Division of Evolutionary Developmental Biology (DEDB) and Division of Developmental and Cell Biology (DDCB): 2007 Spring Newsletter
In this newsletter:
Photos in this newsletter courtesy of Bruno Vellutini
from the Chair
Billie J. Swalla
Spring is a
time of longer days (even earlier this year, as daylight savings time
is extended), and rebirth, eggs, embryos and larvae. We hope you like
the accompanying pictures, taken during the Comparative Embryology
Course at FHL in the summer of 2006. We had a terrific class of
students, which makes it clear that Evo-Devo research will continue
to flourish and break new ground. We'll be teaching Evo-Devo again at
FHL in the summer of 2008. The Division of Evolutionary Developmental
Biology is doing well, thanks to our membership, who regularly attend
the meetings and put together cutting edge symposia. The
Phoenix meetings were busy for our division and frequently it was
hard to choose which presentation to attend. This is due to an
excellent program put together once again, and for the last year, by
Dr. Eduardo Rosa-Molinar. I would like to thank Ed, from all of
us, for his tireless energy and enthusiasm that have greatly
One of the
consequences of the vitality of DEDB was the subsequent struggle to
find officers for the Division of Developmental and Cell Biology. We
hope to keep both of these divisions strong in SICB. Therefore,
I am pleased to announce that Dr. Karen Crawford, who studies squid
development, has agreed to run for Chair of DDCB. Some of you may
have seen Karen's cool movies at one of her posters in Phoenix.
I am looking forward to working with Karen to revitalize DDCB with a
full slate of officers and separate symposia. Dr. Eduardo
Rosa-Molinar is currently serving as Editorial Board Representative
for DDCB, making sure that our voices are heard. Dr. Paulyn
Cartwright, who gave a great talk on Cnidarian phylogeny and
evolution in Arizona, has agreed to be the DEDB Editorial Board
Representative. Many thanks, Paulyn!
This spring we have
several elections, so please take the extra time to vote! We
will elect a new Chair and Secretary for the DEDB. Thanks to all of
the candidates for running and to Dr. Marcus Davis, Dr. Ann Burke and
Dr. David Stock for serving on the nominating committee. The
best part of my position is having so many talented people involved
in DEDB and DDCB.
Now is a good time
to think about putting together a symposium for the Boston meetings
in 2009. I hope to see you all in San Antonio in 2008, it is a
great venue and, as always, I can promise excellent science.
Have a great summer!
from the Program Officer
Wendy M. Olson
Greetings from the
land of ice and snow!
OK, so Iowa isn't
exactly the Island of Enchantment, but Ed Rosa-Molinar has finally
stepped down after a highly successful 6-year run as Program Officer.
Many thanks to Ed for all of his dedication and hard work. No one
is sadder to see him go than I.
The Phoenix meeting
was by all accounts a success. DEDB/DDCB supported three symposia:
"Linking Genes and Morphology" (F. Galis & D. Carrier), "Key
Transitions in Animal Evolution" (B. Schierwater, S. Dellaporta &
R. DeSalle), and "Evolutionary and Functional Genomics of Sperm,
Sperm Storage and Fertilization" (T. Karr & S. Pitnick). Many
thanks to the organizers and presenters! Two students were awarded
$100 for their presentations. Best talk went to Karin Leiderman
(DDCB), "Endothelial Mechanotransduction: Let's Sugarcoat it!";
best poster went to Robert Gueth (DDCB) "Functional Conservation of
Electric Fish Myogenic Regulatory Factors." Congratulations, Karin
and Robert! And a big 'thank you' to all the judges.
One of the issues
that continues to come up is the Keywords list for abstracts.
Everyone seems to be fond of personalizing their own keywords as much
as possible, so that the list has expanded considerably and is no
longer the effective tool that it should be. We are working on this,
and I will undoubtedly solicit your feedback. Another thing to think
about is the idea manipulating our keyword choices to group talks
into "minisymposia". Yes, this seems to contradict my first
complaint. But if a group of you comes up with a really hot topic,
and it is too late to organize an official symposium, you can
effectively group your presentations by selecting the same (possibly
unique) keyword. Something to think about as we look ahead to San
currently supporting two symposia for the San Antonio 2008 meeting:
"Reptile Genomics and Evolutionary Genetics" (Dan Janes &
Chris Organ) and "Vertebrate Head Segmentation in a modern Evo-Devo
Context" (Shigeru Kuratani & Thomas Schilling). They have
wonderful speakers lined up and are in the process of looking for
funding, so we should all wish them success. It is also time to
start thinking about Boston 2009! The deadline for symposium
proposals is August 17, 2007. Our division is as strong or as weak
as we choose to make it, so keep those proposals coming! Please feel
free to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with proposals or ideas at any stage of gestation - I am happy to
help you flesh them out. If I do not hear from anyone, I will
interpret the silence as permission to push my own agenda. And just
to warn you all, I am a raving structuralist. But seriously, always
look ahead, think about where you want our division to go, and send
me your ideas. Now.
