GSA Logo Media Contact:
Adam Fagen, PhD

GSA Executive Director

O: 301.634.7300


For Immediate Release

Friday, July 24, 2015



Student researchers recognized for posters presented at  C. elegans Meeting

GSA Poster Awards for 20th International C. elegans Meeting


BETHESDA, MD – The Genetics Society of America (GSA) and the C. elegans research community are pleased to announce the recipients of the GSA poster awards at the 20th International C. elegans Meeting, which took place at the University of California, Los Angeles, June 24-28, 2015. The awards were made to undergraduate and graduate students  in recognition of the research they presented at the conference. The meeting encourages communication and collaboration between researchers interested in physiology, neurobiology, development, evolution, behavior, aging, ecology, gene regulation and genomics, all using the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system. 


"It's exciting to see so many early career researchers share their research during the 'worm' meeting," said Adam P. Fagen, PhD, GSA's Executive Director. "These are talented scientists who are already making substantive contributions to our field."

More than 1,700 researchers attended the meeting, and the poster awards were selected by a panel of leading researchers.


The awardees and honorable mentions of the 20th International C. elegans Meeting GSA Poster Awards are:


Graduate Students


Cell Biology

Katherine Lawrence,
University of California, Davis, USA
Poster title: "SUN protein UNC-84 functions in DNA repair choice in the C. elegans germ line. "

Advisor:  JoAnne Engebrecht

Honorable Mention
Dayana R. D’Amora,
York University, Canada
Poster Title: "BRAP-2 (BRca1 Associated binding Protein 2) promotes germline apoptosis."
Advisor: Terrance J. Kubiseski
Honorable Mention
Gunar Fabig,
Dresden University of Technology, Germany
Poster Title: "Chromosome segregation during male meiosis in C. elegans."
Advisor: Thomas Müller-Reichert


Development and Evolution

Jie Chen,
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, USA
Poster Title: "Ras/ERK pathway and retinoblastoma associated protein RbAp46 regulate synaptonemal complex dynamics during prophase I of meiosis."
Advisor:  Swathi Arur
Honorable Mention

Sophie P. R. Gilbert, University of Oxford, England, UK
Poster Title: "pal-1 regulates polarized apical junction remodeling and cell movement during the development of the C. elegans epidermis."

Advisor:  Alison Woollard
Honorable Mention
Kimberly Haupt,
University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA
Poster Title: "LST-1 and SYGL-1, key regulators of germline stem cell fate."
Advisor: Judith Kimble
Honorable Mention

Olga Skorobogata, McGill University, Canada
Poster Title: "An AGEF-1/Arf GTPase/AP-1 ensemble antagonizes LET-23 EGFR basolateral localization and signalling in the VPCs."

Advisor: Christian Rocheleau


Gene Regulation and Genomics


June Tan, University of Toronto, Canada
Poster Title: "Genomic approaches to study the roles of various splicing factors in regulating alternative splicing events in C. elegans."

Advisor: Andrew Fraser
Honorable Mention

Patricia Abete-Luzi, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA
Poster Title: "Investigating the regulation of temporal co-expression of cuticle collagen genes in C. elegans."

Advisor: David M. Eisenmann
Honorable Mention

Stephen Michael Blazie, Arizona State University, USA
Poster Title: "An integrative analysis of alternative polyadenylation and miRNA regulation in C. elegans."

Advisor: Marco Mangone




Hiu E. Lau, University of California, San Diego/Salk Institute, USA
Poster Title: "Acute food deprivation activates neuropeptide signaling in diverse tissues to modify avoidance behavior."

Advisor: Sreekanth Chalasani
Honorable Mention

Emily A. Bayer, Columbia University, USA
Poster Title: "Investigating the genetic basis of neuronal dimorphisms in C. elegans."

Advisor: Oliver Hobart
Honorable Mention

Andrew Hill, California State University, Northridge, USA
Poster Title: "ADAM17/TACE homolog ADM-4 mediates stress-induced quiescence in C. elegans."

Advisor: Cheryl Van Buskirk
Honorable Mention

Eyal Itskovits, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Poster Title: "A new multi-worm tracker reveals unprecedented insights on worm chemotaxis."

Advisor: Alon Zaslaver
  Honorable Mention

Sean A. Merrill, University of Utah, USA
Poster Title: "Locating synaptic calcium channels."

Advisor: Erik Jorgensen



Matthew Churgin, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Poster Title: "Analysis of quiescence during aging in insulin/insulin-like signaling mutants using a microfabricated WorMotel multi-well device."

Advisor: Christopher Fang-Yen
Honorable Mention

Salvador E. Peña, University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry, USA
Poster Title: "Hypoxia and the Mitochondrial Unfolded Protein Response."

Advisor: Keith Nehrke
Honorable Mention

Jessica Sowa, Baylor College of Medicine, USA
Poster Title: "Olfactory Regulation of C. elegans Reproductive Aging."

Advisor: Meng Wang
Honorable Mention

Surojit Sural, University of Michigan, USA
Poster Title: "Inhibition of HSB-1 induces an altered HSF-1 transactivation profile to promote longevity."

Advisor: Ao-Lin Hsu


Undergraduate Students

Karen Jiang,
University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Poster Title: "Sensorimotor signal transmission through AIY interneuron in Caenorhabditis elegans during isothermal tracking."
Advisor:  Katsushi Arisaka

Honorable Mention
Raven Symone Conyers,
Washington State University, USA
Poster Title:
"The effect of FUdR on fatty acid composition and aging in C. elegans."
Jennifer Watts
  Honorable Mention
Jenna Johnson, Luther College, USA
Poster Title: "Histone modifications are required for the persistence of hydrogen sulfide memory in C. elegans."
Advisor: Dana Miller, University of Washington
  Honorable Mention
Caitlin Morris,
Lewis and Clark College, USA
Poster Title:
"Identification and characterization of genes controlling gut granule size."
Greg Hermann


Each poster awardee receives a cash prize and both awardees and honorable mentions receive a complimentary extension to their GSA membership. The Society typically awards such prizes several times a year at each of their conferences on genetic research focused on a variety of model organisms.


Raven Symone Conyers and Jenna Johnson were also recipients of the GSA Undergraduate Travel Award, which provided support for them to present their research at the meeting.


* * *

About the C. elegans Conference

About 1,700 scientists attended the 20th International C. elegans Meeting. The meeting featured more than 200 talks and 1,000 poster presentations on a diverse range of cutting-edge resarch topics including physiology, neurobiology, development, evolution, behavior, aging, ecology, gene regulation and genoimcs. This biennial meeting is the world's largest assemly of scientists conducting cutting-edge research using the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. For more information about the conference, 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+