Harvard University - Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology


by Cathryn Delude

March 4th, 2010

William M. Gelbart, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, will receive the 2010 George W. Beadle Award for outstanding contributions to the community of genetics researchers from the Genetics Society of America (GSA). It is one of five annual GSA awards that honor sustained activity and contributions by members of the genetics community. “This year's awards illustrate the power of basic research on nonhuman organisms as a pathway to understanding human biology, health, and disease," said Sherry A. Marts, GSA Executive Director.

Gelbart is a developmental geneticist in the Department of Molecular and Cellular biology interested in understanding the organization of the genome and the molecular basis of pattern formation in higher order animals, using the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) as a model system. In 1992, he created FlyBase, the central digital repository that enables the international Drosophila community to connect genetic and molecular data with the Drosophila genome sequence.

With this award, the GSA said they are recognizing Gelbart for his decades-long devotion to FlyBase, which is also the standard for other model organism databases. Gelbart also serves on the Scientific Advisory Boards of WormBase, Zebrafish Information Network (ZFIN), The Arabidopsis Information Resource (TAIR) and Germplasm Resource Information (GRIN)-Global, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) Large-Scale Genome Sequencing Network Advisory Committee, and the NHGRI National Advisory Council. He is Chair of the NHGRI Coordinating Committee for Selection of Large-Scale Sequencing Projects, and a Director of Genome Canada.

Founded in 1931, the GSA is the professional membership organization for geneticists and science educators. It seeks to foster a unified science of genetics and to maximize its intellectual and practical impact. It will present the award on April 7th in Washington, DC.

Read more in Harvard Gazette

(picture: William Gelbart (l) receiving the award from Thomas Kaufman of Indiana University)