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Division of Comparative Endocrinology

Spring 2019 Newsletter

Alice C. Gibb
Apr 23, 2019 · 16 min read

Message from the Chair, C. Loren Buck, (

I trust that all of you that were able to attend the 2019 annual meeting in Tampa enjoyed it as much as I did and were able to hit the ground running at your home institutions feeling both excited and rejuvenated. I have been truly impressed with the trajectory of both the quality and growth of research presented in recent years at SICB and this most recent meeting was no exception. I look forward to seeing many of you next January in Austin, TX (2020). Last time it was held in Austin was in 2014 and I am sure it will be good to be back to this beautiful city.

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Michael Romero (left) receives the Bern award from DCE Chair C.L. Buck (right)

DCE meeting highlights: The 19th annual Howard Bern lecture was presented by Dr. Michael Romero. His lecture, “Scared, Cold, and Hungry — Stress from the Arctic to the Equator,” provided an intriguing tour of his decades of research on what causes stress in a wild animal; what physiological, endocrinological, and behavioral mechanisms activate in response to stressors; and how those mechanisms help wild animals live in their natural environments. His lecture was instructive of the power of using integrative and comparative approaches and diverse methodologies associated with neuroendocrinology, endocrinology, and ecology in both the laboratory and the field. Overall, I came away from his presentation with an increased comprehension of the causes and effects of stress in wild animals. The lecture was well attended and was followed by much discussion that continued at our social, which was convened onsite with DEDE, DAB, and DNNSB.

Announcing the student presentation awards: Brian Walker, DCE Program Officer (at left), C. Loren Buck DCE Chair (at right).

We also had intense student competitions for the Aubrey Gorbman Oral Presentation Award and the Lynn Riddiford Poster Presentation Award. The competition was fierce in both competitions and I congratulate the participants for giving the judges a difficult task. Kelsey Lewis won the Aubrey Gorbman Best Student Oral Presentation for her talk entitled “The anti-androgenic fungicide vinclozolin disrupts sexual differentiation of the external genitalia” and Aubrey Sirman won the Lynn Riddiford Best Student Poster Presentation for her poster entitled “Does chronic stress impact insulin-like growth factor signaling in house sparrows?” A big thanks to all of the participants and congratulations to the winners! A special thanks goes to all those who volunteered their time to judge the presentations.

From left to right: Aubrey Sirman (winner Lynn Riddiford best poster), Ben Vernasco (A. Gorman best oral presentation award runner-up), C. Loren Buck (DCE Chair), Brian Walker (DCE Program Officer), Kelsey Lewis (A Gorman oral award winner)

And finally, the efforts made by our DCE Program Officer, Brian Walker, cannot be overstated. Brian’s hard work begins many months before the meeting, and continued through and after the meeting. His hard work was instrumental to pulling together a fantastic program and another successful DCE social.

New Business: The DCE business meeting covered a number of important topics including the endowment for the Howard Bern fund. Happily, the fund continues to grow albeit slowly. I encourage all members to consider making a contribution to the fund to ensure its long-term solvency. We also resurrected conversations about changing our DCE bylaws. The proposed changes are briefly summarized in the Message From the Secretary Below and can be found in the minutes from this years business meeting on the SICB DCE webpage.

I want thank Sharon Lynn for her service to DCE as Secretary over the past 2 years; She was a joy to work with and saved the day on numerous occasions. I am pleased to welcome Tim Greives into the position of Secretary. I also thank Suzanne Austin for her service as Student/Post-doc Representative; Suzanne resigned her position in November 2018. I am happy to report that Carla Madelaire has agreed to serve in this capacity going forward. Carla is a post-doctoral researcher at University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and has been a regular SICB participant since Portland in 2016. She brings a diverse scientific background and enthusiasm for integrative biology and endocrinology. We have a strong group of candidates for this year’s DCE elections: Rachel Bowden and Ignacio Moore have agreed to run for the position of Chair-Elect and Greg Demas and Christine Lattin are up for the position of Program Officer-Elect. Thank you to all of those willing to serve! I strongly encourage everyone to vote. And finally, it is time to begin planning for our next meetings in Austin and Washington, DC, respectively. Specifically, please contact me or any of the DCE officers with your nominations for the Howard Bern lecture or for exciting DCE symposia.

Message from the Program Officer, Brian Walker,

Thanks to everyone who attended the Tampa meeting. I think it was a smashing success, and the quality of talks and posters was spectacular. The local committee did a great job, and I think the venue was excellent!

Attendees at the Tampa meeting enjoyed an excellent scientific program on diverse topics

Thank you to Dr. Michael Romero for an excellent Howard Bern Lecture this year. He adds his name to a long list of august colleagues who have spoken in the lecture over the years. I encourage anyone who has a nomination for future speakers for the Bern Lecture to reach out to the DCE executive committee.

