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Division of Comparative Endocrinology (DCE): 2004 Spring Newsletter

In this newsletter:

Message from the Chair

David Borst (dwborst@mail.bio.ilstu.edu)

The SICB Annual Meeting in New Orleans proved to be an excellent start for 2004 - the science was great and the city was a pleasure to visit. A particularly high point was the presentation by Yoshi Nagahama as the third annual Howard Bern Lecturer. Yoshi's presentation was entitled "The plasticity of fish gender: An evolutionary basis for sex determination and differentiation in vertebrates". The Bern Lecture series is supported by Elsevier and the SICB and has become an important addition to the SICB annual meeting. In addition to the Bern Lecture, the symposia supported by our Division were strong this year. Likewise, the number and quality of the contributed papers was high. My thanks to Kyle Selcer, who did an excellent job organizing the program this year.

As occurs every year, there were changes in our leadership. I want to thank Michael Moore for his exceptional service as chair of DCE during the last two years. I am especially grateful for the help he gave me in learning the duties of this position. In addition, we welcome Robert Denver as the incoming chair-elect and Kevin Kelley as the incoming secretary-elect of the Division.

This year, the Division will be selecting a Program Officer-elect. We have two excellent candidates, Mike Romero and Brian Tsukimura. Biographical sketches for both candidates appear at the end of the newsletter. I would like to thank Henry John-Alder for chairing the nomination committee.

The judging of the Aubrey Gorbman awards for student presentations was organized by Kyle Selcer. My thanks to Kyle and all of the individuals involved in judging the presentations. The decisions were difficult owing to the quality of the presentations. The Aubrey Gorbman Award for Best Student Oral Presentation was awarded to Noah T. Owen-Ashley (University of Washington; Hormonal, behavioral, and thermoregulatory consequences of lipopolysaccharide-induced sickness in the White-crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii). There were two honorable mentions in this category. These were awarded to Tamatha R. Barbeau (University of Florida; Decreased gonadal steroidogenesis and increased plasma insulin-like growth factor-1 in frogs exposed to aquatic nitrates) and to Kirsten J. Navara (Auburn University; Differential effects of exogenous yolk testosterone on growth and immune response in bluebird nestlings.)

The Aubrey Gorbman Award for Best Student Poster Presentation was awarded to Darren T. Lerner (University Massachusetts-Amherst; Effects of nonylphenol on larval survival and smolt development of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar.) There were two honorable mentions in the category as well. These were awarded to Meredith Swett (University Texas-Austin; Testosterone correlates with morph-type in the behaviorally polymorphic white-throated sparrow, Zonatrichia albicollis) and to J. Adam Luckenbach (North Carolina State University; Aromatase: a functional biomarker for female differentiation in a teleost fish.)

As you are probably aware, the SICB is doing well financially, and the meeting in New Orleans saw a significant increase in attendance and in the number of presentations. To accommodate such increases at future meetings, the Society is considering a reduction in the length of contributed oral paper from 20 to 15 minutes. This change would allow more oral presentations without increasing the number of concurrent session. In addition, this change would help synchronize contributed paper sessions with symposia presentations, which are typically 30 minutes long. There was a lengthy discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of this plan, with the attendees at the Division meeting being equally split for and against the idea. Nevertheless, I suspect that this plan may be the best solution if the number of oral presentations continues to grow at future meetings.

In addition to the above discussion, there was also a brief report on General and Comparative Endocrinology from Bob Dores at the Division meeting. Our journal is prospering and continues to grow in size and quality. Ian Callard also gave a short report on the status of the next International Congress of Comparative Endocrinology. This meeting will be held in Boston on May 23-28, 2005, so circle those dates on your calendars.

I am looking forward to serving you as Chair this year. The San Diego meeting in January, 2005 promises to be another exceptional meeting; please plan to attend and get your colleagues to come too!

Message from the Program Officer

Kyle W. Selcer (selcer@duq.edu)

Symposia for the San Diego Meeting. January, 2005
Plans are well under way for the next SICB meeting in San Diego, January 4-8, 2005. There are two SICB-wide symposia that should be of interest to DCE members. These are:

1) "Desiccation Tolerance in Animals, Microbes, and Plants: Comparative Mechanisms and Evolution", organized by: Peter Alpert (U. of Massachusetts), James Clegg (U. of California/Davis), Brent Mishler (U. of California/Berkeley), and Mel Oliver (USDA) and sponsored by the following divisions: DCPB (primary), DEE and DIZ (additional).

2) "Terminal Addition, Segmentation, and the Evolution of Metazoan Body Plan Regionalization", organized by: Nigel Hughes (U. of California/Riverside) and David K. Jacobs (UCLA), and sponsored by the following divisions: DEDB and DDCB (primary), DSEB, DIZ, DVM, and the Paleontological Society (additional).

