Newswise — BETHESDA, MD -- November 26, 2012 -- The Genetics Society of America (GSA) is pleased to announce the selection of two early career scientists, graduate student Kathleen Dumas (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) and postdoctoral researcher Krista Dobi, PhD (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York), as advisory representatives to the GSA Board of Directors. These two individuals were selected from among more than 50 of GSA’s graduate student and postdoctoral members who volunteered to serve in leadership positions on the GSA Board of Directors. Additional early career researchers will be selected to contribute to the work of GSA committees.

“GSA has a long history of supporting its early career members through programs and policies that promote the professional development of our student and postdoc members,” said GSA President Phil Hieter, PhD. “The selection of Kathleen and Krista—and their peers on our committees—will ensure that the next generation of geneticists will always be at the table when Society priorities are discussed.”

GSA Executive Director Adam Fagen, PhD, added that “we hope this is just the beginning of more active engagement of our early career members in the work of the Society.” Students and postdoctoral scholars represent nearly half of GSA’s 5,000 members.

Ms. Dumas is a graduate student in the Cell and Molecular Biology Department at the University of Michigan (UM), Ann Arbor, working on insulin signaling genetics in the nematode worm C. elegans and also completed a graduate certificate program in Science, Technology, and Public Policy. Her research success has been facilitated by what she expressed as “the collaborative environment among C. elegans researchers.” Ms. Dumas has a history of volunteer service to her professional community, which includes serving as co-president of the Graduate Student Council at UM; revitalizing a moribund chapter of the Association for Women in Science; and serving as a lead organizer for a forum for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to share research, gain interdisciplinary perspectives and network with experts in the science and policy fields. Ms. Dumas has attended several International C. elegans meetings organized by GSA and received a 2012 GSA DeLill Nasser Travel Award for Professional Development in Genetics.

“Katie Dumas is a sophisticated student researcher who has exceptional leadership skills and dedication to bridging the interface between research and public policy,” said Jessica Schwartz, PhD, Director of the PhD Program in Cell & Molecular Biology at UM. “She is an excellent communicator and will represent an informed student perspective effectively. I am certain that Katie will make excellent contributions to GSA,” she added.

“I am honored and excited to serve as the inaugural advisory graduate student representative to the GSA Board of Directors,” said Ms. Dumas. “I believe the Society’s commitment to embracing the perspectives of its graduate student constituents exemplifies its mission to support the next generation of geneticists.”

Dr. Dobi, a postdoctoral researcher in developmental biology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City, is studying the development of muscles in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. As a graduate student she studied gene regulation in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Not only does she have varied and rich research experiences, according to her MSKCC postdoctoral mentor Mary Baylies, PhD, Dr. Dobi is “an effective and clear communicator, an excellent mentor, and she has excellent organizational and leadership abilities.” She has mentored high school, undergraduate and graduate students, served on advisory committees and organized conferences. While an undergraduate at Princeton, she also served as executive director of the Princeton Model Congress, planning a conference in Washington, D.C. for 1,000 high school students and their teachers. Dr. Dobi has attended GSA-sponsored Drosophila research conferences and received a 2012 GSA DeLill Nasser Travel Award for Professional Development in Genetics.

“As a yeast and Drosophila geneticist, I am truly honored to be the first postdoctoral representative to the GSA Board of Directors,” said Dr. Dobi. “I look forward to sharing the perspectives and concerns of early-career scientists with the Board, and to working with them to advance the field of genetics.”

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 an online, open-access journal, 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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