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May 13, 2015

Society News

Early registration for the 20th International C. elegans Meeting ends next Thursday, May 21st. Don’t miss this opportunity to save $100 on your registration! A highlight of the meeting includes the Keynote Address by Nobel Laureate Craig Mello.

Nominations are open for the Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Award, which honors the ground-breaking contributions of Dr. Rosalind Franklin by supporting new generations of women geneticists. The Gruber Foundation will fund two career development research awards of $75,000, distributed over three years to women geneticists in their first three years of an independent faculty-level position. Eligible candidates may nominate themselves or be nominated by a colleague or mentor. The award is administered by GSA and the American Society of Human Genetics. The nomination deadline is June 5, 2015.

GSA is pleased to announce the winners of the GSA Undergraduate Travel Awards! The winners will be presenting their research at the 20th International C. elegans Meeting in Los Angeles, California, in June. Congratulations to our fifteen undergraduate members:
  • Tykayah Baird, Central Washington University
  • Ben Blue, University of Oregon
  • Sarah Chang, Pennsylvania State University
  • Raven Symone Conyers, Washington State University
  • Alex Huang, Rutgers University
  • Jenna Johnson, Luther College
  • Regina Lai, University of British Columbia
  • Robert Monroy, University of California, Davis
  • Gabriel Moore, Oberlin College
  • Maggie Morash, Rutgers University
  • Mohammad Sadic, New York University
  • Claire Schaar, Hope College
  • Tyler Shimko, University of Utah
  • Emma Sikes, College of the Holy Cross
  • Lisa Truong, University of California, Davis
GSA is excited to announce a new opportunity for students and postdocs. The GSA Trainee-Organized Symposia will provide up to $2,000 for our student and postdoctoral members to organize local and regional symposia in subject areas relevant to the GSA mission. The first application deadline is July 10, 2015.

Two of the keynote speakers at GSA’s 2016 meeting, The Allied Genetics Conference, have been recently highlighted in the press:

  • National Geographic profiled the efforts of Pamela Ronald, who is working to bring together genetic engineers and organic farmers; and
  • The New York Times featured an in-depth profile of Jennifer Doudna, her help in discovering CRISPR/Cas9, ethics in genome editing, and patent disputes.

Conversations in Genetics is now freely available online. This series of videos offers an oral history of our intellectual heritage in genetics through in-depth interviews of geneticists who have made seminal contributions to the field, including James Crow, Janet Rowley, Sydney Brenner, and Elizabeth Blackburn. Previously only available on DVD, we are excited that these fascinating conversations are now available to a wider audience than ever before. [more…]

The GSA Journals

Write for us! The GSA journals are looking for a part-time summer intern with a talent for storytelling and a strong background in genetics or a related scientific field. The intern will work closely with editorial staff to write posts for the Genes to Genomes blog and contribute to other writing, outreach, and communications tasks, as needed. The position is for 10 hours a week, for 12 weeks, telecommuting. If you are an excellent writer and fast learner, we want to hear from you!

Undergrads power genomics research: With 1,014 authors, an article by Leung et al. in the May issue of G3 has the largest author list of any paper published in the journal. More than 900 of those authors were undergraduate students when they performed the research on the evolution of the Drosophila dot chromosome. The work was coordinated by the Genomics Education Partnership (GEP), a large collaboration of college/university faculty coordinated from the Biology Department and The Genome Institute at Washington University in St. Louis. GSA board member Sally Elgin is the GEP program director. Read more at the Genes to Genomes blog.
  Drosophila Muller F Elements Maintain a Distinct Set of Genomic Properties Over 40 Million Years of Evolution
Wilson Leung et al.
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics May 2015 5:719-740

Nasonia wasps.
Image credit: Peter Koomen, courtesy of Leo Beukeboom.
Nasonia Genetic Toolbox: The parasitoid wasp Nasonia has a haplodiploid genetic system, which allows some of the advantages of microbial genetics to be applied to a complex multicellular eukaryote. In addition, fertile hybrids can be formed among the four Nasonia species, making the group exceptionally well suited for addressing questions in evolutionary genetics. In the latest issue of GENETICS, Jeremy Lynch reviews the expanding genetic toolbox of this powerful model.

  The Expanding Genetic Toolbox of the Wasp Nasonia vitripennis and Its Relative
Jeremy A. Lynch
Genetics April 2015 199:897-904

Included in this Issue:

May Issue

May Issue


Product Manager Genetic Test Evaluation, Hayes, Inc., Greater Philadelphia Area, PA

Bio Defense Senior Therapeutic Technical Advisor, GeneDx, Inc, VA

Clinical Geneticist, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

Science Writing Intern, Genetics Society of America Journals

Postdoctoral Fellowship - Oncogenic Signals and Chromosome Biology, University of California, Davis

Assistant Professor of Genetics, Eastern Connecticut State University, Windham, CT

Lab/Program Manager, Baltimore Under Ground Science Space (BUGSS), Baltimore, MD

Sequence Read Archive Curator, Computercraft Corporation, Bethesda, MD

NCBI Scientific Product Manager for Genetic Variation, Computercraft Corporation, Bethesda, MD

Scientific Product Manager for Genetic Submissions, Computercraft Corporation, Bethesda, MD

Policy & Communications Manager, Genetics Society of America, Bethesda, MD

Genes to Genomes: The GSA Journals Blog

Medaka varieties illustrated in Plate 1 of Aida (1921).

