Newswise — BETHESDA, MD – July 9, 2013 – Six graduate students and one undergraduate were named as recipients of Genetics Society of America (GSA) poster awards at the 19th International C. elegans Meeting, held June 26–30 on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. More than 1,750 scientists attended the world’s largest gathering of those conducting research using the nematode worm, Caenorhabditis elegans, a model organism that lends itself to easy investigation where findings can easily be translated to humans.

Recipients were selected from almost 400 eligible posters presented at the meeting. “The 93 faculty who judged the poster presenters had quite a challenge to select the best ones, because there were so many excellent posters. They did a great job judging and selecting the finalists,” said Tina L. Gumienny, PhD, co-chair of the poster competition. “The caliber of science at this year's poster session was amazing and bodes well for the future of C. elegans research,” added Erin J. Cram, PhD, poster co-chair.

One winner was selected in each topic area:

Cell Biology Tisha E. Bohr University of California, Santa Cruz, CA “Spindle assembly checkpoint proteins regulate and monitor meiotic synapsis in C. elegans

Development and Evolution Tulsi Patel Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY “Cell Fate Restriction and Reprogramming in C. elegans

Gene Regulation and Genomics Ashlyn D. Ritter University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA “Complex expression dynamics and robustness in C. elegans insulin networks”

Methods and Technology Valeriya Laskova Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada “Mapping the entire connectome of C. elegans L1 larvae”

Neurobiology Julie E. Grimm Technion Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel “How to Fix a Broken Neuron”

Physiology Kurt J. Warnhoff Washington University, St. Louis, MO “natc-1 mediates stress resistance and dauer formation as a downstream effector of the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway”

Undergraduate Michael James Hoy College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA “The C. elegans Insulin Signaling Response to Glucose Stress Requires Unique Regulators”

Each will receive a cash prize, certificate, a complimentary one-year extension to their GSA membership, and a copy of Conversation in Genetics, a series of interviews with prominent geneticists.

“These poster awards recognize the significant science these early career researchers are already pursuing and provide them with an incentive to continue their studies and training in genetics,” said Adam Fagen, PhD, Executive Director of GSA.

Fifteen graduate students were also named as honorable mentions:

 Cell Biology: Sarah Beard, University of Calgary, AB, Canada; Robbie D. Shultz, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX  Development and Evolution: Sarah A. Albritton, New York University, New York, NY; Xiangmei Chen, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, Stratford, NJ; Edward F. Griffin, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL; Jennifer Tsialikas, University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, Stratford, NJ  Gene Regulation and Genomics: Samantha Burke, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA; Laura Gaydos, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA  Methods and Technology: Kai P. Yuet, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA  Neurobiology: Kellie A. Fagan, University of Rochester, NY; Xin Jin, Rockefeller University, New York, NY; Christopher J. Konop, University of Wisconsin–Madison, WI  Physiology: Nicholas Burton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA; Andrew Folick, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX; Priyanka Khare, Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, Lucknow, India

The International C. elegans Meeting is one of several conferences hosted by the Genetics Society of America each year that focus on the genetics of model organisms. Research presented at each of these meetings helps advance our fundamental understanding of living systems and provides crucial insight into human biology, health, and disease. For more information about the conference, please visit

ABOUT GSA: Founded in 1931, the Genetics Society of America (GSA) is the professional membership organization for scientific researchers, educators, bioengineers, bioinformaticians and others interested in the field of genetics. Its nearly 5,000 members work to advance knowledge in the basic mechanisms of inheritance, from the molecular to the population level. The GSA is dedicated to promoting research in genetics and to facilitating communication among geneticists worldwide through its conferences, including the biennial conference on Model Organisms to Human Biology, an interdisciplinary meeting on current and cutting edge topics in genetics research, as well as annual and biennial meetings that focus on the genetics of particular organisms, including C. elegans, Drosophila, fungi, mice, yeast, and zebrafish. GSA publishes GENETICS, a leading journal in the field since 1916, and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, an open-access journal launched in 2011. For more information about GSA, please visit Also follow GSA on Facebook at and on Twitter @GeneticsGSA.


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