Fall 2021: Division of Evolutionary Developmental Biology

Message from the Chair

Deirdre Lyons, Chair.DEDB@sicb.org

Deirdre Lyons, DEDB Chair

Happy Fall Everyone!  I’m looking forward to seeing many of you in person in Phoenix, and experiencing a meeting with both in-person and online presentations for the first time. Our division is sponsoring no fewer than six symposia this year, including “Morphology and evolution of female copulatory morphology in amniotes”, “Open source solutions in experimental design,” and “The deep and shallow history of aquatic life’s passages between marine and freshwater habitats.” The DEDB officers had the “good problem to have” of a bumper crop of Best Student Presentation submissions this year; you can look forward to excellent talk and poster sessions. We always need faculty and postdocs to volunteer their time and expertise to judge these presentations. The students really benefit from the constructive feedback, especially after the isolation of the pandemic. Another way faculty and postdocs can support trainees is to sign up for the Evo-Devo meet-ups with undergrad and graduate students. If you register by December 1 and have DEDB checked as your affiliation, you will receive an email from the student/postdoc rep, Ryan Hulett, to participate. 

A star is born: juvenile bat star, Patiria miniata, lovingly cultured in the Lyons lab by post doc Vanessa Barone and undergrad Luisa Coranado (check out Luisa’s poster at SICB 2022)

I’m excited to announce a new initiative this year: the “Faculty Launch” workshop. This workshop aims to demystify the postdoc-to-faculty transition in academia. Are you a postdoc staring down the job market? An early career faculty member wondering how to survive and thrive in your position? A post-tenure faculty member eager to tell those behind you what you wish you knew back then? Come and participate! During the inaugural workshop we will lay the foundation for an ongoing training opportunity to be offered annually at the SICB meeting. Thank you Leslie Babonis for proposing this idea at last year’s DEDB member meeting, and thank you Rebecca Varney and Billie Swalla for serving as panelists. Keep an eye out for info on registration as the meeting draws closer.

In closing, I’d like to welcome the incoming DEDB chair, Dave Angelini, who will be taking up the mantle at the close of the meeting in Phoenix.  It’s been a pleasure to serve – I highly recommend it!  If you think you might want to serve in any officer position, or want to nominate a colleague/trainee, please let one of us know!  

Message from the Program Officer

Matt Rockman, DPO.DEDB@sicb.org

Matt Rockman, DEDB Program Officer

The live meeting returns in January the poster session with its soothing hum of a thousand conversations, the talks that run over time, the display-copy discounts from book vendors, the quiet huddles around conference tables where new collaborations are born. The SICB program committee has just met in Phoenix, toured the venue and made decisions about how to bring back the excitement of a real-life conference while keeping COVID at bay. We’re spacing the posters out to avoid congestion, and we’re putting sessions into rooms that are bigger than usual to allow for a bit of distancing. It’s going to be weird— everything is always weird now. But as I walked around the meeting rooms and exhibition halls, I was reminded how great these meetings are, how full of new ideas and new colleagues, prizes for students and grad-school reunions for their increasingly decrepit advisors. I can’t wait to see you in Phoenix! 

Don’t forget to register— the presenter deadline is 5 November and the early discount deadline is 1 December. 

Rockman Lab members searching for polychaetes slowly sink into the mud, hypnotized by the sights and smells of New York Harbor.

This is my last newsletter contribution as Program Officer. It’s been a pleasure to serve the division and our shared research mission. I’m grateful to the past officers who helped me find my footing, especially Julia Bowsher, Yui Suzuki, Amaneet Lochab, Prashant Sharma, Kim Hoke, and Cassandra Extavour. I’m grateful to the current officers who are taking DEDB in great directions. And I’m grateful to Frank Smith, who will be stepping into the role of Program Officer following the meeting in January. 

Message from the Secretary

Leslie S. Babonis, Secretary.DEDB@sicb.org

Leslie Babonis, DEDB Secretary

The Division of Evolutionary Developmental Biology congratulates Allison Edgar who was elected as the Secretary-Elect of the division. Her term will begin at the end of the 2023 SICB meeting; thank you to all of you who voted. If there is any news you would like to share with DEDB members, including job ads, postdoctoral positions, and opportunities for students, please contact me at Secretary.DEDB@sicb.org. Please help us highlight your research on the new SICB website! Send a research picture, a title for the picture/research, and a brief (1-3 sentences) description of your research via e-mail to me. We also love to celebrate our members broadly, so please Tweet your Science successes @DedbSicb. 

In the Spring newsletter we announced the development of a Diversity Spotlight, a new recurring segment for the newsletter that aims to increase visibility for our junior members.  

Knockout of transcription factor NvSox2 drives aberrant harpoon (magenta) formation in stinging cells from the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis

Postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates are all eligible, so please nominate a candidate to be highlighted in our next diversity spotlight by emailing Secretary.DEDB@sicb.org.

See you in Phoenix! 

Message from the Student/Postdoc Representative

Ryan Hulett, rhulett@g.harvard.edu

Ryan Hulett, SPDAC rep

Greetings DEDB Students and Postdocs! We want to reach out and let you know that we will be continuing the annual Evo-Devo Meet-ups this year for SICB 2022. We are currently planning for these to be in-person following the appropriate COVID-related safety measures. If circumstances change, we will opt for virtual meet-ups. We will be contacting those folks that have registered in early December to coordinate the Evo-Devo Meet-ups!

I want to direct your attention to the new SICB website, and specifically to the SPDAC page. This page will host a variety of documents (currently we have information on applying to postdoc positions and grant writing, but more are coming!) that may be of interest to you. Also, feel free to follow the SPDAC twitter account @SICB_SPDAC for current information.

For those of you that have participated in the Evo-Devo Meet-Ups in the past, please give us feedback. We’d like to hear how it can be improved, problems or bad experiences, the ease of signing up, new ideas, etc. Thanks!

Sensory gene expression (magenta) on the ventral side of the acoel Hofstenia miamia.

DEDB Diversity Spotlight


Neville Taraporevala

The Fall 2021 DEDB Diversity Spotlight shines on: Neville Taraporevala (nftarapo@ucsd.edu)

Neville is an undergraduate student pursuing his B.S. in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution in the lab of Dr. Dede Lyons at the University of California, San Diego. He is currently studying reproductive development in the nudibranch Berghia stephanieae to understand when and how the male and female reproductive tracts become functional. His favorite result so far: it turns out that an adult Berghia can hold on to sperm for several months, laying at least 38 fertilized egg masses (of ~500 eggs each) after just one week of mating. Wow, what a reproductive powerhouse! Want to learn more? Stop by his poster in Phoenix. Outside of his science life, Neville works as a lead guide for Outback Adventures and at the Outback Climbing Center at UCSD and hopes to pursue a career in wildlife conservation studying issues surrounding human-wildlife conflict. Keep up the good work, Neville!