Newswise — BETHESDA, MD – The Genetics Society of America (GSA) is pleased to name the recipients of the GSA Undergraduate Travel Awards for summer 2015. These students will use the funds from this award to travel to the 20th International C. elegans Meeting, where they will present their research findings. “We are always delighted to help further the careers or our undergraduate members, by providing them with an opportunity to present their research to an international audience," noted GSA Executive Director Adam Fagen, PhD. “We look forward to hearing more about their findings at the 'worm meeting' this summer." The winners of the GSA Undergraduate Travel Awards for summer 2015 are: Tykayah Baird, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA, USAResearch focus: "My research includes looking at the long term effects of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), escitalopram on behavior using C. elegans as a model organism."Mentor: Lucinda Carnell Ben Blue, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USAResearch focus: "Using novel microfluidic approaches, I measure C. elegans behavioral and physiological traits with the goal of better understanding the processes that determine how and why individuals age."Mentor: Patrick Phillips Sarah Chang, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA, USAResearch focus: "I study the role of oxidative stress in metabolism and aging using C. elegans."Mentor: Wendy Hanna-Rose

Raven Symone Conyers, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USAResearch focus: "My research is on the effect of FUdR on fat composition and aging in C. elegans."Mentor: Jennifer Watts

Alex Huang, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, USAResearch focus: "Our project is an effort to determine the role of piRNA in the epigenetic inheritance pathway."Mentor: Sam Gu

Jenna Johnson, Luther College, Decorah, IA, USAResearch focus: "My research involves characterizing the genetic factors that are involved in the response of C. elegans, a microscopic nematode, to the toxic gas hydrogen sulfide."Mentor: Dana Miller, University of Washington Regina Lai, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, CanadaResearch focus: "I use the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans to study the regulatory pathways that are activated to respond to a build up of molecules that damage cellular components such as DNA and protein."Mentor: Stefan Taubert Robert Monroy, University of California, Davis, CA, USAResearch focus: "I am studying the role of nuclear migration in C. elegans."Mentor: Daniel Starr Gabriel Moore, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH, USAResearch focus: "My research project aims to understand, at the level of genes, proteins, cells, and organs, how the C. elegans intestinal cells can instruct neurons to evoke a precisely timed muscle contraction that is part of a three step motor program involved in digestion."Mentor: Maureen Peters Maggie Morash, Rutgers University, Pistcataway, NJ, USAResearch focus: "I study the way in which the internal structure of cells is regulated in an effort to better understand key cell processes such as cell division."Mentor: Maureen Barr Mohammad Sadic, New York University, New York, NY, USAResearch focus: "We aim to understand how condensin complexes in C. elegans are targeted to different regions of the genome." Mentor: Sevinc Ercan Claire Schaar, Hope College, Holland, MI, USAResearch focus: "My research examines the relationship between aging and the electron transport chain in the mitochondria of C. elegans."Mentor: Jeremy Van Raamsdonk, Van Andel Research Institute Tyler Shimko, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USAResearch focus: “I use the model nematode worm C. elegans to study the process by which sperm cells gain the ability to move, known as sperm activation.”Mentor: Gillian Stanfield Emma Sikes, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA, USAResearch focus: "My research is investigating the role of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) genes in the insulin-signaling response to a high glucose diet in C. elegans." Mentor: Michelle A. Mondoux Lisa Truong, University of California, Davis, CA, USAResearch focus: "I study the possible role of the DNA damage sensor ATR in the repair of double strand breaks and chromosome segregation in meiosis."Mentor: JoAnne Engebrecht

The GSA Undergraduate Travel Awards are one of several awards made by the GSA to early career researchers. Applicants must be GSA members, and successful applicants may use their funds to support travel to one of GSA’s conferences on genetics research in a variety of model organisms. For more information on these awards, including criteria and previous winners, please see * * * About the International C. elegans MeetingThe biannual C. elegans meeting brings together more than 1,700 scientists conducting cutting-edge research on a diverse array of topics from neurobiology to genomics, aging to ecology. Meeting attendees generally conduct research using the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, a model organism that lends itself to easy investigation where findings can be easily translated to humans. C. elegans emerged as a common system of study in the 1960s and 1970s because of the ability to understand the position of every cell in the body and how they are connected to each other. Later, C. elegans was the first animal to have its complete genome sequenced, paving the way for the subsequent completion of the human genome. Research conducted in C. elegans has been the subject of at least three Nobel Prizes awarded in the last 15 years. 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