The Genetics Society of America is pleased to announce the 2020 recipients of its annual awards for distinguished service in the field of genetics. The awardees were nominated and selected by their colleagues and will be recognized with presentations at The Allied Genetics Conference, held April 22–26, 2020 in the metro Washington, DC area.

The 2020 recipients are recognized for a broad range of critical contributions to science, including scientific discoveries, mentoring, creation of community resources, and education. The awardees are:

Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal

for lifetime contributions to the field of genetics

Awarded to two recipients in 2020.


  • Chief Scientific Officer, Calico Labs
  • Professor of Molecular Biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Emeritus, Princeton University
  • 1988 recipient of the GSA Medal

Recognizing multiple contributions to genetics, including the collaborative development of methods for defining genetic pathways, mapping genomes, and analyzing gene expression.


Gerald Fink


  • Professor of Molecular Genetics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Member, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
  • 1982 recipient of the GSA Medal

Recognizing the discovery of principles central to genome organization and regulation in eukaryotic cells.

GSA Medal

for outstanding contributions to the field of genetics in the last 15 years


  • Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Squibb Professor and Chair of Molecular Biology, Princeton University

Recognizing groundbreaking studies of bacterial chemical communication and regulation of group behaviors.

George W. Beadle Award

for outstanding contributions to the community of genetics researchers

Julie Ahringer


  • Director and Senior Group Leader, The Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge
  • Professor of Genetics and Genomics, Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge

Recognizing the development of critical tools and key datasets for studies of genetics and transcriptional regulation in Caenorhabditis elegans and beyond.

Elizabeth W. Jones Award

for Excellence in Education

Seth Bordenstein


  • Centennial Endowed Chair in Biological Sciences
  • Professor of Biological Sciences and Pathology, Microbiology, & Immunology
  • Associate Director, Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation
  • Director, Vanderbilt Microbiome Initiative, Vanderbilt University

Recognizing the development of “Discover the Microbes Within! The Wolbachia Project”, an initiative designed to bring real-world scientific research into middle, high school, and college biology classes.

Edward Novitski Prize

for extraordinary creativity and intellectual ingenuity in genetics research

Welcome Bender


  • Harold T. White Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School

Recognizing creativity and ingenuity in revealing the molecular nature and regulation of the bithorax gene complex.


Learn more about the achievements of the 2020 awardees over the coming weeks on Genes to Genomes.

For more information on each award and past recipients, visit