Minutes of the Annual Business Meeting April 15, 2010
The 35th Annual Business Meeting of the Human Biology Association was called to order by President Gary James at 5:16 in the Hotel Albuquerque Potters Room. President Gary James welcomed all attendees. The first order of business was that the 2009 business meeting minutes were unanimously approved.
Andrea Wiley gave the HBA budget report. In 2009 the HBA sustained a ∼$8,000 deficit. This was in large part attributable to the expenses incurred at the annual meeting, which were exceptionally high due to the Darwin celebration (including a more substantial reception and costly plenary session) and an expensive venue. These expenses were anticipated and agreed to by the Executive Committee in 2008. Our web management fees have gone down with the revamp of the website as we can now do a lot of the web updating ourselves. Our income from memberships paid in 2009 was up, and our royalties were also up a bit. We have a robust balance of almost $60,000, but our expenses have exceeded our income, a large percentage of which comes from AJHB royalties.
As for the 2010 projections, this year's income is likely to be matched next year, but expenses for 2010 should be reduced somewhat due to the more modest meeting costs. Our Allen Press fees will go up, as per our contract with them. The net effect is that we may have a modest surplus next year, with a consistent balance of around $60,000. The question was raised as to whether we should be concerned about running a deficit for 2 years in a row; Andrea W. responded that we still have a healthy fund balance and anticipate that deficits should not continue, barring unforeseen expenses. There was a motion to accept the report, which was seconded. The secretary-treasurer's report was unanimously accepted.
Report of the Editor-In-Chief: American Journal of Human Biology
Peter Ellison gave the Editor's report on American Journal of Human Biology. The journal is thriving. The number of submissions is up, although the rate of increase in submissions leveled off, and we can publish more articles because of the larger page format. The percentage of manuscripts accepted for publication went up slightly to 26%. About one third of all articles are internationally collaborative. In addition, the journal adopted a new structured abstract format. All impact indices are up and we compare well with AJPA. The website www.scimagojr.com is another citation tracker and according to its ranking system, AJHB's number of citations per document is 2.13. Last year, the journal contained particularly interesting articles and sets of articles. David Tracer was added to Editorial board. Peter E. thanked the editorial board, Tiffany McKerahan at Wiley, Doug Frank and Michael Degan at Cadmus, Pippi Ellison (Assistant Editor) and Joan Stevenson (Book Review Editor). Lorna Moore asked what is SJR (used by scimagojr.com)? It weights citations by the visibility of the citing journal. There was a motion to accept the report, which was seconded. The report was unanimously accepted.
REPORTS FROM STANDING COMMITTEES
Report of the Nominations and Elections Committee
Barbara Piperata gave the Nominations & Elections report. This year there were elections for two openings on the Nominations & Elections committee, one Executive Committee member, and there were bylaws changes up for a vote by the membership. Elizabeth Abrams and Peter Gray were elected to the Nominations & Elections committee, and Susan Johnston was appointed as the chair. Ivy Pike will be membership representative on the Executive Committee. Barbara P. thanked those who were nominated for being willing to run, and those who were nominators. The bylaws changes were unanimously approved. Voting will move to December so that we can maximize the number of people who are eligible to vote—only active members (fellows and emeriti) vote. There was a motion to accept the report, which was seconded. The report was unanimously accepted.
Report of the Publications Committee
Deb Crooks gave the report of the Publications committee. In 2009, there were 34 student presentations evaluated for the EE Hunt Award. Elizabeth Quinn and Erin O'Neill were the winners. She thanked Tim Gage, Josh Snodgrass, and Alex Brewis for their work on the committee, Michael Muehlenbein and Linda Gerber for stepping in to help review this year's student presentations, and the many people who volunteered to help. This year there were 36 student presentations; the two winners of EE Hunt award were Mwenza Blell, for her presentation, “Timing of menopause among British Pakistani women in West Yorkshire,” and Zachary DuBois, for his poster “Stress response and immune function during sex transition: Perceived stress, ambulatory blood-pressure, and immune function among transgendered men.”
The Publications committee is overseeing revisions of the Human Biology textbook. It is currently soliciting reviewers and editors and publisher are also getting reviews. The process is well underway. Deb C. encouraged the authors to attend to the reviews quickly so that the new version would be out next year. In addition, there was a request from Bill Leonard, Thom McDade, Chris Kuzawa, and Geoff Hayes to create a workbook to accompany the text. A prospectus will come to the HBA Executive Committee. There was a motion to accept the report, which was seconded. The report was unanimously accepted. There was one abstention from the committee chair.
