Newswise — BETHESDA, MD – The Genetics Society of America (GSA) is pleased to announce the election of six new members to its Board of Directors. The new members include a Vice-President, who will serve as President of the Society in 2017, a Secretary, and four Directors:

  • Lynn Cooley, PhD (Yale University). Dr. Cooley will serve as Vice-President in 2016 and as GSA President in 2017.
  • David Greenstein, PhD (University of Minnesota), Secretary
  • JoAnne Engebrecht, PhD (University of California, Davis), Director
  • Erika Matunis, PhD (Johns Hopkins School of Medicine), Director
  • Eric Selker, PhD (University of Oregon), Director
  • Huntington Willard, PhD (Marine Biological Laboratory and University of Chicago), Director

The newly elected board members begin their tenure on January 1, 2016, and will remain on the GSA Board through December 31, 2018. "We are honored that these talented and committed scientists will be joining the Society leadership," said Adam P. Fagen, PhD, GSA's Executive Director. "It is clear that the new members will continue the strong tradition established by current and previous Board members of enhancing our service to the genetics community and raising the visibility of our field." Learn more about the newly elected leadership below:

New Members of the GSA Board of Directors Vice President (and President-Elect): Lynn Cooley, PhDC.N.H. Long Professor of GeneticsProfessor of Cell Biology and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental BiologyDean, Graduate School of Arts and SciencesYale University Lynn Cooley is a Drosophila researcher at Yale University, where she serves as the Dean of the Graduate School for Arts and Sciences, C.N.H. Long Professor of Genetics, and Professor of Cell Biology and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. Her research involves the mechanisms controlling oocyte growth in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Dr. Cooley is eager to work with the GSA Board to promote the enormous benefits of genetic approaches to understanding biological mechanisms. She wrote in her candidacy statement that "my top priority is to work with the GSA to advocate strongly for genetics and the tremendous value of basic research. I am very interested in the potential of amplifying these messages through coordinated efforts among model system communities." Dr. Cooley has served GSA in several leadership positions over the years; she is currently completing a term as a GSA Director, is the current Editor-In-Chief of FlyBook, which just launched publication in GENETICS, and is the Associate Editor of GENETICS. She also served as 2004-2005 President of the North American Drosophila Board of Directors. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, and was a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences.

Secretary: David Greenstein, PhD Professor of Genetics, Cell Biology, and DevelopmentUniversity of Minnesota

David Greenstein is a C. elegans researcher in the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development at the University of Minnesota. His major research interest is in the genetic control of germline development in the nematode worm C. elegans, where he has demonstrated that the major sperm protein in this model organism functions as a hormone to promote oocyte meiotic maturation, ovulation, and fertilization. Dr. Greenstein is an Associate Editor of GENETICS, a co-editor of WormBook, and served as an organizer for the 17th International C. elegans Meeting in 2009. He has been honored with an American Chemical Society Undergraduate Award, National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, National Institutes of Health (NIH)Postdoctoral Fellowship, and an American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award. Dr. Greenstein is enthusiastic to contribute to the advancement of GSA's mission in promoting research, education, and outreach. Director: JoAnne Engebrecht PhD Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular BiologyUniversity of California, Davis

JoAnne Engebrecht is a Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of California, Davis, where she uses C. elegans to study the fundamental process of meiosis, which underlies Mendelian genetics. Her passion for teaching and mentoring is evidenced by her selection for the Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012 and the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Researchers in 2014. She served as an Associate Editor for GENETICS, where she publishes frequently, and served as a conference organizer for the FASEB Phospholipase D conference in 2001. Dr. Engebrecht is excited about helping the Society to educate the public on the value of model organisms and to provide young scientists mentorship to ensure that genetics continues to attract a diverse and vibrant group of researchers and educators.

