GSA News

October 6, 2010   


Get involved and vote for the GSA 2011 leadership and 2010 bylaw revisions. Deadline for e-balloting: Friday, October 29, 2010.

The deadline has been extended until October 22, 2010 for application to the DeLill Nasser Award for Professional Development in Genetics. The GSA will award up to 12 grants of $1,000 (U.S.) to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows for travel to attend a national or international meeting or a laboratory course occurring from January –June 2011.

Tell us what you teach! RESPOND to the brief GSA Surveys on the development and delivery of laboratory and/or lecture courses in genetics. Deadline for response is October 22, 2010.

REACTIVATE your GSA membership by paying your dues for 2011.  Among the benefits you’ll receive:  reduced fees for all 2011 GSA Conferences – Fungal, Drosophila, C. elegans and Mouse; a subscription to GENETICS, a leading journal in its field; education and career support for all members – and much more.

2011 GSA conference websites are now open for:

News About Members

As a geneticist, have you struggled to explain to your families and neighbors just what it is you do for a living?  This is especially true because many people don't really know what a gene is or that small variations in a gene can predispose an individual to a serious disease.  Genetic Twists of Fate by Stan Fields (Univ of Washington, Seattle), past GSA Board member, and Mark Johnston (Univ of Colorado Hlth Sci Ctr), GENETICS editor-in-chief and past GSA Board President, explain such concepts in an engaging and accessible style, allowing nonscientists to appreciate the genetic revolution that is upon us.  The book, just published by MIT Press, can be ordered on Amazon.

The C. elegans community invites members to attend the Don Riddle Retirement Symposium, Friday, November 5, at the Univ of British Columbia.  This symposium, in honor of Dr. Riddle’s scientific contributions to the C. elegans community, will include presentations by former lab members and other worm community luminaries. A banquet will follow the symposium.  For information on the dinner or symposium please contact Angela Tardif. On Saturday, November 6, brunch for all current and former Riddle lab members will be held. For information on this, or if you have pictures of Don you can contribute to a presentation, or if you cannot attend, but would like to send a message via e-mail, YouTube, etc., please contact Mark Edgley. Dr. Riddle, a longtime GSA member, is retiring at the end of 2010.


The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is offering Collaborative Research Travel Grants for PhDs, or PhD students in mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, statistics, or engineering, who are interested in investigating research opportunities in the biological sciences.  Up to $15,000 in travel costs will be awarded.  Deadline for application:  December 1, 2010.


A Data-Based Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States, a recently released report of the National Research Council, can help graduate students in genetics and genomics compare doctoral programs based on 21 important measures including financial support doctoral students receive, the number of years to completion of their degree, and the percentage of faculty with grants. For more information, see the link above, or go to The Chronicle of Higher Education, which for a limited time has a free interactive tool for subscribers to explore the rankings.

Always an interesting source of information, check out the NIGMS Feedback Loop.  Recent posts include correlations between overall impact scores and five individual criterion scores for sample sets of NIH applications.  Jeremy Berg, NIGMS Director and GSA member posted similar data for sample sets of grant applications at NIGMS.


Subra Suresh, who most recently was the dean of the MIT School of Engineering, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate last week to be the next director of the National Science Foundation (NSF). In a statement issued by Bart Gordon (D-TN), Chair, U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology, he said “Dr. Suresh is known as a strong advocate for greater collaboration across the fields of engineering and science.”


What do research universities and state and federal governments need to do to “assure the ability of the American research university to maintain the excellence in research and doctoral education” so the U.S. can compete in the global community?  The Committee on Research Universities, a group of 22 university and business leaders formed by the National Academy of Sciences, is charged to answer this question. 

The Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health and Society (SACGHS) will disband this month, having completed its tasks as delineated in its charter and after eight years of advising the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services secretaries on numerous issues regarding genetic and genomic technologies.

According to data from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges, research and development in science and engineering increased by 5.8 percent between FY 2008 and FY 2009 to $54.9 billion.  Much of that increase was due to an increase of funds from industry, according to the report.

In the continuing story on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research, last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit extended its suspension of the preliminary injunction issued by a lower court that had barred federal funding for hESC.  For now, NIH can continue its funding of hESC research.  Meantime, the lower court is expected to rule this month on the original lawsuit, which challenged the legality of hESC research under the Dickey-Wicker Amendment.



September Issue




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