Congratulations to the winners of the DCE Student Presentation Awards at the 2019 SICB meeting in Tampa. The Aubrey Gorbam best oral presentation was awarded to Kelsey Lewis, from the University of Florida, and the Lynn Riddiford award for best student poster was awarded to Aubrey Sirman, at North Dakota State University. Many thanks to all of the judges who assisted in listening to this suite of excellent student talks and visiting the posters. It is always a difficult decision in choosing a winner!

The 2020 SICB meeting is coming! Ya’ll ready for Austin? The symposia for 2020 are set, and DCE is sponsoring three: Reproduction: the female perspective from an integrative and comparative framework; Building Bridges from Genome to Phenome: Molecules, Methods and Models;and Epigenetic Variation in Endocrine Systems. We have had some inquires/initial proposals about symposia for the 2021 meeting in Washington D.C. If you are thinking about an idea for a symposium, please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions. We can’t have too many symposia ideas! Proposals are due on Aug. 23, 2019.

Pay attention to requests for ways to contribute back to the society. We are always looking for sponsors for the Howard Bern lecture. General contributions are also important in assisting student travel and rewards.

Message from the Secretary, Timothy Greives,

I hope you all had a great meeting in Tampa this year! Traveling to warm and sunny Florida was a nice break from the very long winter of North Dakota! Thanks to all of you for helping make the conference a success, and I hope that it was as stimulating and productive meeting for you as well.

Yes, it’s time of year again for another DCE election! This year we will be having elections for the next DCE Chair-elect as well as for the next Program-officer elect. We have excellent candidates for both of these positions. Be sure to check out their information below. And please remember that everyone who was a member at the time of the meeting in Tampa is eligible to vote. Please take a few moments and vote for these important positions!

I also want to let you know that during the election this year, we will be asking you to vote on several proposed changes to the DCE by-laws. You may find the text of these proposed changes on the SICB DCE website ( These proposed changes were suggested and discussed at the business meeting in Tampa and were proposed to be put to a vote of the full DCE community. A brief summary of the proposed changes are as follows:

  • Language to amend the bylaws to extend the term of service for the Program officer from 2 to 3 years. This change was proposed at the 2018 DCE business meeting with further discussion at the business meeting in 2019;
  • Language to amend the bylaws to more clearly describe how the grad student/post-doc representative is chosen, the duration of their term as well as clearly describing their role as a non-voting member of the divisional executive committee; and
  • Language to amend the bylaws for elections such that when more than two candidates are nominated for a position the election winner will be decided by a plurality of the vote taken if a majority is not achieved by a single candidate. As it is currently written no winner is declared without a majority of the vote, which would necessitate a run-off election. In addition language has been added to clearly note that the grad student/post-doc representative is a member of the divisional Executive Committee.

If you haven’t already, please join our Facebook is an excellent venue for asking endocrinology-related questions, connecting with colleagues, and posting announcements about jobs, funding opportunities, and conferences. We currently have 250 members and would like to keep the group growing!

I would also like acknowledge and thank Suzanne Austin for the tremendous job that she did as the DCE student/post-doctoral representative. Her contributions, particularly in ensuring the continued success of the faculty/trainee lunches as well as her efforts to establish and maintain the DCE twitter account. We would also like to welcome Carla Madelaire, who has agreed to serve as the new DCE student/post-doctoral representative. Please find Carla’s message below.

Finally, please know that you can email me at with any announcements you would like to have included in the SICB monthly member update. If you would like to do this, please be sure to do so by the 5th of each month.

Finally, below are some upcoming meetings to mark on your calendars:

  • Canadian Society of Zoologists Annual Meeting: May 13–19, 2019, University of Windsor
  • North American Society for Comparative Endocrinology (NASCE), May 24–28 2019, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
  • Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology Annual Meeting: June 19–22, 2019, Indiana University, Bloomington.
  • Evolution Meetings: June 21–25, 2019, Providence, RI.
  • Society for Experimental Biology: July 2–5, 2019, Seville, Spain.
  • Animal Behavior Society Annual Meeting (joint with the International Ethological Conference): July 23–27, 2019, University of Illinois at Chicago.
  • International Congress of Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry. August 5–9, 2019. Ottawa, Canada.
  • Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting: October 19023, 2019, Chicago, IL.

I hope you all have a safe and productive spring and summer!

Message from the Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee Representative, Carla B. Madelaire,

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Student/Post-doctoral Affairs Committee Representative: Carla B. Madelaire

Hello, everyone. I’m Carla Madelaire, the new student/Post-doctoral representative. Suzanne Austin had to step down and I’m glad to join the DCE representative team. Currently, I’m a post-doctoral research at University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. My research is focused in environmental endocrinology and eco-physiology in herp’s organisms. I have been attending SICB meetings since 2016 and my aim as a DCE representative is to continue the great work the previous representatives developed and improve the opportunities for networking and encouragement for young comparative endocrinologists.

