Spring 2023: Division of Comparative Endocrinology

Message from DCE Officers

Rachel Bowden, (Chair) chair.DCE@sicb.orgSara O’Brien, (Program Officer) DPO.DCE@sicb.orgHaruka Wada, (Secretary) secretary.DCE@sicb.orgKat Munley, (Student-Postdoc Representative) kmmunley@central.uh.edu

2023 Annual Meeting Highlights

The 2023 Conference offered over 1800 submitted abstracts representing a slew of symposia, special sessions, complimentary sessions, best student presentation sessions, luminary lectures and more!  Attendees experienced REALLY great weather over the duration of the conference.  We hope all our members enjoyed themselves! 

DCE helped support a series of Symposia and Special/Complimentary sessions such as “Daily torpor across birds and mammals: Recent progress and how do we advance the field?” “Biology at birth: The role of infancy in providing the foundation for lifetime success,” and “Envisioning a Diverse, Inclusive & Safe Future for Field Biology.” DCE also programmed a variety of sessions on “Comparative Endocrinology,” and “Examining Mechanisms of Parental, Developmental or Environmental Impacts.”

Best Student Presentations

We thank all 25 students who contributed to the DCE Best Student Presentations this year. We made a small change to the Best Student Presentations this year, in that we awarded cash prize to two students for both Gorbman and Riddiford Awards.  This year’s winner of the Aubrey Gorbman Best Student Oral presentation was Emily Harders from Illinois State University, and the runner up was Jessica Karr from Oregon State University. We had a tie for the Lynn Riddiford Best Student Poster presentation this year. The winners were Megan Flanagan from Texas State University and Ursula Beattie from Tufts University.

And a big THANK YOU to all our DCE members who generously served as DCE Best Student Poster Judges! 

Bern Lecture

Tyrone Hayes leaning against a tree
Tyrone Hayes, the 2023 Bern Lecturer.

DCE hosted Tyrone Hayes as our 2023 Bern Lecture speaker.  Tyrone’s talk led us through a charismatic jaunt recounting professional and personal challenges and opportunities experienced across his lifetime as a kid catching frogs in his grandmother’s woods to an accomplished, though battlecast, scientist at the pinnacle of his career. In a truly inspiring and authentic sense, he held up a mirror to the audience of researchers which challenged us to reflect on our own trajectories within our individual careers as well as our commitment and participation in addressing STEM accessibility, inclusion and progress.  

Tyrone Hayes talking to Brian Walker and Ignacio Moore before his Bern Lecture.

During the DCE Member Meeting we discussed several important topics including ideas for rebranding the division and how we have used and can use divisional funds to help support our programs. As part of this discussion, we also asked for nominations for future Bern Lecturers (see below). Please see the minutes of this meeting at our divisional website for more information. We welcome your feedback on any or all of these topics – feel free to reach out to any of us!

2024 Meeting in Seattle, WA

Please look for our Fall 2024 Newsletter for more information on our Seattle meeting including what is sure to be an exciting Symposia and Session line-up! 

We are currently soliciting additional symposium ideas for 2025’s meeting in Atlanta, so please reach out to Program Officer Sara O’Brien if you have suggestions!

Call for nominations for the Bern Lecture speaker at 2024 meeting

We have had a great list of Bern Lecture speakers in the past who inspired us with their research in endocrinology. We encourage you all to nominate researchers through this Google form link.

The past speakers were:

  • 2002 – Howard Bern (inaugural, Anaheim Meeting)
  • 2003 – Hubert Vaudry (Toronto Meeting)
  • 2004 – Yoshi Nagahama (New Orleans Meeting)
  • 2005 – Jim Truman (San Diego Meeting)
  • 2006 – Stacia Sower (Orlando Meeting)
  • 2007 – Nancy Sherwood (Phoenix Meeting)
  • 2008 – Peter Thomas (San Antonio Meeting)
  • 2009 – Peter Sharp (Boston Meeting)
  • 2010 – Carl Schreck (Seattle Meeting)
  • 2011 – John Wingfield (Salt Lake City Meeting)
  • 2012 – Lynn Riddiford (Charleston Meeting)
  • 2013 – Ellen Ketterson (San Francisco Meeting)
  • 2014 – Louis J. Guillette, Jr. (Austin Meeting)
  • 2015 – Randy Nelson (West Palm Beach Meeting)
  • 2016 – Elizabeth Adkins-Regan (Portland Meeting)
  • 2017 – David Crews (New Orleans Meeting)
  • 2018 – David Norris (San Francisco Meeting)
  • 2019 – L. Michael Romero (Tampa Meeting)
  • 2020 – George Bentley (Austin Meeting)
  • 2021 – Michaela Hau (Virtual Meeting)
  • 2023 – Tyrone Hayes (Austin Meeting)