Thanks again, Ed!
You're a hard act to follow.
Message from the Secretary
Marcus C. Davis
For many of us, the
Phoenix meeting was a welcome escape from winter torpor. There were
so many fantastic talks to attend, thanks to the three DEDB/DDCB
supported symposia, and so little time. I was equally impressed by
the quality of the work presented in the poster sessions. Indeed,
many of the most impressive posters were from undergraduates, a very
promising trend for the future of Evo-Devo!
I would like to
extend my sincerest thanks to outgoing Secretary Frietson Galis for
making my transition relatively stress free. Thank you for all of
your efforts, Frietson! I'd also like to thank outgoing Program
Officer Ed Rosa-Molinar for his years of guidance and welcome our new
Program Officer Wendy Olson!
I'd wish to
encourage members to contribute to our researchers database. If you
haven't already done so, or would simply like to update your
current page, send your information to me at email@example.com
and I'll forward them onwards to our genius webmaster Ruediger
Birenheide. Please send images in .jpg format and remember that you
can also provide html links to your personal and departmental
Here are the
abbreviated minutes of our business meeting during the conference:
DEDB, Thursday, 6 January 2006
Opening of the
meeting by our Chair, Billie Swalla.
on the future of the DDCB and proposal to recruit new DDCB officers.
form Nominating Committee to elect new Chair and Secretary.
Site of future
meeting announced (09 Boston).
Secretary Frietson Galis says good-bye and hands over to new
Secretary Marcus Davis.
the Secretary, Marcus Davis (see this thing you're currently
the out-going Program Officer, Eduardo Rosa-Molinar and hand over to
new Program Officer Wendy Olsen (see her report in this newsletter).
Society-wide Officers: Outgoing President, Sarah Woodin; Incoming
President John Pearse; Treasurer, Ronald Dimock; and Program Officer,
Report of the
Student/Post-doc Representative, Nathan Bird (see his report in this
Representative Judy Venuti reports on changes in the structure of the
IOB Division. See NSF website for details.
I would like to
close by thanking the other members of the Nomination Committee, Dr.
Ann Burke and Dr. David Stock for their efforts and insights. I'd
also like to thank our Chair, Dr. Billie Swalla for being such a
pleasure to work with - although I think she now owes me a beer.
Message from the Student/Postdoc Representative
DEDB graduate students and post-docs!
I hope everyone had
a great time at the Phoenix meeting. With no news to report from the
SPDAC, I will keep my message brief. I was very pleased with the
turnout at the workshop, it was very informative and I, for one,
learned quite a bit. Hopefully you all benefited as well. There will
be elections for multiple DEDB officer positions this Fall, so be
sure to watch for an announcement and vote. That's about all for
now - have a great year everyone!
Best wishes from
Division of Developmental and Cell
Candidate for DDCB Chair
Professor of Biology, St. Mary's College of Maryland, St. Mary's
B.S. (Zoology), 1980, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA; M.S.,
1985 and Ph.D., (Anatomy) 1987, University of Illinois,
experience: Postdoctoral fellow, La Jolla Cancer Research
Foundation, La Jolla, CA (1998-2001); member and then chair
Professional Development and Education Committee, Society for
Developmental Biology (1993-2003); Junior Member at Large, Board of
Trustees, Society for Developmental Biology (1995-1998); Principle
Investigator (1999-present), Corporation member (2002-present) and
member and current chair Housing, Food and Childcare Committee
(2004-present) Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA; and
Scientific Advisory Board - Indiana University Center for
Regenerative Medicine (2006-present).
memberships: Society for Developmental Biology; American
Association of Anatomists; Sigma Xi; American Association of the
Advancement of Science; and American Associate of University Women.
interests: Molecular mechanisms that govern pattern formation in
regenerating amphibian limbs (Ambystoma mexicanum),
regenerating worms (Lumbriculus variegates) and developing
cephalopod embryos (Loligo pealii).
