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Division of Comparative Endocrinology (DCE): 1999 Spring Newsletter

This Newsletter by Section

Message from the Chair

Bob Dores

1999 has begun on a high note with the Denver SICB Annual Meeting. I wish to thank our outgoing program officer, Mark Sheridan, for doing such a fine job of organizing the program. In addition, the symposia organized by Stacia Sower and Mark Sheridan (the tribute to Erika Plisetskaya), Dave Norris (the salute to Dick Jones) and Lou Guillette (environmental disruptors) provided some of the best presentations at the meeting. I also wish to thank Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald for making the Dick Jones dinner very memorable. Once again the oral presentations and the poster presentations covered the full range of comparative endocrinology and represented some of the best current work in our field. Finally, a special congratulations to Tyrone Hayes for winning the Bartholomew Award from the Division of Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. The results of the Best Student Paper and Poster competition will be announced in the secretary's report below.

At the business meeting, our division recommended that Ian Callard and colleagues submit an application to host the 2005 International Congress of Comparative Endocrinology in Boston. Stacia Sower gave an excellent presentation pointing out the merits of the Boston venue, and everyone feels that Ian and Stacia will host a very exciting meeting.

As many of you are aware, Martin Feder, the president of SICB, has organized a series of strategic planning task forces to map out the long range future of the Society. These committees will be meeting in the spring and summer, and Dave Norris should have some feedback from these task forces to report in the Fall newsletter. The most pressing issues facing the strategic planning task forces are to draft plans that will help increase membership in SICB and attendance at the national meeting, and that will keep costs for the members at an acceptable level. The Society would appreciate your comments on these issues, and you are encouraged to pass along your comments to me. I will forward them to Martin Feder, or contact Martin directly by e-mail. For example, I feel that the Annual Meeting should be scheduled to finish on Saturday afternoon so that the members have Saturday night for socials and Sunday for travel. Given the unpredictability of winter travel, it was understandable that attendance at the Sunday sessions declined throughout the day. I am sure that you have much better ideas that will help improve our Society. Please convey your thoughts to the Executive Committee.

Dave Norris, chair-elect, will take over the chair position at the Atlanta meeting, and he and Sunny Boyd are working on the program. Thank you again for making my time as chair very enjoyable. Finally, we were all saddened by the passing of Genevieve Gorbman. We are grateful to Stacia Sower for putting together a touching tribute to Genevieve at the reception in honor of Aubrey Gorbman.

Message from the Program Officer

Sunny Boyd

The Denver meeting was a great one - with several interesting symposia, strong contributed paper sessions and many opportunities to socialize! Plans for the Atlanta SICB Annual Meeting, Jan. 4-8, 2000, are coming along nicely, and we have two symposia (one full-day and one half-day) in the early stages of organization. But Atlanta needs more! It is not too late to organize a "mini" symposium for the Atlanta meeting. These are half-day sessions of related 20-minute talks. I guarantee instant fame and virtually no paperwork to organizers of mini-symposia. If you have some ideas for symposia for Atlanta, please contact me (

Although the Chicago 2001 SICB Annual Meeting in Atlanta seems impossibly far away, the deadline for submission of applications for full symposia is June 7, 1999. Organizing a full symposium will make you VERY famous. The application process is a little more involved, but I will do my best to streamline it for you. If you would like to organize a symposium (full or half-day) for the Chicago meeting, please contact me. I would also be happy to hear your ideas for symposia, even if you do not want to organize one personally.

Message from the Secretary

Nathan Collie

I begin by commending some of the heroes of our meeting- student presenters of their own research. One could not help but be struck by the high level of sophistication in the design, analysis and communication of their findings at this meeting. A central strength in our Society, I believe, remains their refreshingly large presence at our meeting, not as peripheral onlookers (so often the case in other national conferences), but as active participants. This leads naturally to consideration of the awards for top student presentations:

Best Student Paper Award

Best (Aubrey Gorbman Prize):
Earl Larson, University of Colorado, "Timing of Behavioral Sex Reversal in the Saddleback Wrasse." D.O. Norris, C.L. Brown and C.H. Summers (#266).

Honorable mention:
Danika Painter, Arizona State University, "Maternal and Fetal Steroid Metabolism in a Viviparous Lizard: Are Reptilian Placentas Steroidogenic?" M. Moore (#304).

Honorable mention:
Gregory Hyde, North Carolina State University, "Rapid Attenuation of Intracellular Calcium by Cortisol in Fish Prolactin Cells: Mechanisms Underlying Rapid, Nongenomic Actions of a Steroid." E.G. Grau and R.J. Borski (#76).

Best Student Poster Award

Azza Adul Fattah Al-Mahrouki, University of Toronto at Scarborough, "Fine Structure of the Endocrine Pancreas of the Osteoglossomorpha (Teleostei)." J.H. Youson (#138).

