Workshop Descriptions

Pre-Conference Workshops

All pre-conference workshops are limited attendance and are supported in part by attendee fees. Attendees must sign up during the conference registration process.

CURE Workshop

Learn about course-based research experiences (CUREs) from experienced faculty. Learn more »

GENETICS Peer Review Training Workshop

Becoming a better reviewer will help you to become a better author and to hone some of the skills central to scientific success. Learn more »

Grants and Funding

Learn about funding decisions and get tips from experienced investigators and program officers. Learn more »

New Faculty Forum

Network, learn, and find support at this one-day workshop designed for new faculty and advanced postdocs. Learn more »

Scientific Writing Workshop

Through this workshop, graduate students and postdocs will explore topics relevant to scientific writing through a series of lectures and interactive sessions. Learn more »

Attendee-Organized Workshops

The following attendee-organized workshops are included in your registration fees. You do not need to sign up in advance. All workshops are held 8:00–10:00 a.m. Friday, April 24.

Bioethics and Education

Organizers: Michele Markstein, Gregory Davis, Chris Lelliott, Aurelie Thomas

Part I. Raising a Woke Generation of Geneticists: How and Why to Include Eugenics History in Genetics Classes

This workshop is for everyone who teaches undergraduate and graduate genetics and is concerned about eugenics in the modern era. Whether you already discuss eugenics in class or don’t know where to start, bring your ideas and questions to the workshop! We will review the history of eugenics and share educational strategies that have worked and failed. We will break out to tackle specific challenges, such as creating safe spaces for students to learn from each other, assessing student learning outcomes, and how to discuss the ethics of GWA studies of complex human traits including intelligence and sexual orientation.

Part II. CRISPR-Based Technologies: the Ethical Dimension of Precision Genome Engineering

CRISPR/Cas9 and associated technologies are transforming the speed at which new genetically modified models for research are being generated, for example for precision medicine initiatives. During this session, a combination of a panel and small groups will discuss scenarios which highlight animal ethics considerations that researchers and ethical review bodies should think about concerning these technologies. We will use cell phone apps to gauge attendee responses and provide feedback on these questions. This anonymised data will be circulated to attendees and will also be the basis for the production of a harm-benefit guidance document for the animal model community.

BREW: Bridging Research and Education Workshop

Organizers: Mary Miller, Pam Hanson

BREW 2020 workshop will focus on BREWING KITS — access to materials and best practices to increase practical implementation of research-based experiences in the training and education of undergraduates. This workshop will focus on budding yeast as a model organism approach to undergraduate education, but will include approaches and course design tools that could be applied for a multitude of systems and levels of education.

Cell-Cell Signaling Across the Kingdoms

Organizers: Mary Mullins, Tom Kornberg

Cells in multicellular organisms communicate using processes that define space and time to produce genetically encoded patterns. They do this with remarkable reproducibility and precision. Recent studies of Drosophila, zebrafish, mammalian cell, nematode, and plant systems have revealed fascinating signaling mechanisms that make these creations possible. The defining features and commonalities of signaling in these systems will be explored and discussed in this workshop.

Chemoreception, Physiology and Social Behavior: A Genetic Perspective

Organizers: Yali Zhang

Chemoreception, including taste and smell, plays a critical role in fundamental physiology and behavior. Over the past several years, tremendous progress has been made towards understanding the chemosensory mechanisms underlying complex physiology and behaviors in genetically tractable model organisms, such as mice, flies, ants, and worms. In this workshop, the speakers will present their work on the receptors, ion channels, and signaling molecules dedicated to gustatory or olfactory perception in mice, flies, ants, and worms. Moreover, the speakers will discuss the use of genetic model organisms to provide novel insights into chemosensory regulation of metabolism, aging, and social behaviors.

Cultivating Communities: Making Sense of Host-Microbiome Interactions Through the Lens of Genetics

Organizers: Buck Samuel, Nichole Broderick, Cara Haney

Across phylogeny, microbes forge relationships with their hosts and exert considerable influence on their physiology, development, and predisposition to disease. The genetic pathways that underlie these relationships are likely to represent both ancient and host specific approaches to microbiome regulation. Thus, a community-wide effort is needed to comprehensively define the molecular connections that link us (and our host proxies) to the fates of our microbes. This workshop aims to highlight the use of highly tractable systems and population-based studies to advancing genetic understanding of microbiome regulation and spur engagement across these robust research communities.

