GENETICS is excited to announce five new editors: Needhi Balla, Victoria Meller, Houra Merrikh, Yi Rao, and Yikang Rong.

Needhi Balla

University of California, Santa Cruz

New editor of GENETICS, Needhi Balla, headshot






Needhi Bhalla received her B.A. at Columbia College and her Ph.D. at University of California, San Francisco, and she performed her post-doc training at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs and University of California, Berkeley. She is currently a Professor in the Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology at University of California, Santa Cruz, where her lab studies meiotic and mitotic chromosome dynamics and segregation in C. elegans. She is particularly interested in understanding how checkpoint mechanisms are modified by biological and developmental context. She is deeply committed to improving the culture of science, with an emphasis on improving equity, diversity, and inclusivity at every professional level in STEM.

Victoria Meller

Wayne State University

New editor of GENETICS, Victoria Meller, headshot






Victoria Meller is a fruit fly geneticist with interests in non-coding RNA, chromosome biology, and epigenetics. Her laboratory studies the mechanism of X chromosome recognition during dosage compensation in male fruit flies. She received her BS from Cornell University and PhD from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and she was a postdoctoral researcher at SUNY Stony Brook, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Baylor College of Medicine. She is now Professor and Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Wayne State University.

Houra Merrikh

Vanderbilt University

Dr. Merrikh obtained her PhD from Brandeis University in 2009 and completed her postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2011. She started her independent research program as an assistant professor of microbiology at the University of Washington in 2012. Dr. Merrikh subsequently moved to Vanderbilt University in 2019 where she is now a full professor of Biochemistry. Her research is interested in two problems: 1) Stalling of DNA replication forks due to conflicts with RNA polymerases and 2) mutagenic mechanisms driving the evolution of antimicrobial resistance. Dr. Merrikh’s long-term goals are to unravel the impact of replication-transcription conflicts on various aspects of cellular life such as mutagenesis and to inhibit the mechanisms that drive the evolution of antimicrobial resistance.

Yi Rao

Peking University

New GENETICS editor, Yi Rao, headshot






Yi Rao is a molecular genetic neurobiologist. He used to work on genetic analysis of neural development; at first, neurogenesis, and later axon guidance. He now works on molecular genetic analysis of neurotransmission, behaviors in animals, and cognition in humans.

Yikang Rong

University of South China

New editor of GENETICS, Yikang Rong, headshot






My group is interested in understanding chromatin-based mechanisms for the maintenance of genome stability primarily using the fruit fly Drosophila as a model. Our current focus includes (1) telomerase-independent protection of chromosome ends; (2) germline inheritance of chromatin structure and function; and, (3) structure and function of the rDNA and other repetitive loci.