We gratefully acknowledge the efforts of the Judging Committee in the student competition: David Borst, Jim Carr, Walt Dickhoff, Tyrone Hayes, Rosemary Knapp, David Rubin and Cliff Summers.

On a different note, a unique event took place at the meeting that went almost nearly, but not quite hardly, unnoticed. Zeneca, an agrochemical/pharmaceutical company, brought before our Society their tests of possible toxic effects of a new herbicide on animals. The topic was not about an endocrine disruptor, seemed to involve plants, and was a late addition to the program. Hence, it received little attention from attendees. Nevertheless, the novelty derives from a company willing to go public with proprietary information to address safety concerns of a chemical in an open research forum. Almost as unique, most of the panelists asked to lead the discussion (Dave Norris, Jim Carr and I) were unpaid, relatively unbiased biologists, experienced in critical reviews of physiological data, though not necessarily in toxicology (I speak for myself). I think this approach has future merit. As a public, we are concerned about the cascade of new chemicals entering our environment. Yet, analysis of benefits versus safety of those chemicals is relegated to overburdened regulatory agencies or highly-paid consultants. Input from biologists familiar with comparative (and integrative) models may turn out to have a surprisingly substantive impact.

Lastly, I wish to thank Danika Painter (Arizona State University) for a great job in taking and organizing notes at the business meeting. I also wish to commend Kevin Fitzgerald (former comparative endocrinologist-turned-veterinarian) on his presentation at the Dick Jones dinner, which thoroughly investigated topics ranging from male rhino mating behavior to the hazards of small avian surgery.

Minutes of the 1999 DCE Business Meeting

Secretary Nathan Collie called the meeting to order at 5:15 p.m. The 1998 minutes were accepted without revision, and the meeting was turned over to division chair, Bob Dores.

Announcements From the Chair
DCE expressed its deepest condolences to Aubrey Gorbman: Genevieve Gorbman passed away over the Christmas holidays.

Bob Dores' term extends through the 1999 calendar year, and he will oversee the spring 1999 newsletter. Dave Norris will take over as division chair at the 2000 SICB Annual Meeting in Atlanta, but will guide assembly of the fall 1999 newsletter. Steve McCormick and Frank Moore will head the Nominating Committee for elections for chair-elect and secretary-elect. Candidate information will appear in the spring 1999 newsletter. Attendees were reminded of social events at this meeting: one each honoring Aubrey Gorbman and Erika Plisetskaya, and a special dinner honoring Dick Jones.

Changes have been proposed in the administration of General and Comparative Endocrinology journal: Academic Press wants SICB, rather than the publisher, to deal directly with reduced-rate subscriptions ordered by members. The effect of this change, if any, will be to further reduce subscription rates. However, SICB does not want to take this responsibility. All members will be apprised of the outcome when the problem is resolved.

Comments From Chair-Elect, David Norris
Zeneca, a pharmaceutical and agrochemical company, is contacting research societies for suggestions before it releases a new herbicide. Representatives from the company will be present at this meeting on Friday to make a presentation. Following that, individual Society members can respond during discussions on Friday and Sunday.

Message From Martin Feder, SICB President
SICB is undergoing a strategic planning process to determine the Society's long range goals. Issues under discussion include the Annual Meeting, American Zoologist, education and science policy, and Society organization. Task forces have been organized, and the contacts for these teams have been published on SICB's web site. Please make your comments known to one of the contacts. During a summer retreat, the contacts will prepare a report for consideration at next year's Annual Meeting.

Boston as the International Congress Site
The International Congress of Comparative Endocrinology meeting will be in Sorrento, Italy in 2001. The 2005 International meeting will be in North America. Accordingly, Stacia Sower and Ian Callard have submitted a proposal to host the meeting in Boston. Bob Dores asked Stacia Sower to summarize key elements of the proposal, which included the following points. The local organizing committee for this proposal includes Ian Callard, Stacia Sower, Stephen McCormick, Martin Schreibman, Jennifer Specker and Mary Wright. Note that others wishing to join this committee should contact Ian or Stacia. Boston University will be the official host, and the preferred meeting site is the Marriott Copley Place Hotel. Boston University has committed $10,000, and proposals will be submitted to NSF for further support. In addition, Penny Hopkins has been collecting funds to contribute to the meeting, which now exceed $1,300. The meeting will take place some time (except August) during the summer. A motion to support the proposal for Boston as the meeting site passed unanimously.

Program Officer Changes
Bob Dores thanked DCE outgoing program officer Mark Sheridan for an exceptional job and welcomed Sunny Boyd, our new incoming program officer. Regarding upcoming program issues, he also noted that the Atlanta meeting (2000) will feature a special session on crustacean endocrinology in honor of Milton Fingerman.

