GSA News

September 22, 2010   


VOTE . . . Be involved in your association:  Vote for the leadership and bylaw revisions of the GSA. Deadline for e-balloting: Friday, October 29, 2010

NOMINATE your colleagues for the 2011 GSA Awards – Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal, the Genetics Society of America Medal, the George W. Beadle Award, the Elizabeth W. Jones Award for Excellence in Education and the Edward Novitski Prize.  Deadline for nominations:  Thursday, September 30, 2010.

APPLY . . . GSA member graduate students and postdoctoral fellows can apply for one of 12 $1000 (US) DeLill Nasser Awards for Professional Development in Genetics, which are travel awards to attend a national or international meeting or a laboratory course occurring from January-June 2011.  Deadline for applications:  Thursday, September 30, 2010.

The abstract submission site is now open for the 52nd Annual Drosophila Research Conference, March 30-April 3, 2011 at the Town & Country Resort & Conference Center in San Diego, California.  Abstracts will be accepted until November 8, 2010.

Always a sellout, the 26th Fungal Genetics Conference will be held March 15-20, 2011 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds. Mark your calendar now and be sure to register early so you don’t lose out on the opportunity to attend. Registration and abstract deadlineDecember 14, 2010. For more information click the link above.


Ever wonder who gets their NIGMS grant applications funded? NIGMS director Jeremy Berg has posted an analysis of the 655 NIGMS R01 applications from January 2010, which indicates “that many of the awards made for applications with less favorable percentile scores go to early stage and new investigators.” The graphs also indicate the distribution of grants funded from each of four classes of PIs – early stage investigators, new investigators and two types of established investigators.


In a report released last week by The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), women exceeded men in the number of doctorates received (50.4%) across all disciplines for the 2008-2009 academic year.  In the biological and agricultural sciences, women earned 50.9% of all doctoral degrees and 70.2% in the health sciences.  In comparison, men received the majority of doctoral degrees in engineering (78.4%) and in the physical and earth sciences (66.6%).  For the complete report, click here.

Meetings and Workshops

IBANGS, The International Behavioral and Neural Genetics Society, which promotes neurobehavioral genetics, is calling for symposium proposals for their 13th Annual Genes, Brain and Behavior Meeting to be held in Rome, Italy, May 11-14, 2011.  Deadline for proposals:  November 15, 2010.  For more information, see their website link above.

Are you interested in the latest approaches to teaching biology laboratory courses and do you want to learn about the newest animal model system for undergraduate laboratories? Then apply to Emory University’s Bean Beetle Curriculum Development Workshop, June 8-10, 2011 on its Atlanta, Georgia campus.  The workshop, supported by the National Science Foundation, is designed to introduce faculty who are currently teaching lab courses at colleges and universities in the U.S. to Callosobruchus maculatus, the bean beetle.  Faculty from minority-serving institutions and two-year colleges are strongly encouraged to apply.  Support for participants includes travel expenses, accommodations and meals during the workshop and stipends for participation and completion of post-workshop activities. Applications will be accepted until the workshop is full. Application decisions will begin December 1, 2010. This workshop is being organized by Christopher Beck (Emory University) and Lawrence Blumer (Morehouse College).

Policy Update

There has been fast judicial movement on the issue of federal funding for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research.  On September 9 a federal appeals court temporarily lifted Judge Royce Lamberth’s preliminary injunction of August 23, which halted federal funding of hESC research.

With the ban temporarily lifted, NIH hESC researchers were given the green light to use funds on hand to continue their research. NIH extramural research chief Sally Rockey said that "hESC awards should be given priority including non-competing continuations and new and renewing competing awards." Applications due for final approval or renewal in September or October also would be given expedited treatment. Planned reviews for new grants, however, were being cancelled, according to The Daily Scan.

With the appeals court’s temporary decision to continue federal funding of hESC, the plaintiffs’ (Drs. Sherley and Deisher) counsel submitted a motion for a summary judgment.  They asked the Court to enter judgment declaring that the NIH Guidelines “are invalid as a matter of law.”

The appeals court is expected to rule shortly on whether or not to continue the preliminary injunction issued by the lower court.  Oral arguments will be heard on September 27 on whether or not to extend the stay.  If the stay is not extended, hESC research would again be halted.

Meantime, on the legislative front, Sen. Arlen Spector (D-PA) introduced on September 13, the Stem Cell Research Advancement Act of 2010, which would make into law the language of President Obama’s 2009 Executive Order allowing federal funding for hESC research. And on September 16, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing on “The Promise of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research.”  Witnesses included NIH Director Francis S. Collins.



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