Report from the American Association for the Advancement of Science Representative
Michael Little gave the AAAS affiliate report. There was nothing truly exciting to report from this year's meeting in San Diego—perhaps a bit of a lull after the Darwin sessions from the previous years (11 sessions from our section vs. none this year). He discussed the need to develop a 2-year plan for encouraging symposia by Section H and announced Section H officers (Bob Sussmann is chair; Clark Larson is new chair; Cynthia Beall is chair-elect; Eugenie Scott is retired chair and runs the nominations committee). Membership among cultural anthropologists is down among Section H—right now the section is run mostly by biological anthropologists and they are trying to address this situation. He announced the new fellows (including HBA members Gary James and Lynnette Leidy). The deadline for symposia is the end of April, which is late for us given the timing of our meetings. Proposals likely to be supported are those with contributors already committed and those that have a diversity of views and institutions represented and interesting ideas. Members were encouraged to contact Mike L. about ideas for symposia. Section H is alive and well, and he encouraged people to attend the AAAS meetings. Gary James noted that Mike L. is stepping down as our Section H representative. He has asked Cynthia Beall to serve and she has agreed. There was a motion to accept the report and it was seconded. The report was unanimously accepted.
Report from the Student Committee
Richard Bender gave the student report. Student membership was down as of March 1, 2010, but is expected to increase with those renewing or joining at or just after the meetings. Many students couldn't come to the meetings due to lack of funding. Facebook page membership has increased to 35 and the meeting program and student reception information was posted on FB. The student representatives are trying to turn the FB site into a more interactive site and good resource for students as well as a venue for students to report any concerns. Thom McDade will post a link to the FB site on the HBA website and the student representative names on the HBA website. Richard B. thanked the Executive Committee for not increasing student dues. Student reception will be tonight in the Potters room and this year there will be two “how to get a job” tables. This event is a highlight of the meetings for student members—a fantastic opportunity unique to HBA. He thanked HBA for support and the table leaders for participating in the reception. There was a motion to accept the report and it was seconded. The report was unanimously accepted.
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE REPORTS
Virginia Vitzthum gave the Program Committee report. This year there was a 10% increase in presentations, including 43 student presentations. The format of meeting remained the same and people seem to like it. We are still able to construct a program with no concurrent sessions. Ninety-eight percent of abstracts were accepted. All were reviewed by two of four on the program committee. Reasons for rejection included the material being unrelated to human biology or the same material was presented last year. She thanked the program committee for great work on a tight schedule. Applied research remains popular. Everyone who requests a podium presentation gets one every 4 years. She thanked the student representatives for their work on reception. She also thanked Bill Leonard, Andrea Wiley, Lorena Madrigal for coordinating the hotel, and Keith Hunley and Martin Muller at University of New Mexico for help with local arrangements. Next year will be Virginia V.'s last year as program chair and there will be an election for program chair next year. She encouraged members to consider self-nomination and noted that she will be available for questions from people interested in the position; she is willing to be “on call” for the new person.
Noël Cameron commented that there was no room for questions within the time limitations for podium papers, and this was a real loss. Virginia V. responded that this issue is in the call for abstracts, and she will emphasize to authors in acceptance note to limit their time. Thom McDade added that he likes discussion at the end of the session (especially among a group of linked papers). Virginia V. asked the membership for other thoughts and ideas. Lorna Moore noted that often those questions tend to be addressed to the last speaker. Tony Way suggested that discussion be scheduled into the program so that authors know that they should anticipate questions. Dennis O'Rourke commented that discussion after the last paper works well, especially if a paper cancels. Lorna Moore asked whether there could be named discussants? Bill Leonard suggested that all presenters should sit at the front as in a panel; that way during discussion at the end it is easier to address questions to members of the panel. Mike Little noted that the last papers really do get the bulk of questions. Virginia V. added that podium sessions are not always organized around a theme. Deb Crooks commented that she likes both ways of adding in discussion, but if we schedule discussion time at the end of sessions we will lose a paper slot, so it would be better to schedule time within the paper time limitations. Virginia V noted that 4 of 24 papers would need to be eliminated if we scheduled the discussion at end. Ben Campbell argued that discussion is essential. Perhaps there should be a theme for the meeting? It would allow people to think about how their work relates to the theme. Virginia V. responded that there are many theme-based sessions at AAPA and that the HBA plenary session is theme-based. She has been committed to idea that members are able to present material regardless of relation to a particular theme. Thom McDade asked whether we could try a discussion at end for one session next year? Virginia responded that there are lots of opportunities to discuss outside of formal session structure.
