Spring 2022: Society-Wide Newsletter

Note: SICB Spring 2022 Elections are now open! Please read the candidate statements at the end of the society-wide and divisional newsletters, and vote HERE by June 9.


Message from the President

Melina Hale, president@sicb.org

Melina Hale
Melina Hale

I hope your spring is going well and that you are enjoying the longer days and are looking forward to summer breaks.

The year at SICB always starts with the excitement of the annual meeting in early January. Although smaller this year under COVID conditions, it was great to spend time with other SICB attendees and to see fantastic science – including, as always, such impressive work of students.  It was also wonderful to see more research in the months since on SICB+.

The 2022 annual conference was unprecedented and challenging to plan, with difficult decisions to make quickly in a changing COVID environment. We aim to take as many lessons learned as possible to innovate and strengthen SICB and the conference in the coming years. Thom Sanger, Program Officer, will describe programming-related topics (including the virtual platform) below, but I wanted to mention a few points here.

Most broadly, we will continue and build approaches to communication and transparency in decision-making. We will continue forums through the year (the first was on April 6th and next will be later in the Spring).  A recording of the April 6th forum is posted online and major topics included: SICB finances, 2026 venue selection, and feedback on the 2022 conference. We will continue to have open drop-in times with leadership (both virtual and in-person) at the next annual conference and, as always, I am available by email (president@sicb.org).

 A few other key changes in 2022 that we are trying to carry forward are:

  1. For student housing and support, at this year’s meeting we de-densified hotel rooms and put roommate decisions in the hands of students. This allowed for more personal space in rooms and made it easier for students to find roommates with whom they were comfortable. We aim to continue these approaches in 2023.
  2. We received many comments appreciating the increased spacing between posters. This was important for COVID safety but also reduced ambient noise and was generally more comfortable. Poster space is generally at a premium, but we’ll be thinking creatively about how to keep more spacing than was typical before the pandemic.
  3. Last fall it became clear that SICB could better support its members year-round, beyond the annual conference. This year online workshops are being piloted – see more from Thom later in the newsletter. A particular focus is on topics that could be useful to early career SICB members and those that relate to diversity, equity and inclusion.

I would also like to bring your attention to work on the financial health of SICB. Miriam Ashley-Ross, Treasurer, speaks to details in her report below. Over the past year, I am particularly pleased that the finance committee and Burk Associates Inc, SICB’s management company, have worked to improve the financial accounting and reporting systems and processes – this will provide a clearer and more timely view into SICB finances for years to come. This fiscal year (July 2021 through June 2022) is a tough one financially due to COVID impacts on the conference and related decreased membership. There is no concern about covering costs but we are looking conservatively at the next fiscal year and balancing aims, such as those mentioned above, with responsible budget management.   

Lastly, major topics of discussion of Executive Officers and Burk Associates Inc. are issues related to meeting venues. We’re working to find ways to support SICB members who cannot use state funds to travel to Texas for the 2023 conference. As the financial results of this fiscal year become more clear going into summer, we’ll have a better sense of what is possible and plan to have more information out well before the abstract submission deadline.

This year we also need to contract with a venue for the 2026 annual conference. You can see the SICB 2026 shortlist and more information about the process and shortlisted venues here. We excluded from consideration states that we know to have or be considering laws that would criminalize those who provide affirming care to transgender dependents. 2026 venue options were proposed by Executive Committee members as well as by other members in the April 6 forum. A final decision will be up for a vote by the Executive Committee in early June. (The Executive Committee includes SICB-wide officers and chairs of SICB standing committees and divisions.) The information at this link includes ways for you to ask questions and provide input, including zooms to join and an input form. Please feel free to reach out to discuss any of these areas or others. It is always great to hear from members and learn of new ideas and places we can improve.

Message from the President-Elect

L. Patricia Hernandez, president.elect@sicb.org 

L. Patricia Hernandez
Patricia Hernandez

As I hope that all of you realize, SICB has significantly increased and continues to thoughtfully increase its DEIJ efforts. SICB continues to try and increase diversity at ALL levels within our scientific society. Importantly, this includes having the most diverse membership possible on all our committees. We are especially interested in supporting our early career researchers by making them a vital part of our decision-making processes.

How can you get involved??? Please fill out our volunteer form letting us know how you would like to help.

On this form, please be sure to fill in your career stage, as this will be important in placing our members. We are especially interested in having broad divisional representation so that all voices may be heard.

Message from the Program Officer

Thom Sanger, programofficer@sicb.org

Thom Sanger
Thom Sanger

The ongoing COVID pandemic has forced SICB to adapt and overcome so that our community of scholars can continue to thrive. A significant portion of SICB’s adaptations have been around programming the annual meeting and how the society provides opportunities for professional development and networking. Thanks to Jake Socha (Past Program Officer), Beth Brainard (Past President), Melina Hale (President), Brett Burk (Executive Director), and Lori Strong (Meeting Manager) for their service throughout this period. SICB leadership, including myself, has learned a lot and continues to look for new ways to provide the best experience for its members. Below are a few initiatives that are currently underway and will unroll throughout 2022 and 2023. 

Year-long programming

SICB wants to provide greater networking and professional development opportunities to its members, not just at the annual meeting but throughout the year. For the first time, SICB is hosting a series of workshops to maintain this engagement. So far this spring, we have had two workshops hosted by professional science communication coach and SICB member, Sara ElShafie (Distilling Complexity and Engaging Diverse Audiences). We received incredibly positive feedback from those that attended. On June 3rd, SICB is hosting its third workshop, Agile for Academics: Providing “people-first” management solutions to research challenges in Academia. This will be hosted by accredited Agile coach Doug Salcedo and SICB member, Mary Saldeco.  Workshops will continue throughout the fall with those focused on academic publishing, hosted by ICB Editor-in-Chief Ulrike Muller, and success stories in decolonization of science, which will be organized by the Public Affairs Committee. 

