Public Release: 

Fourteen early career researchers receive awards at fungal genetics conference

GSA Poster Awards for 28th Fungal Genetics Conference

Genetics Society of America

BETHESDA, MD - The Genetics Society of America (GSA) and the community of fungal geneticists are pleased to announce the winners of the GSA poster awards at the 28th Fungal Genetics Conference, which took place in Pacific Grove, CA, March 17-22, 2015. The awards were made to graduate student and postdoctoral scientists in recognition of the research they presented at the conference. The conference encourages communication and collaboration between researchers interested in genomics, gene regulation, cell biology and development, evolutionary biology, fungal-host interactions and biotechnology.

"We are thrilled to see so many early career researchers making substantive contributions to field of fungal genetics," said Adam P. Fagen, PhD, GSA's Executive Director. "These talented scientists shared some exciting research advancements during the conference, which encouraged communication and collaboration across the meeting."

Nearly 1,000 researchers attended the meeting, and the winning posters were selected by a panel of leading researchers.

The winners of the 28th Fungal Genetics Conference GSA Poster Awards are:

Graduate student winners

Biochemistry and Metabolism

Fabrizio Alberti, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
Poster title: "Reconstruction of the biosynthetic pathway for the terpene antibiotic pleuromutilin in the secondary host Aspergillus oryzae."
Advisors: Gary Foster and Andy Bailey

Cell Biology and Development

Raphael Manck, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany
Poster Title: "The functional orthologue of the human tumor suppressor APC protein MigA plays a role in polarity determination in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans."
Advisor: Reinhard Fischer

Comparative and Functional Genomics

Abigail Lind, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA
Poster Title: "Examining the evolution of the regulatory circuit controlling secondary metabolism and development in Aspergillus."
Advisor: Antonis Rokas

Gene Regulation

Alina Stiebler, Philipps University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany
Poster Title: "Programmed stop codon readthrough leads to dually targeted protein isoforms."
Advisor: Michael Bölker

Pathogenic and Mutalistic Interactions in Plants

Fumi Fukada, Kyoto Prefectural University, Kyoto, Japan
Poster Title: "Colletotrichum orbiculare regulates cell cycle G1/S progression via two component GAP and GTPase to establish plant infection."
Advisor: Yasuyuki Kubo

Pathogenic and Mutalistic Interactions apart from Plants

Kyla Selvig, Duke Univeristy, Durham, NC, USA
Poster Title: "Identification of conserved and novel features of the alkaline response pathway in the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans."
Advisor: Andrew Alspaugh

Population and Evolutionary Genetics

Mark Lendenmann, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Poster Title: "QTL Mapping Reveals Novel Fungicide Resistance Genes in the Plant Pathogenic Fungus Zymoseptoria tritici."
Advisor: Bruce McDonald

Postdoc winners

Biochemistry and Metabolism

Firoz Shah, PhD, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Poster Title: "Evidences that a secondary metabolite is the Fe3-reductant secreted by an ectomycorrhizal fungus during decomposition of litter material."
Advisor: Anders Tunlid

Cell Biology and Development

Miriam Oses-Ruiz, PhD, University of Exeter, Devon, UK
Poster Title: "An S-phase checkpoint is necessary for appressorium-mediated plant infection in the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae."
Advisor: Nicholas J. Talbot

Comparative and Functional Genomics

Ivan Liachko, PhD, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
Poster Title: "Rapid Assembly and Functional Annotation of Diverse Fungal Genomes from Single Species and Metagenomic Populations Using Hi-C."
Advisor: Maitreya Dunham

Gene Regulation

Michelle Leach, PhD, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Poster Title: "The heat shock response governed by Hsp90 and Hsf1 is necessary for cell survival and virulence in the pathogenic fungus Candida albicans."
Advisors: Leah Cowen and Al Brown (University of Aberdeen, UK)

Pathogenic and Mutalistic Interactions

Susan Breen, PhD, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
Poster Title: "Understanding the Parastagonospora nodorum - wheat interaction; is it as simple as we think?"
Advisor: Peter Solomon

Pathogenic and Mutalistic Interactions

Teresa O'Meara, PhD, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Poster Title: "Global Analysis of Fungal Morphology Exposes Mechanisms of Host Cell Escape."
Advisor: Leah Cowen

Population and Evolutionary Genetics

Sara Branco, PhD, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA
Poster title: "Genetic isolation between two recently diverged populations of a symbiotic fungus."
Advisors: Tom Bruns and John Taylor

Each poster awardee receives a cash prize and a complimentary extension to their GSA membership. 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.

Ivan Liachko was the recipient of a 2015 GSA DeLill Nasser Award for Professional Development in Genetics, which provided support for attending this conference. Michelle Leach and Teresa O'Meara are also previous DeLill Nasser Award winners.


About the Fungal Genetics Conference

Nearly 1,000 scientists from 35 countries attended the 28th Fungal Genetics Conference. This meeting promotes the dissemination of the cutting-edge research on all aspects of fungal genetics with a focus on filamentous fungi, and encourages communication and collaboration between researchers interested in genomics, gene regulation, cell biology and development, evolutionary biology, fungal-host interactions and biotechnology. For more information about the conference, please see

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

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