Division of Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry

Spring 2019 Newsletter

Message from the Chair, Kim Hammond, Chair.DCPB@SICB.org

Spring greetings to everyone from Riverside California. With the greater than average rainfall in Southern California, we are at the beginning of a super bloom in the desert and inland areas. Our Annual meeting in Tampa was very successful and the warm weather was a nice break from winter for many of the attendees. We had 2,350 attendees and 1,840 presentations. Of the total registered attendees, 1,105 were students including 641 grad students, 394 undergrads, and 2 high school students! There were 702 student abstracts submitted to the society as a whole.

Kim Hammond, DCPB Chair

I want to extend my gratitude to Wes Dowd (Washington State University), the DCPB program officer, and the entire SICB Program Committee for a wonderful program at this year’s meetings. Wes’s term has ended but he was an outstanding program officer who was always on top of what was going on. I don’t think people realize how much work that is. At any rate, Thank-You, Wes! I also welcome Kristi Montooth (University of Nebraska Lincoln) to the position of DCPB program officer.

We offer congratulations to the Best Student Paper winner Jacqueline Lebenzon from the Western University, Canada for her poster titled “Burning Down the Powerhouse: Does Mitophagy Drive Metabolic Suppression During Diapause in the Colorado Potato Beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata)?” and Holly Rucker from Duke University for her oral presentation titled “Decrypting Female Attractivity in Garter Snakes.”

The poster sessions in Tampa were well attended (photo credit: SICB student photographer)

Valentina Di Santo (Harvard University) organized and with the help of volunteer reviewers ran the student competition. Valentina has been instrumental in making the best student paper (BSP) competition for the past several years. We are all very grateful for her help and attention to detail. Thank you Valentina! As Valentina goes on to greater things we welcome Emily Cornelius (Eastern Michigan University) to the role of BSP organizer.

As always, our symposia were very well attended, and we all look forward to seeing the symposium papers published in Integrative and Comparative Biology (ICB). Whether or not you attended these symposia, all of us benefit by the wide diversity of topics that are covered in depth in the symposium format. I encourage all DCPB members to consider developing symposia for the upcoming meetings. In addition to the platform for focused discussions, the symposia provide a good venue to network with colleagues who share your interests. Finally, consider that the symposia papers are the staple of the ICB, which in turn is a major source of income for the SICB, helping us to keep the annual meetings’ costs as low. If you have an idea for a symposium for the 2021 or later meetings, please contact Kristi Montooth (kmontooth2@unl.edu) or me (khammond@ucr.edu) to discuss further details.

The long-standing tradition of excellence of the plenary George Bartholomew Award lectures sponsored by DCPB was continued in 2019 by this year’s winner: Dr. Ben Dantzer from the University of Michigan. Ben’s talk entitled “Plasticity, hormones, behavior, and fitness: understanding the long-reach of the mother in wild animals”. Ben’s talk was given to a packed standing room only crowd and was very well received. Dr. Dantzer was selected from a highly competitive pool of nominees. We also extend sincere thanks to John Lighton and Robin Turner of Sable Systems International for their continued generous support of the George Bartholomew Award. New nominations for the Bart award due in August 23, 2019 and should be sent to Bart.award@sicb.org. More about the Award can be found at (http://sicb.org/about/constitution.php3#dcpbbylaws)

Message from the DCPB Program Officer, Kristi Montooth, DPO.DCPB@sicb.org

I would like to thank Wes Dowd for his excellent service as DCPB Program Officer over the past few years. I am excited to have the opportunity to serve in this role and to give back to a division of SICB that has long been a training home for me. I would like to encourage full participation of all members in the society and in our DCPB. To our student and postdoctoral members, please take the opportunity to engage in society business, vote, and participate in symposium and workshop development. Your science, voices and visions are the future of the society and of DCPB. You can follow our twitter feeds @sicb_dcpb @SICB_SPDAC @SICBtweets.

Kristi Montooth, DCPB Program Officer

It was great to see such fantastic integrative research at the Tampa 2019 meetings. There were over 160 abstracts presented in the area of Physiology & Biochemistry across 7 poster sessions and 12 oral sessions, with undergraduate and graduate students presenting over 70% of the posters and nearly 60% of talks. DCPB co-sponsored four symposia that will make for some great reading in this year’s issues of Integrative and Comparative Biology,

  • Adaptation and Evolution of Biological Materials (Organizers: Robert Campbell and Mason Dean)
  • The world is not flat: Accounting for the dynamic nature of the environment as we move beyond static experimental manipulations (Organizers: Tim Greives and Rachel Bowden)
  • Beyond the powerhouse: Integrating mitonuclear evolution, physiology, and theory in comparative biology (Organizers: Justin Havird and Geoffrey Hill)
  • Stress phenotype: Linking molecular, cellular, and physiological stress responses to fitness (Organizers: Haruka Wada and Britt Heidinger)
  • Dr. Ben Dantzer, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan, gave a thought-provoking Bartholomew Lecture on “Plasticity, Hormones, Behavior, and Fitness: Understanding the Long-reach of the Mother in Wild Animals.”

