GSA Logo Media Contact:
Raeka Aiyar, Ph.D.
GSA Communications and Engagement Manager
C: 202.412.1120 | O: 301.634.7302


For Immediate Release

Tuesday, June 17, 2014



Nine graduate students and postdocs receive GSA DeLill Nasser Award

Award provides travel grants for professional development


BETHESDA, MD – The Genetics Society of America (GSA) is proud to name nine early-career scientists—four graduate students and five postdoctoral researchers—as Fall 2014 recipients of GSA’s DeLill Nasser Award for Professional Development in Genetics. The award provides a $1,000 travel grant for each recipient to attend any national or international meeting, conference, or laboratory course that will enhance his or her career. 


"The winners of this award are young researchers who have already produced impressive research in important areas of genetics," said Adam P. Fagen, PhD, GSA's Executive Director. "In the spirit of Dr. Nasser’s enthusiastic support of early-stage researchers, we are hopeful that the travel grants will provide useful support for the careers of these talented individuals."


The DeLill Nasser Award was established by GSA in 2001 to honor its namesake, DeLill Nasser (1929–2000), a long-time GSA member who provided critical support to many early-career researchers during her 22 years as program director in eukaryotic genetics at the National Science Foundation. The winners of the Fall 2014 DeLill Nasser Award are: 


Postdoctoral winners

Meleah A. Hickman, PhD, University of Minnesota, USA
Research focus: "I study Candida albicans, the leading fungal pathogen of humans, and its sexual and unconventional ploidy transitions in response to antifungal drugs and environmental stresses in order to generate genetic and phenotypic variation and facilitate adaptation."
Travel to: 2014 GSA Yeast Genetics Meeting

Principal Investigator: Judith Berman

Michelle D. Leach, PhD, University of Toronto, Canada
Research focus: "I aim to understand the mechanisms by which pathogenic fungi such as Candida albicans sense heat and activate the thermal adaptation mechanisms that promote infection."
Travel to: 2014 GSA Yeast Genetics Meeting

Principal Investigator: Leah Cowen

Daniel A. Pollard, PhD, University of California, San Diego, USA
Research focus: "I study how genetic differences among individuals affect the speed at which they make and break down proteins."
Travel to: 2014 GSA Yeast Genetics Meeting

Principal Investigator: Scott Rifkin

Huanyu Qiao, PhD, University of California, Davis, USA
Research focus: "I study the molecular processes that distribute chromosomes to sperm and egg cells and help minimize birth defects, miscarriage, and fertility."
Travel to: GSA 27th Annual Mouse Molecular Genetics Conference

Principal Investigator: Neil Hunter

Tiffany A. Timbers, PhD, Simon Fraser University, Canada
Research focus: "My research seeks to identify and characterize novel proteins critical for sensory transduction with the aim to help facilitate the development of diagnostic tests and/or treatment for disorders that are relatively common in the population at large, including blindness and kidney disease."
Travel to: 19th Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics: Network and Pathway Analysis of Omics Data course

Principal Investigator: Michel R. Leroux


Graduate student winners

Alina Chan, University of British Columbia, Canada
Research focus: "I study the role of RNA processing in preserving genome stability and regulating gene expression."
Travel to: 2014 GSA Yeast Genetics Meeting

Principal Investigator: Philip Hieter

Amanda L. Socha, Dartmouth College, USA
Research focus: "The goal of my research is to increase crop yields and food security by understanding how essential nutrients such as manganese are absorbed by plants."
Travel to: 25th International Conference on Arabidopsis Research

Principal Investigator: Mary Lou Guerinot

Emily Fawcett, University of Washington, USA
Research focus: "My research focuses on understanding how environmental toxins encountered early in life can alter the way an animal responds to environmental stress as an adult."
Travel to: Aging, Metabolism, Stress, Pathogenesis and Small RNAs in C. elegans conference

Principal Investigator: Dana Miller

Jason V. Rogers, Princeton University, USA
Research focus: "I study the mechanisms of membrane fusion pathways within the model eukaryotic cell S. cerevisiae (yeast)."
Travel to: 2014 GSA Yeast Genetics Meeting

Principal Investigator: Mark Rose


The DeLill Nasser Awards are made twice per year. Applications are open to GSA members who are either graduate students or postdocs and who demonstrate excellence in genetics research, with an emphasis on productivity. Since the formation of this award in 2002, more than 100 researchers have received funding for travel to further their career goals and enhance their education. The program is supported by GSA, and with charitable donations from members of the genetics community. For more information about the DeLill Nasser Award, please see


* * *


About the Genetics Society of America (GSA)

Founded in 1931, the Genetics Society of America (GSA) is the professional scientific society for genetics researchers and educators. The Society’s more than 5,000 members worldwide work to deepen our understanding of the living world by advancing the field of genetics, from the molecular to the population level. GSA promotes research and fosters communication through a number of GSA-sponsored conferences including regular meetings that focus on particular model organisms. GSA publishes two peer-reviewed, peer-edited scholarly journals: GENETICS, which has published high quality original research across the breadth of the field since 1916, and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, an open-access journal launched in 2011 to disseminate high quality foundational research in genetics and genomics. The Society also has a deep commitment to education and fostering the next generation of scholars in the field. For more information about GSA, please visit


9650 Rockville Pike | Bethesda, MD 20814 | 301.634.7300 | |

Connect with GSA on Twitter (@GeneticsGSA) | Facebook | LinkedIn | Google+