Comments From Mark Sheridan, Outgoing Division Program Officer
At this meeting, a record number of papers were presented. Mark explained the source of some scheduling difficulties: DCE papers are organized into blocks given to the program officer by the SICB program officer, but the timing of those blocks is not scheduled when the DCE papers are assigned. This always leads to some conflicts in overlapping or simultaneous sessions of interest to particular specialties.

Regarding next year's Atlanta meeting, five symposia are already scheduled, but slots for mini-symposia are still available. Please put symposium proposals together now and pass them on to Sunny Boyd. Changes have been made to the programming of future Annual Meetings, with the aim of better integrating SICB. A topic-based approach will be used in grouping presentations, so abstracts will be submitted by topic rather than division. This approach will be implemented for the Atlanta meeting. There are some concerns that the new programming could dilute the sense of family within our division. So, to preserve the integrity of our division, topics will be available that are clearly endocrine (look for "regulation" in the topic title). Sunny Boyd will review all abstracts, to route them appropriately. Other changes for the Atlanta meeting include: all abstracts must be submitted electronically, the subject index will be improved, and division chairs will be more involved in the program publication process.

For the 2001 SICB Annual Meeting in Chicago, symposium proposals are due June 7! These proposals should be directed to Sunny Boyd. Jim Carr and Cliff Summers are co-organizing a symposium for Chicago (2001) entitled "Is Stress More Than a Disease? A Comparative Look at Stress and Adaptation."

Other News
Bob Dores described the topics discussed at the SICB Executive Committee meeting:

  • 2002 SICB Annual Meeting will be in Anaheim.
  • SICB News will be published online this spring.
  • Final manuscripts to American Zoologist will also be submitted online.
  • At the end of 1998, the Society had a budget surplus. Surplus finances will be directed toward increasing membership and meeting attendance.

The Grants-in-Aid of Research program for graduate student research funds received 51 applications last year, six of which came from DCE. Two awards were made to students from DCE. Members were asked to encourage students to submit applications next year. Aubrey Gorbman received a 1998 NSF Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring Program, bestowed by President Clinton at the White House. Finally, editing of the American Zoologist will now be directed by a group from the University of Washington, headed by John Edwards.

Meeting was adjourned at 6 p.m. by Nathan Collie.

DCE Candidates for Election

Candidates for Chair-Elect

Louis J. Guillette, Jr.

Current Position: Professor of Zoology and Research Foundation Endowed Professor, University of Florida and Affiliate Curator of Herpetology, Florida Museum of Natural History.

Education: Ph.D., Comparative Reproductive Biology, University of Colorado at Boulder, 1981.

Professional Experience: Assistant Professor, Wichita State University, 1981-85; Associate Professor, University of Florida, 1987-92; Professor, University of Florida, 1992-present. Served as President and Executive Board member of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles; Associate Editor of the Journal of Herpetology; Editorial Board member for Copeia and currently Subject Editor in Ecotoxicology for Conservation Ecology.

SICB Activities: Active member since 1977.

Other Memberships: Elected Fellow of the AAAS in 1997; member of the IUCN's Species Survival Commission Crocodile Specialist Group and Conservation Breeding Specialist Group; currently serves on the Editorial Board of General and Comparative Endocrinology.

Research Interests: Evolution of viviparity, the endocrinology of pregnancy and birth in non-mammalian vertebrates, and the role of environmental contaminants as disrupters of the development and functioning of the endocrine and reproductive systems.

Goals Statement: We must continue to ensure that the Annual Meeting is beneficial to our membership, especially our students. I would like to make sure that the meeting provides symposia and contributed paper sessions that represent the current state of our science. In part, I feel we need to ensure that our students are exposed to not only the latest information in our own field but that of related fields. In addition, I will primarily work toward developing a program that fosters more interaction between the trainees and young faculty in our division and the established members. In this way, I believe, we will continue to grow and strengthen as a division.

Michael C. Moore

Current Position: Professor of Biology and Director of Graduate Studies Department of Biology, Arizona State University, Tempe.

Education: B.A., Biology, Indiana University, 1977; Ph.D., Zoology, University of Washington, 1982.

Professional Experience: NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Texas, Austin, 1982-83; Assistant Professor of Zoology, Arizona State University, Tempe, 1984-88; Associate Professor of Zoology, Arizona State University, Tempe, 1988-94; Professor of Biology and Director of Biology Graduate Programs, Arizona State University, Tempe, 1994-present; Editorial Board, Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology; Board of Advisors, Hormones and Behavior.

SICB Activities: Local Organizing Committee, Western Regional Conference on Comparative Endocrinology, March 1982, Seattle; DCE Best Student Paper Award Committee, December 1984, Denver; Co-Chair, Local Organizing and Scientific Program Committees, Western Regional Conference on Comparative Endocrinology, March 1991, Tempe; DCE Program Officer, 1993-94.

