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Important Dates:

September 24, 2014
Abstract Submission Opens

Conference Registration Opens

November 5, 2014
Deadline for Workshop Requests
November 10, 2014
Abstract Submission Deadline
December 1, 2014
Larry Sandler Award Submission Deadline
January 16, 2015
Deadline for Early (Discounted) Conference Registration
February 6, 2015
Deadline for Hotel Reservations


2015 Meeting Organizers:


Greg Beitel
Michael Eisen
Marc Freeman
Ilaria Rebay

Hotel and Travel




Hotel and Reservations

The Conference will be held in Chicago, Illinois, one of the most popular destination cities in the United States. Centrally located in the Midwest, Chicago is easily accessible by air and major interstate highways.


Hotel and Reservations


Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers
301 North Water Street 
Chicago, IL  60611 
Reservations:  800/233-4100

The hotel room block and all sessions of the Conference are at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers (Sheraton Chicago).  The great location of the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers puts you in the heart of the city and offers views of the river and lake. Directly on the riverfront, it is within walking distance of Navy Pier, Millennium Park and Michigan Avenue.  The hotel also has an indoor pool, various restaurants and a fitness center.  For more information on the many features of the hotel, please visit


To reserve a hotel room, you may make your reservations online directly at the Sheraton Chicago Group reservation site.  Note that reservations will be accepted only when accompanied by a credit card guarantee or a deposit of the first night’s room and tax.


Deadline for receipt of reservations: February 6, 2015. When contacting the hotel by telephone, identify yourself as an attendee of the 56th Annual Drosophila Research Conference.


While neither the Sheraton Chicago nor the GSA staff can assist in finding or assigning roommates, individuals looking for roommates may check the online bulletin board at the Drosophila Conference Website, which opens on November 7, 2014.


The Sheraton Chicago will process reservation requests on a first-come, first-served basis. For general information about the hotel go to the Sheraton Chicago Web site at:





Room Types and Rates


Room descriptions and pictures are available at


Single (1 person) - $219    
Double (2 persons) - $239   
Towers Level Single - $259

Towers Level Double - $279 -
Additional Person in any room 
- $30

All rates are per room, per night and do not include local room tax (currently 16.4%). Maximum occupancy per room is four people.




Room Reservation Guarantee and Cancellation


Reservation must be guaranteed with one-night’s room deposit by major credit card. It is the hotel’s policy to charge your credit card the one night's room and tax deposit at the time you make your reservation. Cancellations must be made by 6:00 pm one day in advance of the scheduled arrival date to obtain a refund of the deposit.

Though the Sheraton Chicago is handicapped accessible, it is the guest’s responsibility to advise the hotel of special needs as far in advance as possible. Every effort will be made to accommodate special needs.






Bulletin Board for Room Sharing


Post your request for a roommate on the electronic Bulletin Board for Room Sharing.  GSA has provided this service to facilitate finding a roommate. Registrants can post messages regarding what type of roommate they are looking for i.e male or female, smoker or non-smoker and the participants will respond directly to the registrant.  Please note that potential roommates communicate directly with each other.  GSA is only providing access to this program as a service and is not involved in the matching of roommates.



Childcare/Family Room


Onsite childcare services may be available through your hotel concierge. Individual or group sitters may be arranged to provide in-room hotel childcare. Please check with your hotel well in advance of your arrival date.

It is the responsibility of the parent(s), guardian, legal guardian, or individual requesting childcare services to screen caregivers and to make a determination as to the appropriateness of the caregiver. The Genetics Society of America does not screen any of the childcare services and assumes no responsibility with respect to these services and accepts no liabilities.

Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian during exhibit hours.  Parents or guardians may bring children under the age of 18 to educational and social events provided the children do not disrupt the event.  Under no circumstances are children under the age of 18 allowed in the Exhibit Hall during set-up and dismantle times.


