Workshop Series

The TAGC Workshop Series was held May 7—July 13.

Science Communication: Challenges and Impact

Thursday, May 7, 1 p.m. EDT
Organizers: Thomas Merritt, PhD; Adelita D. Mendoza, PhD, Angel Cisneros, M.Sc., Haifa Alhadyian, PhD, Jessica Velez, Vandana Raghavan, PhD, Carla Bautista Rodriguez, M.Sc.

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.

Publishing Q&A

Tuesday, May 19, 1 p.m. EDT
Organizers: GSA Journals

Lost in publication? Not ready to publish yet, but curious about the peer-review process? Students and postdocs are invited to join journal editors, including editors and editorial staff from the GSA journals GENETICS and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, to discuss the ins-and-outs of getting your articles published. All questions welcome!

Career Development Workshop

Tuesday, May 19, 1 p.m. EDT
Organizers: GSA’s Early Career Leadership Career Development Subcommittee

The Career Development Subcommittee supports early career scientists as they navigate their career paths, learn about career options, and curate resume-enhancing skills and experiences.

Chemoreception, Physiology, and Social Behavior: A Genetic Perspective

Thursday, May 21, 1 p.m. EDT
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.

Raising a Woke Generation of Geneticists: How and why to include eugenics history in genetics classes

Tuesday, May 26, 1 p.m. EDT
Organizers: Michele Markstein, Gregory Davis

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.

Reproducibility for Everyone: Strategies to maximize your work’s impact

Thursday, May 28, 1 p.m. EDT
Organizers: Nele Haelterman, Lenny Teytelman, Angela Abitua, and April Clyburne

Rigor and reproducibility are at the core of modern science and set apart scientific inquiry from pseudoscience. Several new initiatives and tools have been established to address barriers to reproducibility. While very welcome, these projects have led to a proliferation of online tools and resources which can be hard to sift through. This workshop will introduce you to reproducible workflows and a range of tools along the themes of organization, documentation, analysis, and dissemination. After a brief introduction to the topic of reproducibility, the workshop will provide specific tips and tools useful in improving your daily research workflows. This will include the 101 of all data handling, wet lab protocol sharing platforms, documentation of code using notebooks, workflow systems, and version control, best practices for plotting of small data sets and reagent sharing platforms. This will help you to share your work with your future self, your immediate colleagues and the wider scientific community.

Grants & Funding

Tuesday, June 2, 1 p.m. EDT
Organizers: GSA

Just how are decisions made to fund a research proposal? What makes one proposal score well, while another might not meet the bar? This workshop provides attendees with important and useful information related to applying for research funding. Attendees hear talks from experienced investigators and program officers, and have a chance to ask questions in a friendly, low-stress environment.

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

Tuesday, June 2, 1 p.m. EDT
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.

Genetic Puzzles

Thursday, June 4, 1 p.m. EDT
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.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex

Thursday, June 4, 1 p.m. EDT
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.

Single Cell Approaches in Animal Development

Tuesday, June 16, 1 p.m. EDT
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.

Scientific Writing Workshop

Tuesday, June 16, 1 p.m. EDT
Organizers: BioKansas

Whether you’re writing a manuscript or a thesis, communicating your results effectively is an essential skill. Through this workshop, graduate students and postdocs will explore topics relevant to scientific writing through a series of lectures and interactive sessions. Using their own datasets, participants will learn to create effective figures and tables. Using feedback from senior scientists and peers, attendees will edit and revise their abstracts.

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

Thursday, June 18, 1 p.m. EDT
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.


Natural variation in host genetics shape form and function of the C. elegans gut microbiome

Buck Samuel, Baylor College of Medicine

Using a fly model to understand host-microbe interactions

Nichole Broderick, Johns Hopkins University

What Zebrafish can show us about how animals shape the intestinal ecosystem

Karen Guillemin, University of Oregon

Using human genetics to understand the physiological basis of host microbiome interactions

Emily Davenport, Pennsylvania State University

A systems genetics approach to dissect microbe-host interactions

Federico Rey, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Comparative approaches for understanding assembly of the gut microbiome

Kevin Kohl, University of Pittsburgh

Genomics of plant-microbiome interactions

Cara Haney, University of British Columbia

Metal matters at the host microbial interface

Michael Johnson, University of Arizona

BREW: Bridging Research and Education Workshop

Monday, July 13, 1 p.m. EDT
Organizers: Mary Miller, Pamela Hanson, Jill Keeney

Workshop Poster

The Bridging Research and Education Workshop (BREW) will be held virtually on July 13, from 1-3 p.m. EDT. The workshop will focus on budding yeast experiments for undergraduate teaching labs and approaches for bridging research and education.

Engagement in authentic scientific research is a keystone to effective and impactful teaching. Students benefit from planning, hypothesis formation, data collection and interpretation…. all culminating in the communication of their work. Not just what they did, but why they did it and why it changes how we think of the living world around us. This is what the next generation of scientists expects, and needs, from our classrooms.

Why yeast? In addition to the speed and ease with which students can genetically manipulate yeast, S. cerevisiae has implications for biomedical sciences, food production and biofuels. As with all model organisms, similarities with other eukaryotes fosters exploration of foundational concepts of evolution.

Watch the recording on YouTube.


Opening Comments

Mary Miller, Rhodes College


Yeast Gene Discovery: Flexible Model for Challenging Times

Jill Keeney, Juniata College

yEvo: teaching Eukaryotic Genetics and Evolution with Yeast

Bryce Taylor, University of Washington Genome Sciences

Building a CURE for α-arrestins

Allyson O’Donnell, University of Pittsburgh

Yeasts in the Arena: Yeast Fights and More

Heather Hallen-Adams, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Hands on CRISPR/Cas9 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Katarina Jurikova, University of Bratislava

Breakout Groups

Mingle with the speakers and brainstorm ways to integrate research into your courses!

Share-out and Closing Remarks

Pam Hanson, Furman University

To be added to the BREW mailing list, please email Orna Cohen-Fix at ornac@niddk.nih.gov. Also, if you can think of ways of advertising this workshop, and in particular among professors in primarily undergraduate institutions, please let Orna know.