News Release

Nine graduate students and postdocs receive GSA DeLill Nasser Award

Award provides travel grants for professional development

Grant and Award Announcement

Genetics Society of America

BETHESDA, MD – The Genetics Society of America (GSA) is proud to name nine early-career scientists—four graduate students and five postdoctoral researchers—as Fall 2014 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.

"The winners of this award are young researchers who have already produced impressive research in important areas of genetics," said Adam P. Fagen, PhD, GSA's Executive Director. "In the spirit of Dr. Nasser's enthusiastic support of early-stage researchers, we are hopeful that the travel grants will provide useful support for the careers of these talented individuals."

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 2014 DeLill Nasser Award are:

Postdoctoral Winners

Meleah A. Hickman, PhD, University of Minnesota, USA
Research focus: "I study Candida albicans, the leading fungal pathogen of humans, and its sexual and unconventional ploidy transitions in response to antifungal drugs and environmental stresses in order to generate genetic and phenotypic variation and facilitate adaptation."
Travel to: 2014 GSA Yeast Genetics Meeting
Principal Investigator: Judith Berman

Michelle D. Leach, PhD, University of Toronto, Canada
Research focus: "I aim to understand the mechanisms by which pathogenic fungi such as Candida albicans sense heat and activate the thermal adaptation mechanisms that promote infection."
Travel to: 2014 GSA Yeast Genetics Meeting
Principal Investigator: Leah Cowen

Daniel A. Pollard, PhD, University of California, San Diego, USA
Research focus: "I study how genetic differences among individuals affect the speed at which they make and break down proteins."
Travel to: 2014 GSA Yeast Genetics Meeting
Principal Investigator: Scott Rifkin

Huanyu Qiao, PhD, University of California, Davis, USA
Research focus: "I study the molecular processes that distribute chromosomes to sperm and egg cells and help minimize birth defects, miscarriage, and fertility."
Travel to: GSA 27th Annual Mouse Molecular Genetics Conference
Principal Investigator: Neil Hunter

Tiffany A. Timbers, PhD, Simon Fraser University, Canada
Research focus: "My research seeks to identify and characterize novel proteins critical for sensory transduction with the aim to help facilitate the development of diagnostic tests and/or treatment for disorders that are relatively common in the population at large, including blindness and kidney disease."
Travel to: 19th Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics: Network and Pathway Analysis of Omics Data course
Principal Investigator: Michel R. Leroux

Graduate Student Winners

Alina Chan, University of British Columbia, Canada
Research focus: "I study the role of RNA processing in preserving genome stability and regulating gene expression."
Travel to: 2014 GSA Yeast Genetics Meeting
Principal Investigator: Philip Hieter

Amanda L. Socha, Dartmouth College, USA
Research focus: "The goal of my research is to increase crop yields and food security by understanding how essential nutrients such as manganese are absorbed by plants."
Travel to: 25th International Conference on Arabidopsis Research
Principal Investigator: Mary Lou Guerinot

Emily Fawcett, University of Washington, USA
Research focus: "My research focuses on understanding how environmental toxins encountered early in life can alter the way an animal responds to environmental stress as an adult."
Travel to: Aging, Metabolism, Stress, Pathogenesis and Small RNAs in C. elegans conference
Principal Investigator: Dana Miller

Jason V. Rogers, Princeton University, USA
Research focus: "I study the mechanisms of membrane fusion pathways within the model eukaryotic cell S. cerevisiae (yeast)."
Travel to: 2014 GSA Yeast Genetics Meeting
Principal Investigator: Mark Rose


The DeLill Nasser Awards are made twice 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

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.