Request for Symposia Proposals for the Orlando Meeting in January, 2006.
Plans are underway for the SICB Meeting in Orlando, FL, January, 2006. We are now requesting symposia proposals for this meeting. Symposia are a major draw for our annual meeting and can be extremely rewarding for the organizers as well. Symposium papers are often published together in an issue of Integrative and Comparative Biology (formerly called American Zoologist). The deadline for receipt of symposia proposals is August 15, 2004, so please start developing your ideas and talking with your colleagues about possibilities. If you have an idea for a symposium, please do not hesitate to contact me (selcer@duq.edu). More general information and the symposium proposal submittal forms can be found on the SICB website.

Volunteer for the Chair of the DCE student awards at the San Diego meeting.
I need a volunteer to serve as the chair of the Aubrey Gorbman student awards for next year. The chair should have past experience with judging these awards. If you are interested, please email me at selcer@duq.edu.

Message from the Secretary

Jim Carr (james.carr@ttu.edu)

Minutes of the DCE Business Meeting
New Orleans, Louisiana
January 7, 2004

The meeting was called to order by DCE Chair David Borst at 5:30 pm. The minutes from the 2003 DCE Business Meeting were approved. David introduced the other DCE officers, Kyle Selcer (Program Officer) and Jim Carr (Secretary) and then provided details on the numbers of participants and presentations at the SICB 2004 meeting. There were 1445 registered attendees for the 2004 meeting, making it the largest meeting since 1996. There were a total of 1128 presentations at the 2004 SICB meeting compared to 728 in Toronto (SICB 2003) and approximately 900 presentations in Anaheim (2002 meeting). A total of 276 students received travel assistance in 2004. David congratulated the organizers of DCE co-sponsored symposium "EcoPhysiology and Conservation: The Contribution of Endocrinology and Immunology" (co-sponsored by DCE/DDCB/DIZ) . David announced the winners of the 2003 DCE elections. Bob Denver was elected as DCE Chair-elect and Kevin Kelley was elected as Secretary-elect.

David introduced Ian Callard, who provided some details regarding the upcoming XVth International Conference on Comparative Endocrinology to be held in Boston in May 2005. Ian announced a call for nominations for the Pickford and Bargmann/Scharrer awards (see the official call for nominations below) and announced that abstracts for the meeting will likely be due in December 2004. Ian introduced the other members of the XVth ICCE organizing committee in attendance; F. Anne McNabb, Steve McCormick, and Stacia Sower (the full committee is listed on the XVth ICCE website http://www.bu.edu/icce15).

David recognized Henry John-Alder as the chair of the DCE nominating committee for 2004. Other committee members include Don Michaels and Sunny Boyd. David mentioned that there are two ad hoc committees that will need to be formed in order to address changes to the DCE by-laws and DCE fund-raising issues.

John Wingfield, SICB President, introduced SICB officers in attendance, including Sarah Woodin (SICB President-elect) and Ronald Dimock (SICB Treasurer-elect). John updated the SICB attendance numbers, mentioning that a total 1520 registrants were in attendance, 600 of whom were students. John mentioned his strong support for increasing the endowment available for supporting student travel to the annual meeting and recognized the need to increase the diversity within the society membership. John also mentioned an initiative that he is spearheading to develop a program focused on conservation biology.

Bob Dores (Editor in Chief, USA) updated the membership on the status of General and Comparative Endocrinology. In 2003, the journal printed 1019 pages, which were 600 more pages than budgeted for. The current impact rating of the journal is 1.84 and the rejection rate for new manuscripts is approximately 35%. The current turnaround time from submission to publication is 10 months, and the time from submission to acceptance of the paper is 6 months. Bob thanked Stacia Sower and Howard Bern for organizing a special issue of GCE remembering the late Aubrey Gorbman, and announced that GCE will be publishing the proceedings of the 5th International Symposium on Fish Endocrinology, to be held a the Institute of Aquaculture Torre de la Sal in Castellon, Spain, September 5-9, 2004.

David Borst announced that John Edwards will serve for another 7 years as Editor of the Journal of Comparative and Integrative Biology.

Kyle Selcer announced that the SICB program officers were discussing the possibility of shortening the length of submitted talks to 15 min. He mentioned that one reason for the idea was that the 20 oral presentation time frame is out of sync with the symposia sessions, which generally have 30 min oral presentations. Considerable discussion of this issue ensued, and among attendees support was split approximately 50/50 for and against the proposed change in length for oral presentations. Kyle mentioned that one possibility was to limit the number of oral presentations, but Mike Romero voiced his concern that limiting the number of oral presentations might relegate students to giving posters rather than oral presentations. Tom Hahn voiced his concern that the poster sessions were too crowded at the 2004 meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:20 pm.


The 15th International Congress of Comparative Endocrinology will be organized by Burk and Associates and will be held May 23-28, 2005 in Boston. Check the website (http://www.bu.edu/icce15/index.html) for details.

The 22nd Conference of European Comparative Endocrinologists will take place August 24-28, 2004 at Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. The meeting is being organized by Dan Larhammar. Check the website (http://www.neuro.uu.se/medfarm/cece2004/cece.htm) for more information.


Bargmann-Scharrer Lecture, Pickford Medal Lecture, And A Special Aubrey Gorbman Memorial Lecture For The XVth International Congress Of Comparative Endocrinology In Boston, USA, May 2005.