New meeting website and app

We have heard your near-universal feedback, and we will no longer be using Pathable for the meeting webpage or meeting app. For the 2023 meeting, we hope to have a single meeting website that will handle abstract submission, programming, and meeting information ready to unveil to you this summer. We are currently evaluating alternative meeting platforms that will host all of this on one integrated site. We hope this provides an improved meeting experience for all of our members, whether it is their first time attending a meeting or a longtime SICB veteran.

2023 symposia

The symposia are the crown jewels of the annual meeting. Organizers spend the year leading up to the meeting developing forward-thinking symposia that have the potential to reshape the direction of their fields. SICB is excited to announce the symposium lineup for the 2023 annual meeting: 

  • Pathways to adulthood: Environmental, developmental, and evolutionary influences on the ontogeny of form and function 
  • Neuroethology in the age of gene editing: New tools and novel insights into the molecular and neural basis of behavior 
  • Large-scale biological phenomena arising from small-scale biophysical processes
  • Biology at birth: The role of infancy in providing the foundation for lifetime success 
  • Genomics of marine larval evolution and development
  • Envisioning a diverse, inclusive & safe future for field biology 
  • Daily torpor across birds and mammals: Recent progress and how do we advance the field?
  • The role of mechanosensation in robust locomotion
  • Sexual diversity and variation

More information about these symposia (i.e., organizers, dates, speakers) will be released this summer. Now is the time to think about submitting a symposium proposal for 2024. If you have an idea, please contact your divisional chairs and program officers to discuss. 

As SICB’s Program Officer, I am always happy to hear new ideas from our members. Please reach out via email (ProgramOfficer@sicb.org) if you have something you would like to discuss. If I do not talk to you before then, I look forward to seeing everyone in Austin for the 2023 annual meeting. 

Message from the Secretary

Michele Johnson, secretary@sicb.org 

Michele Johnson
Michele Johnson

With the announcement of this newsletter, SICB Spring Elections are open! Please find the ballot at this link. We are voting for officers for 4 society-wide positions, as well as officers in each of our 12 divisions. This spring’s elections also include proposed bylaws amendments for 6 of our divisions, completing a year-long effort to align our governing documents with our current best practices. Please vote – we need the voice of our members in determining the future of our society!

In the coming year, we will be working to streamline and improve officer transitions at the society and divisional levels, and to update our out-of-date officer and committee manuals. We want to make the important work of the society easier, and more transparent to our membership.

Much of my work as Secretary involves maintaining and improving the governance and organization of our society. If you have comments or suggestions at any time, please reach out to me!

Message from the Treasurer

Miriam Ashley-Ross, treasurer@sicb.org

Miriam Ashley-Ross
Miriam Ashley-Ross

In preparing my newsletter contributions, I always look back at what I said in the past couple of years – in normal times, that’s pretty dull, because the rhythm of the SICB fiscal year is predictable and we had been blessed with good economic growth that helps our investments grow. However, the last two years have definitely not been normal, and unfortunately the news on the financial front is not that dull, steady march upwards. The biggest component in SICB’s financial state is of course the annual meeting – and COVID threw us for a loop. In the planning for the in-person meeting in Phoenix, we considered several scenarios, and eventually settled on predicting meeting attendance of 75% of normal numbers, as well as a SICB+ online component. Coming into Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, we had a surplus from the previous year of approximately $122,000; our Phoenix annual meeting predictions, had they held, would have seen us take a loss on the meeting of approximately $90,000, which would have been covered by the previous year’s surplus.

As you all know, Omicron hit late in 2021, and worries over the new variant resulted in many SICB members switching from annual meeting in-person attendance to only SICB+. Rather than ~75% of normal in-person attendance, the Phoenix meeting saw closer to 50% of normal attendance. That in turn resulted in far less revenue from registrations (because we allowed attendees to switch from in-person to SICB+ only without financial penalty) than we had planned for, and consequently a much larger loss. While we do not yet have the absolute final figures for the 2022 meeting, our financial loss is likely to be close to $175,000 ($53,000 over the FY2021 surplus). Thankfully, we can weather that setback since SICB maintains an emergency reserve for just such situations. However, losses like that are not sustainable in the long run, which makes planning for future annual meetings such a challenge.

As it became clear that our original predictions regarding the 2022 Phoenix meeting were not going to hold, the SICB Finance Committee decided to delay presentation of a proposed FY2023 budget to the Executive Committee, which normally occurs at the second Executive Committee meeting during the Annual Meeting. In the interim between the Phoenix meeting and a virtual Executive Committee meeting held in late March, the Finance Committee considered several scenarios of in-person meeting attendance for 2023 in Austin. Burk Associates Inc. ran numbers based on (1) the same attendance as our last pre-COVID meeting (2020, also in Austin, TX), (2) same in-person attendance as at Phoenix, and (3) attendance based on the current membership numbers, which show a decrease of approximately 13% compared to 2020. For each scenario, both revenue and costs were scaled as appropriate (i.e., some costs, such as food and beverage, do scale based on number of attendees, but other costs, such as internet, do not). We made the decision not to increase meeting registration rates further, since those had been increased recently. The Finance Committee ultimately decided to go with scenario #3 (13% reduction in in-person meeting attendance compared to 2020), based on Goldilocks-style reasoning: scenario #1 seemed too optimistic, and scenario #2 seemed too pessimistic – we hope that scenario #3 is Just Right for planning purposes! (It also aligns well with 2021 Meeting Survey results, which showed that 88% of respondents had a strong preference for an in-person meeting.) The proposed FY2023 budget was voted on and approved by the Executive Committee in a virtual meeting in March. If we are accurate in our predictions, then the 2023 Austin Meeting will break even almost exactly; we will all hope for a pleasant surprise, and greater than expected attendance, which would help make up for some of this year’s losses.

As of this writing, SICB’s investments are up, as they rise and fall with the stock market. The Finance Committee met with the Society’s investment advisor to review recent performance and ensure that investment allocations aligned with SICB’s investment policy. The Finance Committee has instituted meetings twice a year with our investment advisor so that we may more closely monitor the Society’s investments, which seems prudent given the current economic uncertainty and rising inflation.