I gave my first scientific paper on limb regeneration at the American
Society for Zoologists (ASZ) meeting in 1984. It was an important
milestone in my graduate career. More recently, I have returned to
the annual SICB meeting and found it to be both welcoming to students
and faculty of all levels and institutional affiliation, as well as
refreshingly diverse in its breadth of biological organisms, topics
and levels of scientific approach. It continues to be a melting pot
for fundamental biological discovery. I welcome the opportunity to
serve this Society through the division of Cell and Developmental
Biology and look forward to both continuing its traditions and with
the help of our membership developing new ones. I see this division
as an important place where cell and developmental biologists from
all levels of their academic training can make fundamental
connections between their systems and discoveries.
Candidates for Elections
Candidates for DEDB Chair
Research Biologist. Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University
of California San Diego
B.A., M.A., Stanford University; Ph.D., University of California San
experience: Editorial Board, Evolution and Development;
coordinator for the amphioxus genome project
Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB); Society for
Developmental Biology (SDB)
interests: Genes, development and genomics of the basal
cephalochordate, amphioxus, as a proxy for the ancestral vertebrate.
Amphioxus, which is vertebrate-like, but much simpler both
genomically and structurally is revealing the fundamental basis on
which were built the many variations of vertebrate embryos.
I joined the American Society of Zoologists (ASZ) in 1992, the year
we published the first genes and development paper on amphioxus,
because I wished to get the message out that evo-devo in general and
amphioxus in particular were up-and-coming and interesting and
because the ASZ was the major forum for "real biologists" in the
U.S.A. I have been very pleased to see that the Division of
Evolutionary Developmental Biology has formed and prospered within
the ASZ-now the SICB- as a group of like-minded colleagues who
are more interested in the evolutionary aspects of the animals they
study than their acceptability and fundability as "model
developmental systems." I have been impressed by the high quality
of the SICB symposia in which I have participated including Molecular
approaches to Zoology and evolution in 1995, The evolution of
development: Patterns and process in 1998, Developmental and
evolutionary perspectives on major transformations in body
organization in 1999 and Linking Genes and Morphology in Vertebrates
in 2007. My program as DEDB chair would include: 1) encouraging more
such high-quality symposia; 2) encouraging the careers of advanced
undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in
devo-evo (my own graduate students and postdocs have shown that it is
possible to get a good job in devo-evo); 3) encouraging joint
symposia and paper sessions with other SICB divisions -in
particular the DVM and DSEB; 4) attracting new membership and
exploring possibilities for joint workshops with the Society for
Developmental Biology (SDB).
Associate Professor, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary
Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.
Ph.D. in Biology 1992, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;
B.Sc. in Marine Biology 1985, Texas A&M University.
Experience: 1999-2006: Assistant Professor, Department of Ecology
& Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado; 1994-1999:
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Anthropology,
Pennsylvania State University; 1992-1994: Postdoctoral Scholar,
Hopkins Marine Station, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford
University; 2006-present: Member of the Editorial Board, Journal
of Experimental Zoology B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution.
SICB (and DEDB) member since 2004.
Memberships: Society for Developmental Biology.
Interests: I am interested in the extent to which features of the
genetic control of development bias the paths of morphological
evolution. My main study system is the dentition of vertebrates, with
an emphasis on teleost fishes. Evolutionary topics under
investigation include structural reduction, meristic variation,
diversification of serially homologous parts, and irreversibility of
evolution. Experimental approaches to these problems include analysis
of gene expression, gene knockdown, transgenic misexpression, and
reporter gene analysis of enhancer function.
Goals: While I only recently joined SICB, I have found it to be
the most welcoming and supportive of Evolutionary Developmental
Biology among the societies whose meetings I have attended. My most
enjoyable experience through SICB to date has been participating in a
symposium which brought together model organism-focused biologists
(broadly interested in the unity of life) and comparative biologists
(broadly interested in the diversity of life). I believe such
interactions are crucial to the health of Evolutionary Developmental
Biology, and would like to continue efforts to encourage those
working on biomedical model systems to participate in DEDB and SICB.
Similarly, I would like to encourage participation of plant
biologists in DEDB. My own interactions with departmental colleagues
working in plant Evo-Devo suggest that such participation is possible
and likely to benefit all involved.
Candidates for DEDB
Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park,
1990, Oberlin College; Ph.D, 1997, Indiana University, Bloomington.
experience: Jane Coffin Childs postdoctoral fellow, University
of Wisconsin, Madison, 1997-2001; delivered invited seminars at 28
academic or conference venues since 2000; reviewed manuscripts for 14
different journals, including the SICB-sponsored Evolution &
Development, since 2000; guest editor, Seminars in Cell &
Developmental Biology, 2007; ad hoc grant reviewer for 6
different agencies in North America, Europe, and Asia since 2002;
published 14 peer-reviewed papers in integrative and comparative
biology since 2000.
