Your generous support helps maintain the level of world-class research and education for which the Laboratory of Genetics is known. Gifts of any amount make a difference. Donations to the Laboratory of Genetics funds listed below are administered by the UW Foundation on behalf of our department. Those wishing to donate by mail can fill out a printable form. If you are interested in establishing an endowment that would generate income on an ongoing basis, please contact our Chair, Francisco Pelegri, at

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Excellence in Undergraduate Education FundGive Now
Excellence in Graduate Education FundGive Now
Diversity Program FundGive Now
Stone Travel Award Fund – Give Now
Robert and Ann DeMars Lecture Fund – Give Now
J. F. Crow Distinguished Professorship Fund – Give Now

image of immunostained human tissue and blood vessels by Wei-Hua Lee of the Ikeda Lab at the Laboratory of Genetics
Immunohistology or Impressionism? A technique called “immunostaining” produced this image of human tissue and blood vessels from a patient by staining antibodies and proteins involved in immune response. The resemblance to famous works by Monet and Van Gogh is striking. Image by Wei-Hua Lee, a scientist in the Ikeda Lab at the Laboratory of Genetics. Winner of Cool Science Image 2016.

Excellence in Genetics Undergraduate Education Fund – Fund #112040083

Enhances genetics undergraduate degree program by funding research experience and travel to research conferences for genetics majors, and by subsidizing activities of the Undergraduate Genetics Association(UGA).

Gifts to this fund provided support to a new study abroad program led by Laboratory of Genetics professor, Dr. Francisco Pelegri.  During spring break 2019, Dr. Pelegri took 18  undergraduate students to Costa Rica for the UW Banking Animal Biodiversity field study program. Students applied developmental genetics concepts in projects focusing on global animal bio-preservation efforts at research stations in three diverse locations, including a lowland tropical forest, a cloud forest and a wetland/dry tropical forest.

The purpose of this fund is to support and enhance our genetics undergraduate degree program by funding research experience for our Genetics undergraduate majors, supporting their travel to research conferences, subsidizing the activities of the Undergraduate Genetics Association (UGA), and other activities of our Genetics undergraduates. The Genetics undergraduate program has approximately about 340 majors and awards about 80 Bachelor of Science degrees each year. Our alumni include some of our nations most distinguished geneticists plus many MDs, professionals in the health sciences and agricultural researchers. Awards from this fund will be made by the Genetics Undergraduate Program Committee.

Excellence in Genetics Graduate Education –  Fund #112040083

Supports genetics graduate student excellence by funding student stipends, activities related to graduate education, and student-led events related to research, teaching and outreach.


Gifts to this fund help support external invited speakers to the Laboratory of Genetics Spring/Fall Colloquium Series. The Colloquium Series is very important to our graduate program. It is an integral part of Genetics 707 and 708 courses in which 1st and 2nd year students interact directly with Colloquium speakers. In addition, all graduate students attend Colloquium (whose content is fair game on preliminary examinations!), and many attend lunch with the speakers during a speaker-student luncheon.

The UW-Madison Genetics Doctoral Training Program is considered one of the premiere genetics training programs in the country. The program has trained hundreds of students for diverse careers leveraging exceptional training in genetics, producing lasting impacts in the areas of human genetics, medicine, agriculture, education, and fundamental scientific discovery. The strength of our program is matched by the strength of our students – each year, the program recruits 10-12 of the most promising applicants to join a student body of ~60 students. An important recruiting tool to attract the best students is providing institutional support for students, especially student stipends. The purpose of this fund is to support the excellence of our students. Proceeds will be used to fund student stipends, support activities related to graduate education, and enable student-led events related to research, teaching, and outreach. Awards are granted by vote of the Genetics Training Program steering committee, which includes faculty trainers and a graduate student representative.

Genetics Diversity Program Fund – Fund #112040077

Enhances Genetics undergraduate and graduate degree programs by funding research, programs, and professional development experiences for underrepresented minority students.

