Division of Vertebrate Morphology

Fall Newsletter 2019

Alice C. Gibb
Nov 1 · 9 min read

Message from the Chair, Patricia Hernandez, chair.dvm@sicb.org

Greetings everyone! While I am sure that everyone is in the thick of their Fall semester, I hope that, like me, everyone is excited about our upcoming meeting in Austin in January 2020. I have been informed that we will have close to 1900 abstracts, nearly as many as we had in San Francisco. More details below from our program officer, Mason Dean.

Austin, Texas (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

SICB will be holding elections a bit earlier than usual this year (beginning in March instead of April); thus, it is important that we get the ball rolling early. We are especially keen on getting a broad slate of nominees, that properly reflects our division’s diversity. DVM will be holding elections for Secretary-elect (with Marguerite Butler mbutler808@gmail.com and Marianne Porter me.porter@fau.edu serving as our nominating committee). Please reach out to our nominating committee if you have suggestions for good candidates or if you yourself would like to run.

I am also happy to report that our regional meetings continue to thrive with both the Northeast and Southeast Regional SICB Meetings receiving some support from our division. If you have thought about organizing a regional meeting, please keep in mind that our division may be able to offer some support for these. Regional meetings are also a great opportunity to introduce local colleagues to SICB and perhaps get them to join!

While I know that many members were looking forward to an offsite social this year we have made the decision to stay onsite. There were just too many difficulties involved in organizing such an event. Importantly, one very large factor was that DCB decided to stay onsite. The officers believed that it was more important to stay with our colleagues than it was to explore a solo social. That said going forward we are very receptive to alternative ideas. Indeed, please feel free to reach out to me with any such ideas. Stacey Combes (DCB Chair) and I will be brainstorming in Austin and would love to have your input.

Nominating Committee: Currently accepting nominations and self-nominations for Secretary-Elect. Contact Marguerite Butler, mbutler808@gmail.com, and Marianne Porter, me.porter@fau.edu.

Message from the Program Officer, Mason Dean, dpo.dvm@sicb.org

Program meeting shenanigans (from L to R): the Sunday program board on the home stretch; the Program Committee think tank; an intrepid programming ninja…and the DVM PO on his right.

Hello DVMers! It’s that most magical time of year again: the SICB program committee just met in Austin, TX and we finalized the program for the 2020 meeting (https://burkclients.com/sicb/meetings/2020/site/index.html). It’s going to be a fun one! We ended up with 140 sessions — our society received over 1894 abstracts (~100 more than last year), with almost a quarter of those from DVM and DCB. Together, DVM and DCB feature 240 talks in 34 oral sessions over 4 days and 144 posters over 3 days of poster sessions. I wouldn’t have made it through this big pile of programming without being propped up by badinage from the tireless Phil Anderson, DCB’s Program Officer (see pictures — thanks Phil!). Some meeting notes…

SYMPOSIA: We’ll have eleven symposia in Austin, of which DVM is proudly sponsoring the following seven.

  • Saturday, January 4: S3 — Biology at the Cusp: Teeth as a Model Phenotype for Integrating Developmental Genomics, Biomechanics, and Ecology; Organizers: Gareth Fraser, Darrin Hulsey
  • Sunday, January 5: S4 — Reproduction: the female perspective from an integrative and comparative framework (SICB Wide); Organizers: Virginia Hayssen, Teri Orr
  • Sunday, January 5: S5 — Form, structure and function: How plants vs. animals solve physical problems; Organizers: Ulrike Muller, Simon Poppinga, Anna Westermeier
  • Sunday, January 5: S6 — Bio-inspiration of silent flight of owls and other flying animals: recent advances and unanswered questions; Organizers: Christopher Clark, Justin Jaworski
  • Monday, January 6: S8 — Long Limbless Locomotors: The mechanics and biology of elongate, limbless vertebrate locomotion; Organizer: Henry Astley
  • Monday, January 6: S9 — Applied Functional Biology: linking ecological morphology to conservation and management; Organizers: Lance McBrayer, Eric McElroy, Diego Sustaita
  • Tuesday, January 7: S10 — Melding Modeling and Morphology: integrating approaches to understand the evolution of form and function; Organizers: Lindsay Waldrop, Jonathan Rader
  • Links to these and other SICB symposia can be found here: http://sicb.org/meetings/2020/symposia/index.php

PRESENTATIONS: Info on prepping your presentations can be found on the meeting site (see below). For everyone presenting posters, you’ll have 4’ x 4’ of supported board space with a poster size of 42”x42”. The poster venue is spacious and should have good flow to promote a lot of great interactions!

STUDENT AWARDS: Again this year, we’ll have a dedicated session for students competing in the Dwight D. Davis Best Student Presentation competition, scheduled for mid-morning on Sunday January 5th. There are no DVM or DCB sessions concurrent to these and we’ve secured a nice big room, so please come and support our outstanding students! Additionally, several presentation competitions will take place on Saturday January 4th: the DVM Karel F. Liem Poster Award, the DCB Steven Vogel Poster Award and the DCB Mimi A.R. Koehl and Steven Wainwright Best Student Presentation.

