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. Throughout 2022, 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 are introducing Presidential Members all week, so be sure to check back and meet your new colleagues.



Shahinur Islam
Postdoc, Dr. Daniel Heath Lab, University of Windsor, Canada

I study the genomic basis of physiological adaptation of 46 fish species to climate change.



Maiko Kitaoka
Graduate student, Heald Lab, University of California, Berkeley

I currently use different frog species to understand molecular conflicts that arise in cell division to understand how evolution ensures that species remain distinct. I will soon transition to a new position where I hope to figure out how organisms make the best possible gametes to further their next generations.



Xinping Li
Postdoc

My research leverages genetic tools to study how neural circuits integrate sensory information to guide complex behaviors.



Chiara Masnovo
PhD Candidate, Mirkin Laboratory, Tufts University

In my research, I investigate the relationship between the replisome and GAA trinucleotide repeats in S. cerevisiae.



Isabel Mejia Natividad
Research Technician, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

I investigate the evolution and function of sperm nuclear basic proteins (Protamines) that reside in the chromatin of Drosophila using molecular biology, cell biology, and genetic approaches to uncover novel roles for these proteins in sperm development.



Julio Molina Pineda
PhD Candidate, Jeff Lewis Lab, University of Arkansas

My research interests focus on using model organisms to genetically dissect complex traits related to human disease. My main project right now consists of using yeast to elucidate the genetic basis of natural variation in resistance and susceptibility to the Parkinson’s Disease related protein alpha-synuclein.



Seun Oladipupo
PhD Candidate

Broadly, my research interest is the use of novel tools such as natural products and endosymbionts to manage intractable insect pest species.



Jocelyn Olivera-Martinez
Undergraduate, Tootle Lab, University of Iowa

My research focuses on previous work that my lab has done in which they have shown that PLIN2, a lipid droplet protein, regulates actin. I am interested in whether PLIN2 regulates border cell migration.



Julianne Pelaez
PhD Candidate, Whiteman Lab, University of California, Berkeley

My research interests focus on understanding how new behaviors evolve in animals at the genetic and neural level to enable them to adapt to new diets and ecological niches.



Cristina Quesada Candela
Postdoc at the University of Pittsburgh

My project is focused on studying the proteasome and understanding its role during pairing and synapsis in C. elegans and how it is impacted by maternal age.



Joel A. Rojas
Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo

I’m working describing freshwater turtles hybrids (Trachemys), morphologically and their genetics



Kirsten Isabel Verster
PhD Candidate, Whiteman Lab, University of California, Berkeley

I study how horizontal gene transfer has contributed to the evolution of a new immune arsenal in flies.



Edward A. Waddell
Assistant Professor of Biology, Holy Family University

My research focuses on characterizing the affective component of pain in Drosophila to serve as a model for assessing whether invertebrates can experience the full spectrum of pain and suffering. It is my hope to provide experimental evidence to support improving animal welfare protections for invertebrates used in research or agricultural purposes.



Maya Woolfolk
PhD Student, Hoekstra Lab, Harvard University

Broadly, I am most interested in understanding processes by which genetic variation arises, how that can lead to phenotypic variation, and how those changes can have effects on fitness. My research focuses on the genetic, morphological, and behavioral basis of variation in infant deer mouse vocalizations.


Alyssa Paparella
PhD Candidate, Baylor College of Medicine

Through a co-mentorship, my project allows me to investigate how oncohistones shape epigenetic landscapes through both biology and chemistry.


Not pictured:

Eric Anderson
Manali Dey
Siyuan Feng
Rohini Janivara
Chien-Der Lee
Raj Rajeshwar Malinda
Kenneth Chukwudi Onyegbula
Giovanni Sabatino
Filza Shareen
Samantha Sierra-Martinez
Matheus Vernet Machado Bressan Wilke

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