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Drosophila Meeting Poster Award Recipients Announced

Released: 25-Apr-2013 2:00 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Genetics Society of America
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Citations 54th Drosophila Genetics Research Conference

Newswise — BETHESDA, MD – April 25, 2013 -- The Genetics Society of America (GSA) and its Drosophila community are pleased to announce the nine early career geneticists who are recipients of poster awards for their presentation at the 54th Annual Drosophila Research Conference held April 3-7, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Poster awards were presented to scientists at three career stages: undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers. Each category offered a first prize for $500, second for $300 and third for $200. Recipients also receive a complementary extension to their GSA membership and a copy of Conversations in Genetics, a series of interviews with prominent geneticists.

“These poster awards recognize the significant science these early career researchers are already pursuing and provide them with an incentive to continue their studies and training in genetics,” said Adam Fagen, PhD, Executive Director of GSA. “We know these trainees are the future of the field and we anticipate great discoveries based on the caliber of their current research.”

“These young scientists should be very proud of their award-winning work, said Amy Bejsovec, PhD, President of the North American Drosophila Board. “This meeting was jam-packed with good science, and they stood out as the best. The poster awards recognize not just top-quality research but also the ability to present that work creatively and clearly. Communication is an essential skill for scientists, and we are delighted that our awardees have mastered this skill so brilliantly,” she added.

The nine recipients of the awards were selected from among 500 student and postdoc posters, which represent more than half of the nearly 1,000 poster presentations at the conference. The awardees, research institution, poster titles and principal investigators (PI) who worked with them are listed below. To read the abstracts for these posters, go to and search by the program number following the titles.

Undergraduate Awardees:

1st Place: Emily J. Simon, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Poster Title: Negative Regulation of the Folded Gastrulation Signaling Pathway by the β-arrestin Kurtz (228C)
PI: Stephen L. Rogers, PhD; Mentor: Alyssa Manning, PhD

2nd Place: Susanna E. Brantley, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
Poster Title: JAK/Stat signaling in the D. melanogaster cellular immune response (578B)
PI: Todd A. Schlenke, PhD

3rd Place: Marvin Nayan, University of Washington, Seattle
Poster Title: Analysis of Dendrite Patterning Dynamics in Novel Self-Avoidance Mutant (921A)
PI: Jay Parrish, PhD

Graduate Awardees:

1st Place: Jermaine Ross, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island and the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
Poster Title: Dissecting the cis-regulatory DNA that controls the POU-domain transcription factor genes, pdm-1 & pdm-2 (813A)
Adviser: Ward F. Odenwald, PhD

2nd Place: Rebecca A. Somer, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City
Poster Title: Transgenerational Inheritance of Metabolic State in Drosophila (770C)
Advisor: Carl S. Thummel, PhD

3rd Place: Balint Z. Kacsoh, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
Poster Title: Trans-generational medication in Drosophila sechellia (489C)
PI: Todd A. Schlenke, PhD

Postdoctoral Researchers:

1st Place: Miriam Osterfield, PhD, Princeton University, New Jersey
Poster Title: Three-dimensional epithelial morphogenesis in developing eggshells (178A)
PI: Stanislav Shvartsman, PhD

2nd Place: Pam Vanderzalm, PhD, University of Chicago, Illinois
Poster Title: A non-transcriptional role for Hippo pathway signaling (358A)
PI: Richard Fehon, PhD

3rd Place: Bahar H. Sahin, PhD, Bogazici Universitesi, Istanbul, Turkey
Poster Title: Salt Inducible Kinases in Drosophila Development (941C)
PI: Arzu Celik, PhD

ABOUT THE GSA DROSOPHILA RESEARCH CONFERENCE: At least 1,500 researchers attend the annual GSA Drosophila Research Conference to share the latest research using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and other insect species. Many findings from these model organisms have broad application for the study of human genetic traits and diseases. For more information about the conference, see

ABOUT GSA: Founded in 1931, the Genetics Society of America (GSA) is the professional membership organization for scientific researchers, educators, bioengineers, bioinformaticians and others interested in the field of genetics. Its nearly 5,000 members work to advance knowledge in the basic mechanisms of inheritance, from the molecular to the population level. The GSA is dedicated to promoting research in genetics and to facilitating communication among geneticists worldwide through its conferences, including the biennial conference on Model Organisms to Human Biology, an interdisciplinary meeting on current and cutting edge topics in genetics research, as well as annual and biennial meetings that focus on the genetics of particular organisms, including C. elegans, Drosophila, fungi, mice, yeast, and zebrafish. GSA publishes GENETICS, a leading journal in the field and a new online, open-access publication, G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics. For more information about GSA, please visit Also follow GSA on Facebook at and on Twitter @GeneticsGSA.

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