Spring 2023: Division of Vertebrate Morphology

Message from the DVM Officers

Lara Ferry, Chair (chair.dvm@sicb.org); Alice Gibb, Program Officer (dpo.dvm@sicb.org); Vanessa Young, Secretary (secretary.dvm@sicb.org); Crystal Reynaga, Secretary-Elect (secretary-elect.dvm@sicb.org); Rick Blob, Past Chair (past-chair.dvm@sicb.org); Adrien Arias, SPDAC Representative (SPDAC@SICB.org)

Hello Morphologists!  It’s a pleasure to reach out as your DVM officers to report on events from the past several months and look ahead to events for the coming year.

To begin, we’ll re-introduce ourselves and welcome new DVM officers.  Lara Ferry (Chair) and Alice Gibb (Program Officer) are starting their terms as of January, and Vanessa Young (Secretary) and Adrien Arias (SPDAC Representative) continue from last year.  Please reach out to any of us with items you would like to have attention from DVM.  We also want to recognize outgoing officers Nicole Danos and Rick Blob, who just completed their terms as DVM Program Officer and Chair, respectively. Huge thank you’s to both for their dedicated service to DVM! Rick will be continuing in the DVM officer group, transitioning to the Past Chair position.

SICB 2023 Annual Meeting Recap 

It was great to come back to the annual SICB meeting with a strong in person attendance of over 2000 in Austin. Thanks very much to the SICB Executive Officers and Burk Associates for their work to make the meeting a welcoming place to share science and reconnect with each other. SICB+ continued as a conference feature this year, with contributions to the virtual platform available through March. DVM continued to have a strong presence in both venues with 164 abstracts submitted. DVM also sponsored six of the nine symposia in 2023. Thanks to all the contributors for sharing their work!

Our dedicated Best Student Presentation sessions were again a highlight of the meeting with outstanding contributions. With thanks to our members who volunteered as judges, we’re happy to recognize this year’s winners.

Dr. Armita Manafzadeh
Davis Award winner, Dr. Armita Manafzaseh.

The winner of the D. Dwight Davis Award for oral presentations was Armita Manafzadeh (postdoctoral fellow, Yale University), for the talk “Joint surface interactions distinguish dinosaurian locomotor poses.”





Taylor Black
Liem Award winner, Taylor Black.

For the Karel Liem poster award, the winner was Taylor Black (undergraduate student, Trinity University) for the poster “The Evolution of Dentition in Long- and Short-Faced Anolis Lizards”. 

Congratulations to both winners, and thank you to all the students who participated for representing DVM and sharing your research. Thanks also to Lara Ferry for coordinating judging this year, and to all of the volunteers who took time to help with judging. 

Finally, DVM held our annual Members Meeting in Austin – if you missed it, please check out the minutes of this meeting, posted on our divisional website.


New DVM Initiatives

Through Division-specific dues paid by our members, DVM has been able to provide resources to help support regional SICB meetings and the Divisional social at the annual meeting. An additional goal for these dues was to build funds that could be devoted to new initiatives that promote the field of Vertebrate Morphology and the ability of DVM members to work in this area. Thanks to the excellent feedback received from you over the past year, DVM has rolled out three new initiatives to help support and promote the excellent work of our members.  

Social Media Position

DVM is looking for someone to help manage the DVM/DCB social media accounts. If this sounds like a job for you, please reach out to one of the DVM officers!  

Support for OA Publication Fees for IOB

Applications are now being accepted for DVM support of Open Access charges for papers submitted to Integrative Organismal Biology (IOB). The current level of support is $1000, covering ~75% of the current $1355 SICB members charge. The expectation is for these funds to support authors for whom access to OA support is limited, particularly students, postdocs, and PUI (primarily undergraduate institution) faculty. Applications may be made in advance of submission of a manuscript to IOB, but no reimbursements will be made until after acceptance and payment of fees by the author. Note that submissions to IOB must be made no later than 1 month after notification of the award. 

Amy Lagorio with computer in background
DVM Open Access Support Award recipient, Amy Lagorio.

We were excited to announce our first IOB-OA awardee at this year’s Members Meeting! Congratulations to Amy Lagorio from the University of Missouri.

DVM will be continuing the IOB-OA support initiative in 2023. Additional information on the application process can be found on the DVM webpage.  Applications can be submitted via this google form. The next target review date for this award is May 10, 2023. 


DVM Mentorship Award

Dr. Jack Tseng with orange and white kitten on his shoulder
DVM 2022 Mentorship Award recipient, Dr. Jack Tseng.

This award is intended to recognize a DVM member for a commitment to mentoring that goes above and beyond the standard expectations of their job description, showing innovative approaches and outstanding accomplishments. Efforts in mentoring members of underrepresented groups are encouraged. 

It was also exciting to recognize DVM’s first Mentorship Award winner at this year’s Members Meeting: Dr. Jack Tseng from the University of California. Our congratulations to Jack and thanks for his efforts in mentorship.

If you have benefitted from the efforts of an outstanding mentor, please consider nominating them for this award. Additional information on award guidelines and the nomination process can be found on the DVM webpage. The next target review date is November 1, 2023. Stay tuned for the opening of nominations in the fall!

