Fall 2020 DCB

Message from the Chair

Stacey Combes, chair.dcb@sicb.org

During this unusual and challenging year, my fellow DCB committee members — John Long, Emily Kane, Matt McHenry, Armita Manafzadeh, and I are all looking forward to January, when we hope to see a great turnout from the DCB community for this year’s remote SICB meeting. Although this meeting will be different, it is an important time for us to come together to talk about the science that we all care about, and to support our younger colleagues, for whom every annual conference is an important step in their career journey. We are especially looking forward to Sunday, January 3rd, when our DCB Best Student Paper competition will be held, with live introductions and a chance to interact with each student after their talk is streamed. Please see below for the list of this year’s Best Student Paper competitors.

Carl Gans Award Winner

 2021 Carl Gans Award winner Martha Muñoz
2021 Carl Gans Award winner Martha Muñoz

We’re also excited to celebrate this year’s Carl Gans Award winner, Martha Muñoz from Yale University! Martha was inspired early on by Gans’ pioneering insights into evolutionary physiology and biomechanics. Her research integrates top-down macroevolutionary approaches with mechanistic bottom-up approaches, to reveal emergent phenomena and general principles in ecology and evolution. Martha has explored the roles of thermoregulation in the evolution of lizards and mechanical “rules” of form-function evolution in four-bar linkage systems. Her lab’s current work examines topics such as hidden dimensions of diversity in woodland salamanders and physiological perspectives on the evolution of live birth.

Martha was chosen from an incredibly competitive pool of Gans Award applicants this year – in total, we had 14 amazing applicants for the Young Investigator category, who have amassed over 260 publications, conducted research around the world, and represent a vibrant future for the field of comparative biomechanics. In addition, the Gans Award committee commented that the strongest applicants not only had outstanding research track records and high quality journal publications, but also had excellent records of mentoring, community engagement, and service, with a clear focus on equity and inclusion in science. After reviewing these applications, the committee felt it was quite clear that an award for “contributions to the field of comparative biomechanics” recognizes not only outstanding research, but also mentoring, outreach, and efforts to improve equity in the scientific community. We are hopeful that many of the outstanding applicants from this year will re-apply for the award again next year. We would also like to thank the three Carl Gans Award committee members, led by committee chair Marianne Porter, for their hard work on these difficult deliberations.

Best Student Paper Competition

With this year’s remote format, we did not receive enough entries to hold a competition for the Stephen Vogel Award for Best Student Poster in Biomechanics, but we look forward to hearing talks from the finalists for the The Mimi A.R. Koehl and Stephen A. Wainwright Award for Best Student Presentation in Biomechanics:

  • Benjamin Cellini (The Pennyslvania State University)
  • Callie Crawford (New Jersey Institute of Technology)
  • Natsuki Harada (Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan)
  • Yordano Jimenez (Brown University)
  • Anthony Lapsansky (University of Montana)
  • Armita Manafzadeh (Brown University)
  • Stephanie Ross (Simon Fraser University)
  • Wael Salem (The Pennsylvania State University)

Please mark your calendars for Sunday, January 3rd, when you will have a chance to hear talks by these up-and-coming young biomechanists, and to engage with them live about their research.

DCB Officers and Upcoming Elections

After this year’s meeting, John Long will take over as chair and Brooke Flammang will become the incoming chair-elect for DCB. Emily Kane, Matt McHenry, and Armita Manafzadeh will continue in their roles as Secretary, Program Officer, and Student-Postdoc Representative, respectively. This Spring, DCB will hold elections for two positions on our committee – Secretary and Program Officer. If you would like to nominate yourself or one of your colleagues, please email David Hu (hu@me.gatech.edu), who will be serving as Chair of the Nominating Committee.

Message from the Program Officer

Matt McHenry, dpo.dcb@sicb.org

Symposia: We are on track to continue supporting diverse and interesting symposia for this year’s meeting. Here are the topics that DCB and DVM are sponsoring for SICB 2021:

  • An Evolutionary Tail: Evo-Devo, Structure, and Function of Post-Anal Appendages: Janneke Schwaner, Tonia Hsieh, Craig McGowan
  • Biology Beyond the Classroom: Experiential Learning through Authentic Research, Design, and Community Engagement: Ali Hansen, Lisa Whitenack, Patrice Connors, Hayley Lanier
  • Bridging Disciplinary Gaps to Advance Canine Science: Caleb Bryce, Ana Jimenez
  • Metachronal Coordination of Multiple Appendages for Swimming and Pumping: Margaret Byron, David Murphy, Arvind Santhanakrishnan
  • Physical Mechanisms of Behavior: Patrick Green, Alejandro Rico-Guevara
  • The Biology of Sticky: Adhesive Silk, Fiber, and Glue Biomaterials Across Eukaryota: Mercedes Burns, Sarah Stellwagen
Collared Lizard
Collared Lizard, photo credit Daniel Schwen, Wikimedia