While there is cause for concern, all is not Doom and Gloom. Prior to COVID, SICB had made the decision to increase support for student attendance at the meeting by increasing the Mangum Fund allocations by 50% (from $40,000 per year to $60,000), and institute a series of new workshops directed at early career researcher success. Those efforts are continuing, and have not been scaled back. These initiatives are directed at increasing the value of your SICB membership year-round, and not just at the time of the annual meeting. We encourage you to take part in the events happening throughout the year, and let the Executive Officers know your thoughts. And plan to come to the 2023 meeting! 

Congratulations to the Recipients of the 2022 SICB Awards!

2022 Dorothy H. Skinner Award

Armita Manafzadeh, Brown University

Yusan Yang, Washington University in St. Louis

2022 George A. Bartholomew Award

Martha Muñoz, Yale University

2022 M. Patricia Morse Award

Michele Nishiguchi, University of California, Merced

 2022 John A Moore Lecture

Sarah Brownell, Arizona State University

2022 Howard Bern Lecture

Tyrone Hayes, University of California, Berkeley – deferred, will give his address at SICB 2023

2022 Carl Gans Award

Talia Moore, University of Michigan

2022 [Inaugural]  Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Award

Mary Salcedo, Virginia Tech

Update from Communications Editor

Molly Jacobs, comm.editor@sicb.org

Molly Jacobs
Molly Jacobs

As we move forward into 2022, I am excited to use our new website (www.sicb.org) as a venue for SICB science, stories, information, profiles, and more!  Check back frequently, and reach out directly (comm.editor@sicb.org) if you have an idea or story we can feature. Some current and recent highlights include:

ICB/BIMS blog profile of marine scientist, author, activist, and mentor Jeannette Davis

A tribute to inspiring SICB women, in honor of women’s history month

ICB Free Read: Bringing paleontology narratives to global contemporary performance audiences

Flex it!  Twist it!  Roll it!  Our first SICB Student Journalist article of 2022.

Update from the Editor, Integrative and Comparative Biology

Ulrike Müllereditor.icb@sicb.org 

Integrative and Comparative Biology coverSpecial Issue: Jumpstart Biology

Our new special issue “Jumpstart Biology” is free to read to all SICB members. Jumpstart Biology brought scientists together across disciplines to map out future research areas in integrative biology. In 30 perspective articles, 200 researchers share their ideas and map out challenges on the topics ranging from integration across scales, anthropogenic change, resilience, rules of life, deep-learning approaches, to inclusion and scientific culture.

DEIJ in academic publishing

Interested in equity and inclusion in the academic publication process? ICB is always looking for opportunities and people to drive change.  We offer many levels of participation and engagement.  Pitch us your concerns and ideas for how to make scientific publishing more equitable, or reach out to join our team as editorial reviewer, guest editor, organizer of a special issue, or editor.

Decolonizing biology

ICB is looking for contributors and organizers to take on the topic of decolonization in integrative biology.  We encourage early-career scientists, including students.  If you are interested in this topic, we welcome your voice.

ICB’s rigorous selection and peer review process ensure high-quality

ICB would like to thank its authors and peer reviewers for helping ICB to continue to grow its number of publications and citations. ICB continues to rank within the top 10 journals in zoology and reached its highest impact factor yet, continuing to be on par with journals such as Journal of Experimental Biology and Animal Behaviour. As a proceedings journal, ICB publishes not contributed articles, but mainly collections of invited articles originating from symposia and from special issues invited by the journal. Our authors have gone through two rounds of selection before their manuscript enters peer review—symposium organizers select authors to include in a symposium proposal; these proposals are then reviewed and the best proposals are invited. This three-step review process results in high-quality articles, driving ICB’s steadily increasing impact factor.

Update from the Editor, Integrative Organismal Biology

A.P. Summers, editor.IOB@sicb.org

Integrative Organismal Biology coverThere has been a welcome uptick in submissions following the meeting in Phoenix: many from authors who were at the meeting, and some from authors who participated in SICB+. Our publisher has changed typesetting providers, and the time from acceptance to typesetting has dropped to one third of what is was a year ago. We continue to get positive feedback about the supportive review process, and the press was able to confirm that the foreign language abstracts are leading to greater readership in some countries. Our AltMetrics continue to be outstanding, and our blog has started to pick up a following. We are looking for Outreach Associates to blog about IOB articles, so if you want to do that kind of science communication, send Suzanne Miller (iobjournal@sicb.org)or me an email. 

Our editorial team is growing in numbers and expertise. We welcomed two new associate editors – Dr. Janet Steven and Dr. Yui Suzuki for three year terms. Dr. Steven, at Christopher Newport University in Virginia, is a plant biologist with broad interests at many levels of organization. Dr. Suzuki, at Wellesley College, is an insect physiologist interested in evolution and development.  We will be announcing another two associate editors shortly. 

We expect that we will soon have news on the impact factor front; Oxford University Press will soon give us an estimated impact factor that we cannot publicly share. In the summer we will get the official ISI impact factor. We will likely be ranked in Biology, Zoology, and Evolutionary Biology. An analysis of the relationship between AltMetric scores for individual articles and citations for IOB articles revealed no relationship. This is at odds with science journals as a whole, but it is not a surprise that different fields have different results.

Please keep sending us your best work. That willingness to support SICB by publishing in IOB is what has made IOB a high impact journal. It has also been astoundingly easy to get high quality reviews for our articles. We rarely have the difficulties in recruiting reviewers that I have experienced at other journals. So, on behalf of the society, our authors, and the editorial team, thank you all for contributing.  