DCE Officer Transitions

As the 2023 meeting concluded, DCE secretary Christine Lattin finished her term and Haruka Wada is our new secretary. Big thank you to Christine for her service to the division for the past few years. 

This year’s spring election includes DCE Chair-Elect and Secretary-Elect. Please see below for the candidates’ bios and please vote! The election is open now!

Student-Postdoc Funding Opportunities 

If you are a student or postdoc member of SICB, please be aware of these SICB funding opportunities. Most of the deadlines are in the fall:

  1. Grant-in-Aid of Research (GIAR): provides up to $1,000 of research support for graduate student members of SICB.
  2. Fellowship of Graduate Student Travel (FGST): provides up to $2,000 for travel to distant research labs, museums, or field sites to graduate student members of SICB.
  3. Charlotte Mangum Student Support Program: provides financial support in the form of reduced housing or registration fees at the SICB annual meeting to undergraduate and graduate student members of SICB. Please check the Mangum website for more details about this popular program.
  4. Broadening Participation Professional Development Award: provides funding for undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, and faculty members from underrepresented groups to attend the SICB annual meeting.

In addition, check out these additional funding opportunities that may be relevant to DCE students and postdocs:

Research Grants

  1. Animal Behavior Society Student Research Grant: provides up to $2,000 of research support for graduate students members of ABS.
  2. Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research: provides up to $1,000 of research support for undergraduate and graduate students.
  3. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Raney Fund Award: provides up to $1,000 of research support for student members of ASIH.
  4. British Society for Neuroendocrinology Project Support Grant: provides up to £7,000 of research support for students and postdoc members of BSN.


Graduate Students

  1. NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program: provides 3 years of stipend support ($37,000/year) and cost of education allowance for tuition and fees ($12,000/year) for early-career graduate students.
  2. Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship: provides 3 years of stipend support ($27,000/year) for early-career graduate students.
  3. NIH F31 NRSA Individual Predoctoral Fellowship: provides up to 5 years of stipend support ($27,144/year) and institutional allowance ($4,550/year) for graduate students.
  4. American Association of University Women (AAUW) American Dissertation Fellowship: provides 1 year of stipend support ($25,000) for women in their final year of writing their dissertation)
  5. Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) Scholar Award: provides 1 year of stipend support ($20,000) for women within 2 years of their graduation date.
  6. Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship: provides 1 year of stipend support ($28,000) for graduate students working to complete a Ph.D.

 Postdoctoral Fellows

  1. NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology: provides 3 years of stipend support ($60,000) and a research and training allowance ($20,000) for postdoctoral fellows.
  2. NIH F32 NRSA Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship: provides up to 3 years of stipend support ($56,484-$68,604/year, depending on years of experience) and institutional allowance ($12,200) for postdoctoral fellows.
  3. Life Sciences Research Fellowship: provides 3 years of stipend support ($66,000/year) and a research allowance ($11,000/year) for postdoctoral fellows.
  4. Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship: provides 1 year of stipend support ($50,000) for postdoctoral fellows. 

Social Media

Last fall, DCE Student/Postdoc Rep Kat Munley started a “Meet the Scientist” initiative on the DCE Twitter account, in which a different DCE member is featured in a post every other week. To kick off this program and count down to SICB 2023, she showcased students selected for the Gorbman and Riddiford Award sessions. This program has been a huge success, and Kat will continue to do “Meet the Scientist” posts this spring! If you are interested in being featured on “Meet the Scientist”, email Kat (kmmunley@central.uh.edu).

If you haven’t already, make sure to follow the DCE Twitter account and tag us in your tweets to share your research, papers, grants, student or postdoc opportunities, and other news! Also, check out our DCE Facebook page, which can be a great resource for technical questions, job postings, and other DCE-related information.

