DDCB: 1997 Spring Newsleter
This Newsletter by Section
Message from the Chair
John P. Wourms
The pleasure of assuming the Chair's duties at the SICB 1996 Annual Meeting in
Albuquerque was lessened by the absence of our outgoing Chair, John B. Morrill. We wish
John a speedy convalescence from his recent surgery. The other SICB Newsletter reports
cover most of our newsworthy items. Thanks to the efforts of Mark Martindale, Billie
Swalla and an outstanding group of speakers, our DDCB symposium on "Evolution and
Development: Patterns and Processes" was a resounding success. Mark, from the
University of Chicago, deserves congratulations for organizing such a fine symposium on
short notice and with a very limited budget. We look forward to its publication in American
The 1996 Best Student Presentation Award of $100 plus copies of at least 10 back issues
of American Zoologist that have major developmental biology symposia was awarded to
Julia Dallman, University of Washington, whose paper was entitled "Electrical
Activity Regulates Ion Channel Expression and Contractility During Development of Muscle
in Ascidian Larvae."
The next SICB Annual Meeting will be in Boston, January 3-7, 1998. (Moving to the new
schedule, there will be no meeting in the 1997 calendar year because we will not meet in
December.) The Division will sponsor one symposium and co-sponsor at least one more.
Because our Annual Meeting will no longer coincide with the holidays, we look forward to
greatly increased attendance at the meeting. It is not too early to start planning your
presentations and encourage fellow faculty and graduate students to do the same. The
Annual Meeting offers a unique forum at a national meeting that is large enough to be
comprehensive but still small enough to be intimate. Its diversity encourages
communication across specialties. In this respect, I hope that with the change in timing
of the Annual Meeting one of the major obstacles both to attendance and membership will
have been removed. Our Society and our Division form a meeting ground for people
interested in comparative embryology, cell-developmental biology, and evolutionary
developmental biology. In 1997, each member of the Division should try to recruit at least
one new graduate student member, encourage a colleague to join, and prevail upon a lapsed
member to rejoin the Society.
No sooner does one assume the Chair, than it is time to search for a successor. The
elections for Chair-Elect are upon us. Thanks to the efforts of the Nominating Committee
we have two outstanding candidates, R. Andrew Cameron, California Institute of Technology,
and Scott F. Gilbert, Swarthmore College.
Remember, as the old pol said, "Vote early and vote often!"
Message from the Program Officer
Billie J. Swalla
The symposium generated much enthusiasm across the SICB membership and was well
Greetings from the DDCB Program Officer!
Thanks to all of you for your great participation in the SICB 1996 Annual Meeting in
Albuquerque. A very special thanks to Mark Martindale and the speakers in his excellent
symposium "Evolution of Development: Patterns and Process." All who attended
were very impressed by the quality of the talks and the research presented. The symposium
generated much enthusiasm across the SICB membership and was well integrated.
We would also like to sincerely thank the students and faculty who presented in the
contributed papers session. In spite of being the last day, there were many excellent
talks and for those of you that stuck around, there were chocolate covered espresso beans
to accompany the very last talk of the meetings, Julia Dallman. Julia did an outstanding
job in a tough slot and I encourage you that didn't stay for the contributed paper session
to try and arrange your schedules to include them in the SICB 1998 Annual Meeting in
[Secretary's comment: I was on the judging committee, and the espresso beans had no
bearing whatever on our decision on the Best Student Paper Award.]
We had less scheduling complaints this year than in the past few years and all of the
Program Officers are working very hard to minimize problems in scheduling.
It may be tough to decide what to attend next year, there were a number
of interesting, up-to-date symposia accepted for the meetings next year in Boston. DDCB is
sponsoring two symposia to be held at the SICB 1998 Annual Meeting, January 3-7, 1998 (Click here for more details).
Message from the Secretary
Minutes of the 1996 DDCB Business Meeting
In the absence of John Morrill, who was sidelined by surgery, the Division's
Chair-Elect, John Wourms called the meeting to order. One of the largest turnouts of
recent years, 17 members were present, including two graduate student members.
Prior to the regular business, Stacia Sower, representing the National Science
Foundation, reported that the NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in integrative animal biology
would expire in 1997, and requested input regarding the appropriate area foci should the
program continue. The current focus is molecular evolution. Division members agreed that
the focus should be broadened, with development and molecular systematics as one
possibility. The Division thanked Dr. Sower for the opportunity to provide some input
before decision making in January.
The minutes of the 1995 business meeting were approved as printed in the SICB
John Wourms thanked John Morrill, in absentia, for his stalwart service as DDCB Chair
over the last two years and members expressed their best wishes for John Morrill's speedy
and complete recovery. He also expressed DDCB's heartfelt thanks to Billie Swalla, DDCB
Program Officer, for the excellent program at the meeting and for progress on excellent
symposia for the SICB 1998 Annual Meeting in Boston.
