HomeVolume Fall 2006
View/Download this newsletter in PDF format

Division of Evolutionary Developmental Biology (DEDB) and Division of Developmental and Cell Biology (DDCB): 2006 Fall Newsletter

In this newsletter:

Message from the Chair

Billie J. Swalla

Autumn Greetings from the Chair!

Classes are back in full swing and many of us are continuing the ever challenging balancing act with teaching, research, and our families. Good luck in finding the balance that works best for you.  

As we look toward the future for the Division of Evolutionary Developmental Biology, I can almost hear the whir of sequencing machines, churning out more genomes, allowing comparisons to be made at a genomic level across organisms. New technologies are coming into play for sequencing, bringing down the cost and allowing even more sequencing reads at a lower price. We will need to begin to think in terms of gene networks, not just single genes and pathways, but how entire networks evolve and change to create morphology. Comparative genomic studies will need to become more complex and sophisticated, going beyond the current practice of using as many genes as possible to compare phylogenies, to comparisons of losses and gains within specific gene families.  We are just beginning to think about the depth of genomic studies - genomes of several closely related species gives different information than comparing genomes across large phylogenetic distances. Soon the sea urchin genome will be available, and members of the mollusc and polychaetes should not be far behind.  Already, it's been reported that sponges contain all of the important developmental signaling pathways that we consider fundamental for metazoan development, suggesting that more studies need to be concentrated on sponges, cnidarians and ctenopores.  There is much to be learned from these genomic studies and we've only just begun. If you would like to put together a symposium on Genomes or Genetic Networks for a future meeting, please contact me.

One of the ways that we are trying to promote Evolution & Development and Developmental & Cell Biology is through the SICB WEB site for DEDB researchers:  http://sicb.org/divisions/DEDB/researchers.php3  The site is set so that a different WEB site comes up each time you access the site. There are some very cool pictures up now, but we would like to get more participation. It's never too late!  Please send your contributions to Frietson Galis F.Galis@biology.leidenuniv.nl  and she will see that your research is posted on the site.

I would like to see more of you take leadership roles in the DEDB and DDCB divisions in SICB. If anyone is willing to represent our divisions on various SICB committees, and learn how decisions within the Society are made, please contact me. It is fun to meet the people in other divisions, and learn about other topics of research within SICB. Please let me know if you are willing to consider helping out. Thanks to our officers and those of you that are serving on the Student Support Committee that meets in Phoenix. We really appreciate your time, energy and input to our success as a vibrant SICB Division. 

Oxford Press is now publishing "Integrative and Comparative Biology".  http://icb.oxfordjournals.org/

I hope that you've noticed the beautiful covers of the last few issues and have enjoyed reading papers on-line as soon as they are accepted. Once the backlog of accumulated papers is published this year, we expect that symposia will begin to be published in a very timely manner. This is our journal, so keep publishing some of your best research results in it. We hope to get it indexed in PubMed soon.

Where are all the women speakers? I continue to be surprised and appalled to see symposia that are put on at meetings without a balanced gender ratio. They are always tipped towards the Y chromosome. Check your own departmental seminar series.  Are there 50% female speakers? If not, then you should point it out and ask that it be improved. Women have made up at least 50% of the graduate student population since the 1970's, but almost 40 years later, there is still not parity in faculty positions or symposia in the U.S.A. If you are organizing a symposium and can not think of any women in your field, contact me. I will give you at least 5 names of topnotch female speakers. I will also give you the name of several other possibilities to increase the diversity of your speakers. We need to recognize that science is done by a diverse group of people and we should welcome that diversity. 

 Finally, I hope that you all keep abreast of the political candidates that you will elect, and be sure that they believe that funding basic science should be a national priority. Make your voice heard.  Remember to vote!

Enjoy the holidays.......spend time with your families......turn in an NSF grant.

See you in Phoenix in 2007.

Billie J. Swalla

Message from the Program Officer

Eduardo Rosa-Molinar

¡Saludos from Puerto Rico, the Island of Enchantment (no hurricanes so far this year)!

Well this is my last newsletter as program officer of Division of Evolutionary Developmental Biology/Division of Developmental & Cell Biology (DEDB/DDCB). It has been an honor and pleasure to serve you all. Wendy Olson, Ph.D. of the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA will become your new program officer during the 2007 divisional meeting. Wendy will be DEDB/DDCB's third program officer.

Members submitted 1080 abstracts for the 2007 Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona! The meeting will be held January 3-7, 2007. The headquarters hotel for the meeting is the Hyatt Regency Phoenix. You may register online for the hotel (http://phoenix.hyatt.com/groupbooking/phxrpsicc2007

or call 1-800-633-7313 or 602-252-1234 for reservations [be sure to mention that you are a SICB meeting attendee]). The SICB rate at the Hyatt is $129 single/double.