Upcoming SICB Symposia – 2024 and beyond

Symposia are opportunities for DVM members to present exciting, forward-looking research to all of SICB and, through publishing in Integrative and Comparative Biology, to the broader scientific community. Here’s a look ahead at the outstanding symposia that DVM will be sponsoring at our 2024 meeting in Seattle. 

  1. Computational and Physical Models in Research and Teaching to Explore Form-Function Relationships
  2. Convergent evolution across levels of biological organization, organisms, and time
  3. What do trade-offs mean to reproducing females?: An integrative look at whole-organism trade-offs
  4. Moving in an uncertain world: adaptive locomotion from organisms to machine intelligence
  5. Modeling Organismal Responses to Changing Environments
  6. Rise of the Anthropocene: Understanding how Urban Ecosystems Drive Evolutionary Change

If you are thinking “this is great – I’d like to organize a symposium”… Good news!! You can and SICB will help! SICB now offers additional incentives for symposium organizers. Helpful guidelines for preparing a symposium proposal can also be found at the link on the SICB meetings page. Applications are welcome from SICB members at any career stage. Recently, proposals from DVM have been down, and it would be great to see more DVM members leading these events at upcoming meetings. So pull together a team and go for it! Applications for the 2025 meeting are due in August 2023, which is plenty of time to put together a great proposal! Please reach out to Program Officer Alice Gibb with any questions and for feedback on your ideas – we can’t wait to see your symposia! 

Regional SICB Meetings – This Could Be You!

If January 2024 seems too far away to meet your SICB needs, consider organizing a regional SICB meeting. These are usually 1-2 day events with a single session of shorter presentations, but many formats are possible. They’re especially great opportunities for student presentations, and to try out ideas ahead of the annual meeting. Several regions have run these for many years with great success, and DVM is happy to offer sponsorship for regional meetings, usually up to $500. For fall events, summer is a great time to start pulling plans together. Please reach out to Lara Ferry if you’re thinking about organizing a meeting in your region.     

Other 2023 Meetings for Morphologists

Filters in Biology and Biomimetics Conference – Berlin, Germany

Filters in Biology and Biomimetics (FiBB) is a 2-day conference intended to unite diverse early-career and experienced scientists working on different fundamental aspects of particle filtration in natural systems, as well as designers, engineers and industrial specialists experienced in particle filtration and biomimetic applications. The conference will take place May 15-16, 2023 at the Matters of Activity Cluster, Sophienstrasse, Berlin Germany; additional information can be found on the conference website

ICVM 2023 – Cairns, Australia

The International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology (ICVM) is typically held every three years, and provides an opportunity for interaction between international scholars working in the fields of functional morphology, evo-devo, paleontology, models, and related areas.  This year’s meeting will take place in Cairns, Australia from 28 July – 1 August, 2023.  For more information, please visit the ICVM-2023 website

DVM Member Spotlights

We are interested in streamlining the spring and fall newsletters, while also using this communication as a way to highlight our division members, especially early-career members.  If you have photos or other features that you would like to submit for consideration in future newsletters, please reach out to Vanessa Young (secretary.dvm@sicb.org).  

Spring 2023 Elections

We will be selecting a new Chair-Elect and a new Program Officer-Elect for the division in this year’s spring elections.  Many thanks to Manny Azizi, Sandy Kawano, and Molly Womack for serving as the nominating committee for this election.  We have two excellent candidates for each position to choose from: Jenna Monroy and Andie Ward for Chair-Elect, and Marguerite Butler and Natalie Holt for Program Officer-Elect.  Thank you all for your willingness to serve DVM!  

We are also voting on several minor amendments to the DVM bylaws, to keep them consistent with SICB bylaws as our society’s bylaws change.

Members: please review the candidate bios below and be sure to cast your vote!  Remember, you can vote in elections as long as your SICB membership was current at the time of the 2023 meeting. Student members are also eligible to vote. 

DVM Chair-Elect Candidate Biographies

Jenna Monroy

Dr. Jenna Monroy
DVM Chair-Elect Candidate, Dr. Jenna Monroy.

Current Position: Associate Professor, WM Keck Science Department, Claremont Colleges

Education: Ph.D., Biology, Northern Arizona University (2004). B.A., Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (1997)

Professional Experience: Associate Professor, WM Keck Science Department, Claremont Colleges (2022-present); Assistant Professor, WM Keck Science Department, Claremont Colleges (2016-2022); Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Denison University (2013-2016); Post-doctoral Research Associate, Northern Arizona University (2006-2013); Post-doctoral Research Associate, University of Washington (2004-2006)

SICB Activities: Member for 20+ years; member of DVM, DCB, DCPB; Organizer of the Southwest Organismal Biology meeting (regional SICB); judge for student posters and talks for DVM, DCB, and DCPB at numerous meetings

Other Memberships: American Physiological Society; Society for Experimental Biology; California Society of Physiologists, American Society for Biomechanics; International Society for Biomechanics

Research Interests: Comparative neuromechanics; muscle physiology; tongue projection in frogs; mice that run up and down ladders

Statement of Goals: I have been a member of DVM for more than 20 years and I am excited for the opportunity to serve as DVM chair. Having once been an undergraduate funded by the student support program, it is my goal to continue to make SICB accessible for all. I am impressed with the progress that SICB has already made toward fostering an inclusive community, such as providing scientific presentations, workshops, and blogs online. I will continue to push the boundaries of how science is communicated and disseminated broadly. It is important that we continue to rethink what science is and what it will be in the future. We must also break down traditional barriers that prevent widespread participation and success. I will work to find new ways to be welcoming and supportive of equity and diversity.

