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Division of Neurobiology (DNB) - Spring 2000 Newsletter

Message from the Chair

Stacia Moffett

As the retiring Chair of Neurobiology, I am pleased to leave the division in the capable hands of the newly-elected Chair, Don Edwards. I have had the pleasure and responsibility of serving the members through a period of considerable transition. Many major adjustments are behind us, and I wanted to take this opportunity to acquaint the members with 1) some changes, 2) some new benefits, and 3) some services that support us as we respond to demands in our workplaces and communities.

First, a small matter of recognition as a division: Because Neurobiology is one of the newer divisions, most members of Neurobiology also have memberships in other divisions. In fact, many people who really think of themselves as Neurobiologists have found themselves sporting an "under banner" that identified them with some other division at the annual meeting. At the Boston meeting, you will have one last chance, if you wish, to utilize leftover division under banners or to adfix one of your own creation, but the society has decided to abandon the use of such labels because many of us have strong affiliations with more than one division. In fact, the strength of this society is its broad view of biology and the interconnectedness of the different disciplines, so, in the future, those who study the nervous systems of animals will now flow more freely among those with primary interests in hormones, behavior, environmental stresses, biocommunities, structure-function relationships and the history and future of biology.

Expansion of the scope of the society to include non-zoological topics has led to the proposal to change the name of American Zoologist to better reflect the content of the symposia in future meetings. The American Zoologist (or the publication under a new name) will be enlarged to 6 issues per year, including abstracts at the end of one of the "regular" (i.e., symposium publication) volumes. (To view current and archival issues of American Zoologist, go to:

Select the American Zoologist selection, and click on APT Online. Also, follow the society's web presence (address above) to Careers and click on Neurobiology. There, you will have a chance to read the nice thumbnail sketch of the field written by past Division Chair Charles H. Page. The path to Awards describes the Grants in Aid of Research Program, the Libby H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship and the Best Student Paper Program. (Although Neurobiology doesn't not have specific guidelines, we do evaluate presentations in both poster and oral formats, and select winners; all students should try for these awards, which look good on a CV and provide a financial bonus, as well.)

A concern to all of us is the quality of science education. Under the leadership of our Division Secretary, Robin Cooper, Neurobiology is taking a lead in involving students from local school districts with the annual meeting events. A major threat to science education is the continued targeting of evolution by those who wish to eliminate it from school curricula. (If you get a chance, examine biology texts used in the public schools in your area and see how the topic is treated!) SICB continues to provide a counterpoint to the attacks on the teaching of evolution, and provide support for those who feel under siege. Look for more on this topic at the annual meeting.

Finally, SICB continues to reach out to more neurobiologists who care about the integrative nature of life on earth. Check out the Biodiversity Project (see www.nrel.colostate.edu/IBOY, and report in this newsletter) to see if you, other neurobiologists you know, or members of your department, may find that your research fits into this project. This is just one example of the breadth of connections that are opened up to us through our involvement in SICB.

Chair - Stacia Moffett

Message from the Secretary

Robin L. Cooper

The Atlanta meeting showed a healthy increase in the membership of the DNB which was partly due to local neurobiologists in Atlanta joining. Let's hope for similar actions at the Chicago meeting. If anyone has contacts in the Chicago area you may wish to encourage them to join SICB-DNB and to be present at the meeting.

As many of you now know, we held elections for the chair of DNB and that our new chair will be Don Edwards from Georgia State. In behalf of DNB, we all wish to thank our past Chair, Stacia Moffett, for the wonderful leadership and progressive attitude she has shown for advancing the Division. This last election round was administered with electronic communications and some paper copies from the central office. I have heard that not all our members were sent a ballot, so I had contacted the central office about this oversight. The problem had to do with moving of all the records of members to the new location and email listings becoming misplaced. This problem is not expected in the future. In spite of this minor problem, we had a good election return and continue to encourage all our members to participate in future elections and in soliciting individuals to fulfil administrative positions within the Society and the Division.

I am currently working with some individuals in Chicago to try to repeat what we did in Atlanta by bringing local high school children to one of the evening poster sessions. So far we have had only positive feedback from SICB members and the school kids as well as their teachers in Atlanta from the visit during the last meeting. We will see if it is possible to repeat such an event but with some modifications, such as getting name tags done before the kids show up and maybe have a quick session with the kids and teachers ahead of time to inform them on the overview of the meeting and what SICB is all about. So be prepared in Chicago for some selective public school kids asking you questions at your poster !

Message from the Program Officer

Rich Satterlie

The Chicago meeting symposia of interest will be:

"Motor Control of Vertebrate Feeding: Function and Evolution", and "Vibration as a Communication Channel".

Multiple Divisions are working on co-sponsorship of these symposia but the final details are not in yet. The symposia for the Anaheim meeting are currently being established and they will be advertized in the near future.

Keep the suggestions coming in for future symposia so we can distribute them to our entire membership for feedback.

Program Officer- Rich Satterlie