Report from Broadening Participation Committee

Nicholas Burnett, Chair, chair.BPC@sicb.org

Like many other groups within SICB, the Broadening Participation (BP) Committee spent the last two years adapting its programs to virtual and hybrid platforms, as well as launching new initiatives, to better serve the Society.  For the 2022 Annual Meeting, the BP Committee hosted virtual and in-person versions of the Mentor-Mentee Program and the Professional Development Awards.  In addition, we launched a new award to recognize the contributions of SICB members to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) in integrative biology.  This award is generously funded by the Gans Collection and Charitable Fund.  The inaugural DEIJ Award was awarded to Dr. Mary Salcedo at the conclusion of the 2022 Meeting.

In February and March, the BP Committee administered a “Meeting Experience” survey to SICB members to receive input about the accessibility and BP programming that was experienced at the 2022 Annual Meeting and that is desired for the 2023 Annual Meeting.  We will use this valuable feedback to improve the accessibility of the upcoming conference, and to plan BP activities.  To improve the clarity of the BP Committee’s operations, we also revised much of our presence on the SICB website, removing outdated information and replacing it with details of our ongoing initiatives.  Most recently, we updated and released information for next year’s DEIJ Award, to be awarded at the 2023 Annual Meeting. Nominations for this award are due May 13, 2022. (Please see https://sicb.org/deij-award/ for more information.)

Report from Educational Council

Lisa Whitenack, Chair, chair.EdCouncil@sicb.org

Lisa Whitenack
Lisa Whitenack

At SICB 2022, the Educational Council was honored to welcome Dr. Sara Brownell as the plenary speaker for the John A. Moore Lecture. Dr. Brownell spoke about the opportunities and challenges of active learning for student anxiety, LGBTQ+ students, and students with disabilities; she gave us a lot to think about as we continue to embrace different pedagogical techniques in our classrooms. Lisa Whitenack, Ed Council chair, spearheaded the Teaching and Learning X (TAL-X) workshop on embracing failure in the classroom; thank you to Lara Ferry and Stacy Farina for their help and talking about their experiences. Finally, we were pleased to award this year’s M. Patricia Morse Award for Excellence and Innovation in Science Education to Dr. Michele Nishiguchi. You can find a profile of Dr. Nishiguchi below, and can look forward to a paper in ICB in the future.

It’s not too early to nominate folks for the 2023 Moore Lecturer and Morse Award! You can find information for both of these awards on the SICB website, under Resources -> Awards.  Please also note that you can self-nominate for the Morse Award! Nominations and supporting materials are due on July 31, 2022. This is an earlier deadline than previous years to allow the Ed Council more time to review and discuss applications, as well as to move the deadline away from the start of fall semesters.

Do you have a great idea for an education-related workshop that you’d like to lead? Proposals for the TAL-X workshops are due June 1 to the Ed Council chair via email. If you have questions or want to run ideas past us before submitting a proposal, please email Lisa Whitenack (chair.edcouncil@sicb.org).

If you are considering submitting a proposal for an education-based symposium, please reach out to us! We are able to partner with you or even just talk through your ideas with you. 

We’d like to thank everyone who participated in last spring’s survey regarding the future of the Research and Education Resources (RER) library. The Ed Council is currently exploring RER hosting options and how the new website will work with the redesign of the RER. In the meantime, the databases for resources for online biology instruction and online guest lecturers are still available.

Finally, we are looking for new members of the Educational Council who are members of the following divisions: DOB, DCPB, DCE, DEDE, and DIZ. If you’re interested in serving on the Educational Council, please contact President-Elect Patricia Hernandez (president.elect@sicb.org).

Profile of Michele Nishiguchi, 2022 Morse Award Winner

Dr. Michele Nishiguchi is the winner of the 2022 M. Patricia Morse Award for Excellence and Innovation in Science Education. Dr. Nishiguchi is a Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California Merced and a longtime SICB member. Her service to SICB has included acting as Program Officer for both DEE and DSEB, Chair of DEE, and Chair of the Broadening Participation Committee. Dr. Nishiguchi’s research focuses on host-microbe interactions and microbial ecology.

Dr. Nishiguchi’s nominators state that she is known for “going the extra mile in her role as a science educator,” from her pedagogy and teaching style in the classroom to her mentorship of undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs. Dr. Nishiguchi’s nominators also state that she “serves as a campus advocate for supporting students of all backgrounds and helping them see the potential of their future in science.”  Indeed, she has mentored an impressive number of graduate (28) and undergraduate (103!) researchers.

Dr. Nishiguchi has been extraordinarily active in outreach to local communities, especially communities that are underrepresented in STEM. Her activities range from presentations at schools from preschool through high school, speaking with community organizations such as AAUW Girls Can!, Generaciones, Girl Scout troops, and Rotary Clubs, and participation in conferences aimed at the general public and future scientists. There is no doubt about the positive impact Dr. Nishiguchi has had on our current and future generations of scientists. Congratulations, Nish!

Report from Public Affairs Committee

The SICB Public Affairs Committee (PAC) had quite an exciting meeting! We were back in person this year at Phoenix (and online with SICB+) and held two successful workshops.

PAC member Dr. Noah Bressman (a new Assistant Professor of Physiology at Salisbury University) hosted the first workshop on job searches (Applying for jobs after the pandemic’s impact), which was in high demand!  It included a panel representing diverse career paths, both academic (R1 and PUI) and nonacademic, where panelists Dr. Angela Freeman (a new Assistant Professor of Physiology at Salisbury University), Dr. Matt Kolmann (an incoming Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville), Dr. Kassandra Ford (a new Postdoctoral Research at Universität Bern), and Meg Smith (a Fifth-Year Fellow at Trinity College and Scientific Artist) discussed what it means to perform a successful job search. We hope this provides a fresh take on the job search and we plan to host this workshop on a yearly basis. We are always seeking volunteers to share their experience with job searches and want to include a variety of career paths, not just academics.