Lorna Moore proposed that the membership take a vote on the issue. Virginia V. proposed a straw poll: Should there be discussion after each paper or at the end of a session? Ralph Garruto asked whether we could extend sessions to 5:30 PM rather than having them end at 5:00 PM. Virginia V responded that the program already generates long days. A straw poll was taken to assess how many members would prefer 15 min at the end of sessions. Six responded that they like this option. The majority were in favor of a few minutes scheduled for questions at the end of each paper. Virginia V. finished by noting that there were complaints that coffee at mid-morning and afternoon breaks ran out because AAPA registrants had taken it all. She will suggest to AAPA colleagues that the refreshments are part of registration and if they wish to partake they should register for the HBA meetings.
There was a motion to accept the Program Committee report and it was seconded. The report was unanimously accepted.
Dennis O'Rourke gave the membership report. Membership fluctuates but data indicate that membership is stable with numbers between 200 and 250. As of March 1, 2010 there were 190 members, which was a small increase from last year. So, the seemingly low number is neither a trend nor a concern. Two thirds of the membership from the United States, and overall members come from 15 countries. One international member apologetically indicated that they were resigning their membership. There was no explanation and this appears to be an isolated case. About half of membership is comprised of fellows, followed by student members, regular members, and emeriti. This year there were three applications for fellows: David Coall (University of Western Australia), Catherine Willamette (University of Central Michigan), and Ed Hagen (Washington State University). There was a motion to accept the report and it was seconded. The report was unanimously accepted.
Thom McDade gave the public relations report. The redesigned website is easy to update and we have added pages for Boas award winners, Pearl lecturers, and student prizes. Content from the journal, including special issues and features will be on home page. He drafted a media advisory for the meeting, which went through the UNM media outlet and highlighted the plenary and other sessions. It is important for us to alert the media to our meetings. This year we would like to update the list of graduate programs, which is quite out of date, with an article on graduate programs like that published in the AJHB in 1996. He would like to do something systematic, perhaps with an e-mail blast to membership eliciting information about graduate programs in human biology and questions that would be useful to help frame any prose about graduate training. We also will update the association logo. Lorna Moore suggested a contest among students to come up with a new logo. There was a motion to accept the report and it was seconded. The report was unanimously accepted.
International member relations
Gary James gave the International Relations report, since Hilton da Silva was not present. Hilton S. is proposing a joint session with the Latin American Biological Anthropology organization and the HBA. More information will be forthcoming and posted on the website. Suggestions for themes are welcome. He will work to increase international membership and update website information for international members. There was a motion to accept the report and it was seconded. The report was unanimously accepted.
Bylaws changes were unanimously approved by the voting membership. Boxes of archival materials were sent to Binghamton University for sorting and preparation for archiving at the Smithsonian National Anthropological Archives. Work on this will start this summer.
The question has arisen as to whether members would be interested in getting e-journal only subscription to AJHB. We will survey membership to gauge interest.
The Executive Committee approved an increase in meeting registration fees: Pre-registration fees for fellows and members will increase from 75$ to 90$. Nonmember fees will increase from 90$ to 120$. Student rates will remain unchanged at 30$.
Some members have expressed an interest in “interest group meetings” at the annual meetings. At the Executive Committee meeting, it was determined that these might be squeezed in at noon on Wednesdays. The question was raised as to what constitutes an interest group. Perhaps these are better conceived as “break-out sessions.” To schedule them for the meetings we can include a call for these among the Call for Papers. Those wishing to have such a session on the schedule would need to write one paragraph or so describing their purpose, which would justify the work needed to find a room and get these scheduled. The program chair could set up between one and four break-out sessions Wednesday at noon. Some venues are very tight on space, so our ability to schedule these is dependent on available space. Tony Way suggested that breakfast is another meeting time option.
Another item of new business is a proposal for a workbook in Human Biology, envisioned as a complement to the Human Biology textbook. This was discussed at the Executive Committee meeting. The committee will review a prospectus to see what this would look like.
Members are encouraged to develop and submit proposals for future Plenary sessions.
