Newswise — BETHESDA, MD – The Genetics Society of America (GSA) is proud to name ten early-career scientists—four graduate students and six postdoctoral researchers—as Fall 2015 recipients of GSA’s DeLill Nasser Award for Professional Development in Genetics. The award provides a $1,000 travel grant for each recipient to attend any national or international meeting, conference, or laboratory course that will enhance his or her career. 


"We are pleased to support these early-career scientists in attending conferences and meetings that will contribute to their professional development," said Adam P. Fagen, PhD, GSA's Executive Director. "The winners of this award are already accomplished researchers. We look forward to their ongoing contributions to our community." 


The DeLill Nasser Award was established by GSA in 2001 to honor its namesake, DeLill Nasser (1929–2000), a long-time GSA member who provided critical support to many early-career researchers during her 22 years as program director in eukaryotic genetics at the National Science Foundation. The winners of the Fall 2015 DeLill Nasser Award and the conferences they will travel to are: 


Graduate student winners

Keir Balla, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA
Research focus: "I study infection and the mechanisms that prevent infection by identifying genes that are important for these processes in hopes of understanding the causes and consequences of infectious diseases over time."
Travel to: Infectious Disease Genomics Conference
Principal Investigator: Emily Troemel

Cara Brand, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA
Research focus: "I research the evolutionary genetics of recombination in Drosophila."
Travel to: Annual Meeting of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution
Principal Investigator: Daven Presgraves

Sarah Deng, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA
Research focus: "The focus of my research is to understand how chromosomal DNA damage is accurately repaired to maintain integrity of the genetic blueprint."
Travel to: FASEB Genetic Recombination and Genome Rearrangements Conference
Principal Investigator: Lorraine Symington

Kevin Wei, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Research focus: "I study the evolution of highly repetitive DNA and how they persist in genomes at vast quantities when they are predominantly deleterious."
Travel to: Annual Meeting of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution
Principal Investigators: Daniel Barbash and Andrew Clark


Postdoctoral winners

Carol Myrick Anderson, PhD, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA
Research focus: "I use baker’s yeast to study meiosis, a process of cell division that is central to sexual reproduction."
Travel to: EMBO Conference on Meiosis
Principal Investigator: Jennifer Fung

Patricia Jumbo Lucioni, PhD, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA 
Research focus: "My research focuses on understanding the disease mechanisms associated with defects in the sugar modification of proteins linked to numerous neurodevelopmental disorders."
Travel to: 2nd World Conference on CDGs and Annual Symposium of the Society for the Study of Inborn Errors of Metabolism
Principal Investigator: Kendal Broadie

Hannah Seidel, PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WIUSA
Research focus: "I study how cells within animals divide and become specialized during periods of starvation."
Travel to: Gordon Research Conference on Cell Growth and Proliferation
Principal Investigator: Judith Kimble

Hagen Tilgner, PhD, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
Research focus: "Biomolecules such as DNA, RNA, and protein are chains of thousands of smaller residues - many of which can vary between individuals and molecules; we use technologies that monitor all residues of such a molecule to deduce coordination of variable sites and its importance in the cell and disease."
Travel to: Eukaryotic mRNA Processing Meeting
Principal Investigator: Michael Snyder

Jeremy Yoder, PhD, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA
Research focus: "I study the genetic changes that occur as populations evolve in response to different habitats, to interactions with other living things, and to environmental change."
Travel to: Botany 2015 Conference
Principal Investigator: Peter Tiffin

Qi Zhou, PhD, University of California, Berkeley, CA USA
Research focus: "I use functional genomics approaches to study several Drosophila and bird species in order to understand the general principles of how sex chromosomes have evolved from a pair of ordinary autosomes."
Travel to: Annual Meeting of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution
Principal Investigator: Doris Bachtrog


GSA names recipients of the DeLill Nasser Award in two rounds per year. Applications are open to GSA members who are either graduate students or postdocs and who demonstrate excellence in genetics research, with an emphasis on productivity. Since the formation of this award in 2002, more than 100 researchers have received funding for travel to further their career goals and enhance their education. The program is supported by GSA, and with charitable donations from members of the genetics community. For more information about the DeLill Nasser Award, 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