Fyler Colon-Ramos talk


Gifts to the Genetics Diversity fund were recently used to help support a scientific talk and reception featuring Daniel Alfonso Colon-Ramos, world-class scientist, founder of Ciencia Puerto Rico, and STEM diversity champion. This event was open to the public and allowed underrepresented students interested in science to meet and talk with this very inspiring scientist who is a 2018 recipient of NIH’s High-Risk, High-Reward Research Grant Award.

Daniel Alfonso Colón-Ramosis is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Cell Biology at Yale University School of Medicine. His research centers on the underlying mechanisms of memory formation using the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans as a model system.  In 2006, during his postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University, Colón-Ramos founded Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR) to connect Puerto Rican scientists across the diaspora to promote scholarly interaction, provide visibility for Puerto Rican scientists, and support research and education in Puerto Rico. In 2011, Colón-Ramos received the American Association for the Advancement of Science Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science in part because of his work with CienciaPR and with promoting culturally relevant science education. In November 2018, Colón-Ramos participated in a Lasker Foundation-sponsored series called Conversations in Science with journalist Dan Rather, in which he described his research, his path to science from his childhood in Puerto Rico, and his approach to mentoring the next generation of scientists.




The purpose of this fund is to enhance the department undergraduate and graduate degree programs by funding research, programs, and professional development experiences for underrepresented minority students (as defined by the University and/or College) consistent with the University and College’s plan to achieve a diverse student body. These experiences include, but are not limited to, travel to research conferences, including national STEM conferences supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF) to include the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) and the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), and campus mentoring programs. The fund will also support innovative approaches for faculty and staff to engage learners and change behaviors about diversity and inclusion in the department and on campus that can include lectures, symposia, workshops, conferences and assessment activities. Awards from this fund will be made by the Genetics Diversity Committee.

William H. Stone Graduate Student Travel Fund – Fund #132044522

Established by Dr. William H. Stone, this fund supports graduate student travel to conferences and meetings.

Sherlyn Wijaya – 2023 Recipient of Stone Graduate Student Travel Award

How did you use the award?
The Stone Travel Award partially funded my trip to the 24th International C. elegans Conference, held in Glasgow, Scotland, in June 2023, where I presented my work in the Richardson lab during the poster presentation session.

What was the impact of the award on your career?

The opportunity to attend the flagship conference for C. elegans researchers, made possible by the award, significantly influenced my career. Since I am in the first year of my PhD study, I am relatively new to the field. This conference provided an intensive and high-quality crash course, bringing me up to speed on best practices, current trends, and cutting-edge methods the community is using, as well as what kinds of research questions people are asking and how to address those questions. I was also able to establish connections with C. elegans researchers from all around the world and receive invaluable insights on my research, particularly during my poster presentation. Notably, my presentation received an honorable mention, a recognition I believe will aid in advancing my career.

What kind of research did you present?

While most human neurons exist in our brains from embryogenesis onward, they must sustain their intricate structures and functions throughout our lives. Aging inevitably causes neuron deterioration, potentially leading to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans defies this ‘inevitable’ decline through its alternative life phase—the dauer diapause. During this stage, C. elegans maintains neuron functionality despite chronological aging, a stark contrast to non-dauer/aging worms of similar age. My research aims to leverage the dauer state to uncover the genetic and cellular mechanisms driving extended neuron maintenance, laying the foundation for potential treatments for neurodegenerative disorders.

How did you get interested in this project?I have always been drawn to research in the field of aging, but what intrigued me about this project was its investigation of an organism that has effectively delayed its aging process. Rather than solely investigating what goes wrong and inferring preventive measures, this project presents a distinctive opportunity to directly comprehend the mechanisms responsible for delayed aging.


Ryan Ward – 2023 Recipient of Stone Graduate Student Travel Award

How did you use the award?

I’m honored to have been awarded the Stone Travel Award to attend two international conferences. At the Symposium on the Biology of Acinetobacter in Coimbra, Portugal, my talk generated enthusiasm for our unique research methods, inspiring attendees to consider implementing them in their own work. The trip to Portugal also gave me a chance to put my college Portuguese to use! In Heidelberg, Germany, at the New Approaches and Concepts in Microbiology at EMBL, my poster presentation became a focal point for discussions with experts in many different fields, paving the way for potential collaborations.