None so far (other than reading and contributing to Evolution &
memberships: Society for Developmental Biology, Society for the
Study of Evolution, and the Genetics Society of America.
interests: I'm generally interested in the proximate
developmental and genetic mechanisms that underlie the adaptive
evolution of novel reproductive strategies. My graduate work was on
direct development in Australian sea urchins, and my postdoctoral
work (which I continue today in my own lab) is on the evolution of
self-fertile hermaphroditism in Caenorhabditis nematodes.
This latter project focuses on sex determination and how it is
modified in the germ line to allow selfing to occur. More recently,
I have begun studying the genome-level consequences of adopting
self-fertility and the molecular evolution of interacting
developmental genes in the sex determination pathway.
I am a newcomer to SICB, yet have been an "integrative and
comparative biologist" for almost 20 years, and know many SICB
members and leaders well. I primarily regard this office a good
opportunity to get involved in a great organization I should have
joined long ago. However, if I elected Secretary of the Division of
Evolutionary Developmental Biology, I will certainly carry out the
duties of Secretary with great vigor.
Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Adelphi University,
Garden City, NY
Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2005
Experience: Postdoctoral research at the University of Chicago
with Victoria Prince, 2005-2006
SICB member since 1998.
Memberships: American Society of Ichthyologists and
Herpetologists, International Society for Vertebrate Morphology,
Sigma Xi, Society for Developmental Biology.
My general research
interest is in the evolution of body shape. Specifically, I am
interested in how body shape evolves through genetic and
developmental changes, and the effect of body shape changes on
locomotion and predator avoidance. My recent research has focused on
the evolution of elongation in vertebrates. In this work, I
documented the morphological changes associated with the vertebral
column in elongate fishes and have proposed several hypotheses
concerning the developmental control of these traits. In addition, I
have investigated the effects of elongation on other aspects of
morphology including the gastrointestinal tract.
As secretary of
DEDB, I will continue the work of our previous secretaries in
improving communication among the members as well as making our
divisional website an integral information source for news concerning
the field of evolutionary developmental biology. In addition, I will
continue the current initiative to have research summaries of members
put on the website so that we can highlight the amazing diversity of
research conducted by our members.
Position: Assistant Professor, Kewalo Marine Laboratory,
University of Hawaii
Ph.D., University of Utah, 1995
Experience: Assistant Professor, Kewalo Marine Laboratory,
University of Hawaii, 2002- present; Junior Researcher, Kewalo Marine
Laboratory, University of Hawaii, August 2001- April 2002;
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Kewalo Marine Laboratory, University of
Hawaii, 1999-2001; Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of
Zoology, University of Texas at Austin, 1997-1999
Activities: SICB member since 1999. Co-chair, Contributed papers
for Evolution and Development: plants and invertebrates. SICB Annual
Memberships: Hawaii Academy of Science, Society for Developmental
Association of University Women
My interests generally include body plan evolution, and we primarily
approach this issue from a developmental perspective. We have focused
on a number of developmental questions in the lophotrochozoans,
specifically working with polychaete annelids. We have taken a
comparative approach, although more recently have focused our efforts
on Capitella sp. I, a representative lophotrochozoan.
Capitella is a small, segmented marine polychaete annelid and
has a number of interesting features that make it particularly
amenable for developmental studies. Capitella sp. I is among
the first lophotrochozoan genomes to be completely sequenced. The
features of Capitella and of many polychaetes allow many
fundamental questions to be asked, such as whether the mechanisms of
adult body segment formation is the same during embryogenesis,
adulthood and regeneration, and whether these processes are
homologous throughout the Metazoa. The molecular control of
segmentation in annelids is poorly understood relative to what is
known for other segmented groups, and thus we have identified
orthologues of the Drosophila segmentation gene cascade and
the vertebrate somitogenesis pathway in Capitella sp. I. We
have also initiated projects with Capitella sp. I on
neurogenesis, examination of dual ontological origins of mesoderm,
and gut development with the idea that a fundamental understanding of
developmental processes can benefit from comparative studies in
phylogenetically diverse animals.
represents a vibrant, active division and includes researchers from a
range of disciplines. The DEDB division at SICB represents the most
important national arena for interactions among people in the field
of evolution and development. As the field of evolution and
development continues to mature, it is important that we move forward
as a cohesive group, and maintain a national presence. Having
attended and participated in the SICB meetings since before the DEDB
division was founded, I would now like to increase my involvement in
this important division, and hope that as secretary, I can increase
and facilitate communication among members of the division.