Medaka Genetic Toolbox: old fish, new tricks: Since the 17th century, the tiny medaka fish that dart through rice paddies in Japan have been bred as living ornaments. Though in the wild they are a nondescript mud color, medaka occasionally turn up in flashier mutant varieties—orange-red, pearlescent white, black splotched—that were much prized by generations of fish fanciers. Around 1913, medaka color varieties caught the attention of zoologist Tatuo Aida. Read more about the history and future of medaka genetics.

Guest post: Beth & Bryn on fly sex: Male Drosophila fruit flies perform an elaborate ritual when they court a female. In the April issue of G3, Gaertner and Ruedi et al. assessed genetic variation in the progression between phases of the courtship sequence. In this lively and informative guest post, co-authors Bryn Gaertner and Beth Ruedi interviewed each other about their interest in fly sex, the vital place of model organisms in behavioral research, and life after the lab.

Members in the News

Congratulations to GSA member Susan Lindquist on her election as a Foreign Member of The Royal Society. Comprised of some of the world’s most eminent scientists, The Royal Society is the world’s oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. Lindquist served as GSA Secretary 1998–2000 and received the GSA Medal in 2008. [more…]

Education and Professional Development

The Jackson Laboratory is hosting a four day workshop May 26–29, 2015 in Bar Harbor, Maine, for graduate students and postdocs preparing for a science career. The Whole Scientist will include modules on management (of people, grants, and ideas), best practices in teaching, communication essentials, and ethics as a scientist. The registration fee is $300, and travel awards are available. Space is limited so reserve your spot today!

Beginning a job search after completing your PhD is daunting, but you can tap into a wealth of information and tips on how to develop a successful plan of action for your job search. This Naturejobs blog post offers five strategies for success, from fine-tuning the most sought after skills in the industry to setting weekly goals. Learn how to take control of your job search.

Naturejobs' Postdoc series details provides a how-to on transitioning from postdoc to setting up your own lab, with an emphasis on securing funding and a breakdown of differences in start-up packages between the US and the UK. Regardless of lab locale, applying for grants as early as possible is essential for success.

Funding, Fellowships, and Awards

The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE) invite scientists and science educators of all stripes to enter the Fifth Annual Evolution Video Competition. Entries should include a fun fact, key concept, or compelling question that explains evolution research. Finalists will be screened at the Evolution 2015 conference in Guarujá, Brazil. All videos must be submitted by Sunday, May 31st.

Science and SciLifeLab have joined forces to create a prize for young scientists. Recognizing the economic challenges scientists face as they begin their careers, the Science and SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists will award one grand prize winner $30,000 and three category winners $10,000. To be eligible for the 2015 prize, entrants must have been awarded their PhD within the last two years, and their thesis subject should match one of the following: Cell and Molecular Biology, Genomics and Proteomics, Ecology and Environment, Translational Medicine. The application deadline is August 1, 2015.

The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) has launched its fifth annual “Faces of Biology” photography contest. Entries must depict a person engaged in some sort of biological research. The winning photo will be featured on the cover of BioScience, and the first place winner will receive $250, a one year membership to AIBS, and a subscription to BioScience. The entry deadline is September 30, 2015.

Are you an early-career, foreign-born researcher? The Vilcek Foundation is seeking applications for the 2016 Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science, open to biomedical researchers age 38 and under born outside the US. Three $50,000 cash prizes will be awarded, and the winners will be honored at a ceremony in New York City in April 2016. Apply by June 15, 2015.


The Coalition for National Science Funding held its 21st annual exhibition on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on April 29. Check out highlights and pictures from the event, which demonstrated the value of projects funded by the National Science Foundation.

Jon Lorsch, director of NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), was on Capitol Hill recently, testifying before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee. His opening statement stressed the importance of basic research. Dr. Lorsch also recently penned an article about the institute’s focus on investigator-investigated research.

NIH director Francis Collins issued a statement opposing the use of genome-editing technologies in human embryos. “The concept of altering the human germline in embryos for clinical purposes has been debated over many years from many different perspectives, and has been viewed almost universally as a line that should not be crossed.”

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has released an updated draft of its 21st Century Cures legislation. The new draft includes an authorization for an additional $10 billion for NIH.

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have established a new Senate NIH Caucus. According to their letter seeking members, “The NIH Caucus will offer an opportunity for senators to educate their colleagues about the importance of NIH. We will also seek a bipartisan strategy to restore the purchasing power that NIH has lost and provide steady, predictable growth for biomedical research in the future.”
Vilcek Prize
"GMO" sweet potatoes
(Image credit: U-ichiro Murakami/Flickr.com)

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been at the top of the news in recent weeks:

Community Announcements

Interested in writing for Science Friday? They’re currently seeking established science journalists interested in freelancing. More details and the types of stories they’re looking for can be found here.

NIGMS is seeking candidates for the position of Director, Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology. Applications are being accepted through late May.

And finally...

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Deadline for next issue: May 22, 2015. Send items (and feedback) to Beth Ruedi, eruedi@genetics-gsa.org.