The new Division of
Comparative Biomechanics continues to grow. We have now surpassed
400 members in only a year and a half.
We look forward to the
Boston Meeting. The number of presentation and posters submitted
continues to increase. The number of students competing for best
paper and poster awards has gone up by 50%. We are particularly
excited to support the Symposium "Sensory Biomechanics"
organized by Matt McHenry and Sanjay Sane. They have put together an
incredible line up of speakers.
Because Boston is one
of the world's centers for robot companies that use biological
inspiration, I am attempting to arrange tours of iRobot and Boston
Dynamics Inc. during our January Meeting. Stay tuned. I encourage
all those interested in the intersection of biology and engineering
to consider publishing in the new journal Bioinspiration &
The journal has recently been included in the ISI Web of
Science/Science Citation Index (the Thomson ISI listing).
On the education front,
I presented a keynote address to 600 PIs at an NSF and AAAS sponsored
meeting of the Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement
Program. I discussed how comparative biomechanics laboratories serve
as an exceptionally good vehicle for research-based learning. I urge
you to take a look at this program for future funding of educational
I bring to your
attention two upcoming conferences:
Annual Main Meeting
2009 - SEB Glasgow 2009, Sunday 28 June - Wednesday 1 July 2009,
Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Glasgow, UK. The SEB is
pleased to announce that in 2009 its Annual Main Meeting will return
to the state-of-the-art Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre
(SECC) in the culture-rich city of Glasgow. Open to members and
non-members alike, the meeting will give you the opportunity to
attend cutting edge scientific and education sessions as well as the
chance to network with a diverse range of biologists from all over
In particular, two
sessions are relevant to our division.
Dates: 28th - 30th June
(morning only on the 30th)
Organised by: Peter
Contact: Peter Aerts
biomechanics session' brings (young) scientists together dealing in
their research with the mechanics of the most diverse topics in
biology. From insect flight to suspension feeding, from horse
locomotion to the mechanics of water transport in plants, from
material properties to kinematics of bird flocks, from muscle
mechanics to…, all topics find their place in the session which is
traditionally attended by a large and broadly interested audience.
Moreover, four years ago, they started a new initiative: General
Biomechanics Best Poster and Best Presentation prizes (3 for each
category). Yet another reason to join them in Glasgow next summer.
Integration of active
and passive control mechanisms in locomotion
Dates: 30th June - 1st
July (afternoon only on the 30th)
Organised by: Alan
Wilson, Monica Daley and Andrew Spence
Contact: Monica Daley
Prof T. Richard Nichols
Prof Arthur Prochazka
(Centre for Neuroscience, University of Alberta), Tentative title:
'Biomechanical imperatives in the neural control of locomotion'
Prof Auke Ijspeert
(Head of the Biologically Inspired Robotics Group, Swiss Federal
Institute of Technology (EPFL)), Tentative title: 'Decoding the
mechanisms of gait generation and gait transition in salamander using
mathematical models and robots'
The American Society
With over 800
attendees, the 2008 North American Congress on Biomechanics (NACOB)
at the University of Michigan was an overwhelming success. Next year
Penn State and the American Society of Biomechanics invite all of us
to the annual meeting to be held on Penn State's University Park
campus from August 26 to 29, 2009. The meeting will feature
stimulating scientific sessions, comfortable conference facilities,
and various social opportunities in a relaxed, academic setting.
It looks like everyone
is excited about coming to Boston for the January meeting of SICB.
With over 1300 abstracts, the meeting is shaping up to be one of the
best and biggest ever. The meeting is set in the Westin Boston
Waterfront Hotel. All the oral sessions, poster sessions, business
meetings and socials will be held in the conference hotel. The hotel
is a convenient distance from the airport and can be easily reached
by either a quick cab ride or the Silver Line. If you take the
Silver Line (a bus), it is only a $2.00 fare from the airport. The
stop on the Silver Line for the hotel is World Trade Center, which is
only a short walk to the hotel. There are also a number of fine
restaurants by the waterfront area. In Boston, there are a number of
attractions, including the New England Aquarium, Boston Museum of
Science, the Boston North End, Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, Boston
Museum of Fine Arts, the Freedom Trail, the Harvard Museum of
Comparative Zoology, and the U.S.S. Constitution.
The contributed paper
sessions begin on Sunday, January 4 and end by noon on Wednesday,
January 7. The business meeting for the Division of Comparative
Biomechanics (DCB) will be on Tuesday evening and the DCB social will
follow immediately after the business meeting. As we did at the last
meeting, the social will be shared with the Division of Vertebrate
DCB is sponsoring a
symposium on the biomechanics of sensory structures that was
organized by Matt McHenry and Sanjay Sane. This promises to be an
excellent symposium with papers related to a number of levels on the
topic, including environment and behavior, sensory organs and cells,
and cells and transduction.
If you have ideas for
future symposia, please come and meet with me in Boston or contact me
by email (email@example.com)
to discuss the possibilities and see what opportunities there are for
funding both within and outside the society. Some considerations in
planning your symposia are that each symposium participant will get a
$100 reimbursement toward their registration and each paper published
in the journal will be allowed one free color plate.
I look forward to
seeing you all in Boston.
It's shaping up to be
a busy meeting in Boston, and a busy year for our Division. Not only
is DCB sponsoring a symposium on Sensory Biomechanics, but we have 33
competitors for Best Student Paper! It's a testament to our
dynamic and growing division that we have so many up-and-coming
graduate student members.
Because we have so many
competitors, we need faculty/postdoc volunteers to judge them. What
do the judges do? View the talks/posters to which you are assigned,
and evaluate them according to the criteria on the form. Ask the
students questions about their research, and encourage them. Why
should you volunteer? To start with, you'll be seeing some of the
best presentations of the meeting, and talking with enthusiastic
young scientists. You'll also be letting them know that their
efforts are appreciated and recognized, making it more likely that
they'll remain DCB members. In short, it's a win-win situation -
if you are willing to help, please contact our divisional chair Bob
and Bylaws Revisions
To get on track for
transitioning from the interim officers to our "normal" election
we will need to hold elections in the Spring for the Chair-Elect and
Program Officer. In the Spring newsletter, we'll have short
biographical sketches of the candidates, and dates for the actual
election. If you are interested in running for one of these offices
or wish to nominate someone, please contact members of the divisional
nominating committee, Adam Summers (firstname.lastname@example.org)
and Thomas Roberts (Thomas_Roberts@brown.edu),
or any member of the divisional Executive Committee.
There will also be some
bylaws revisions to bring our divisional bylaws into conformity with
the SICB bylaws and constitution. These will be described in the
Spring 2009 newsletter and voting will occur later in the spring.