Madhusudan Katti
Madhusudan Katti
Jennifer Roberts
Jennifer Roberts

The second workshop, the Decolonizing Science workshop, was deeply engaging. This workshop was about decolonizing science – what that means and ways to move modern science in an equitable and ethical direction. This workshop was led by Dr. Madhusudan Katti, Associate Professor of Public Science at North Carolina State University, and Dr. Jennifer D. Roberts, Associate Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Maryland. Dr. Roberts provided a history of racism in public health in the United States and United Kingdom. Dr. Katti discussed general thoughts on decolonization. Following these presentations, participants broke into groups and discussed decolonization and then returned to debrief. We are extremely grateful for all the panelists and their contributions to both the jobs and decolonizing workshops. The PAC encourages ideas and feedback on further facilitating similar discussions and support at future meetings (pac@sicb.org).

The 2022 meeting also marks the end of service for past PAC chair Dr. Shaz Zamore. They were a transformative element as chair of PAC and we are grateful for their service and how they provided the PAC with great resources and plans for the future for how to maximize inclusion at SICB. We want to welcome our new committee members (Austin Garner, Asst Prof at Syracuse U, and Amanda Hewes, PhD student at U Washington), thank current members (Ryan Hulett, Phoebe Edwards, Sebastian Alvarado, Noah Bressman, and current chairperson Jim Murray), our ex-officio members Molly Jacobs and Thom Sanger, and our ‘honorary member’ Suzanne Miller, and extend deep gratitude to our members that are leaving (Misty Paig-Tran and Shaz Zamore). The PAC social media team included impressive work from social media ambassadors (Emily Ray and Anna Jirik), managed by Noah Bressman.

The PAC is happy to continue to enrich SICB’s communication efforts. First, we are proud to welcome student journalists (Rachel Prokopius, Mateo Hull, Kate Hunter, and Lisa Mesrop), who covered myriad topics including birdsong and noise, tongue movements in monkeys, toad chemical defenses, and how social information alters gut morphology. Each piece will be featured on our website. We partnered with the Integrative and Collaborative Biology (ICB) team to create content for their blog. Please check out the ICB Blog to read their contributions as well as other ICB content! 

If you have successes to announce, such as paper acceptances, grant awards, and upcoming employment opportunities, please email us or reach out to us on Twitter. We would love to share your news with the community!

Report from Student-Postdoctoral Affairs Committee

Jason Macrander, Chair, chair.spdac@sicb.org 

The SPDAC SciComm workshop and booth were well received at the meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. We had a long list of fantastic SciComm volunteers for our roundtable/workshop. Overall, participants really enjoyed this event. At the end of SICB 2022, SPDAC held a meeting to discuss plans for SICB 2023 in Austin, Texas. The focus of SICB 2023 plans included outlining three areas of emphasis:

  • Identifying and navigating the job market – The committee concluded that we would like to start collating helpful resources, specifically materials to guide students and postdocs through a variety of career trajectories (faculty positions, outside academia, navigating the pandemic job market, etc.). Once collated, SPDAC will provide them to SICB members on the SPDAC website to assist students and postdocs along their future career trajectories.
  • Networking and advising postdocs and students – A strong emphasis was made by our committee members to outline how to network SICB for new participants and facilitate networking opportunities as parts of SICB socials or other workshops. SPDAC will work with various divisions to support networking activities for students and postdocs for SICB 2023.
  • Developing a SciComm workshop – The SciComm workshop was greatly appreciated and well received as part of the SICB 2022 schedule and we plan to bring it back again for Spring 2023. As a career path and/or valuable skill set for scientists, there is an ever growing need to communicate science and we hope to provide more opportunities to develop and brainstorm these skills at the SICB 2023 meeting.

SPDAC would also like to spotlight the new division representatives on our committee. Welcome! We are glad to have you here.

Adrien Arias
Adrien Arias

DVM (Division of Vertebrate Morphology) representative: Adrien Arias is a Ph.D. Candidate in Manny Azizi’s Lab at UC Irvine. He is a muscle physiologist and biomechanist currently studying how alligators use their limb muscles during terrestrial locomotion. Outside of the lab, he likes watching tv (currently watching The OC) and buying too many plants.




Kat Munley
Kat Munley

DCE (Division of Comparative Endocrinology) representative: Kat Munley is a Ph.D. student in the Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior program at Indiana University. For her dissertation research, which she is conducting in Greg Demas’s lab, she is investigating how the hormone melatonin regulates seasonal aggression in Siberian hamsters. After defending her dissertation and graduating in Spring 2022, Kat will join Beau Alward’s lab at the University of Houston as a postdoctoral fellow, where she will study the neural and molecular mechanisms underlying social ascent in the African cichlid fish Astatotilapia burtoni.



Bryan MacNeill
Bryan MacNeill

DOB (Division of Botany) representative: Bryan MacNeill is a botanist interested in floral evolution and phylogenomics. He studies a group of desert plants called the Agavoideae (Agaves and Yucca) and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Dr. Michael Mckain’s lab at the University of Alabama. As the SICB Division of Botany graduate student rep, Bryan aims to enthusiastically grow student involvement in the division and help develop a deeper appreciation for how cool plants are!

Report from Student Support Committee

Michael Minicozzi, Chair, chair.ssc@sicb.org

The Student Support Committee thanks all the graduate student applicants for submitting their proposals for funding. We received 91 grant applications between the Grant-in-Aid of Research (GIAR) and the Fellowship for Graduate Student Travel (FGST). After review, there was enough funding for the top 33 applications totaling $39,527. 30% of the funded grants were allocated to the FGST and 70% were allocated to the GIAR. We have also included a breakdown of the grants awarded by divisional affiliation.

Division % total awards
DEE 34%
DVM 15%
DAB 9%
DCE 9%
DIZ 6%
DCB 6%

We highly encourage graduate students to apply in Fall 2022 for next year’s funding cycle! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about grant submission or the review process.

