Public Release:  Nine young scientists awarded by the Genetics Society of America for fruit fly research

Genetics Society of America

BETHESDA, MD (May 20, 2014) -- The Genetics Society of America (GSA) and the Drosophila research community are pleased to announce the winners of GSA Poster Awards at the 55th Annual Drosophila Research Conference, which took place in San Diego, March 26-30, 2014. These awards were made to undergraduate, graduate student, and postdoctoral researchers in recognition of the work they presented at the conference. Their projects, using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism, spanned a diverse range of topics on the genetic and molecular basis of fundamental biological processes.

"We were very impressed with both the quality of the research and the clarity of presentation by the winning candidates," noted Adam P. Fagen, PhD, GSA's Executive Director. "It is gratifying to see such inspiring work by members of our community so early in their careers. We look forward to hearing much more about their contributions in the years to come. "

The recipients were chosen from 789 posters presented at the meeting, 561 of which were authored by GSA members and therefore eligible for an award.

2014 Drosophila Research Conference Poster Award Winners (for full release and photos, please visit the release URL

Postdoctoral Winners

  • FIRST PRIZE: Melanie I. Worley, University of California, Berkeley, USA
    Poster Title: "Chameleon: a mutant with an increased frequency of notum-to-wing transdetermination"
    Principal Investigator: Iswar K. Hariharan

  • SECOND PRIZE: Malini Natarajan, Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, MO, USA
    Poster Title: "Genome-wide analysis of tissue-specific effector genes in the Drosophila embryo"
    Principal Investigator: Julia Zeitlinger

  • THIRD PRIZE: Naoki Okamoto, RIKEN, Center for Developmental Biology (CDB), Kobe, Japan
    Poster Title: "Regulatory mechanism of the nutrient-dependent expression of Drosophila insulin-like peptide gene"
    Principal Investigator: Takashi Nishimura

Graduate Student Winners

  • FIRST PRIZE: Maureen Cetera, University of Chicago, IL, USA
    Poster Title: "Epithelial rotation promotes the global alignment of contractile actin filaments during Drosophila egg chamber elongation"
    Principal Investigator: Sally Horne-Badovinac

  • SECOND PRIZE: Gavin R. Rice, University of California, Davis, USA
    Poster Title: "Molecular mechanism behind the evolution of a novel sex-specific trait"
    Principal Investigator: Artyom Kopp

  • THIRD PRIZE: Sarah Neuman, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
    Poster Title: "INO80-dependent regression of transcriptional responses regulates developmental timing in Drosophila"
    Principal Investigator: Arash Bashirullah

Undergraduate Winners

  • FIRST PRIZE: Kurtresha Worden, University of Nevada, Reno, USA
    Poster Title: "Localization of aversive gustatory memory"
    Principal Investigator: Alex C. Keene and Pavel Masek

  • SECOND PRIZE: Dallas Criscoe, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, USA
    Poster Title: "Pathogen pressures increase the rate of meiotic recombination in Drosophila"
    Principal Investigator: Nadia Singh

  • THIRD PRIZE: Robert J. Yamulla, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, USA
    Poster Title: "Testing the models: Direct binding of β-catenin to the 20 amino acid repeats of APC is dispensible for Wnt regulation"
    Principal Investigator: David M. Roberts

Each awardee will receive a cash prize, a complimentary extension to their GSA membership, and a copy of Conversations in Genetics, a series of interviews with leading geneticists. The Society typically awards such prizes several times a year at each of their conferences on genetic research focused on a variety of model organisms.



Approximately 1,500 researchers attend the annual GSA Drosophila Research Conference to share the latest research using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and other insect species. Many of the findings from these model organisms have broad application for the study of human genetic traits and diseases. For more information about the conference, see


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 Also follow GSA on Facebook at and on Twitter @GeneticsGSA.

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