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Division of Neurobiology (DNB): 2001 Fall Newsletter

In this newsletter:

Message from the Chair

Don Edwards

Greetings from Atlanta. Let me begin by urging you to read the message from the Program Officer, Rich Satterlie, that describes the very exciting contributions of the Neurobiology Division to the program of the meeting in Anaheim. Rich has worked tirelessly to organize this program and deserves our thanks and appreciation. The rest of us have the job of spreading the word about the meeting, and urging our member and non-member colleagues to attend and contribute.

Elections will be coming up soon for Program Officer and Secretary. Those of you who are interested in running should have a look at www.sicb.org/sicbdocuments/nominatingcomm/Div_Program_Officer_SICB.rtf, which describes the position of Division Program Officer. We'll be in touch about procedures.

At the recent International Congress of Neuroethology in Bonn, I had a brief chat with Malcolm Burrows, the President of the International Society for Neuroethology, about the possibility of developing closer ties between our two societies. He was quite enthusiastic. We discussed several ideas, including the joint sponsorship of symposia at SICB or at a satellite meeting at the time of the Society for Neuroscience meeting, perhaps in league with the J.B. Johnston Club. I would VERY MUCH appreciate your ideas, suggestions and opinions on how to develop these possibilities. We should keep in mind that whatever strategy we develop will probably have two phases: a developmental phase in which we attract interest and attention through joint sponsorship at larger venues, and a sustained phase in which we incoporate the new interest and members within the SICB organization and meeting.

Finally, some personal thoughts on a response to September 11. In the face of the heroism, sacrifice, commitment, and effort displayed by so many in the aftermath of the attacks, I have become keenly aware of my privileged state as an academic and biologist, and have asked what my role should be. My answer is to teach and to question.

It is apparent that the goal of the terrorists is to destroy western civilization and to protect and extend a severely fundamentalist Islamic social organization. Although the attacks were carried out by only a few people, and their direct supporters may only number in the thousands, their antipathy to the west and its values is shared to some degree by millions. The nature of the intellectual and ideological conflict between the values of the Western Enlightenment and those of Islamic society was identified by a recent editorial in Nature (413: 235, 2001), which urges increased dialog between scientists and scholars in the West and those in Islamic countries.

As teachers, we face both domestic and international students who are ignorant of the philosophical values that underpin the day-to-day practice of science. Freedom of inquiry, skepticism about authority, rejection of supernatural explanations, acceptance of personal responsibility, and recognition of intellectual property are several of the social conventions that derive from the Western Enlightenment and guide our conduct as scientists. We can use this tragedy as the opportunity to ask our students how science would fare if any or all of these conventions were rejected or replaced. This is the same conversation that we have been having with our Christian fundamentalist fellow citizens and students, and that led to our Society's published statement on the teaching of evolution. Now, however, the issues and the stakes have become global.

Donald H. Edwards
Chair, Divsion of Neurobiology

Message from the Secretary

Robin L. Cooper

This year we are to hold elections for the Secretary and the Program Officer positions within DNB. The elections are to be done via paper ballots, and the ballots are to be sent out, returned to, and counted by Burk Associates.

Below are the descriptions of the selected candidates that will run for Secretary and the Program Officer. We encourage you to return the ballots to the address that will be provided with your noted selection as soon as you receive them. Even though there is only one person listed for each position we would like to have ballots returned.

Both of these positions are for a 2 year term. In the DNB division, the Chair position will be open and voted on in the year 2002. Begin thinking if you would like to participate in the excitement of being involved in the Society's activities!