Students — don’t forget about the opportunity to participate in the “Best Student Presentation” competitions. There were some outstanding presentations this year. Thank you to everyone who volunteered, chaired a session, and participated in or scored the best student presentations in Tampa. Your contributions make the meetings a success!

We hope to see you in Austin 2020, where DCPB will be co-sponsoring a diverse lineup of symposia

  • New Frontiers in Antarctic Marine Biology (Organizers: James McClintock, Charles Amsler, Bill Baker, Art Woods, and Amy Moran)
  • Reproduction: the female perspective from an integrative and comparative framework (Organizers: Virgina Hayssen and Teri Orr)
  • Building Bridges from Genome to Phenome: Molecules, Methods and Models (Organizers: Karen Burnett, Jonathon Stillman, Donald Mikles and David Durica)
  • Epigenetic Variation in Endocrine Systems (Organizers: Tyler Stevenson, Lynn Martin and Haley Hanson)
  • Please feel free to contact the organizers if you are interested in presenting in the oral or posters sessions that are complementary to these symposia.

Finally, we are looking for outstanding symposium proposals for the Washington, DC 2021 meetings. The symposia are a vital component of our ICB journal, and the DCPB has a history of co-sponsoring strong symposia that highlight emerging areas in integrative and comparative biology. Proposals are due Aug 23, 2019, and the call for proposals can be found at: http://sicb.org/meetings/2021/callsymp.php. Symposia that integrate across disciplines and include a diversity of speakers across speaker gender, background, and academic rank are more likely to gain broad support within SICB and with funding agencies such as NSF.

Student and postdoc members, you are the future of integrative and comparative biology and we encourage you to take part in organizing a symposium; it is a great opportunity for professional and scientific development. Feel free to contact me at the email address above or Society Program Officer Susan Williams (programofficer@sicb.org) with ideas for symposia or with questions. I am happy to brainstorm ideas, facilitate collaborative symposium development, and provide past successful proposal examples to help in your proposal development and in obtaining external funding to help support the attendance of your speakers.

I encourage you to email me in the coming years with any ideas to make the DCPB corner of the SICB meetings even more inclusive and accessible in order to facilitate full participation and further the scientific and professional development of our division membership.

Message from the Secretary, Marshall McCue, Secretary.DCPB@SICB.org

Marshall McCue, DCPB Secretary

In the past year we have doubled the number researchers featured on our DCPB Researchers Database — But we need much more participation to catch up to the other Divisions. As such please send me a research-related photo of you, your organisms, or your research team along with a ~200-word summary of your research projects/findings (written in 3rd person), and catchy title. We will also accept a graphical abstract if you are photo-shy. We can add links to a video or online reprints (e.g. through the publishers’ websites, Researchgate.com, Academia.com, or similar) and we will feature all of your information online here: http://www.sicb.org/divisions/DCPB/researchers.php3.

Please also know that we have our own Divisional Facebook Group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/Div.Comp.Phys.Biochem/
It is a great way to communicate informally with other group members (e.g., share information about events, open positions, or ask questions of interest to DCPB members). Just click to ‘Join Group’ and I will approve your request.

Members are also encouraged to follow member announcements on Twitter https://twitter.com/sicb_dcpb?lang=en.

Message from the Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Representative, Andrea Rummell, andrea_rummel@brown.edu

Andrea Rummell, SPDAC Representative for DCPB

DCPB has a twitter account! Follow @sicb_dcpb for updates as we move towards SICB 2020. If you’re interested in helping run the DCPB account or contributing content (read: highlighting your work!) let me know. While you’re at it, give SPDAC’s twitter account a follow @SICB_SPDAC. Keep an eye out for reminders to vote in SICB elections, both via email from SICB and on social media. I’m looking at you, students! Elections give SICB members the opportunity to shape the leadership of the society and its divisions, and SICB wants input from members at all career stages.

After a great meeting in Tampa, the Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee is looking towards the 2020 meeting. We are planning a workshop focusing on “Transitions in Science,” bringing together students, post-docs, and faculty to discuss major issues confronting those transitioning from one career stage to another in academia, as well as other career options. We’ll also be hosting an SPDAC booth during the poster sessions, staffed with experts to answer questions on different themes each day of the conference, like science communication, writing research and teaching statements, how to find a postdoc position, and more. If you have ideas for discussion or content for either of these events that you’d like to see included, or any other suggestions, contact me via email or the DCPB or SPDAC twitter accounts. Don’t forget to take advantage of Charlotte Mangum support for housing at the next meeting, apply for SICB Grants in Aid of Research, and check out other resources for support (many listed here for members: http://www.sicb.org/grants/externalgrants.php). See you in Austin!