WORKSHOPS: As always, we will have a handful of exciting workshops and roundtables on offer this year for you to sharpen skills. The full workshop list will be available soon on the SICB 2020 meeting website, but in the meantime here are the scheduled committee workshops to whet your palate:

  • Friday, January 3: Student Worker Orientation and First-timer Orientation “How to get the most out of your SICB meeting” (5:30–6:30 PM)
  • Saturday, January 4: Broadening Participation Movie and Workshop: “Can We Talk? Difficult Conversations with Underrepresented People of Color: Sense of Belonging and Obstacles to STEM Fields” with Professor Kendall Moore (7:00–9:00 PM)
  • Sunday, January 5: TAL-X Workshop: “Teaching critical thinking about science and technology: GMOs as a case study” (7:00–9:00 PM)
  • Monday, January 6: Student Support Committee Brown Bag Workshop for Graduate Students: “Writing a competitive GIAR/FGST grant proposal” (Noon — 1:30 PM)
  • Tuesday, January 7: Student Postdoctoral Affairs Committee Workshop: “Transitions in Science Careers” (Noon — 1:30 PM)

DEADLINES: Mark your calendars and start making your travel plans!

  • Presenter registration deadline (required!): November 6, 2019
  • Early Bird registration deadline: December 4, 2019
  • Meeting dates: January 3–7, 2020

Further info: https://burkclients.com/sicb/meetings/2020/site/index.html

Green meeting: I’m proud to say we’re working to keep the meeting green — there will be no disposable cups for coffee or water, so make sure to bring your travel mugs and water bottles! If you forget yours, we’ll have SICB versions for sale.

For parents: Child care is available FOR FREE again this year, but you must register by December 4 (https://burkclients.com/sicb/meetings/2020/site/childcare.html). We will also again have a private Parent’s Room, just down the hall from the childcare room and on one of the meeting floors. The room has a refrigerator, ample outlets, and comfortable chairs with armrests for feeding and pumping.

Venue: Austin is a blast for music and food and the JW Marriott is right in the thick of downtown, with a glut of great eating and drinking options in walking distance and other great spots just a quick ride away (e.g. South Lamar, Bouldin Creek, Rainey Street…). This year the DVM/DCB social is after dinnertime on Monday night (Jan 6), spread over a couple of foyers in the hotel, so you can have your choice of vibe for the event (dance-y and louder vs. chill and quieter).

Social media: If you’re a Twitter user, as you prep for the Austin meeting, feel free to give a shout-out to SICB and our division (and to publicize your symposium, if you’re an organizer!). Relevant tags are: #SICB2020 @SICBtweets @mechsNmorph

2021 symposia: Lastly, thanks to those who submitted symposium proposals for the Washington, DC meeting. DVM will support a whopping seven symposia — stay tuned for announcements on the symposia titles! Our society relies on strong, forward-thinking symposia to bring together scientists from diverse fields to address vibrant, current topics. Importantly, symposia are the cornerstone of the Integrative & Comparative Biology journal’s success. We were excited to see a large number of submissions this year — 2x the number last year! — but this means we need to keep DVM submissions cutting-edge, integrative and inclusive to make the cut. The best way to ensure approval and funding for a symposium is to attract the interest of multiple Divisions. Believe it or not, it’s not too early to start shaping ideas for symposium submissions for the 2022 meeting in Phoenix, AZ. I want to particularly encourage early career investigators to consider organizing symposia, it’s a great way to interact with other leaders in your field. Please write me or catch me at the meeting if you want to bat around a symposium idea.

Looking forward to seeing you all in Austin, this is going to be a fantastic meeting!

Message from the Secretary, Laura Ekstrom, secretary.dvm@sicb.org

It has been a pleasure to serve as secretary for DVM for the past two years, and I am thrilled to hand over the reigns to Angela Horner at our SICB 2020 meeting. Her feet will be much too large for the shoes I leave her to fill. We also congratulate and welcome Nicole Danos as our Program Officer-Elect and Rick Blob as our Chair-Elect.

Left: Program Officer-Elect, Nicole Danos, University of San Diego. Right: Chair-Elect, Rick Blob, Clemson University

Thank you to all who voted in the Spring elections and to the nominating committees and Chair for their efforts. Our next election is for DVM’s Secretary-Elect. Please reach out to the nominating committee (see above) if you have any suggestions.

Before we get elbow-deep in barbeque at SICB 2020, we hope that you are (or were) able to attend a regional DVM/DCB SICB meeting:

  • Southeast: At Wake Forest University on Oct. 26, hosted by the Ashley-Ross lab.
  • Northeast: At Boston College on Nov. 2, hosted by the Kenaley and McMenamin labs.

We can’t wait to see you all in Austin and hear about your latest discoveries! See you at the members meeting!

Message from the Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee Representative, Kara Feilich, spdac.dvm@sicb.org

Hi everyone! I want to mention a few ongoing efforts by myself and colleagues in the Student-Postdoctoral Affairs Committee (SPDAC) with respect to the upcoming meeting in Austin. This year, SPDAC will be running a booth again in order to provide resources to our student and postdoctoral members. Some of the topics we are looking to cover at the booth include science communication, research and teaching statements, symposium proposals, the code of conduct, “elevator talks”, and how to get a post-doc. Andrea Rummel (DPB SPDAC rep) and I are working on the “how to get a post-doc” material, so I would love to hear from students who may have questions, and postdocs and faculty who have useful tips and tricks. You may have seen some of this discussion on the DCB/DVM twitter account (@mechsNmorph), and I encourage you to participate there. We are also still soliciting suggestions for relevant content, so if you’re a DVM student or post-doc with an idea of what you want to see, please get in touch with me!

Also related to the annual meeting: I’m interested in making it easier for junior members of SICB to interact with the SICB leadership. To that end, I’ll be having an “office hour” at the Austin meeting (watch the twitter account for when and where) — and I’m encouraging other SICB officers to do the same. If you have any ideas for how we might encourage student participation at members meetings and beyond, I would love to hear from you.

Finally, I am very keen to publicize work by student and post-doctoral members on social media. Do you have a recent study that you want to signal boost? An amazing outreach project that slid under the radar? Reach out to me, and let me know! Don’t hesitate to get in touch — I am here for you!

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