Spring 2023 Elections

At the DCE business meeting in Austin TX, we discussed the use of membership fees. As a result of this discussion, we propose a series of changes to the DCE bylaws, posted here. Please vote on these amendments and for the positions of Chair-Elect and Secretary-Elect in the DCE Spring Elections – the ballot is available here!

Candidates for Chair-Elect

Jennifer Grindstaff

Jennifer Gindstaff
Jennifer Grindstaff, candidate for DCE Chair-Elect.

Current Position: Associate Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, 2007-present

Education: PhD in Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 2004; BA in Biology, Knox College, Galesburg, IL, 1998

Professional Experience: Assistant Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, 2007-2013; Graduate Coordinator, Department of Integrative Biology, Oklahoma State University, 2017-2020; Associate Editor, Functional Ecology, 2010-present; Scholar-Educator, Program of Excellence in Neuroscience and Behavior, Illinois State University, Normal, IL, 2006-2007; NSF International Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Lund University, Lund, Sweden, 2004-2006

SICB Activities: I have been a member and regular conference participant since 2001 as a graduate student member. My research is highly integrative and I judge student posters for DCE, as well as DAB and DEDE. I value the student support, inclusiveness, and community fostered by SICB and have contributed as a mentor in the Broadening Participation program for several years. I have also reviewed manuscripts for Integrative and Comparative Biology.

Other Memberships: American Ornithological Society (Elective Member), American Association for the Advancement of Science, Animal Behavior Society, Sigma Xi

Research Interests: My research investigates the mechanisms that underlie phenotypic plasticity, within and across generations, and that allow organisms to respond to environmental change. I have studied these mechanisms in captive populations of zebra finches, in wild populations of birds, and using mathematical models.

Statement of Goals: SICB is an important source of community and inspiration for me, and I would be honored to serve as DCE Chair. My primary goal as Chair would be to increase the size and diversity of DCE membership, especially among students. I support efforts to evaluate first how removal of the $10 membership fee affects membership in our division, and then to potentially explore renaming the division, if necessary and agreed upon. Throughout the process, I would be committed to listening to DCE officers, and current and former DCE members at the regular DCE business meetings but also through more informal and accessible, online discussion times. I would also be committed to increasing funding for the Bern Endowment, which is an excellent SICB-wide reflection of the best research within DCE. Finally, I would be committed to encouraging new and long-time members to re-engage with DCE and share their ideas for the future of the division.

Ignacio T. Moore

Ignacio Moore looking at a bird
Ignacio Moore, candidate for DCE Chair-Elect.

Current Position: Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech

Education: PhD in Zoology, Oregon State University, 2000; BS in Biochemistry, University of Arizona, 1994

Professional Experience: Associate Editor for Integrative and Organismal Biology, 2018-present; Editorial Board Member for Hormones and Behavior, 2015-present; Editorial Board Member for Journal of Experimental Zoology – Part A, 2014-present; Associate Editor for Functional Ecology, 2013-2017; Associate Editor for General and Comparative Endocrinology, 2011-2018; NSF IOS reviewer- multiple panels

SICB Activities: Co-organized society-wide symposium in 2009; Student presentation judge in 2004-2019; Chaired the DCE student presentation award committee in 2009 and 2010; Member of the Howard Bern Lecture nominating committee in 2008; Member of the DCE Nominating Committee in 2010; Member of the Student Support Committee for the society (2008-10); DCE program officer for the 2013 and 2014 conferences; DCE program officer for the 2017 and 2018 conferences; Member of the SICB officer nominating committee in 2018; Co-organized society-wide symposium in 2021.

Other Memberships: AAAS, American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Animal Behavior Society, Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, Society for Neuroscience

Research Interests: Behavioral and environmental endocrinology of vertebrates

Goals Statement: My first scientific conference was the 1994 ASZ meeting in Los Angeles. I remember being excited because of the breadth of the science and that I didn’t have to be limited to a single taxon or discipline; integrative biology would allow me to pursue my interests without barriers. Now, SICB is the only conference I attend every year. I have twice served as Program Officer for DCE and helped institute changes such as the single session for the Gorbman student award talks and combining socials with other divisions. As division chair there are a few initiatives I would like to pursue. Most importantly, we need to grow and diversify the division membership. Recently our numbers have declined and stagnated. To maintain viability, we need to diversify and promoting new and exciting symposia is a way forward.