Joan Stevenson gave a spoken tribute to Michael Grimes, a recently deceased member of the association.
Gary James, whose term as president has now come to an end, thanked the association and invited Bill Leonard to adjourn the meeting.
Bill Leonard thanked program committee for such a great program this year.
There was a move to adjourn, and the meeting adjourned at 6:15 PM.
The Annual Awards Luncheon was held on Thursday April 15, 2010. Alexandra Brewis announced the two Edward E. Hunt award winners for 2010: Mwenza Blell, for her presentation, “Timing of menopause among British Pakistani women in West Yorkshire,” and Zachary DuBois, for his poster “Stress response and immune function during sex transition: Perceived stress, ambulatory blood-pressure, and immune function among transgendered men” (Fig. 1).
This year the Boas award was presented to Lorna G. Moore. Dr. Moore was introduced by Christie Rockwell with these remarks:
Good Afternoon. I am pleased to introduce this year's recipient of the Franz Boas Distinguished Achievement Award. Since 1996 this award has been given annually to a member of our Association in recognition of their exemplary contributions in science, scholarship, and professional service. Dr. Lorna Moore's accomplishments span a career of over 35 years and reflect her keen intellect, her integrative, ground-breaking approach to research design, and her remarkable capacity for leadership that is so essential in scientific research. Her research is rigorous, empirically based, often experimental, globally situated, and has been instrumental in theoretical advances in the field of human adaptation.
Dr. Moore's exploration of human occupation of high-altitude environments is well known to many of you. But some may not realize that she is also an expert in vascular biology, reproductive physiology, maternal-fetal health, perinatal medicine, and biocultural anthropology. She has received grant support from the NIH—both the NHLBI and NICHD—as well as the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation and other private funding sources such as the National Heart Association, totaling multiple millions of dollars.
She has published approximately 200 scholarly articles with extraordinary impact. A cited references analysis completed through the Web of Science data base reveals the far-reaching scope; over 3,000 authors have cited Dr. Moore's work in their own publications. About 20% of these citations appear in the Physiology literature, 19% in Sport Sciences, 10% in publications in Endocrinology and Metabolism, 8.5% in Reproductive Biology, and a significant number of the citations of her work also appear in the literatures of obstetrics/gynecology, public health, respiratory physiology, general medicine, biochemistry/molecular biology, and genetics.
From the outset of her career, Dr. Moore has investigated physiological mechanisms that underlie human adaptation. Her early work focused on red blood cell physiology and hemoglobin function in high-altitude populations, she incorporated animal modeling to enhance the understanding of mechanisms and attended to the unique physiology of females. Her early work soon expanded to broader considerations of cardiovascular and pulmonary function in high-altitude populations. By the early 1980s Dr. Moore and colleagues were generating data that directly addressed the fitness consequences of life at high altitude by studying the impact of high altitude on infant birth weight and maternal health. A central question in these investigations was whether populations with a long history of residence at high altitude exhibit “protection” from the effects of hypobaric hypoxia which could suggest there was an underlying genetic adaptation to high altitude. Dr. Moore has pursued this question in the natural laboratories of the Himalayas in Tibet, the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and the Andes in Bolivia.
Beginning in the 1990s Dr. Moore's work increasingly focused on the effect of hypoxia on maternal vascular biology during pregnancy—work that details the impact of hypoxia on oxygen delivery to the fetus. Three major NIH grants in succession went toward projects which examined hypoxia's perturbation of neurohormonal and ovarian steroid influences on the maternal systemic and uterine circulations. In the late 1990s and into the new century Dr. Moore launched into additional areas that query the genetic basis for population-level differences in the response of maternal vasculature to hypoxia. Her rapid adoption of new technologies in functional genomics to investigate the fitness consequences of high-altitude living is representative of her style of innovative research design and interdisciplinary work.
Beyond her extensive research program, Dr. Moore has been a leader in professional service. Her many administrative posts culminated in her current position as the Dean of the Graduate School at Wake Forest University where she is leading the redesign and expansion of graduate education at an expanding, major research institution. She is a wonderful ambassador from our field.
Finally, I want to comment on the outstanding level of support Dr. Moore provides to her collaborators, trainees, and students. Her energy seems unbounded, she is always optimistic and fosters the strength and potential of students and colleagues alike. Please join me in offering a warm welcome to our past HBA president, and this year's recipient of the Boas Award, Dr. Lorna Grindlay Moore.