Which reminds me how great was SICB meeting this year! I would like to thank all the faculty, who dedicated their time and knowledge in the “Lunch with a Comparative Endocrinologist” and the DCE attendees that enthusiastically participated. This is one of the events I look forward in every SICB meeting because it is a valuable opportunity for students and post-docs to have open conversations about career, life and science in an informal environment.

Another highlight of the last SICB meeting was the symposium Stress phenotype, it was an awesome opportunity to learn more about how organisms deal with stressors in different levels of organization. Last but not least congratulations to the winners of DCE Best Student Presentations!

If you haven’t already, please join the DCE Facebook group, and don’t forget to check the list of External Grant & Fellowship Opportunities for Students and Postdocs, which can be accessed through the For Students tab on the SICB website.

In Remembrance of Rosemary (Roe) Knapp

On February 3rd, 2019, Rosemary (Roe) Knapp, comparative physiologist and behavioral endocrinologist at the University of Oklahoma, passed away after a long and courageous battle with breast cancer. She was a long-standing and faithful member of SICB dating back to the days of ASZ. As a member of DCE, she had a long record of service to the society and the division including twice serving as DCE program officer and many times as a student presentation judge.

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Rosemary (Roe) Knapp, comparative physiologist, behavioral endocrinologist and SICB member

Roe completed her PhD with Mike Moore at Arizona State University investigating hormones and territorial behavior in lizards. She then moved on to a postdoc with Andy Bass at Cornell University studying hormones and parental care in fish. As a faculty member at the University of Oklahoma she continued to work on fish but also expanded into amphibians with her graduate students, particularly Chris Leary. A strength of Roe’s research was her willingness to switch systems and questions based on her curiosity.

Finally, Roe was a teacher, role model, mentor, and friend to so many of us. She was a gracious person with a bright spirit as well as an uncompromising scientist and educator. She will be missed. Please keep her husband Rich Broughton and her children Andy and Vicky in your thoughts.

Election Information: Candidate Biographies

Candidates for Chair-Elect

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Rachel Bowden

Rachel Bowden

Current Position: Professor, School of Biological Sciences, Illinois State University.

Education: B.A. with honors, Environmental, Population, and Organismal Biology, University of Colorado-Boulder (1994); Ph.D. Biology, Indiana University-Bloomington, (2001).

Professional Experience: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Zoology and Genetics, Iowa State University (2001–2003); Assistant Professor, School of Biological Sciences, Illinois State University (2003–2009); Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences, Illinois State University (2009–201); Professor, School of Biological Sciences, Illinois State University (2013-Present).

SICB Activities: I attended my first annual meeting in 1999 and have attended every meeting since. I frequently as a DCE judge for the best student presentations, and have co-organized two symposia; in 2008 a DCE-sponsored symposium “Consequences of maternally derived yolk hormones for offspring: Current status, challenges, and opportunities” and in 2019 a Society-wide symposium “The World is not Flat: Accounting for the dynamic nature of the environment as we move beyond static experimental manipulations.”I served as the Secretary for DCE from 2012–2014.

Other Memberships: Phi Sigma, Sigma Xi; American Physiological Society

Research Interests: Research in my laboratory focuses on the red-eared slider turtle, a species with temperature-dependent sex determination to address the following: 1) understanding the role of the embryo in regulating its endocrine environment during development, 2) examining how the embryonic endocrine and thermal environments affect sex determination, and 3) investigating the functioning of the immune system in turtles.

Goals Statement: The combination of exciting and timely integrative research as well as the strong focus on students has made SICB the meeting I return year after year. As chair, I would work to increase the visibility of DCE, with the goal of increasing the membership and vitality of the division. I am particularly interested in seeing new student members join our ranks and would work with the DCE officers to promote student-focused opportunities both at the annual meeting and via other appropriate venues. I have benefitted from the generous support of DCE for my symposia, and would be a strong advocate for future symposia that focus on endocrinologically-related topics, particularly those that highlight the value of comparative endocrinology in new and exciting ways. Finally, I will continue the fundraising efforts aimed at securing funds for the Bern Lecture — a highlight of SICB for many of us.

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Ignacio T. Moore

Ignacio T. Moore

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

Education: BS, Biochemistry, University of Arizona (1994); PhD Zoology, Oregon State University, Porter Predoctoral Fellow American Physiological Society (2000);

Postdoc, Zoology and Psychology, University of Washington, NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, Society for Neuroscience Postdoctoral Fellow (2000–2004).

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

Associate Editor for Integrative and Organismal Biology (2018- present).

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

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. First, I would like to grow the Bern fund as well as include younger speakers as they are often the ones advancing the field in new and exciting ways. Second, we need to grow and diversify the division membership. Recently our numbers have declined and become very stress endocrinology oriented. To maintain viability, we need to diversify and promoting new and exciting symposia is a way forward.