Education Research: Collecting Evidence and Publishing Findings

Organizer: Jenny Knight

This workshop is designed to help those interested in assessing student learning, attitudes, or the impact of instructional interventions. We will provide resources that can be used to measure such changes, and help participants think about and design ways of collecting evidence in their classrooms. In addition, we will provide information about sharing one’s work, when one needs human subjects approval, what is generally required for different kinds of publications, and how to ensure a publication will reach the right audience.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex

Organizers: Rita Graze, Katherine McJunkin, Bruce Draper

The workshop will cover the molecular genetics, development, neurobiology, genomics, evolution, and population genetics of sexual dimorphism, with an emphasis on fostering the exchange of knowledge and development of collaborations necessary for building cross-disciplinary and cross-organism research communities. Presentations by four invited speakers working in Drosophila, nematode, zebrafish, and mammalian models will be followed by selected flash talks from early career researchers. The speakers are encouraged to summarize the key ideas behind their research for people working in other models and fields, outline the main unsolved questions, offer thoughts about future directions, and suggest connections across models and disciplines.

The Geometry of Life, Computational Phenomics, and the Reunification of Biology

Organizers: Keith Cheng, Santhosh Girirajan

The cellular basis of all life makes microscopy a useful tool for studying phenotype at the cellular and tissue levels, sampling error and distortion are common, making assessments largely qualitative, subjective, and incomplete. Quantitative cell and tissue phenotyping ideally includes volumetric, shape, and texture features of cells, tissues, and whole organisms, based on a knowledge of normal phenotypic variation. This workshop addresses these issues and considers the question: What would an ideally-defined geometry of life for all organisms look like, and how soon can we make complete, quantitative morphological cellular and tissue phenotyping accessible to all scientists and the public?

Genetic Puzzles

Organizers: Didier Stainier, Coleen Murphy

The dogma of DNA makes RNA makes protein while of course still valid does not begin to describe the complexity of life. Multiple feedback loops operate at every level of gene regulation and protein function. This workshop will focus on non-traditional genetic phenomena including transgenerational inheritance, genetic compensation and transcriptional adaptation.

Metabolic Plasticity: Exploring the Flexibility of Metabolic Networks in the Context of Development, Evolution, Environmental Stress, and Disease

Organizers: Jason Tennessen, Kristi Montooth, Marion Walhout

The metabolism of all organisms must adapt to changes in nutrient availability, environmental stress, and the energetic demands of growth and reproduction. This phenomenon of metabolic plasticity imparts robustness on biological systems and allows organisms to thrive in a variety of environmental conditions. Therefore, the mechanisms that control plasticity in metabolic flux are of broad interest to anyone who studies developmental biology, evolution, and models of human disease. The goal of this workshop is to foster a collaborative atmosphere in which scientists from all GSA communities can discuss the mechanisms that regulate and buffer metabolic networks.

Mitochondrial Genetics

Organizers: Heather Fiumera, Hilla Weidberg, Patrick O’Farrell

Selective transmission of mitochondrial genomes influences health and disease phenotypes and guides mitochondrial evolution. In this workshop, we will explore how the nucleus manages mitochondrial genome competition to gain insights on transmission of mtDNAs, mitochondrial quality control mechanisms, development of disease and aging phenotypes, and mitonuclear incompatibilities. By combining technology and research approaches from multiple model systems, the goals of the workshop are to identify research challenges and productive approaches to advance our understanding of genetic interactions between nuclear and mitochondrial genomes.  

Science Communication: Challenges and Impact

Organizers: Thomas Merritt, Haifa Alhadyian, Jessica Velez

Science is about generating and sharing new knowledge. In this workshop, we will address the importance of broad communication and outreach in conveying scientific knowledge to society at large. The workshop will begin and end with group discussions led by panelists with diverse backgrounds united by engagement in outreach activities with general audiences. In between, participants will use a Speed Dating format to brainstorm scientific communication successes and challenges, getting and giving feedback on issues they have encountered. Overall, participants will develop communication skills for scientific activities and learn about engagement opportunities in outreach initiatives.

Single Cell Approaches in Animal Development

Organizers: James Gagnon, John Murray

We can now measure gene expression and other phenotypes in the fundamental unit of organisms: the single cell. Single cell RNA sequencing and other single cell approaches routinely produce scalable and quantitative genome-wide data in almost any organism. In this workshop, experts in single-cell approaches will discuss the present and future of this technology, including how to mine existing large-scale datasets, a summary of the latest approaches, and how to integrate these approaches into your own work.