A Family Room for nursing mothers will be available at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers on level 2 in the Tennessee room.  Please note that parents and guardians are responsible for providing infant care supplies.  The Family Room is unsupervised and The Genetics Society of America is not responsible for any accidents or injuries that may occur.T




Ground Transportation


Shuttle van service and taxis are available at both Midway and Chicago O’Hare International Airports.  A one-way taxi fare to/from Midway is approximately $33 and to/from O’Hare is approximately $45.  One-way shuttle service on Go Airport Express from O’Hare is currently $29 and $24 from Midway.  For more information and coupons go to  Another option is to take the train to/from O’Hare at a cost of $5.00.  The train will pick you up at O’Hare and take you to within approximately seven blocks (or a $7 cab ride) from the hotel.  The train fare from Midway is $2.25  For additional information go to



The hotel offers detailed driving directions if attendees would like to drive to the meeting.





Parking is very expensive at the Chicago Sheraton ($58/day for valet and $52day for self park).  Chicago is a very “walkable” city and a car is generally not needed.  There are many public lots near the Sheraton, some cost as little as $16/day.



Requests for Letters of Invitation


For security purposes, letters of invitation can only be sent to individuals that have registered for the meeting. After you have registered, you will be given a link to generate your letter of invitation. If you have questions, please contact Suzy Brown (




VISA & Passports


As part of security procedures, applications for visas are sent to the U.S. State Department for a security review. For further information, visit the State Department Web site at You can also visit the "International Visitors Office" Web site at



For International Visitors


Visitors traveling to the United States from all countries (including the visa waiver countries) are required to register personal details online at least three (3) days in advance of travel. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), is a free, automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States. It collects the same information as the paper I-94W form you usually complete enroute to the United States. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel. An ESTA authorization generally will be valid for up to two years. DHS recommends that travelers submit an ESTA application as soon as they begin travel plans.  Click here for further details.





Meeting attendees are advised to apply for a visa as early as possible (at least three months before visa is needed). Registration refunds will not be issued for denied visas. As part of security procedures, applications for visas are sent to the U.S. State Department for a security review. For further information, visit the State Department Web site. We advise scientists traveling to the United States to apply for a visa as early as possible (at least six months before the visa is needed). Please check with your local U.S. consulate or embassy to find out the earliest that you may apply for a visa. For further information and a list of your local US embassy (or consulate), please click here.  


To assist you with the Visa application process:


  • Apply for visa at least six (6) months in advance. For countries that are on the State Sponsors of Terrorism List, the State Department suggests applying for a visa six (6) to eight (8) months in advance.
  • Provide your entire trip itinerary, including travel to any countries other than the United States, at the time of visa application.
  • If completion of travel plans is contingent upon early approval of the visa application, specify this at the time of the application.
  • Provide proof of scientific status. For example, proof that you submitted an abstract for the meeting. Do not wait until you receive notification that your abstract has been accepted before applying for a visa. It is very rare that an abstract is denied. If your abstract followed the rules and guidelines, it will be programmed.
  • Provide meeting Web site ( and copy of your letter of invitation.
  • Provide evidence that you are intending to return to your country of residence. This includes such things as:
    • family ties in current country of residence
    • property ownership
    • bank account
    • an employment contract or statement from employer showing that position will continue after the dates of the meeting
  • Requirements vary by passport-issuing country and citizenship (not merely residency).


NOTE: Some consulates may have backlogs in scheduling visa interviews so applicants should first contact the consulate to determine what wait times for interviews are. Click here for visa wait times.



VISA Problems


For applications that have not been approved 30 days after the interview you should complete an online questionnaire. You will be asked to name the meeting (54th Annual Drosophila Research Conference) and explain the purpose of your visit. Click herefor visa wait times.


Visa Waiver Program (VWP): The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of 36 participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business (visitor [B] visa purposes only) for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.  To learn more about the VISA Waiver Program, click here

USA Visa Policy Resources – click here.