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Division of Neurobiology (DNB) - Spring 2000 Newsletter






Message from the Chair

Stacia Moffett

Everyone who attended the Atlanta meeting seemed to feel that it was a great success. The two symposia sponsored by our division represent major contributions to the field, and their publication can be expected to enhance SICB's reputation as a good forum for neurobiologists. The experiment with topical organization of contributed sessions was generally viewed as a success, and this trend will be especially beneficial to neurobiologists, as our field extends so naturally into behavior, endocrinology and other comparative topics. The meeting also treated us to other excellent symposia and paper sessions, the posters were plentiful and well attended and the schedule still allowed valuable opportunities to catch up with old friends, make new ones and browse among new books and other displays. In addition to the strong scientific appeal of the Atlanta meeting, there was excitement in the air, as the division leaders and SICB officials met to chart new directions for the organization. The changes under consideration reflected our renewed health and commitment to promoting research and science education.

Before the meeting was over, several changes were announced that will be greeted with enthusiasm by all members: first, the abstract fee for papers presented at the meeting in Chicago in 2001 has been eliminated. Second, early membership fees have been reduced by 10 percent for next year. Additionally, funds have been committed to a Program Innovation Fund that will support development of new vehicles to carry SICB towards its strategic plan of scientific growth and outreach. Please communicate with me, your Program Officer Rich Satterlie or a member of the committee if you have ideas for activities that you feel will energize Annual Meeting events and help SICB be responsive to the needs of its present and future members.

These changes are predicated on continued financial health, which translates into a need to recruit new members. We neurobiologists, in particular, stand to gain by urging our compatriots to join SICB now. Those of us who have attended the meetings lately know how conducive the interactions between faculty and students are to collaborations and information exchange that can improve our research and teaching. The responses of students to the Annual Meeting are always enthusiastic, and reflect SICB's ideal of egalitarian scientific interchanges. New students should be encouraged to join SICB early, to get involved, plan to present their findings and qualify for the opportunity to exchange work time at the meeting for lodging fees. Other advantages to students include the opportunity to apply for grant-in-aid for support of student research projects. Keeping in touch with SICB is getting easier all the time, with the work underway to reconfigure the SICB Web site (http://daphne.bio.uci.edu). This is developing into a resource we can consult for advice on animal species and sources, comparative biochemical and genetic data, possible collaborations and to share discoveries, students and technology.







Message from the Secretary

Robin L. Cooper

This year we are to hold an election for the chair of our division. You will be receiving in the near future short descriptions of the selected candidates that will run for chair. We encourage you to return the ballots to the address that will be provided with your noted selection as soon as you receive them. Below is the descriptive background information for our two candidates.

The chair's appointment is for a two-year term. In DNB, the secretary and the program officer positions will be open and voted on in the year 2001. Start to decide if you would like to participate in the excitement of being involved in the society’s activities!

At this year’s Atlanta meeting we increased student membership in our division, and we had a growth of neurobiological presentations. This was mostly due to the wonderful participation of the neurobiology unit at Georgia State University.

The social hosted by Georgia State University and organized by Dr. Paul Katz was a success for bringing students and faculty together to talk in an informal setting. Thank you Georgia State University and our own division for helping to cover the expense of the drinks and snacks. This would not be such a bad trend to start for our division at future meetings!

Stay tuned for the selection for our chair candidates.







Message from the Program Officer

Rich Satterlie


The Atlanta meeting was a success for the division in terms of both the depth and breadth of participation. We sponsored two symposia, and had an increase in the number of oral presentations. The number of poster presentations was about the same as last year. We would like to continue the momentum in the upcoming meetings. To this end, we are currently negotiating to co-sponsor two symposia for the Chicago meeting. However, now it is time to think about the 2002 meeting in Anaheim. I have had one symposium inquiry for this meeting, but I would like to see one more. Symposium application forms can be obtained from the SICB Business Office, but an initial inquiry, through me, would be appreciated. In the long run, I would like to see the division sponsor at least one symposium per year, with not more than two in any year. If you have ideas for future topics, I would be happy to discuss them--even if the time frame is two or three years in the future.

