In 2009, Dr. Tanja Godenschwege, FAU Jupiter Life Science Initiative scientist and Associate Professor, and Dr. Grace Zhai, Associate Professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, spearheaded the Flies on the Beach- South Florida Drosophila Research Consortium. This inaugural event dedicated to Drosophila research was held at the FAU Boca Raton campus and consisted of researchers from FAU, the UM Biology Department, and the UM Miller School. Since then, this research symposium has steadily grown every year and encompasses all areas of fly research taking place within the growing research environment of south Florida.
Over 75 researchers, students, and postdocs attended the event to network and share research findings. This year's event was organized by Matthew DeGennaro, Assistant Professor at FIU, and Dr. Grace Zhai (UM), and hosted in Miami at Florida International University. The events included 14 oral presentations of ongoing research in laboratories located across Florida, including those from Florida Atlantic University, the University of Miami, Florida International University, the University of Florida, and Scripps Florida. The mid-day poster session showcased approximately 30 ongoing research projects at these institutions. In addition, a guest lecture was given by Dr. Stephanie Mohr, Director of the Drosophila RNAi Screening Center (DRSC) Functional Genomics Resources and member of the Perrimon laboratory at Harvard Medical School. Her talk entitled "Resources from the Drosophila RNAi Screening Center and Transgenic RNAi Project (TRiP): Not Just RNAi Anymore," covered topics such as DRSC/TRiP fly cell technologies, in vivo technologies, CRISPR technologies, as well as new informatics tools.