Newswise — BETHESDA, MD – The Genetics Society of America (GSA) is pleased to announce that Steven Henikoff, PhD (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center) has been awarded the Genetics Society of America Medal in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of genetics during the past 15 years. Dr. Henikoff will receive the award at the 56th Annual Drosophila Research Conference, organized by GSA, March 4–8, 2015 in Chicago, IL.

"Dr. Henikoff's research has moved the entire field of genetics forward through a combination of technical innovations and fundamental discoveries," said Dan Gottschling, PhD, a principal investigator in the Division of Basic Sciences at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. "His selection as the recipient of the GSA Medal is a fitting honor to a scientist who inspires so many of us in so many different fields."

Steven Henikoff, PhD
Member, Division of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Professor of Genetics, Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Lab Website

Dr. Henikoff is recognized in the genetics community for his visionary and influential contributions to a range of areas. These include Drosophila genetics and epigenetics, Arabidopsis genetics and epigenetics, population and evolutionary genetics, genomic technologies, computational technologies, chromatin biology and transcription. He has made numerous breakthroughs in these areas, many of which altered perspectives and had major biological implications – for example, he proposed a fundamentally different model of chromatin structure and revealed the unexpected remodeling effects of transcription on chromatin structure. He has developed methods, both experimental and computational, with widespread utility for the research community, including highly cited methods for targeted genetic deletions, reverse genetics, mapping DNA methylation genome-wide, and protein sequence alignment. His current research focuses on nucleosome dynamics, transcriptional regulation, centromeric chromatin and centromere evolution, and epigenomic technologies. Overall, Dr. Henikoff's technological and mechanistic advances have changed our understanding of genome biology.

Dr. Henikoff is a longtime GSA member who has served on numerous editorial boards, including that of GSA's flagship journal GENETICS for several years. He has authored nearly 300 scientific publications, including many reviews covering new developments in genetics. He is praised by his peers for his generosity and service to the community, for example through his organization of important conferences, and his training of many young scientists who now have their own successful careers. He has been honored by the community through numerous keynote lectures, election to the National Academy of Sciences in 2005, and as 2015 Chair-Elect of Biological Sciences at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

"The GSA Medal recognizes highly meaningful contributions to modern genetics," added Jasper Rine, PhD, 2015 GSA President and Professor of Genetics, Genomics and Development at the University of California, Berkeley. "It is inspiring to see the breadth and depth of landmark research that Dr. Henikoff has produced in just the last 15 years."

The Genetics Society of America Medal, established in 1981, is awarded to an individual for outstanding contributions to the field of genetics in the last 15 years. Recipients of the GSA Medal are recognized for elegant and highly meaningful contributions to modern genetics, and exemplify the ingenuity of GSA membership.

To learn more about the GSA awards, and to view a list of previous recipients, please see

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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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