Other Memberships: American Association for the Advancement of Science; American Ornithologists' Union; American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists; Animal Behavior Society; Cooper Ornithological Society; International Federation of Comparative Endocrinology; Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology.

Research Interests: Field endocrinology, behavioral neuroendocrinology, physiology of stress, vertebrate reproduction and behavior.

Goals Statement: I believe that integrative biology is the next big wave of contemporary biology. This will be driven by the integration of sophisticated tools from molecular and cellular biology into other areas of biology and, especially, in biomedicine. Because endocrinology has always been a highly integrative science, it will be at the center of this renaissance of integrative perspectives. DCE and SICB as a whole have a chance to be leaders at the forefront of this wave, but they must develop in a way that serves the needs of the widest array of comparative endocrinologists and integrative biologists. We must continue to work on attracting new members, making the national meeting as exciting as possible, making the journals as valuable as possible, and making the Society as a whole as inclusive and democratic as possible.

Candidates for Secretary-Elect

Robert J. Denver

Current Position: Assistant Professor of Biology and Assistant Research Scientist, Reproductive Sciences Program, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1994-present.

Education: B.S., Biology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, 1984; Ph.D., Zoology, University of California, Berkeley, 1989.

Professional Experience: Killam Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Alberta, Edmonton, 1989-90; Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Integrative Biology and Cancer Research Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, 1990-94; Program Committee, XIVth International Congress of Comparative Endocrinology, Naples, Italy, 2001.

SICB Activities: SICB member for 14 years; DCE Representative to the Postdoctoral/Graduate Student Affairs Committee (1991-93); Local organizing committee, Annual ASZ Meeting, San Francisco, CA (1987); DCE Nominating Committee (1996).

Other Memberships: Society for Neuroscience, Endocrine Society, American Neuroendocrine Society, Society for Developmental Biology.

Research Interests: Developmental endocrinology, environmental endocrinology, evolutionary endocrinology. My research program currently focuses on two primary problems in developmental endocrinology: 1) the neuroendocrine control of development and 2) the molecular biology of thyroid and steroid hormone action on the developing vertebrate brain.

Goals Statement: In keeping with the broader goals of the Society, to foster greater interaction among divisions, to grow the membership through active recruiting, to develop a DCE web page to provide information on regional and national meetings, to foster networking among DCE members, etc. To increase the visibility of the field of evolutionary endocrinology by representing our discipline at other national meetings (e.g., Society for Neuroscience, Endocrine Society, Society for Developmental Biology).

Valentine A. Lance

Current Position: Head, Endocrinology Division, Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species, Zoological Society of San Diego.

Education: Ph.D., University of Hong Kong, 1974.

Professional Experience: Associate Editor, Journal of Experimental Zoology; Vice Chairman for Science, IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group; Organized and edited Symposium: Biology of Sex Determination in Vertebrates.

SICB Activities: Member of SICB 20+ years. Organized and edited Symposia (1) Biology of the Crocodilia and (2) Environmental Sex Determination in Reptiles: Patterns and Processes.

Other Memberships: Society for the Study of Reproduction, Endocrine Society, AAAS, Asia and Oceania Society for Comparative Endocrinology.

Research Interests: Vertebrate sex determination, temperature-dependent sex determination, endocrinology of stress in reptiles, reproductive cycles, pregnancy.

Goals Statement: To produce a lively, informative and useful newsletter.

Conference Photos

Aubrey Gorbman was honored at a social for receiving the NSF Presidential Mentoring Award at the White House. He was joined by several former students and colleagues that supported the award. (front row): Stacia Sower and Erika Plisetskaya and (back row): Walt Dickhoff, Joe Crim, Steve Vigna and John Youson.
At the dinner honoring Richard Jones: (L to R) Richard Jones (sporting his new Captain Gonad T-shirt designed in his honor), his wife Betty, Kaye Norris and Dave Norris (DCE Chair-Elect).
Speakers for the symposium on Gastroenteropancreatic Hormones, honoring Erika Plisetskaya (front row, purple dress) and organized by Mark Sheridan (center, behind Erika) and Stacia Sower (front row, far left) for DCE and DCPB.
At the social honoring Erika Plisetskaya (L to R): Kristin Lopez (Assistant Editor, Amer. Zoologist), Jean Joss (Macquarie University, New South Wales), Mark Sheridan (outgoing DCE program officer), and Bob Dores (DCE chair).
Entertainment at the Richard Jones dinner included comedic relief by veterinarian/TV personna/ex-comparative endocrinologist Kevin Fitzgerald. Aubrey Gorbman, seated next to Jean Joss and Taisen Iguchi (Yokahama City University, Japan) in the foreground provide a tough audience.
Richard Jones (center) quizzes his former graduate students Matt Rand (left) and Lou Guillette (right).

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