As we close the 2015-2016 academic year, I am delighted to take this opportunity to provide an update on events in the Laboratory of Genetics and the accomplishments of our students and faculty.
Genetics continues to attract amazing undergraduate students. Here’s what a few of them have been up to recently. This year, four of our students were awarded Hilldale Fellowships including Destiny Baars, Zachary Beethem, Julie Fischer and Sara Grange. Eddie Ruiz, a Genetics junior, co-founded The Journal of Undergraduate Science and T echnology (JUST), a new journal that will highlight the research of UW-Madison undergraduates.
|In 2010 the Department of Genetics celebrated its Centennial Anniversary and the Department of Medical Genetics turned just a tad over 50 years. To mark these anniversaries, back-to-back symposia were held: the 3rd annual Smithies Symposium and a Centennial Symposium with the theme: "What's next?" This issue reflects on a century of milestones and celebrates the past, present and future.|
|2008 was a remarkably eventful year for the Laboratory of Genetics. As you will discover in this newsletter, a large number of faculty members, academic staff members, and graduate students were honored with awards of distinction recognizing their efforts in research, department support services, and graduate studies. As a whole, members of the Laboratory of Genetics were successful in competitively renewing research grants in a very difficult national financial environment. No matter how high the bar has been set, our faculty and students have risen to the challenge and remain successful at garnering new funding and renewing funding of ongoing research projects.|
Across the nation, universities and the students attending universities are facing some of the toughest challenges they’ve experienced in a long time. State legislatures have pursued a long-term trend of funding ever-smaller percentages of the costs of their universities. On top of that, reduced federal funding for investigator-initiated research, primarily from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundations, has dramatically increased the level of competition and the amount of time each faculty member spends writing grant applications as opposed to doing the work of science. Students are under stress with the cost of undergraduate tuition rising 7-8% each year. Furthermore, NIH has imposed caps on the amount of money that can be charged to support students of graduate training grants.
|No matter where one looks, the theme of cross-disciplinary research is evident. The UW campus has been positioning itself to take advantage of this theme starting with “cluster hires” intended to bring new faculty members to campus who work at the boundaries and interfaces of different disciplines. Recently, the Laboratory of Genetics became the administrative home for the evolution initiative. This initiative brings faculty interested in evolutionary biology together for research, journal clubs, symposium and outreach. This environment attracts new students and faculty members interested in evolution to Madison. These collaborative ties will greatly enhance the Genetics Training Program.|
|The new addition to the Genetics Biotechnology Center was dedicated on April 14 with an Open House. The dedication marked the celebration of the first stage of BioStar - a public private partnership between the State of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin to fund campus construction. Future construction includes a Microbial Sciences Building, an upgrade to the Biochemistry Building and the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery.|