Director: Erika Matunis, PhD Professor, Department of Cell BiologyInstitute for Cellular EngineeringJohns Hopkins University School of Medicine Erika Matunis is a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where she uses the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to understand how stem cells cooperate with their natural microenvironments or niches to sustain adult tissue regeneration. She has been an invited speaker at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), giving the WALS lecture in 2013 and the Sadler Lecturer in 2015. Dr. Matunis has been active in the GSA community, serving as both conference organizer and session chair in previous Drosophila Research Conferences. She also serves on the Advisory Board for the Maryland Science Center's Cellular Universe, as a grant reviewer for various funding agencies including The Wellcome Trust and the NIH, and as a member of the abstract programming committee for the International Society for Stem Cell Research and the American Society for Cell Biology. As a Director, Dr. Matunis looks forward to advocating for the support of model organism research and collaborative interdisciplinary science.

Director: Eric Selker, PhD Professor, Department of BiologyUniversity of Oregon

Eric Selker is a professor at the University of Oregon where he conducts studies in epigenetics to learn more about chromatin structure and function, the control and function of DNA methylation and heterochromatin, and genome defense, especially in the fungus Neurospora crassa. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of AAAS and the American Academy of Microbiology. He was recognized by the Oregon Academy of Science as the Oregon Outstanding Scientist for 2013 and recieved the University of Oregon's Outstanding Career Award (2014) and Faculty Excellence Award (2015). As a Director, Dr. Selker is enthusiastic about promoting non-profit society journals like GENETICS and G3 in addition to engaging the public in conversations about genetics and the value of model organisms.

Director: Huntington Willard, PhD President and Director, The Marine Biological LaboratoryProfessor, Department of Human GeneticsUniversity of Chicago Huntington Willard is a human geneticist by training, who considers the human one of many model organisms in which to explore the genetics, genomics, and epigenetics of complex species. His research focuses on complex genome organization and its impact on gene expression and genome biology in humans, mammals, yeast, and marine organisms. he currently serves as the President and Director of The Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA, and Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago. Dr. Willard has been an active member of the genetics community throughout his career, serving on multiple editorial boards, grant review panels, and committees such as the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health & Society at the Department of Health and Human Services. He also served as the 2001 President of GSA's sister organization, the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Science as well as a AAAS Fellow. Dr. Willard has been honored with several awards, the most recent of which is ASHG's Arno Motulsky-Barton Childs Award for Excellence in Human Genetics Education. As a Director, he hopes to encourage the integration of research and education at all levels.

These new officers and directors will replace those Board members whose tenure will end on December 31, 2015: Immediate Past President Vicki Chandler, PhD (The Minerva Schools at KGI) , Secretary Anne Villeneuve, PhD (Stanford University), and Directors Lynn Cooley, PhD (Yale University), Anna Di Rienzo,PhD (University of Chicago), Sarah C.R. Elgin, PhD (Washington University in St. Louis), and Deborah A. Siegele, PhD (Texas A&M University). Trainee representative Andrew Adrian (University of Iowa) will also be concluding his term in December; a new trainee representative will be appointed later this year.

The new officers and directors join the following continuing members of the Board of Directors:

  • President Stanley Fields, PhD (HHMI and University of Washington )
  • Past President Jasper D. Rine, PhD (University of California, Berkeley)
  • Treasurer Sue Jinks-Robertson, PhD (Duke University Medical Center)
  • Director Angelika Amon, PhD (HHMI and Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • Director Lauren M. McIntyre, PhD (University of Florida)
  • Director Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena, PhD (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
  • Director Dmitri A. Petrov, PhD (Stanford University)
  • Director Craig S. Pikaard, PhD (HHMI-GBMF and Indiana University)
  • Director Deborah Yelon, PhD (University of California, San Diego
  • G3 Editor-in-Chief Brenda J. Andrews, PhD (University of Toronto)
  • GENETICS Editor-in-Chief Mark Johnston, PhD (University of Colorado–Denver)
  • Trainee Representative Sonia Hall, PhD (University of Massachusetts Medical School)
* * * 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 5,500 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