Candidate for Secretary:
Dr. Hank Trapido-Rosenthal earned his Ph.D. in biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he studied the chemically-induced settlement and metamorphosis of abalone larvae. He did postdoctoral work at the University of Florida's Whitney Marine laboratory, studying the biochemistry and molecular biology of lobster chemoreception. He has been an Associate Research Scientist at the Bermuda Biological Station for Research (BBSR) since 1993, and was appointed an Adjunct Associate Professor at Duke University in 2001. Dr. Trapido-Rosenthal heads BBSR's marine molecular biology program, in which he and the members of his laboratory use the techniques of molecular biology and biochemistry to pursue research into chemoreception in the marine environment, marine ecotoxicology, coral reef symbioses, biodiversity of marine ecosystems, and bioprospecting in the marine environment for compounds of industrial and pharmaceutical value. Support for his research at BBSR has come from U.S. federal funding agencies (NSF and NIH) as well as from the pharmaceutical (Boehringer-Mannheim) and biotechnology (Diversa) industries. He has taught BBSR courses in molecular marine biology and marine biodiversity for the Beaufort-to-Bermuda program, and summer courses on the topics of molecular ecology of marine symbioses and chemosensory neurobiology. At no time in his career has he ever held a secretarial appointment.

Candidate for Program Officer:
Richard Satterlie received a B.S. in Biology from Sonoma State University (California: 1973) and a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara (1978). He was a post-doctoral researcher from 1978 - 1980 at the University of Alberta (Canada). He was hired as an assistant professor at Arizona State University in 1980, promoted to associate professor in 1985 and to professor in 1991. His research interests center on the neural control of locomotion, and he uses both molluscan and cnidarian (jellyfish) preparations. His research has been supported by NSF, NIH and private foundations. He has held the position of Program Officer for SICB-DNB throughout the last term.

Message from the Program Officer

Rich Satterlie

The upcoming meeting in Anaheim is shaping up to be a wonderful one for Neurobiologists. We will sponsor our first annual 'Recent Developments in Neurobiology' symposium. The line-up is a wonderful one, and will include a new twist to the symposium format. Each topic will have a pair of 'piggy-back' speakers, including a primary speaker who will give a more general talk on the topic, followed by a secondary speaker, in most cases, a junior affiliate of the primary speaker, who will give a more specific talk of recent work. The current list of speakers and topics includes:
  • Ted Bullock (An Agenda for Research on Evolution in Brain Complexity)
  • Glenn Northcutt (What Do We Want to Know About Vertebrate Brain Evolution?)
  • Frank Krasne (Modulation of Crayfish Escape Reflexes. I. Neural Circuitry of Escape and Modulatory Systems)
  • Don Edwards (Modulation of Crayfish Escape Reflexes. II. Neuroethology of Sertonergic Modulation During Dominance Hierarchy Formation)
  • Bill Kristan (How the Leech Nervous System Chooses Among Behaviors)
  • Teresa Esch (How the Leech Decides to Swim or Crawl)
  • Tom Carew (Mechanistic Analysis of Multiple Memory Phases in Aplysia)
  • Carolyn Sherff (Mechanistic Analysis of Multiple Memory Phases in Aplysia. II. Long-term Memory)
  • Doug Syme (How to Build Fast Muscles. I.)
  • Bob Josephson (How to Build Fast Muscles. II. Asynchronous Muscle - A Design Breakthrough)
In addition, the Division is co-sponsoring a symposium on 'Neural Mechanisms of Orientation and Navigation' organized by Jim Murray. His speakers include Robert Beason, Verner Bingman, Andrew Dittman, Fred Dyer, Ken Lohmann, Sheri Mizumori, Jim Murray, Mark Nelson, Nick Strausfeld, Charles Walcott, Mark Willis, and Richard Zimmer.

It is now time to think about the next meeting, in Toronto. The funding for the 'Recent Developments in Neurobiology' symposium extends to the Toronto meeting, and to the one following if these first two are successful. In preparation for our business meeting in Anaheim, please be thinking of potential speakers from the Toronto area. Within the umbrella of neurobiology, the topics we choose for the symposium are flexible.

One final meeting note: Following the 'Recent Developments' symposium, we will have our annual business meeting, which will be followed by an informal Division reception. Please plan to attend both - to participate in the governance of the Division, and to thank the speakers of the two symposia for joining us at the meeting. See you in Anaheim, and spread the word about our wonderful symposia amongst your colleagues.

Link to officer list on DNB page