Newswise — BETHESDA, MD – More than 1,700 scientists are expected to attend the 20th International C. elegans Meeting, organized by the Genetics Society of America (GSA), June 24–28, 2015, in Los Angeles, California. The meeting features 200 talks and more than 1,000 poster presentations on a diverse range of cutting-edge research topics including physiology, neurobiology, development, evolution, behavior, aging, ecology, gene regulation and genomics.

This biennial meeting is the world's largest assembly of scientists conducting cutting-edge research using the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans, a model organism that lends itself to easy investigation where findings can easily be translated to humans.

Highlights of the meeting include the following:

* Keynote address by Craig Mello, PhD (Howard Hughes Medical Institute and University of Massachusetts Medical School), 2006 Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine

* Historical session celebrating the 20th international meeting featuring Nobel laureate Martin Chalfie, PhD (Columbia University), Jonathan Hodgkin, PhD, FRS (University of Oxford, UK), and Barbara Meyer, PhD (Howard Hughes Medical Institute and University of California, Berkeley)

* Plenary invited speakers Marie-Anne Félix, PhD (Ecole Normale Supérieure, France), Bob Goldstein, PhD (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Alex Hajnal, PhD (University of Zurich, Switzerland), and Yishi Jin, PhD (Howard Hughes Medical Institute and University of California, San Diego)

* Plenary workshop on CRISPR-based strategies for genome engineering in C. elegans

* Presentation of GSA's Elizabeth W. Jones Award for Excellence in Education to Louisa Stark, PhD (University of Utah)

* Voting and presentation of the winners of the 2015 Worm Art Show, highlighting the many beautiful images and artistic renditions of C. elegans

* Three poster sessions on the floor of the Pauley Pavilion

* A variety of educational and professional development sessions including advice about how to get published, how to be an advocate for research, how to get a job at a teaching college, and how to use C. elegans in the classroom

C. elegans emerged as a common system of study in the 1960s and 1970s because of the ability to understand the position of every cell in the body and how they are connected to each other. Later, C. elegans was the first animal to have its complete genome sequenced, paving the way for the subsequent completion of the human genome. Research conducted in C. elegans has been the subject of at least three Nobel Prizes awarded in the last 15 years.

The meeting will be help on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. Co-chairs of the 2015 meeting are Benjamin Podbilewicz, PhD, Professor in the Faculty of Biology at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology, and Gillian Stanfield, PhD, Assistant Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Utah and a member of the Cell Response and Regulation Program at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

The meeting hashtag is #WORM15.

Media Eligibility: 

The 20th International C. elegans Meeting is open to media representatives, including those from bona fide print, broadcast, radio, and online venues, and freelance writers on a verifiable assignment from an established news source. Please contact [email protected] for information about complimentary press registration.

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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