The Presidential Membership Initiative was launched in 2020 as a way for the Genetics Society of America to invite talented and creative individuals from diverse backgrounds into our community. We are pleased to introduce the inaugural cohort of Presidential Members. Throughout 2021, they will network with one another and with other Society and Board members, participate in GSA Conferences, and be valued additions to our community. Welcome, Presidential Members!

We will be introducing Presidential Members all week, so be sure to check back and meet your new colleagues.



Amanda J. Browne
Associate Scientist, PPD

I perform immunological assays to assess drug substance products for impurities to support the research and development of new medicines.



Jacob Brunkard
Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison

My lab investigates the TARGET OF RAPAMYCIN (TOR) metabolic regulatory network in plants. We use a combination of approaches, including genetics, functional genomics, and cell and molecular biology, to understand how TOR coordinates metabolism with nutrient availability in model and agricultural crop species.



Abdul-Rahman Adamu Bukari
Graduate Student, Microstats Lab, University of Manitoba

The overall objective of my research is to examine the temporal stability of phylogenetic clusters associated with a single geographic location in the two most common Candida species (C. albicans and C. glabrata) isolated from humans, while also defining variation and relationships in the accessory genomes among both closely and distantly related isolates.



Bernabe I. Bustos
Postdoc, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

My research focuses on understanding the genetic bases of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. I analyze large-scale next-generation sequencing data from affected individuals and healthy controls, to find novel candidate genes that could help to explain the disease etiology and to develop novel therapies.



Hannah Chu
Graduate Student, Yamanaka Lab, University of California, Riverside

I study juvenile hormone (JH) signaling in Drosophila melanogaster. My research aims to understand how JH affects insect physiology and behavior and how we can manipulate JH signaling to control insects.



Matthew Clark
Assistant Professor, Bucknell University

My lab uses the power of Drosophila neurogenetics to gain a better understanding of how a complex brain can orchestrate complicated behaviors. Previous work examining freely flying fruit flies demonstrated that small changes in wingbeat kinematics can lead to dramatic changes in flight heading. Our ongoing efforts are centered on understanding how changes in flight behaviors are controlled by the brian and neuromuscular system.



Kerri Davidson
Post-baccalaureate Student, Parkhurst Lab, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

I am interested in unraveling the mechanism associated with a new and exciting nuclear-pore independent nuclear export pathway: Nuclear Envelope (NE) budding. We know NE-budding is essential for major developmental pathways involving neuromuscular integrity and aging, but there are likely other processes requiring this event.



Annette Dean
Postdoc, Stanford Research Group, Drexel University

My research has two focus areas: 1) the interrelationship between epigenetic factors and canonical developmental pathways in neurodevelopment, and 2) the aspects of experiential learning opportunities that allow students to achieve specific learning outcomes.



Arely Diaz
Graduate Student, Reis Lab, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

My work focuses on characterizing how specific RNA-binding proteins interact with RNAs in the Drosophila fat body to regulate energy homeostasis. Specifically, my work will elucidate how these RNA-protein interactions contribute to the establishment of sexual dimorphism in metabolism.



Melissa Drown
Graduate Student, Marine Genomics Lab, University of Miami

Using a combination of physiology and genomics, my research investigates the rapid evolution of the Atlantic killifish in response to environmental temperature change. Do local temperature differences lead to local adaptation? What evolutionary processes are involved in population response to environmental temperature change?



Nicole Harrington
Undergraduate, Heller Lab, University of Pennsylvania

My current research looks at stress and Nr4a1 regulation. I will be examining the effects of acute and chronic stress on neurons in the prefrontal and S1 cortices in order to investigate the mechanisms behind mental disorders and drug addiction.



Lewis Hun
Postdoc, Yamanaka Lab, University of California, Riverside

My research interests will be broadly focused on the integrative biology of insect hormones and host-microbe interactions in arthropod vectors of medical importance. Specifically, I’m interested in how hormones such as 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E) and juvenile hormone (JH) that orchestrate metamorphosis and host immunity during microbe infection can be leveraged to reduce the global impact of insects on human and animal health.

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