Candidates for Secretary-Elect (vote here:

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Greg Demas

Greg Demas

Current Position: Professor and Chair, Ecology, Evolution and Behavior Program, Department of Biology, Indiana University.

Education: B.A., Psychology, Millersville University (1991); M.S., Experimental Psychology, Villanova University (1993); Ph.D., Biopsychology, Johns Hopkins University (1998).

Professional Experience: Post-doc, Biology, Georgia State University (1998–2001); Professor, Biology (2001- ); Associate Editor, American Naturalist, Journal of Experimental Zoology A, International Journal of Zoology; Editorial Board, Hormones and Behavior; Secretary, Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology (2011–13); Co-author of ~130 peer-reviewed journal articles within the field of comparative endocrinology.Co-editor, special issue on “Immune-Neuroendocrine Interactions: Implications for Integrative and Comparative Biologists” in Hormones and Behavior (2016).

SICB Activities: Member (2001-present); Judge (DAB, DCE, DEDE), DAB Chair candidate (2016); DEDE Program Officer (2017–19); Co-organizer of symposia, Bridging the Gap between Ecoimmunology and Disease Ecology (2011) and Mechanisms and Methods in Ecological Immunology (2014); symposium speaker (2011,2014, 2016).

Other Memberships: Animal Behavior Society; Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, North American Society for Comparative Endocrinology

Research Interests: The primary goal of my laboratory’s research is to apply an integrative approach to understanding the interactions among the nervous, endocrine and immune systems and behavior within ecologically relevant environmental contexts. Ongoing research in my laboratory focuses on investigating seasonal changes aggression and gut microbiome influences on social behavior from both ultimate and proximate perspectives.

Goals Statement: I have participated in SICB for the past 18 years and have always appreciated the meeting’s focus on physiology and behavior from a broadly integrative perspective that includes ecological and evolutionary approaches. A key strength of DCE is its integration of ideas across disciplines, experimental approaches and animal models while focusing on the “common themes” of endocrine regulation. SICB has traditionally been vibrant home for comparative endocrinology research; as a DCE officer I will work with the divisional leadership to encourage the development of innovative and creative divisional and society-wide symposia that continue to connect across newly emerging fields of biological inquiry.As secretary, a key goal is to organize and communicate information on the ac­tivities and proceedings of the division to its members. Another important goal is to attract and recruit new membership to the division. Students are the future of every SICB division, and DCE is no exception; I will work hard to ensure the growth and success of the society by not only sustaining our current membership, but also exploring creative ways to recruit young researchers to our division.

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Christine Lattin

Christine Lattin

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University

Education: B.A. with honors Linguistics, Minor, Biology, Swarthmore College (2001); M.S. Biology, Eastern Kentucky University (2008); Ph.D. Biology, Tufts University (2014).

Professional Experience: Assistant Professor, Louisiana State University (2018- ); Postdoctoral Associate, Yale University Positron Emission Tomography Center (2017–2018); Lecturer, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department, Yale University (2017–2018); Howard Hughes Medical Institute Postdoctoral Fellow of the Life Sciences Research Foundation, Yale University Positron Emission Tomography Center (2014–2017).

SICB Activities: I have attended SICB since 2008. From 2015–2017 I was the Post-doctoral and Student Representative for DCE. In this capacity, I helped coordinate (with Rebecca Calisi-Rodriguez) the DCE social Data Blitz and in 2017 I organized a new event, “Lunch with a Comparative Endocrinologist.” For the last 3 years, I have served as a DCE judge for the best student poster and regularly attend DCE Business meetings.

Other Memberships: Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology; American Association for the Advancement of Science; American Ornithological Society; Graduate Women in Science.

Research Interests: The focus of my research is to understand how different neurotransmitters and hormones help animals successfully choose mates, raise young, escape from predators, and survive harsh winters and other challenging conditions. One of the major areas of my research is the stress response. While stress helps animals and humans survive and cope with challenges, too much stress is bad and causes health problems. Yet we still don’t have a clear understanding of how and why stress switches from being helpful to harmful, or why some individuals, or some species, are relatively resilient to the negative effects of stress while others are more vulnerable. To address these questions, my research uses a combination of lab and field studies with wild songbirds, and techniques from hormone sampling to brain imaging.

Goals Statement: Some of the biggest strengths of SICB as a society are its interdisciplinarity and its commitments to student involvement and fostering a diverse scientific workforce. These are also passions of mine, and as DCE Secretary, I will work to promote these goals as well as comparative endocrinology (and fundamental scientific research) more generally. I will use traditional means of communicating with members like the bi-annual newsletters, as well as continuing to develop our social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. I will also work to promote participation and membership in SICB from DCE-relevant research areas that are currently underrepresented.

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