What was the impact of the award on your career?

Receiving the Stone Travel Grant was a defining moment in my professional development. It afforded me the huge opportunity to engage face-to-face with field leaders, stay up-to-date on groundbreaking research, and begin relationships with potential collaborators.

What kind of research did you present?

My research, presented at these key events, focuses on identifying the genetic vulnerabilities of Acinetobacter baumannii. By combining CRISPRi technology with machine learning, I target essential genes to understand which cellular processes are most vulnerable. This research could pave the way to more strategic approaches to address antibiotic resistance.

How did you get interested in this project?

Economics and genetics have given me a strong foundation in data analysis, but it was the allure of microbiology that captivated me. I see bacteria as tiny, fast-evolving economies of genes and proteins. This project was a perfect match, allowing me to apply my data science skills to the intricate and dynamic world of microbiology, with the opportunity to contribute to solving the pressing issue of antibiotic resistance.

William H. Stone, former Professor of Medical Genetics from 1953 to 1979, created the fund for the purpose of supporting graduate students working with Professors in the Laboratory of Genetics. The earnings from this fund are used to provide supplementary scholarships to enhance the training of exceptional graduate students. Annual awards are made on a competitive basis by the Graduate Awards Committee.

Robert and Ann DeMars Lecture in Genetics Fund – Fund #132040072

Honors Dr. DeMars’ legacy as a researcher and teacher by supporting an annual invited lecture.

Thanks to the generosity of many, the Robert and Ann DeMars fund has reached its $25,000 endowment goal!  Planning is underway for the first Robert and Ann DeMars Lecture.  We will keep you posted.

Picture of Robert DeMarsRobert DeMars joined the Genetics faculty in 1959 and did pioneering work in developing methods for studying human genetics by using laboratory cultured cells. This work led to important discoveries about genetic disorders, including cancer, and about gene regulation in humans. In 1980, DeMars reported the isolation of deletion mutations affecting the human major histocompatibility locus. These mutations have been used by DeMars and other labs around the world to analyze the workings of the immune system. In the early 1990’s DeMars published a seminal series of papers identifying genes involved in the process of antigen presentation necessary to trigger an immune response. After retiring in 1997, DeMars turned his attention to the genetics of the human pathogen, Chlamydia, illuminating the genetic basis for pathogen evasion of immune surveillance and demonstrating bacterial genetic exchange that contributes to pathogenesis. The Robert and Ann DeMars Lecture in Genetics Fund sponsors this annual lecture to honor Dr. DeMars’ legacy as a researcher and teacher and his late wife’s many contributions in support of his work and the success of the DeMars lab.

James F. Crow Distinguished Professorship Fund – Fund #132901595

Celebrates the career of Dr. Crow by supporting the research of a world-class scientist on the faculty in Genetics.


Thanks to many generous donors, we are excited to report that the Crow Professorship Fund has met its initial goal of a $1,000,000 endowment!  The department will soon appoint the first James F Crow Distinguished Professor of Genetics and thereby recognize and support the research of a world-class scientist on the faculty in the Laboratory of Genetics.

Jim Crow photo

James F. Crow served as a faculty member in Genetics starting in 1948 and remained active until his death in 2012. He was an icon in genetics having published over 200 papers covering topics in population genetics, fruit fly genetics, human genetics, and the intellectual history of genetics. Students remember him as one of their finest teachers. Professor Crow was a leader and statesman of science. He was also an accomplished musician having been a member of the Madison Symphony Orchestra and past President of the Madison Civic Music Society. To honor Professor Crow, we have created an endowed Professorship that bears his name. The Professorship will be made available to support the research of a world-class scientist on the faculty in Genetics. Please join us in celebrating the career of Dr. Crow by contributing to the James F. Crow Professorship Fund.