Election Information: Candidate Biographies (vote here: http://sicb.org/elections/2019.php)

Candidates for Secretary

Gary Burness

Gary Burness

Current Position: Professor, Department of Biology, Trent University, Canada

Education: B.Sc. (Honours), Biology, Memorial University of Newfoundland (1989); M.Sc., Biological Sciences, Brock University (1992); Ph.D., Zoology, University of British Columbia (2000).

Professional Experience: Postdoctoral Researcher, University of California, Los Angeles (2000–2001); Queen’s University, (2001–2003); Assistant Professor, Trent University (2003–2007); Associate Professor, Trent University (2003–2017); Professor, Trent University (2017- present).

SICB Activities: I have been a member of the DCBP since 2001. I have been a peer reviewer for manuscripts for Integrative and Comparative Biology and served as a judge for Best Student Poster competitions. Since 2016, I have authored or co-authored 10 poster/oral presentations at SICB with students and collaborators.

Other Memberships: Society for Experimental Biology; Canadian Society of Zoologists; International Ornithological Union

Research Interests: Broadly, my students and I are interested in links between energy expenditure, environmental stressors and fitness. We are not taxa specific, having worked with various species of birds, mammals and fish. We have been particularly interested in the role of glucocorticoids, and their links with the immune system, as mediators of an individual’s response to environmental stressors. Most recently, we have been contributing to the emerging discipline of conservation physiology, through our work on thermal tolerance in cold-water fishes. We have also been developing non-invasive assays, such as thermal imaging, to measure stress in birds.

Goals Statement: I was excited to be nominated as a candidate to serve as DCPB Secretary. I have been attending SICB conferences since I was a post-doc, and I have been actively encouraging my own students to attend at least one SICB conference during their degree. Attending SICB conferences has been an excellent opportunity for my students and me to network, and to experience a diversity of research ideas. Despite having been a member of the DCPB for years, I have yet to take on a more organizational and administrative role within the society. As DCBP Secretary, I would bring a certain level of experience, having served as the Chair of the Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology section of the Canadian Society of Zoologists. Additionally, as DCBP Secretary I plan to continue the efforts of the current Secretary to further develop the DCPB Researchers Database, and as a Canadian, my hope is to encourage members from outside the US to also contribute.

Heather Liwanag

Heather Liwanag

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Education: B.S. summa cum laude, Biology, University of California, San Diego (2001); Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz (2008).

Professional Experience: Postdoctoral Researcher, University of California, Santa Cruz (2009); Postdoctoral Scholar, ScienceBridge Program, University of California, San Diego (2009–2011); Postdoctoral Researcher, California State University, Northridge (2011–2012); Assistant Professor, Biology Department, Adelphi University (2012–2015); Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (2015-present).

SICB Activities: Division of Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry, member since 2004; Judge for Best Student Poster and Best Student Talk competitions; Session Chair; Bartholomew Award nominee; Peer reviewer for manuscripts for Integrative and Comparative Biology; Author or co-author on 16 oral and poster presentations with students and collaborators.

Other Memberships: American Physiological Society; Society for Marine Mammalogy

Research Interests: I am interested in the physiological adaptations of animals to their environment, and the evolutionary processes involved in those adaptations. Much of my research has focused on thermoregulation, energetics, and functional morphology in vertebrate animals, including marine mammals and terrestrial reptiles. My research spans multiple levels of organization, from the biochemical level to the tissues to whole-animal responses to the environment, and incorporates both laboratory and field-based approaches to address a variety of research questions. Current research includes early physiological development in Weddell seal pups, physiological effects of cold acclimation and supercooling in Italian Wall Lizards, and the functional morphology of sea otter pelts across ontogeny.

Goals Statement: I am honored to be nominated to serve as the DCPB Secretary for SICB. I began attending the annual meetings as a graduate student, and SICB continues to be my primary professional society. One of my favorite things about SICB is the diversity of disciplines encompassed within the society, which facilitates synergistic collaborations among established scientists, and also provides inspiration for early career scientists and students alike. Because of this, I actively encourage my graduate and undergraduate students as well as my colleagues to attend and present at the annual meetings. I am excited for the opportunity to officially serve the society that has shaped my career. If elected as DCPB Secretary, I will faithfully attend the annual business meetings, record the minutes, and coordinate with DCPB members to create an engaging and informative DCPB newsletter. I will advocate among my diverse colleagues to encourage membership and conference attendance by students, postdocs, academic scientists, and agency researchers, in an effort to maintain and expand the incredible diversity that makes our society unique.