Report from the PUI Working Group

Jerry Husak, Working Group Chair, jerry.husak@stthomas.edu 

Jerry Husak
Jerry Husak

The PUI Working Group (Rachelle Belanger, Michele Johnson, Kristopher Karsten, Matthew LeFauve, Jason Macrander, Thomas Sanger, Kari Taylor-Burt, Lisa Whitenack, and me) concluded its work this spring. We had several events at the in-person meeting in Phoenix, as well as on SICB+. These included an interactive poster and informational booth to build community and network, as well as a very successful brown-bag workshop on funding at non-R1 institutions (links to notes and recording). During SICB+ we had two virtual, informal meet-ups for folks at PUIs or interested in working at a PUI. We were thrilled at the turn-out, with over half the attendees being grad students and postdocs interested in getting a job at a PUI. We had topic-based breakout rooms to discuss how to apply to a PUI, what life is like at a PUI, and how to get tenure at a PUI (notes here and here). There was a strong desire among Working Group members, booth visitors at the Phoenix meeting, and meet-up attendees to keep PUI efforts active in the society in the future. The Working Group is forming a final report for SICB, evaluating our efforts and describing how members told us SICB can fully engage PUI members. Stay tuned to see where this goes, and follow us on our Twitter account @SICB_PUI! If you’re interested in getting involved in future work or being on our email list for PUI-related info, please fill out this brief form.

Candidates for SICB President-Elect

Ken Halanych

Ken Halanych
Ken Halanych

Current Position: Executive Director, Center of Marine Science, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Education: B.S. Wake Forest University; Ph.D. University of Texas

Professional Experience: Postdoc, Pretoria University, South Africa; Postdoc, Rutgers University; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (1998-2002); Auburn University (2003-2021); Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Research Board (2010-2020); Editor-in-Chief, Biological Bulletin (2016-present); Curator of Invertebrates, Auburn University Museum of Natural History (2014-2021).

SICB Activities: Chair, Division of Invertebrate Zoology (2018-2020); Chair, Division of Systematic and Evolutionary Biology (now SPCB; 2004-2006). Co-Secretary for Division of Evolutionary Developmental Biology (2001-2003); Selection committee, Editor of Integrative and Organismal Biology (2017). Student paper judge DIZ and DSEB. Symposium Co-organizer “Evolutionary Relationships of Metazoan Phyla” and “WormNet: Recent advances in annelid systematics, development, and evolution.” Speaker 5 symposia. Local committee for 1990 San Antonio American Society of Zoologists (predecessor to SICB) meeting. Other sundry committees and activities.

Other Memberships: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Microscopical Society, Society for Deep Sea Biology, Society of Systematic Biologists

Research Interests: Marine invertebrate evolution, marine genomics, relationships of animal lineages, Antarctic biogeography, chemosynthetic fauna evolution.

Statement of Goals: SICB is emerging from some of the biggest challenges it has seen – certainly since being called SICB. COVID has changed the way we interact at “meetings,” and the political landscape and activism have challenged the SICB leadership to make tough decisions that impact the financial standing of the society as much as its ethical underpinnings. To make such decisions, leadership needs to be informed and guided by the desires of the membership. As a member, I appreciate that recent leadership has actively sought input. I would continue and expand such efforts so that informed decisions can be rendered.

Additionally, as Society President, I would promote three major themes. First, the Society must strive for, and promote, excellence in science and education. Given the number of early-career members, promoting excellence will reap career-long benefits. Second is accessibility to science. SICB has a long tradition of including early-career researchers and individual from less advantaged backgrounds. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, in the broadest terms, must remain a central theme of the Society that is backed by resources and action. The third theme will focus on connecting to societal needs. Many of us engage K-12 or to the lay public. There are opportunities revise how science integrates with societal needs and promote conversations that more actively engage others.

Michele “Nish” Nishiguchi

Michele Nishiguchi
Michele Nishiguchi

Current Position: Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology, UC Merced

Education: B.S. UC Davis;  M.S. UC San Diego, Scripps Inst. Of Oceanography; Ph.D. UC Santa Cruz

Professional Experience: Co-Director/MPI, URISE@UC Merced, 2022-27;  Co-Director/MPI- NMSU RISE5 to the Postdoctorate, 2018-21; Department Head, NMSU, 2016-20; Regents Professor, NMSU 2015; Assistant Professor to Professor, NMSU, 1999-2009; NSF Postdoc USC and Univ. of Hawaii 1994-98; Postdoc- UCLA, 1998-99

SICB Activities:  2022, M. Patricia Morse Award for Excellence and Innovation in Science Education; 2017-19, PO DEE; 2013-16, Chair, BP;  2009-11, Chair, DEE; 2007-16, Committee member for BP; 2007-10, Committee member for student support; 2004-07, PO, DSEB. Workshops organized for SICB: January 2016, “How to integrate diversity awareness into science institutions, from the bottom up”;  January 2015, “The academic juggling trick: How to effectively manage your time during the professoriate (and beyond!)”;  January 2014, “Recruitment strategies to obtain a diverse and thriving lab/department” and “Writing grants and manuscripts in a timely manner.”

Other Memberships: American Malacological Union, American Society of Microbiology, International Society for Microbial Ecology, Sigma Xi, Society for the Study of Evolution, Unitas Malacologia

Research Interests: Evolution of beneficial symbiosis; microbial ecology, molecular mechanisms of host specificity, phylogeography of host/microbe associations.

Statement of Goals: My most recent leadership experiences include being Department Head at New Mexico State University, where I was faculty for 21 years (1999-2020). I have had extensive experience with undergraduate and graduate training at both MSI/HIS serving institutions. I was previously the co-Director/MPI for the NMSU NIH-RISE to the postdoctorate program, and presently am co-Director/MPI for URISE@UC Merced. I have held various leadership roles within SICB, and have continued to be involved with BP issues after my tenure on that committee. As president of SICB, I would like to continue to work on EDI issues as one of my main foci, with regards to membership engagement, being aware of unconscious bias in the workplace, and continuing to foster engagement within and outside of SICB. Given the opportunity to share both my experiences through our society, as well as demonstrate what such best practices can do to not only integrate EDI into our societal programs but how it benefits the science community as an entity, would be my top priority as your president.