He then discussed the condition of the Division. The membership has slipped to 527 (228
primary, 299 secondary affiliates), making DDCB the fourth largest division of SICB. We
were once the largest. While it is possible that some members may reaffiliate as SICB asks
members to declare two primary divisions, everyone should do their part to improve
membership: members sponsoring students, students bringing mentors back into the fold, and
Deaths were noted of several prominent DDCB members during the year: Katsuma Dan,
Richard Goss, Sven Horstadius, Daniel Mazia and Jane Oppenheimer. All major contributors
to the field during much of the century, and mentors to many currently active
developmentalists, they will be greatly missed.
After summarizing some topics from the SICB business meeting and the Executive
Committee sessions, John Wourms then pointed out that a Nominating Committee would be
needed to select candidates for Chair-Elect. Hans Laufer agreed to chair the committee.
Pat Glas, DDCB's Graduate/Postdoctoral Affairs Committee Representative, reported that
with the end of her term, divisional student members had been in consultation, and wished
to recommend Jamie Foster, University of Hawaii, present at the business meeting, to
succeed her. This recommendation was accepted enthusiastically by the membership.
Billie Swalla delivered her report as Program Officer. She was very encouraged that the
symposium on comparative myogenesis for the Boston meeting was approved by SICB. In
addition to this symposium, organized by Judith Venuti, the Division will co-sponsor at
least one other symposium at that meeting. Jim Hanken, editor of American Zoologist
promised that a strong divisional voice on symposia will be heard while final decisions on
topics will include issues of publication in the journal. Billie also pointed out that
ideas are needed for the SICB 1999 Annual Meeting in Denver, and that the new 18-month
schedule establishes an April 1997 decision date.
Billie thanked all involved in the current symposium, and expressed special thanks to
Society for Developmental Biology for providing half the support for it.
General discussion turned to the question of improving attendance at the Annual
Meeting. While moving to January may provide some help, members seemed to agree that
direct action by active members is needed. Also recruitment of new members is key. One
suggestion was that SICB send its posters directly to an SICB member within a department
rather than to the department chair. This would increase the likelihood of posting. It was
also suggested that we split members into groups to contact colleagues by e-mail, or
telephone to get them to send students (and themselves) to a meeting. Other recruitment
suggestions would be welcomed.
In the remaining time, discussion items included what could be done to
minimize the deficit at which the Annual Meeting still runs, and incentives for improving
the program, which might include a separate fund for the Society-wide symposia.
1996 DDCB Best Student Paper Award
The Best Student Paper Award Judging Committee attended the several graduate student
paper and poster presentations that were entered in this year's competition.
The 1996 winner is: Julia Dallman, Department of Zoology, University of Washington,
"Electrical Activity Regulates Ion Channel Expression and Contractility During
Development of Muscle in Ascidian Larvae."
She receives the $100 award and copies of selected back issues of American Zoologist
with significant developmental symposia. Congratulations!
The Judging Committee consisted of John Wourms (Clemson), Charles Ellis
(Northeastern), and Judith Venuti (Columbia P&S).
Richard J. Goss 1925-1996
"On November 21, 1996, losing a battle against cellular growth, a phenomenon that
he had spent most of his professional career studying, Richard Johnson Goss died at his
home in Barrington, R.I., at the age of 71. An internationally renowned authority on
growth and regeneration, Dr. Goss was known for his warm and generous personality as well
as his incisive mind. His numerous scientific publications and books include the classic
Principles of Regeneration (1969), still regarded as the primer for anyone entering the
field. Following his retirement from Brown University, he increased his activities as an
eloquent spokesman for rational inquiry in the science versus religion debate."
So begins an extended memorial note on the life of our colleague and former DDCB Chair,
prepared by Charles Dinsmore who was a student of Dick Goss. This note was too extensive
for the available newsletter space and is being placed on the SICB Web Site
(http://www.sicb.org) for those who wish to read the full text. Printed copies may be
requested from Division Secretary Charles Ellis.
We extend our sympathy to his wife Marcy, their son, daughter and five
grandchildren, and to his many students.
