellow of ASPB Award in recognition of distinguished and long-term contributions to plant biology and service to ASPB.

Position Vacancy

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be resuming its search for a new director after Chris A. Kaiser withdrew his candidacy for personal reasons on April 23, 2012. Judith Greenburg will continue to serve as acting director.

Grants Awarded

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) of the NIH recently awarded 10 projects  a total of $10.5 million to develop new technologies “that will help researchers identify millions of genomic elements that play a role in determining what genes are expressed and at what levels in different cells," according to the NHGRI press release.  These grants are under the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements or ENCODE project, which was created in 2003 to catalog functional elements of the human genome. 

Other Resources

After reading about Ruth Kirschstein’s biography in the last issue of the e-News, long-time GSA member Lee Ehrman (SUNY-Purchase) suggested another book to read, “Looking for a Few Good Males: Female Choice in Evolutionary Biology,” by Erika Lorraine Milan, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010.



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E-news items include news about GSA members -- new position, book publication, awards or grants received and obits; short policy items; brief research news items and grant programs; and, award nomination announcements. Deadline for next issue: May 18, 2012.  Send items to Phyllis Edelman,