Newswise — The Genetics Society of America (GSA) is pleased to announce the four newly-elected members to the 2011 GSA Board of Directors. Elected to the GSA Board as vice-president is Philip Hieter, PhD (University of British Columbia, Canada). After serving as vice president in 2011, Hieter will become president of GSA in 2012. The three new directors to the Board are: Bonnie Bartel, PhD (Rice University, Houston, Texas), Judith Berman, PhD (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis), and Jeannie T. Lee, MD, PhD (Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital). The new officer and directors will begin their service for three years on January 1, 2011.

“Our membership has elected representatives of the model organism communities who are active and involved in their research and with our Society. I look forward to working with them and the energy they will bring to promoting the activities of the GSA,” said Executive Director Dr. Sherry A. Marts.

The GSA is the professional membership organization representing more than 4,000 geneticists and science educators who work with experimental model organisms – from bacteria to yeast, fruit flies, mice and plants -- to elucidate the fundamental principles of inheritance from the cellular through the population levels. The new Board officer and members have research interests and work with model organisms that represent the breadth and depth of the membership of the GSA. More information about the new Board members is listed below.

2011 GSA Board of Directors

Vice-President:Philip Hieter, PhD, Professor, Michael Smith Laboratories, and Department of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Dr. Hieter is a long-time GSA member who served on the Board of Directors from 1995-97, and was co-organizer of the GSA-sponsored Yeast Genetics and Molecular Biology Meeting in Vancouver this year. In his lab, Dr. Hieter’s major focus is on the molecular biology of eukaryotic chromosome transmission. A yeast geneticist, he studies the genes and proteins that control the mitotic segregation of chromosomes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Understanding the mechanisms of chromosome transmission in yeast is directly relevant to our understanding of cancer chromosome transmission mechanisms, and could perhaps lead to new developments in cancer therapy.

Directors:Bonnie Bartel, PhD, Ralph and Dorothy Looney Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Rice University, Houston, Texas.

Also a long-time member of GSA, Dr. Bartel has been an associate editor for the GSA Journal, GENETICS, since 2003. Trained as a yeast geneticist, Dr. Bartel now uses Arabidopsis to study basic processes contributing to plant development, including understanding the regulation of the plant growth hormone auxin and microRNA functions. Current research includes studying the targets of auxin action (as well as auxin itself) to better understand how auxin promotes lateral and adventitious root formation. Auxins are produced commercially and are widely used in agriculture.

Judith Berman, PhD, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Genetics, Cell Biology & Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Dr. Berman has served on the organizing committees for several GSA-sponsored Yeast Genetics and Molecular Biology meetings and has been a member of the Society for many years. Research in her lab focuses on Candida albicans, a human fungal pathogen that lives in the digestive tract of healthy humans, and diverged from the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae over one hundred million years ago. Dr. Berman and her research team investigate karyotype plasticity and genome stability in C. albicans, and use the system to examine drug targets and evolution of drug resistance. C. albicans can result in superficial infections such as thrush, and can sometimes escalate to life threatening systemic infections with mortality as high as 40 percent among patients.

Jeannie T. Lee, MD, PhD, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Professor of Genetics (and Pathology), Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital. Using the mouse as a model, Dr. Lee and her lab team are interested in understanding some of the fundamental differences between the sexes. In particular, her lab studies the mechanisms of X-chromosome inactivation by various non-coding RNA loci, and investigates the evolutionary relationship between X-chromosome inactivation and genomic imprinting. As a mouse researcher, Dr. Lee bridges the gap between non-mammalian model organisms, which GSA has traditionally concentrated on, and mammalian genetics, which leads to the study of genetics in humans.

The new officer and directors replace Past President (2009) Fred Winston (Harvard Medical School), and Directors Susan T. Lovett (Brandeis University, Waltham, MA), Sally A. Camper (University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor) and Charles H. Langley (University of California, Davis) who will be retiring from the Board. Also retiring from the Board is Treasurer Trudy F. Mackay (North Carolina State University, Raleigh). The treasurer’s position will be filled in an election of the Board of Directors. The new members join the following GSA Board officers and directors whose tenure continues until the year in parenthesis.

• 2011 President (2012) Paul W. Sternberg, (California Institute of Technology, Pasadena)• 2010 Past President (2011) R. Scott Hawley (Stowers Institute for Medical Research)• Secretary (2012) Mariana F. Wolfner (Cornell University, Ithaca, NY)• Journal Editor (2013) Mark Johnston (University of Colorado Health Science Center, Denver)• Director (2012) Utpal Banerjee (University of California, Los Angeles)• Director (2012) Elizabeth A. De Stasio (Lawrence University, Appleton, WI)• Director (2011) Jay C. Dunlap (Dartmouth Medical School)• Director (2012) Sue Jinks-Robertson (Duke University Medical Center)• Director (2011) Douglas E. Koshland (HHMI/University of California, Berkeley)• Director (2012) Thomas J. Silhavy (Princeton University)• Director (2011) Susan R. Wessler (University of California, Riverside).

ABOUT THE GENETICS SOCIETY OF AMERICAFounded in 1931, the Genetics Society of America (GSA) is the professional membership organization for geneticists and science educators whose research and interests are in model organisms – bacteria, yeast, fungi, C. elegans, Drosophila, plants and mice. Its more than 4,000 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 the Genetics Society of America 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. GSA publishes GENETICS, the leading journal in the field. For more information about GSA, please visit

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