Finally I would like to forward our collective congratulations to our two student presentation award winners. Holly S. Cate received the Best Student Oral Presentation award for her talk entitled "Functional Units of a Compound Nose: Aesthetasc Sensilla House Similar Populations of Olfactory Receptor Neurons on the Antennule of Spiny Lobsters." Robb W.S. Schneider received the Best Student Poster Presentation award for his poster entitled "Boundary Layer Effect on Chemical Signal Movement Near the Antennae of the Sphinx Moth." We will continue to recognize our outstanding student members with these two awards in upcoming meetings. Established members of the division are encouraged to help by serving as judges (contact any of us).







Election!

Candidates for DNB Chair


Dr. Donald H. Edwards

Current position: Professor, Departments of Biology and Physics, and Director, Center for Neural Communication and Computation, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia.

Education: B.S., Electrical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1970; Ph.D., Neurobiology (Biology), Yale University, 1976.

Professional experience: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Stanford University, 1976-79; Grass Foundation Fellow, Marine Biological Laboratory, 1978; Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of California at Davis, 1979-1981; Assistant, Associate and Professor, Georgia State University, 1981-present; Director, Program in Computational Neuroscience, National Science Foundation, 1992-1993; Director, Center for Neural Communication and Computation, Georgia State University, 1995-present; Visiting Fellow, Gatty Marine Laboratory, University of St. Andrews, 1991, 1996; Summer Investigator, Marine Biological Laboratory, 1997; Director, Collaboratory on Aggression, Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at Georgia State, Emory, Georgia Tech, and Clark-Atlanta Universities, 1999-present; Professor of Physics, Georgia State University, 1999-present.

SICB activities: Member since 1999; Co-organized (with Dr. Robin Cooper) participation of Decatur H.S. A.P. Biology students in 2000 Annual Meeting.

Other memberships: AAAS, Society for Neuroscience, International Society for Neuroethology.

Research interests: Neural mechanisms of social hierarchy formation, computational mechanisms in the nervous system, mechanisms of behavioral choice, the neurobiology and behavior of crayfish.

Goals statement: Although new to the SICB, I have been very impressed with the importance of the niche that it fills in neuroscience. Comparative, evolutionary, developmental, ethological, ecological and physiological questions about nervous systems all have a home here, where they are asked by neurobiologists and by those whose primary concerns are in each of these other areas. These questions take neurobiology out of the clinic and back into the wild, where nervous systems evolved and where they can most easily be understood. My major goal would be to make the neuroscience community more aware of the opportunity that SICB provides to them, and to encourage their participation in the society.



Dr. James Alan Murray

Current position: Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, University of Central Arkansas.

Education: B.Sc., Cornell University, 1988; Ph.D., University of Washington, 1994.

Professional experience: Postdoctoral research, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 1994-95; University of California, San Diego, Department of Biology, 1995-98; Grass Foundation Fellowship in Neuroscience, Friday Harbor Laboratories 1997; Lecturer, UCSD 1997-98; Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Colby College 1998-99.

SICB activities: Member as of 1999.

Other memberships: Society for Neuroscience, International Society for Neuroethology, Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience, Council on Undergraduate Research, Arkansas Society for Neuroscience.

Research interests: Neuroethology of orientation and navigation in gastropods. Behavioral and physiological responses to water flow.

Goals statement: With increased access to and familiarity with the Internet among students, I believe the best opportunity for division growth will be by targeting those students early in their scientific careers. It is at that point in a budding scientists' career that their interests begin to narrow, so our society can offer a broader perspective to encourage young scientists to keep their minds open to the benefits of the comparative and integrative approach. We should capitalize on the increasing frustration with larger meetings with narrowly specialized subgroups by increased electronic outreach to established scientists. We should build on past success in establishing the SICB Web site, by adding content from the DNB such as member profiles, histories of various research traditions and information that would increase the opportunity for collaborations that would broaden the training of students. I would endeavor to increase the division's efforts in proposing and publicizing future symposia, and to share these presentations with the public. I am especially interested in supporting interdivisional cooperation in presenting symposia. One possible way of showcasing our research is by providing case studies or lesson plans that could be used in secondary or undergraduate classrooms.