Candidates for Secretary-Elect

Stephen Ferguson

Stephen Ferguson holding a snake
Stephen Ferguson, DCE candidate for Secretary-Elect.

Current position: Assistant Professor of Biology, St. Norbert College

Education: PhD in Biology, University of Memphis, 2017; BA in Biology, College of Wooster, 2012

Professional experience: Assistant Professor, St. Norbert College, 2021-present; Visiting Assistant Professor, College of Wooster, 2020-21; Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Kentucky, 2019-2020; Visiting Assistant Professor, Kalamazoo College, 2018-19; Visiting Assistant Professor, Ball State University, 2018; Postdoctoral Scholar, Curtin University, 2017

SICB activities: DCE, DAB, DNNSB, 2021 Symposium co-organizer; Education Council, 2023-present

Other memberships: American Ornithological Society, Animal Behavior Society

Research interests: My research interests are wide-ranging, but primarily focus on avian stress physiology. My PhD research examined vocal communication and development of the corticosterone response in wild birds, and I have continued that research as a postdoc and now professor, co-authoring several talks and posters with students. Along the way I have added biological clocks, invertebrates, and non-hormonal consequences of stress to my repertoire. 

Goals statement: I describe SICB as my ‘home’ society and consider DCE to be my ‘home’ division, from my first presentation in Charleston. A strength of both SICB and DCE over this time has been the support of students and postdocs; now that I am in a permanent position it is my opportunity to contribute to that support. As Secretary I will do everything I can to make sure DCE stays an organized and welcoming place for quality research and professional growth for trainees, ECRs, full professors, and everyone in between (or beyond). This position is also an excellent opportunity to familiarize myself with what makes SICB operate at the upper levels of organization, and will provide a path for continued DCE representation within the larger Society.

Ryan Paitz

Ryan Paitz
Ryan Paitz, DCE candidate for Secretary-Elect.

Current position: Assistant Professor of Endocrinology

Education: PhD in Biological Sciences, Illinois State University, 2010; BS in Genetics-Iowa State University, 2003

Professional experience: NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, 2014-2017; Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois, 2013-2014; NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, 2010-2012

SICB activities: SICB is my primary professional society and the Division of Comparative Endocrinology is my home within SICB. I attended my first SICB meeting in Toronto in 2003 and have attended every SICB meeting except one since then. During that time, I have been a regular judge for the poster and oral presentations competitions, but I have not yet held an executive position.

Other Memberships: I have periodically been a member of the American Physiological Society and Sigma Xi.

Research Interests: I truly consider myself a comparative endocrinologist in that my research focuses on steroids and how embryos regulate their exposure to maternally derived steroids during development. To that end, we study a variety of steroids in a variety of vertebrates, and we are able to do this because we focus on the steroid of interest and what happens to it during development. Our work in reptiles, birds, fish, and amphibians has demonstrated that embryos actively regulate their exposure to maternally derived steroids that are present in the egg at the time it is fertilized. This regulation can come in a variety of forms, such as stickleback embryos pumping cortisol out of the egg to chicken embryos metabolizing yolk estradiol to estrone sulfate. Our work on progestogens, androgens, glucocorticoids, and estrogens has demonstrated most, if not all, steroids in the yolk of vertebrate eggs are subject to regulation by the embryo. Current work is focusing on the mechanisms underlying this regulation of yolk steroid exposure.

Goals statement: I have two goals in mind. The first goal is to increase membership and I think in my role as Secretary, it would be my responsibility to understand what is or is not allowed under SICB/DCE bylaws to bolster membership. My view of the members meetings we hold briefly each year is that a lot of uncertainty exists about what is and is not allowed. The second goal is to improve our financial standing as it pertains to the various endowments. Once again, I think it would be my responsibility as Secretary to understand what is allowed under the bylaws. Since we have moved away from charging division dues, I think there is a necessity to raise some funds for the endowments. I also think many DCE members would be more than happy to donate if there was a mechanism to do so. As Secretary, I would try to find an allowable mechanism to raise funds.