Newswise — The Genetics Society of America (GSA) is pleased to announce the 2020 recipients of its annual awards for distinguished service in the field of genetics. The awardees were nominated and selected by their colleagues and will be recognized with presentations at The Allied Genetics Conference (TAGC), held April 22–26, 2020 in the metro Washington, DC area.

The 2020 recipients are recognized for a broad range of critical contributions to science, including scientific discoveries, mentoring, creation of community resources, and education. The awardees are:


THOMAS HUNT MORGAN MEDAL for lifetime contributions to the field of genetics

Awarded to two recipients in 2020.


David Botstein

Chief Scientific Officer, Calico Labs

Professor of Molecular Biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Emeritus, Princeton University

1988 recipient of the GSA Medal

Recognizing multiple contributions to genetics, including the collaborative development of methods for defining genetic pathways, mapping genomes, and analyzing gene expression.




Gerald R. Fink

Professor of Molecular Genetics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Member, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

1982 recipient of the GSA Medal

Recognizing the discovery of principles central to genome organization and regulation in eukaryotic cells.


GENETICS SOCIETY OF AMERICA MEDAL for outstanding contributions to the field of genetics in the last 15 years

Bonnie Bassler

Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Squibb Professor and Chair of Molecular Biology, Princeton University

Recognizing groundbreaking studies of bacterial chemical communication and regulation of group behaviors.


GEORGE W. BEADLE AWARD for outstanding contributions to the community of genetics researchers 

Julie Ahringer

Director, Senior Group Leader, and Professor of Genetics and Genomics, Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute and Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge

Recognizing the development of critical tools and key datasets for studies of genetics and transcriptional regulation in Caenorhabditis elegans and beyond.



Seth Bordenstein

Centennial Endowed Chair in Biological Sciences, Professor of Biological Sciences and Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology, Associate Director, Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation, Director, Vanderbilt Microbiome Initiative, Vanderbilt University

Recognizing the development of “Discover the Microbes Within! The Wolbachia Project”, an initiative designed to bring real-world scientific research into middle, high school, and college biology classes.


EDWARD NOVITSKI PRIZE for extraordinary creativity and intellectual ingenuity in genetics research 

Welcome W. Bender

Harold T. White Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School

Recognizing creativity and ingenuity in revealing the molecular nature and regulation of the bithorax gene complex.


Learn more about the achievements of the 2020 awardees over the coming weeks at the GSA blog Genes to Genomes:

For more information on the awards and past recipients, visit

The Genetics Society of America serves an international community of more than 5,000 scientists who use genetics to make new discoveries and improve lives. GSA advances the field through conferences, the journals GENETICS and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, advocacy, professional development programs, and more. The Society has a deep commitment to fostering the next generation of scholars in the field.