Andrea “Andie” Ward

Dr. Andie Ward with trees in background
DVM Chair-Elect Candidate, Dr. Andie Ward.

Current Position: Interim Associate Provost for Student Success and Professor of Biology, Adelphi University

Education: PhD Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2005; BS Biology, Wake Forest University, 2000

Professional Experience: Adelphi University: 2022-present Interim Associate Provost for Student Success, 2021-2022 Associate Dean for Student Success and Strategic Initiatives, 2017-2020 Department Chair (Biology), 2017-present Professor of Biology, 2012-2017 Associate Professor of Biology, 2007-2012 Assistant Professor of Biology; The University of Chicago: 2005-2006 Postdoctoral Scholar (Prince Lab)

 SICB Activities: Member since 1998, DCB Secretary (2014-2018), Best Student Presentation judge for DVM and DCB (multiple years), Public Affairs Committee (2009-2013)

 Other memberships: International Society of Vertebrate Morphology

Research Interests: Currently my laboratory is primarily focused on 2 major projects: (1) terrestrial locomotion in elongate fishes and (2) design and use of eel passages by American eels

 Statement of Goals: DVM is well poised to continue to expand out our support and opportunities for students of all levels to engage with the incredible research being done in the division. While the annual meeting provides a critical time for our community to interact, I think we all have seen how critical the continual engagement has been as we have moved through the pandemic. I would continue to support the development of year round programming. I will also focus on ways that we can support and celebrate the successes of our students. This Division has been critical in the development of my career and I look forward to helping to lead the division as it continues to help our newest generation of scientists. 

DVM Program Officer-Elect Candidate Biographies

Marguerite A. Butler

Dr. Marguerite Butler with her dog, Tim Tam
DVM Program Officer-Elect Candidate, Dr. 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, Minisymposium in Honor of Marvalee Wake (2004), Symposium on Ecological Dimorphisms (2007); Associate Editor of Integrative Organismal Biology (2018-present). Member-At-Large (2020-2024). Dorothy Skinner Award Committee (member 2021, chair 2022). Chair SICB nominating committee (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 (Papuan microhylid frogs, Hawaiian damselflies, SARS-CoV-2).

Goals Statement:  I am deeply honored to be nominated to run for Program Officer of DVM. Morphology is central to the study of biology, and I see so many exciting interdisciplinary ties between DVM and so many divisions of SICB. Morphology, one of the oldest disciplines, remains central to ecology and evolutionary biology, physiology and function, development, and biodiversity. I have enjoyed my time as an IOB associate editor, and I take seriously the mission to constructively suggest ways to highlight the significance of our work without the rancor of the traditional review process. It was also an honor to serve as SICB member at large, and I am now excited to participate in the organization and programming of sessions at SICBʻs annual meetings, to try to creatively bring disciplines together around common scientific questions. 

This is an exciting time where SICB is experimenting with new platforms and technologies, formats, and mechanisms of support, and I am excited to contribute to these efforts. Like many of you, I love SICB because of the cross-fertilization of ideas that fuel the expansion of our approaches, as well as the support of the wonderful SICB community. I am eager to listen to new ideas, promote open communication, and support each other in our diverse goals. I so admire SICBʻs long-time commitment to playing a positive developmental role in the lives of young scientists, and in recent years to its explicit commitment to diversity. I truly believe SICB is the premier venue for excellent interdisciplinary science because science is stronger when everyone participates. 

Natalie Holt

Dr. Natalie Holt
DVM Program Officer-Elect Candidate, Dr. Natalie Holt.

Current Position: Assistant Professor of Systems Physiology at UC Riverside

Education: BSc at the University of Bristol, PhD at the University of Leeds 

Professional Experience: Post-doc positions at Harvard (2011-2013) and UC Irvine (2013-2016), Assistant professor at Northern Arizona University (2017-2019)

SICB Activities: Member since 2011, symposium organizer in 2018, LGBTQ mentor in 2020

Other Memberships: American Society for Biomechanics and board member of their Comparative Neuromuscular Biomechanics working group

Research Interests: My research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of contraction, diversity, and plasticity in skeletal muscle and tendon. My teaching integrates an understanding of the role of biology in systems of oppression around race and gender into physiology and organismal biology education.

Goals Statement: I hope to contribute to the strength of SICB’s comparative programming, to increase accessibility of our meetings, particularly for transgender students, and to provide a forum in which to integrate biology research and social justice issues.