Candidates for SICB Secretary-Elect

Marguerite A. Butler

Marguerite Butler
Marguerite Butler

Current Position: Professor of Biology, University of Hawaii at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI

Education: B.S. Interdisciplinary Science (Physics, Biology, Mathematics), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1985–1998); M.S. Microbiology, RPI (1989–1991); Ph.D Evolution and Population Biology. Washington University in St. Louis (1991–1998); Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Statistical Mathematics, Tokyo (1998–2000), University of California, Berkeley (2000–2002).

Professional Experience: Research Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville (2003–2006); Assistant through Full Professor, University of Hawaii (2006-present). Vice Chair and Chair, Mānoa Faculty Senate (2015–2017), and Co-chair, All Campus Council of Faculty Senate Chairs, University of Hawaii (2016–2017).

SICB Activities: Member since graduate school; Student Support Committee (2006–2007); Participant, Mini-symposium in Honor of Marvalee Wake (2004), Symposium on Ecological Dimorphisms (2007); Associate Editor of Integrative Organismal Biology (2018-present). Member-At-Large (2020-2023).

Other Memberships: Society for Experimental Biology, American Society of Naturalists, Society for the Study of Evolution, International Society of Vertebrate Morphology, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Research Interests: Integrative approaches to biodiversity, functional morphology, locomotor performance, biogeography, phylogenetics/phylodynamics, comparative analysis, mostly in animal systems (currently: Papuan microhylid frogs, Hawaiian damselflies, SARS-CoV-2).

Statement of Goals: I occasionally attend other society meetings to catch up on subdisciplines, but I have long attended SICB each year to catch up on EVERYTHING. Like many of you, I love SICB because of the cross-fertilization of ideas that fuel the expansion of our approaches, and the support of the wonderful SICB community. I am excited and deeply honored to be nominated to run for Secretary. Emerging from the pandemic (I hope we are emerging!), everyone is reassessing life and work. I am eager to listen to new ideas, and promote open communication about how we can help each other thrive in our diverse goals. I so admire SICBʻs commitment to playing a positive developmental role in the lives of young scientists (and us all), and I have enjoyed my time as an IOB associate editor. Secretary is a big job, and I will support the executive committee in all of its important work and aim to serve the society at large by continuing the excellent work of my predecessors and pushing for assessing the changing needs of our members, always looking for new ways to be even more welcoming, supportive of diversity and equity, and advocating for the entire scope of SICBʻs science.


Marianne Porter

Marianne Porter
Marianne Porter

Current Position: Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Atlantic University

Education: B.S., Zoology, Northern Arizona University (2000); M.S., Biology, Northern Arizona University (2002); Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine (2007).

Professional Experience: Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Atlantic University (2021-present); Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Atlantic University (2014-2021); Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Atlantic University (2013); Visiting Instructor, Friday Harbor Labs, University of Washington (2012); Post-doctoral Researcher and faculty Research Associate, Vassar College (2008-2013).

SICB Activities: Member for 20 years; Member-at-Large (2020-2023); Assistant editor for ICB (2019-present); Membership committee (2018-2021); DCB nominating committee (2018, 2019; 2021); DVM nominating committee (2019); Member of SICB ad hoc committee assessing student career outcomes and diversity (2016); Student Support Committee (2012-2015); DCB graduate student / postdoc representative (2010-2012); co-organized symposium (2011); judge for student posters and talks for DVM and DCB at numerous meetings.

Other Memberships: American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists; American Elasmobranch Society; International Society of Vertebrate Morphology; American Association of Underwater Scientists.

Research Interests: Comparative biomechanics and morphology of marine organisms; biological materials, especially cartilage, bone, and skin; swimming, using volitional swimming to understand kinematics.

Statement of Goals: I consider SICB to be my ‘home’ society, and I would be delighted to give back to this organization by serving as the society-wide Secretary. I have been preparing for larger roles within SICB since I was a graduate student. In my current roles as an ICB Assistant Editor and current Member at Large, I am able to learn about issues being discussed in many of the divisions, and these experiences will help me be successful if elected as Secretary. As a member of the executive committee, I will actively work with the all SICB divisions to facilitate their individual missions and goals. My broad training in ecology (plant – herbivore interactions; riparian ecology), functional morphology and biomechanics, and current research in collective animal behavior make me well suited to serve the wide scope of the SICB membership. In addition to working across SICB divisions, I can work across career stages. Since I was a graduate student, I have been bringing undergraduates to the annual meeting as a way for them to be broadly exposed to scientific research and highlight their scientific achievements. Now as faculty, I regularly bring high school, undergraduate, and graduate students to the annual meetings. Thank you for considering me as a SICB Secretary.

Candidate for SICB Treasurer-Elect

Brian Tsukimura

Brian Tsukimura
Brian Tsukimura

Current Position: Professor of Biology, Department of Biology, California State University, Fresno.

Education: University of California, Berkeley, A.B. Zoology, 1981; University of Hawaii at Manoa, M.S. Zoology, 1985; Ph.D. Zoology, 1988.

Professional Experience: Professor of Biology, California State University, Fresno 2005- present; Interagency Ecology Project – Mitten Crab Workteam, 1999 – 2007; Associate Professor of Physiology, 2000 – 2005, California State University, Fresno; Assistant Professor of Physiology, 1994 – 2000, California State University, Fresno; Acting Assistant Professor, Illinois State University, 1992 – 1994; Lecturer in Biology, Illinois State University, 1990; Postdoctoral Fellow, Endocrinology, Illinois State University, 1988 – 1992.

SICB Activities: Ad Hoc Committee on BP for Bio-LEAPS Grant Proposal 2022-present; Program Officer 2010 -2012, Past-Program Officer 2012-2013. Program Officer-Elect (2009 -2012); Committee on Grand Challenges, Chair, 2009- present;  Committee on Broadening Participation, 2009 – present; Member SICB Program Committee as The Crustacean Society Liaison to SICB, 2004 to 2009.  Chair, Student Support Committee, 2002-2006 (implemented and increased number of FGST awards); Chair: Student/Post-Doctoral Affairs Committee, 1995-1999; Participation in the Midwestern Regional Conference on Comparative Endocrinology (co-organizer, 1990), and Western Regional Conference on Comparative Endocrinology.  My first annual meeting was 1986 ASZ, Nashville, and I have attended every meeting to date except 1987 (New Orleans).