The Council of the International Federation of Comparative Endocrinological Societies (IFCES) requests nominations for the Bargmann-Scharrer lecture and for the Pickford Medal lecture to be given at the 15th International Congress of Comparative Endocrinology in Boston, USA in May 2005. The Bargmann-Scharrer lecturer should be a prominent comparative neuroendocrinologist. The Pickford medalist should be a comparative endocrinologist under the age of 45.

The IFCES Council also seeks nominations for a special Gorbman Memorial lecture for the 15th International Congress of Comparative Endocrinology in Boston, USA in May 2005. The nominee should be a prominent comparative endocrinologist with a broad perspective.

Please send by June 1, 2004, a nomination letter and a short CV of the nominee to Yoshitaka Nagahama, Department of Developmental Biology, National Institute for Basic Biology, Okazaki 444-8585, Japan. Fax, 81-564-55-7556; e-mail, nagahama@nibb.ac.jp.

DCE Elections

Candidates for Program Officer

L. Michael Romero

Current Position: Associate Professor of Biology, Tufts University; Adjunct Associate Professor of Environmental and Population Health, Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine

Education: B.A. Biology, Swarthmore College, 1988; M.S. Biology, Stanford University, 1992; Ph.D. Biology, Stanford University, 1993.

Professional Experience: American Psychological Association Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Zoology, University of Washington, 1993-1994; NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Zoology, University of Washington, 1994-1996; Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Tufts University, 1996-2002; Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Tufts University, 2002-present; Adjunct Assistant/Associate Professor, Department of Environmental and Population Health, Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, 1999-present; Served as grant reviewer on the National Science Foundation Neuroendocrinology Panel (IBN); Managing Editor for General and Comparative Endocrinology.

SICB Activities: SICB Member since 1996; Judge for "Best Student Paper" awards committee for DCE at 1998 meeting; Chaired "Best Student Paper" awards committee for DCE at 2001 meeting.

Other Memberships: American Physiological Society; Cooper Ornithological Society; Sigma Xi; Society for Neuroscience; Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology.

Research Interests: My research focuses on understanding the vertebrate stress response. Specifically, I am interested in understanding how glucocorticoids interact with other hormonal, physiological, and behavioral systems in creating an integrated stress response that allows wild animals to survive in their native habitats. About 2/3 of the work in my lab focuses on avian species and about 1/3 focuses on various reptiles and amphibians.

Goals Statement: I feel that SICB, and especially DCE, serves an important role in promoting integrative and comparative science. Even in this age of genomics, the comparative approach continues to be valuable in attacking many problems in endocrinology. As DCE program officer, I would like to work to highlight contributions from our division at the national meeting. Creating the right groupings of presentations, and forging the best connections with other divisions, will maximize the exposure of our work. This will be an important task to ensure that comparative endocrinology continues to thrive.

Brian Tsukimura

Current Position: Associate Professor of Physiology, Department of Biology, California State University, Fresno.

Education: A.B. Zoology, University of California, Berkeley, 1981; M.S. Zoology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1985; Ph.D. University of Hawaii, 1988.

Professional Experience: Postdoctoral Fellow, Endocrinology, Illinois State University, 1988 - 1992; Lecturer in Biology, Illinois State University, 1990; Acting Assistant Professor, Illinois State University, 1992 - 1994; Assistant Professor of Physiology, 1994 - 2000, California State University, Fresno; Associate Professor of Physiology, 2000 - present, California State University, Fresno. Interagency Ecology Project - Mitten Crab Workteam, 1999 - present.

SICB Activities: First annual meeting was 1986 A.S.Z., Nashville, and I have attended all to date except 1987 (New Orleans). Chair, Student/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee, 1995-1997 (lobbied to get this Chair onto the Executive Committee). Chair, Student Support Committee, 2003 - present. Participation in the Midwestern Regional Conference on Comparative Endocrinology (co-organizer, 1990) and Western Regional Conference on Comparative Endocrinology.

Other Memberships: Sigma Xi, Crustacean Society, American Microscopical Society, AAAS - Pacific Division, Sierra Foothill Conservancy.

Research Interests: Comparative endocrinology of the regulation of development, growth, and reproduction using crustacean models. Current studies focus on the influence of environmental factors on reproduction and development, and the regulatory hormones integrating these influences, particularly on vitellogenin synthesis and larval growth. Recent studies in invasive species biology have lead to the use of the Chinese mitten crab as a new model organism for me, and selenium as a stressor on tadpole metamorphosis.

Goal Statement: The annual SICB meeting serves as a forum for our members of the DCE to share data and exchange ideas. I hope to continue the great job both past and present DCE program officers to accomplish the maintenance of this important option for our members. In addition, as the research areas of our members expand, I hope to encourage an increase in the integrative and comparative nature of our symposia and sessions in Regulatory Biology. I also have strong beliefs that the SICB and DCE retain its student/post-doc friendly stature by keeping all options for data presentation (posters and oral contributions) open for these important constituents.

Link to officer list on DCE page