UC Davis Home | Students | Faculty | Admin Resources | Alumni & Friends | Giving
UC Davis College of Biological Sciences

Two Undergraduates to Present Posters at National Fruit Fly Conference

Seniors Chenling Xu and Daniel A. Friedman have earned travel awards from the Genetics Society of America to present posters at the organization's annual Drosophila conference in San Diego next March.

Xu's research, conducted in Professor Michael Turelli's lab, focuses on the genomic differences between two strains of symbiotic bacteria that live inside the cells of fruit flies and how those differences might cause them to affect the host reproduction in different ways. The Genetics major will be presenting her poster, "Comparative Genomics of Drosophila simulans endosymbiont Wolbachia in Natural Populations."

Friedman, also a Genetics major, is an undergraduate researcher in Associate Professor Artyom Kopp's lab. There he researches the role of regulatory DNA sequences in the evolution of a sex-specific trait. Friedman will present his work in the poster, "Evolution of sex comb enhancers of the HOX gene Sex combs reduced."

The Genetics Society of America (GSA) named 11 undergraduate winners of the Victoria Finnerty Undergraduate Travel Awards, which will be used by the students to attend the 55th Annual Drosophila Research Conference in San Diego, March 26–30, 2014. The 11 recipients are college juniors, seniors, or post-baccalaureates conducting academic research using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism.

For most of the recipients, the 2014 Drosophila Research Conference will be their first opportunity to participate in an international professional scientific research conference. The Finnerty Award winners will be presenting their research to more than 1,500 other undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, university faculty and others.

"A fundamental part of science is the presentation of one's work to fellow scientists. This travel award enhances the research experience of undergraduates by giving them the opportunity to present their work at the annual Drosophila Research Conference," said Helen Salz, PhD, Chair of the Finnerty Award review committee and a professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

"It was inspiring to read these applications. The number of extraordinary undergraduates conducting significant research far exceeded the number of awards we had available," said Dr. Salz.

Adam Fagen, PhD, Executive Director of GSA, added, "We look forward to the opportunity these talented undergraduates will have to present their research to an international audience at the Drosophila Research Conference and we hope to hear much more from them at scientific conferences in the years to come."

The Victoria Finnerty Undergraduate Travel Awards were established in 2011 in memory of its namesake, who was a long-time GSA member, a dedicated undergraduate educator at Emory University for 35 years, and an active member of the Drosophila research community and the genetics community at large.

This is the third year the Victoria Finnerty awards have provided funding for undergraduates to attend the annual Drosophila Research Conference, having already provided more than $10,000 to enable 16 undergraduates to attend GSA's Annual Drosophila Research Conference.

ABOUT THE GSA DROSOPHILA RESEARCH CONFERENCE
Nearly 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 http://www.genetics-gsa.org/drosophila/2014/.

ABOUT THE GENETICS SOCIETY OF AMERICA
Founded in 1931, the Genetics Society of America (GSA) is the professional scientific society for genetics researchers and educators. Its more than 5,000 members work to advance knowledge in the basic mechanisms of inheritance, from the molecular to the population level. GSA promotes research and fosters communication among geneticists worldwide through a number of GSA-sponsored conferences including annual and biennial meetings that focus on the genetics of particular model organisms.