Other Memberships: The Crustacean Society (Treasurer, former Liaison to SICB); American Microscopical Society; Western Society of Naturalists; American Association of the Advancement of Science; Sigma Xi; Sierra Foothill Conservancy; Founding President, Asian Faculty/Staff Association of Fresno State.

Research Interests:  Comparative endocrinology of the regulation of development, growth, and reproduction using crustaceans (Branchiopoda, Brachyura, Astacidae and Penaeoidea).  Current studies focus on the influence of environmental factors on reproduction and development, and the regulatory hormones integrating these influences, particularly on vitellogenin synthesis and larval growth.  Recent studies on the invasive Chinese mitten crab have diversified my research to include invasive species ecology, particularly with respect to larval population dynamics on adult year class strength, and taxonomy.

Statement of Goals:  Since my first meeting in 1986, I treasured that the SICB annual meetings serve as a forum for SICB members to share data, exchange ideas and advance our science. As part of the team leading the Grand Challenges in Organismal Biology (GCOB) within SICB, I witnessed how SICB placed its mark on modern research. Ancillary developments from the GCOB include Bio-LEAPS, and developing a greater awareness for greater inclusion of under-represented groups in leadership of our professional societies. Along these same lines, my goal as Treasurer would be to continue to increase our ability to fund programs that support our students and our members in pursuing their careers. Secondly, after submission (with Cheryl Wilga and Michelle Nishiguchi) of a 5 yr, $4M NSF grant proposal for Broadening Participation in SICB, in response to the decreased numbers of URM in SICB faculty ranks, (Wilga et al 2019), NSF responded with Bio-LEAPS RFP. With the SICB leadership, we are now developing a grant proposal for SICB for the June 2022 submission deadline.

My hope as treasurer is to develop budgets that could support similar programs after these grants expire so that we are able to maintain a high level of inclusion within our society.  These sustainable budgets should include greater support for our junior faculty, post-docs, and students, as well as promote SICB as a top professional society.

Candidates for SICB Member-at-Large

Karen Chan  (Kit Yu Karen Chan)

Karen Chan
Karen Chan

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Biology, Swarthmore College

Education: BSc (Hons), Environmental Life Science, The University of Hong Kong (2006), MSc (2009) and PhD (2012), Oceanography, University of Washington.

Professional Experience: Assistant Professor, Biology, Swarthmore College (2019-present); Assistant Professor, Division of Life Science, The Hog Kong University of Science and Technology (2014-2018); Coastal Ocean Institute and Croucher Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (2012-2014).

SICB Activities: Student Postdoctoral Affairs Committee (2013-2016); Division of Invertebrate Zoology Program Officer (2020-2023); DEE Best Student Presentation Judge (2022); Symposium Organizer (2023)

Other Memberships: American Microscopical Society; American Society for Limnology and Oceanography

Research Interests: Combining lab-experiments, field observations, and engineering techniques, my research focuses on ecology and functional morphology of marine invertebrate larvae. Specifically, impact of climate change on larval behaviors and physiological performance and their implications for population dynamics. As an educator, I am interested in developing instructional techniques that would improve students’ understanding of and interest in scientific inquiry.

Statement of Goals: SICB is my home society and I am honored to be nominated as a candidate for Member-at-Large. I am excited to advocate for inclusive participation in integrative and comparative biology and increase the visibility of SICB. I look forward to elevating early-career scientists through my participation in the Dorothy M. Skinner Award. Given my relationship with AMS and TCS, I look forward to fostering synergies between these partner societies. Thank you for considering my candidacy.

Andrew J. Clark

Andrew Clark
Andrew Clark

Current Position: Associate Professor, Department of Biology, College of Charleston

Education: B.S., Biological Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park (2002); Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine (2009).

Professional Experience: Associate Professor, Department of Biology, College of Charleston (2016-present); Visiting Scientist, Friday Harbor Laboratories, University of Washington (2012-present);  Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, College of Charleston (2010-2016);   Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Biological Sciences, Clemson University (2009-2010); Part-time Faculty, Department of Physical Therapy, Chapman University (2008).

SICB Activities: Chair and judge for the DVM Best Student Paper Award Committee (2011); Organized the SE Regional DCB/DVM Meetings (2012); Broadening Participation Committee (2012-2015; 2019-); Organized “Effective Presentation Skills” workshop (2013); Nominee for secretary of the DCB (2013); Divisional Secretary for DVM (2015-2018); Nominating Committee for DCB (2019-2020); Nominating Committee for DVM (2021-2022); Nominating Committee for SICB executive offices (2021-2022); Nominee for SICB Member-at-Large (2021; 2022)

Other Memberships: American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists

Research Interests: Most of my research investigates how some fishes manage to bite without jaws, how some fishes tie their bodies into knots, and how some fishes are able to protect themselves with loose-fitting skins.

Statement of Goals: I am honored to be nominated as a candidate for Member-at-Large in SICB’s Executive Committee. I have been a SICB member for more than 19 years. Even though I had little previous experience in research when I first attended SICB in 2004, I felt encouraged to share the results from my work without feeling awkward or out-of-place. As a Member-at-Large, I look forward to giving back to SICB by helping it continue to be a healthy and supportive venue that works to broaden participation of underrepresented peoples, and, promotes intellectual growth and professional development of student and postdoc members. I hope to facilitate SICB’s mission by encouraging participation of scholars from various disciplines in biology and placing them in a unifying environment where discoveries can be shared and collaborations can be formed. Furthermore, I want to help SICB’s public outreach efforts and help it develop and maintain constructive dialogues with government officials. Thank you for considering my candidacy.