at the SICB 1998 Annual Meeting
Comparative Myogenesis in Metazoans
Organized by Judith M. Venuti, Columbia University
"Mechanisms of Myogenesis in Invertebrates and Non-mammalian Vertebrates"
- Michael Krause, NIH
"Regulation of C. Elegans Myogenesis by HLH Transcription Factors: Similarities
& Differences to Vertebrate Paradigms"
- Susan Abmayr, Pennsylvania State University
"Muscle Development and Differentiation in the Drosophila Embryo"
- Judith Venuti, Columbia University
"Myogenic Specification and Differentiation in the Sea Urchin Embryo"
- Billie Swalla, Vanderbilt University
"Maternal Factors and the Specification of Larval Muscle in Ascidians"
- Ralph Rupp, Max Planck Institute, Tubingen
"Mechanisms of Myogenic Gene Regulation in Xenopus Laevis"
- Monte Westerfied, University of Oregon
"Regulation of Muscle Fiber Types in Zebrafish by Axial Signaling"
"Mechanisms in Vertebrates - Development of Different Muscle Types"
- Mark Fishman, MGH
"Cardiogenesis in Zebrafish"
- Eric Olson, UT Southwestern
"Regulatory Pathways Controlling Cardiovascular Development" - Andrew Lassar,
"Regulatory Mechanisms that Control the Formation of Skeletal and Cardiac Muscle
in Vertebrate Embryos"
- Charles Ordahl, UCSF
"Myogenesis in the Vertebrate Somite"
- Michael Rudnicki, McMaster University
"Myf5 and MyoD and the Regulation of Determination and Differentiation of
- William Klein, MD Anderson Cancer Center
"Using Myogenin-Null Mice To Investigate Skeletal Muscle Development"
Building a Better Body Plan
Organized by Lennart Olsson, Uppsala University and Brian K. Hall, Dalhousie
Session 1: Major Transformations in Arthropods
"Genetic Control of Limb Development in Arthropods"
- Grace Panganiban, University of Wisconsin
"Morphogenesis and Evolution of Arthropod Limbs"
- Terri Williams, University of Texas
"Patterning in Insects and Beetles"
- Diethard Tautz, University of Munich
Session 2: Major Transformations in the Origin of Body Plans
"Pentamerism in Echinoderms"
- Gregory Wray, SUNY at Stony Brook
"Tail Development and Loss in Urochordates"
- William R. Jeffery, Pennsylvania State University
Session 3: Major Transformations in Vertebrate Limbs
"Models and Mechanisms of Limb Development and Evolution"
- Neil Shubin, University of Pennsylvania
"Major Genes in Limb Development and Evolution"
- Cliff Tabin, Harvard Medical School
"Genetic Control of Novel Patterns of Limb Morphogenesis"
- Gunther Wagner, Yale University
"Paleontological and Developmental Perspectives on Limb
- Michael Coates, University College London
DDCB Candidates for Election
As John Wourms begins his term as Chair (1997-1998), we must elect a
Chair-Elect to hold office during 1998 and to become Chair for the 1999-2000 term. The
Nominating Committee, chaired by Hans Laufer has found two eminently qualified candidates
who are willing to serve.
Candidates for Chair-Elect
Current Position: Professor of Biology, Swarthmore College.
Education: B.A., Wesleyan University; M.A. (history of science); Ph.D. (biology)
Johns Hopkins University.
Professional Experience: Postdoctoral work in molecular biology and in
developmental immunology (University of Wisconsin); sabbatical research in Wistar
Institute (pronuclear transplants in mice), Jefferson University School of Medicine (chick
neurulation), and University of Helsinki (mouse kidney development).
SICB Activities: Chair of the ASZ Cell and Developmental Biology Division,
Other Memberships: Society for Developmental Biology, International Society
Differentiation, AAAS, International Society of History, Phil. Society Studies of Biology.
Research Interests: 1) Branching of epithelial tubes in kidney, lung, pancreas.
2) Integration of evolution and development: evolution of signaling pathways,
Goals Statement: Even as we go more deeply into the molecular
mechanisms of development, developmental biologists may soon find themselves at the
forefront of evolutionary and ecological studies. My goal would be to integrate several
evolutionary and ecological aspects of biology (life history strategies, polyphenisms,
environmental toxicology, etc.) into developmental biology.
R. Andrew Cameron
Current Position: Senior Research Associate, California Institute of Technology,
Education: B.A. (Zoology), San Jose State University, California, 1968; Ph.D.
(Biology), University of California, Santa Cruz, 1975.
Professional Experience: Lecturer in Biology, University of California, Santa
Barbara, 1977; Lecturer, Bodega Marine Laboratory, University of California, Davis, 1981;
Assistant Research Biologist and Lecturer, Center for Coastal Marine Studies and Biology
Board of Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1978-1981; Assistant Professor of
Marine Science, University of Puerto Rico, 1981-1985; Senior Research Fellow, California
Institute of Technology 1985-1989; Instructor, Embryology Course, Marine Biological
Laboratory 1990-present; Associate Editor: Zygote, Cambridge University Press.
SICB Activities: Public Affairs Committee Co-Chair.
Other Memberships: AAAS (Fellow, 1991); Society for Developmental Biology;
Western Society of Naturalists (Chairman of Nominating Committee, 1986); Association of
Island Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean; The Corporation of the Marine Biological
Research Interests: The study of marine embryos and larvae from a mechanistic
perspective. The evolution of developmental programs and the divergence of animal body