Dr. Moore followed with a powerpoint presentation of some of the directions of her current research on high-altitude adaptation. Using epidemiological, physiological, and genomic approaches, Lorna Grindlay Moore and her colleagues have shown convincingly that multigenerational high-altitude populations, namely Andeans and Tibetans, are protected from altitude-associated fetal growth restriction. Such a response is likely to benefit survival (not only during neonatal and infant life but perhaps also later in life since there would be a corresponding protection from the effects of “fetal programming”). Her remarks reviewed the studies that have been done to demonstrate the probable mechanisms by which populations are protected. Interestingly, the Andean women have physiological response to pregnancy that resemble those of women residing at low altitude, despite their residence at 3,600 m or higher, whereas pregnant newcomers at high altitude have curtailed physiological adjustments to pregnancy, implying that the low-altitude phenotype is optimal in terms of maternal and fetal well-being. Recent publications document the roles of maternal circulatory and vascular factors in protecting Andeans. Current studies are aimed at identifying the specific genes involved and testing the hypothesis that genes regulating or that are regulated by the oxygen-sensitive HIF (hypoxia inducible factor) pathway are central in such protection. Of note is that Dr. Moore and her colleagues were the first to publish a genomic study of high-altitude adaptation (Human Genomics 2009;4:79-90) and their more complete comparisons of Andean and Tibetan genome adaptation to high altitude are currently in press at PLoS Genetics (Fig. 2).
2010 Plenary Session and Raymond Pearl Memorial Lecture
The 2010 Human Biology Association Plenary Session, “Human Biology and the Brain” was held on Wednesday April 14, 2010. The session was designed to expose human biologists to recent developments in neuroscience of direct relevance to the study of human biology and their potential contribution to a human biology that links brain and body. The session was organized by Benjamin Campbell (Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
In the plenary session leading up to the Pearl Memorial Lecture, Achim Peters (University of Lubbock, Germany) gave a presentation “Build-ups in the supply chain of the brain: on the neuroenergetic cause of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus,” which was a brief, but crystal clear description of his extensive Selfish Brain Theory. He detailed the physiological mechanisms by which the brain maintains its own energy supply over that of the body, and concluded that adequate “brain pull” may be a critical marker of organismal hemostasis over the life span. In the “The Evolution of Meningeal Vascular System in the Human Genus: from Brain shape to Thermoregulation” Emiliano Bruner (Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana, Spain) combined endocranial angiotomography in living humans and thermic modeling to investigate brain thermoregulation. The finding that the middle meningeal artery exhibits little blood flow in modern human adults is a real shocker, with clear implications for its role hominid brain evolution. Benjamin Campbell's presentation “Adrenarche in comparative perspective” compared developmental trajectories of adrenal hormones, cortical glucose utilization, and neurodevelopment across rodents, primates, and humans to place human adrenarche in phylogenetic context. He conjectured that adrenarche provide neuroprotection for slow developing human brain regions integrating neural inputs from a growing body with emerging prefrontal function.
Chet Sherwood (Department of Anthropology, George Washington) presented “Defining the evolved human brain phenotype,” an overview of neurobiological features underlying unique human behavioral capacities and their development with a focus on language as a key adaptation. In “Epigenetics, imprinting and human disease susceptibility, Ralph Garruto (Department of Anthroplogy, Binghamton University) presented an engaging retrospective on his long-term investigations of neurodegenerative diseases in the Pacific, weaving together epidemiology, neurobiology, ecology, and cultural practices. Last, but not least Eric Vallender's (New England Primate Center, Harvard Medical School) presentation “Comparative genetic approaches to the evolution of human brain and behavior” took a forward-looking perspective on the ability of genetic evidence to help unravel the mysteries of human brain evolution. He noted that the on-going explosion of primate genomic sequencing will be boon for understanding the human brain in comparative perspective.
In the Raymond Pearl Memorial Lecture “The von Economo neurons” John Allman (Department of Biology, California Institute of Technology), gave a tour-de force overview of the von Economo neurons (VENs) and their role in the human brain. He made a compelling case for the importance of VENs in linking social decision-making among humans and great apes to signals of somatic status. In addition, he was able to provide immunological evidence that the VENS are related to similar neurons in the mouse brain, suggesting that the VENs in humans represent a phylogenetic elaboration of neural mechanisms embedded in our deep mammalian heritage (Fig. 3).