The Plenary Session and Welcome Reception oral and poster sessions will be held at the Phoenix Convention Center directly across the street from the Hyatt Regency. Our divisional meeting and social is scheduled to be held on Friday, January 5, 2007 in the Hyatt Regency.

DEDB/DDCB will sponsor two symposia: "Evolutionary and functional genomics of sperm, sperm storage and fertilization," organized by T. Karr and S. Pitnick and "Linking genes and morphology in vertebrates," organized by F. Galis and D. Carrier. Both symposia promise to provide exciting insights into the developmental and functional basis of morphological diversity. These symposia as well as the contributed paper and poster sessions will provide a strong stimulus for integrative studies that link developmental biology, genetics, genomics, and functional morphology. The Linking genes and morphology in vertebrates symposium is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation. Kudos to Frietson and David for their efforts and success in obtaining funding!

Keep checking the SICB website (http://www.sicb.org) and reading the DEDB/DDCB newsletter for updates regarding the 2007 meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.

One of the last things I really need to get done this year is to have members review and agree on the keyword list that SICB uses for DEDB/DDCB abstract submission. This really was an issue this year. A significant portion of DEDB/DDCB oral and posters presentations were sorted and grouped and sessions formed by DSEB - Division of Systematic & Evolutionary Biology. The keywords used by our members linked their presentations with DSEB. This can create problems for us in the future if we continue to show low numbers of oral and poster presentations. The revision of keywords will make programming easier and provide better linkages with symposia and contributed papers and posters. I finally have the list of keywords and I will get this list posted on the electronic bulletin board for your review and comment. I really need membership input! I hope to have a vote on this issue at this year's meeting.

Oxford University Press as our new publisher for "Integrative and Comparative Biology (ICB)" has done an outstanding job in publishing our symposia. It is clear that SICB and the new editor have solved most of the issues that made ICB a less attractive choice for symposia organizers to publish their symposia. Keep checking the SICB website for updates.

This is all for now. Keep sending your primary research papers to Evolution and Development (Blackwell Publishing), Molecular and Developmental Evolution (Wiley), American Naturalist (University of Chicago Press), and Biosciences (AIBS). Also send your symposia to Integrative and Comparative Biology (Oxford University Press). The list of journals supporting the DEDB/DDCB division keeps growing. We need to support those publications. I hope to see you all in Phoenix, Arizona.

¡Hasta Pronto!

Message from the Secretary and Secretary-elect

Frietson Galis and Marcus Davis

Dear members of the DEDB and DCDB,

Our divisional webpages have been embellished with illustrations and descriptions of the research of several members. We hope that more members will contribute to this database. Please, provide a paragraph on your research and illustrate this with an image in jpg-format (galis@rulsfb.leidenuniv.nl). For inspiration you can check our web pages: http://www.sicb.org/divisions/dedb.php3

If you would like to announce a meeting that is of interest for our members, please also email this (galis@rulsfb.leidenuniv.nl).  The program of the meeting in Phoenix looks very interesting and attractive, especially for evolutionary developmental biologists. Don't miss it. We also encourage you to attend the business meeting and social.

We look forward to seeing you in Phoenix!

Frietson and Marcus

Message from the Student/Post-Doc Representative

Nathan Bird

Greetings fellow graduate students and post-docs! It is that time of year again, and I am looking forward to seeing everyone in Phoenix. DEDB members have presented cutting-edge research in recent years, and this year should be no exception. DEDB is sponsoring two symposia that are sure to be outstanding: Linking genes and morphology in vertebrates (organized by F. Galis and D. Carrier) and Key transitions in animal evolution (organized by B. Schierwater, S. Dellaporta & R. DeSalle).

The generous student funding from the society continues this year, and there are some dates that everyone should mark down on his or her calendar. The deadline for Student Support is quickly approaching (Oct. 27), so be sure to apply. Getting your registration fees paid, or particularly housing for only $75 co-pay in exchange for a half-day of work is a great deal, so take advantage! Don't forget to apply for a GIAR or FGST if you are eligible, the deadline for both is also drawing near (Nov 19th). Up to $1000 and $2000 respectively.

Be sure to attend the Grad Student/Post Docs Welcome and Meeting Orientation, even if this is not your first meeting, as there are always new tidbits of information to pick up. It is January 3, 2007, 5:30 pm. This year the Graduate Student Workshop will be extremely informative, specifically for those of us beginning to publish our work. The workshop, "What Editors Want", will be held Saturday, January 6, from 6:00-7:00 pm. As always, I encourage you all to become more involved in SICB. One key recommendation is that everyone should attend the DEDB business meeting. See you all in Phoenix!

Link to officer list on DEDB page