GSA is pleased to announce the recipients of the DeLill Nasser Award for Professional Development in Genetics for Spring 2019! Given twice a year to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, DeLill Nasser Awards support attendance at meetings and laboratory courses.

The award is named in honor of DeLill Nasser, a long-time GSA supporter and National Science Foundation Program Director in Eukaryotic Genetics. Nasser was regarded by some as the “patron saint of real genetics,” shaping the field through more than two decades of leadership. She was especially supportive of young scientists, people who were beginning their careers, and those trying to open new areas of genetic inquiry. For more about Nasser, please see the tribute from Scott Hawley, published in the August 2001 issue of GENETICS.

This cycle’s winners are making strides in a wide range of research topics, including how homologous chromosomes pair during meiosis, the evolutionary consequences of sexual selection and sexual conflict, and more.

Phillip Brand

Philipp Brand: Graduate student, University of California, Davis

“I study the molecular, genetic, and neurophysiological bases of pheromone communication and their importance in the generation and maintenance of reproductive isolation during speciation.”

Jessie Fernandez

Jessie Fernandez: Postdoc Fellow, UT Southwestern Medical Center

“I study how the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, the causative agent of rice blast, proliferates inside plant cells to cause disease.”


Talia Hatkevich: Graduate student, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“I examine how homologous chromosomes pair during meiosis, using the fruit fly as a model.”

Matt Jones, Nasser Award

Matthew Jones: Graduate student, University of Montana

“I study the genetics of adaptation to new and changing environments in snowshoe hares.”

Balint Kacsoh

Balint Kacsoh: Graduate student, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

“I am particularly interested in what are the underlying genetics and neural circuitry that govern behavior and am utilizing a Drosophila model of social communication, learning, and memory in response to a predator threat to answer these questions.”


Katja Kasimatis: Graduate student, University of Oregon

“My research analyzes the evolutionary consequences of sexual selection and sexual conflict.”


Rebecca Palu: Postdoc, University of Utah School of Medicine

“I study the impact of natural genetic variation on cellular and metabolic stresses in Drosophila disease models.”

Medina, nasser winner

Edgar M. Medina: Graduate student, Duke University

“I am developing a member of an ancient lineage of Fungi (zoosporic Fungi) as a new model to understand how the ultra-conserved gene networks that control cell division in Eukaryotes can change and rewire through evolutionary time.”

Wynn Meyer

Wynn Meyer: Postdoc, University of Pittsburgh

“I study the genetic changes that accompany similar environmental changes in different animals to learn what particular genes and pathways do and how they help animals adapt to their environments.”

Lesley Weaver

Lesley Weaver: Postdoc, Johns Hopkins University

“My research in the laboratory of Daniela Drummond-Barbosa focuses on how different organs communicate with the ovary to influence reproduction in response to environmental factors using Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) as a model system.”

Interested in receiving a Fall 2019 DeLill Nasser Award? Learn more about the award and submit your application by April 3, 2019.