Newswise — BETHESDA, MD – The Genetics Society of America (GSA) is pleased to announce the election of four new members to its Board of Directors. The new members include a vice-president, who will serve as president of the Society in 2016, and three directors:

  • Stanley Fields, PhD (Howard Hughes Medical Institute and University of Washington). Dr. Fields will serve as Vice-President in 2015 and as GSA President in 2016.
  • Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena, PhD (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Director
  • Craig Pikaard, PhD (Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Indiana University), Director
  • Deborah Yelon, PhD (University of California, San Diego), Director

The newly elected board members begin their tenure on January 1, 2015, and will remain on the GSA Board through December 31, 2017.

"We are thrilled to welcome these accomplished individuals into GSA's leadership," said Adam P. Fagen, PhD, GSA's Executive Director. "Just as we are grateful for the volunteered insights and efforts from those completing their tenure this year, we are confident that these new additions will help our Board continue to improve the way our Society serves genetics researchers and educators."

"Genetics has entered a phenomenal period when new information and technology is revolutionizing our understanding of biology and disease," added GSA Vice President-Elect Dr. Fields. "I look forward to working with GSA members and our partners over the next few years during this exciting time."

New Members of the GSA Board of Directors

Vice President (and President-Elect): Stanley Fields, PhD
Department of Genome Sciences and Department of Medicine, University of Washington
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

Stanley Fields, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Genome Sciences and the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington and an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). His research focuses on the development and implementation of new technologies, work that includes the origination of the yeast two-hybrid assay. Much of his lab's research has centered on methods of protein analysis, although other efforts have gone into DNA and RNA methodologies and yeast genome engineering. A recent emphasis has been on a technology, deep mutational scanning, that allows the function of hundreds of thousands of variants of a protein to be quantitatively assessed in a single experiment. Dr. Fields earned a BA from Middlebury College and a PhD at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Cambridge University; he conducted his postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Dr. Fields is also a Senior Editor for the Methods, Technology, & Resources section of the GSA peer-edited journal GENETICS.

Director: Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena, PhD
Department of Genetics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena, PhD, is a professor and Associate Chair for Research in the Department of Genetics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a mouse geneticist with a strong interest in all aspects of non-Mendelian inheritance in mammals. His laboratory uses the common house mouse as a model for the genetic dissection of complex traits.  In particular, his research addresses two phenomena: true meiotic drive (i.e., non-random segregation of chromosomes during meiosis) and parent-of-origin effects (including but not restricted to gene imprinting). He has also contributed to the development of community resources such as the mouse Collaborative Cross, genetic and genomic platforms such as the Mouse Diversity Array and the Mouse Universal Genotyping Arrays, and bioinfomatic tools for handling and analyzing next generation sequencing data. Dr. Pardo-Manuel de Villena carried out his doctoral work at the University Complutense of Madrid, Spain, and his postdoctoral work at the Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. In 2011, he was elected as a AAAS Fellow.

Director: Craig Pikaard, PhD
Department of Biology and Department of Molecular & Cellular Biochemistry, Indiana University
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute–Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Craig Pikaard, PhD, is the Carlos O. Miller Professor in the Departments of Biology and Molecular & Cellular Biochemistry at Indiana University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute–Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Investigator. His lab studies gene regulation using techniques from genetics, genomics, biochemistry, cell biology and molecular biology. Their projects are focused on the roles of chromatin-modifying enzymes and noncoding RNAs in gene silencing and epigenetic phenomena; in particular, they are well-known for their work on ribosomal RNA gene organization and expression and RNA-mediated gene silencing. Dr. Pikaard earned his BS at Pennsylvania State University and a PhD in Plant Physiology at Purdue University; he conducted his postdoctoral research at The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He is a AAAS Fellow, an Associate Editor for both of GSA's journals, GENETICS and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, and a member of the GSA Awards Committee.

Director: Deborah Yelon, PhD
University of California, San Diego

Deborah Yelon, PhD, is the Herbert Stern Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of California, San Diego. Her research aims to understand the genetic pathways that determine the specific size and shape of the embryonic heart, and to apply this knowledge to shed light on the causes and treatments of congenital heart diseases. Her lab has utilized zebrafish as a model organism to identify essential regulatory genes and thereby several fundamental mechanisms regulating cardiac dimensions. Dr. Yelon received a BS in Biology from Yale University and a PhD from Harvard University. She then investigated heart development in zebrafish as a Life Sciences Research Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. She was a member of the faculty of the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine at New York University School of Medicine from 2000 to 2009 before moving to UCSD. She is the recipient of a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award and an American Heart Association Established Investigator Award.  

These new officers and directors replace Past President Michael Lynch, PhD (Indiana University) and Directors Marnie E. Halpern, PhD (Carnegie Institution for Science), Mohamed A. F. Noor, PhD (Duke University), and John C. Schimenti, PhD (Cornell University), whose tenures on the GSA board end on December 31, 2014. The new members join the following continuing members of the Board of Directors:

  • President Jasper Rine, PhD (University of California at Berkeley)
  • Past President Vicki Chandler, PhD (Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation)
  • Secretary Anne M. Villeneuve (Stanford University School of Medicine)
  • Treasurer Sue Jinks-Robertson (Duke University Medical Center)
  • Director Angelika Amon (HHMI and Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • Director Lynn Cooley, PhD (Yale University)
  • Director Anna Di Rienzo, PhD (University of Chicago)
  • Director Sarah C. R. Elgin, PhD (Washington University in St. Louis)
  • Director Lauren M. McIntyre, PhD (University of Florida)
  • Director Dmitri A. Petrov, PhD (Stanford University)
  • Director Deborah A. Siegele, PhD (Texas A&M University)
  • G3 Editor-in-Chief Brenda Andrews, PhD (University of Toronto)
  • GENETICS Editor-in-Chief Mark Johnston, PhD (University of Colorado–Denver)

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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

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