The Program Officers have yet to decide the symposia for 2022. Symposium proposals were down this year, perhaps due to COVID. We would all like to see a return to form next year with a strong batch of submissions. Symposia are essential to the society and remain a great opportunity to gather a stellar group of speakers and to see that work published in ICB. So, please consider organizing a symposium for SICB 2023 in Austin, TX. The deadline for a symposium proposal will be in August, though you will want to start planning soon. If you have some potential ideas, then do not hesitate to contact me with your thoughts (dpo.dcb@sicb.org). Here are some guidelines for what’s involved when organizing a symposium: https://tinyurl.com/tkudwnr

Once SICB members have submitted their symposium ideas, then I will be involved with deciding which ones to approve and grant DCB support. Please help guide me through this process by taking about one minute to fill out the following survey, which indicates the kind of symposium that you would like to attend or maybe organize yourself: https://forms.gle/x39MhJLtJKyzgyyW6

Message from the Secretary

Emily Kane, secretary.dcb@sicb.org

I know we have a lot on our plates this semester, so I’ll keep this short.

  • Pandemic teaching resources: The SICB Education Council has been coordinating several initiatives to assist members with virtual teaching challenges due to the pandemic. You have probably seen emails from SICB recently, but I want to point it out again. Specifically, they are managing lists of online resources (here) and guest lectures (here). If you would like to add information to either of these lists, contact them directly (edcouncil@sicb.org).
  • Upcoming elections: We will soon be soliciting nominations for incoming DCB Program Officer and Secretary. These positions will be held from January 2022 through January 2023. The Program Officer coordinates the programs of the division, including the annual meeting talks and presentations and the best student paper competitions. The Secretary acts as the divisional record-keeper and editor for the biennial newsletter. Currently, Divisional Officers must hold either Full or Emeritus membership status. If you would like to nominate yourself or a colleague for either of these positions, please contact the Nominating Committee Chair, Dr. David Hu (hu@me.gatech.edu).
  • 2021 Member’s meeting: Be on the lookout for information regarding the 2021 Virtual DCB Member’s Meeting. In addition to reviewing the business of the society (including voting to approve the 2020 Member’s Meeting minutes), this is an opportunity to raise questions or voice concerns about the Division, make or hear announcements about upcoming opportunities, and interact with your colleagues in a more informal setting. Members at any career stage are welcome and encouraged to join! We look forward to “seeing” everyone soon!

As always, if you have any questions or announcements that you would like to convey to the Division, please send me an email!

Message from the Student and Postdoctoral Representative

Armita Manafzadeh, armita@brown.edu

Hello DCB! I hope everyone is doing as well as possible. Even though I can’t see you all in person this year, I’m looking forward to learning about all of your wonderful work at our Virtual Annual Meeting.

We might have gone virtual, but the SICB Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee (SPDAC) is still preparing a roundtable workshop featuring representatives from a variety of alt-ac career paths, such as museums, data science, science communication, and more. We’ll also have a virtual booth with plenty of handy how-to brochures on topics like writing research statements applying for fellowships, so be sure to check those out.

Striped Skunk
Striped Skunk, photo by Tom Friedel, Wikimedia Commons

As a reminder, my role as the DCB Student and Postdoctoral Affairs Representative is to serve as (1) a liaison between the student and postdoctoral members of our division and the division leadership, and (2) an advocate for the amazing research you’re all doing.

So students and postdocs, please feel free to contact me by email (armita@brown.edu) or Twitter (@armanafzadeh) with your suggestions, comments, concerns, or SICB-related feedback, and I’ll be happy to pass them along to Stacey, Matt, and Emily.

If you’re on social media, make sure you’re a member of our Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/258733714665123/) and follow our new Twitter handle (@SICB_DCB_DVM — no longer @mechsNmorph!). Please tag @SICB_DCB_DVM in any tweets you’d like me to signal boost to our community, and feel free to ask science and/or logistical questions you might have in our Facebook group.

I’ve had a great time featuring some of our exceptional early career members on the @SICB_DCB_DVM Twitter a part of a #featureFriday series, and would love to keep doing so. If you’re interested in being featured, fill out this survey: https://forms.gle/5Cy51aNvHiqMDMrL6. (Do it, and tell your friends/students/postdocs to do it too!)

“See” you online in January — wishing you all safety and wellness for the rest of your semester!