Each year, the outgoing Chair proposes committee memberships and they are discussed and agreed at the Annual Meeting in March. After each election, the current Chair congratulates those elected, refers them to the Bylaws and Operating procedures, and gently points out the expected workload. The current Chair, Chair-Elect, and Vice Chair meet with the newly elected Vice Chair prior to the Regular Executive Committee meeting in March. 

A vacancy in any other elected office shall be filled with an interim appointment (or left unfilled) by the Executive Committee until such time as the vacancy can be filled by regular election procedures. If possible, such a vacancy should be filled by a Member at Large (and a new interim Member at Large then appointed). Bylaws give the Chair sole discretion to appoint an interim MAL, a best practice may be to ask a candidate who was willing to serve on the ballot in a recent election, but not elected. We know they were willing to serve and they were already considered by the Nominations Committee.  After the next election, the interim officer can return to being Member at Large if their term is still ongoing. Alternatively, the interim officer is eligible to stand for the next election if chosen by the Nominations committee.

Bylaws give the Chair sole discretion to appoint an interim MAL. A best practice will be to ask one of the unsuccessful candidates in the recent election. We know they were willing to serve when being asked to run, and the Nominations Committee considered them already.

Duties of Officers

In addition to duties described in the Bylaws:

  • The Chair has overall responsibility for the operation of the Division, shall set the agenda of the Executive Committee and Business meetings, and preside at all meetings of the Executive Committee and Business Session of the Division, when possible.

  • The Secretary/Treasurer maintains Minutes and Governance on DBIO’s APS website: To request changes, use the service desk:

  • The Secretary/Treasurer manages the budget and handles requests for reimbursement.

  • It is advised that the unit Chair and the Secretary/Treasurer meet regularly to operate the DBIO businesses.

  • It is advised the Chairline meet as needed to share information of committee operations and formulate multi-year strategies for improving DBIO operations.

  • According to By-laws Article V.3, to hold an Executive Committee meeting, a majority of the voting members, including at least two Officers, shall constitute a quorum. Note: “Past Chair”, last of a Chairline, is not an Officer according to DBIO’s by-laws. Past Chair, a member of the Executive Committee, mostly serves as a role to oversee and share institutional knowledge with the DBIO officers and other members on the Executive Committee. The interpretation of by-laws may vary from year to year. The Executive Committee will discuss these changes and vote on the Operating Procedures that serve as a blueprint of governance for the following cycle.

  • In compliance with Article VIII of the DBIO by-laws regarding the selection of new memberships on the committees by the out-going unit Chair in consultation with the Executive Committee, a list of selections, particularly the ones on the Fellowship and Awards committees, should be reviewed by the Executive Committee with sufficient time before the Regular Executive Meeting at the APS March Meeting. The Executive Committee will exercise their fiduciary duty to review the processes of the past year and approve the operating procedures with sufficient time by the Regular Executive Meeting at the APS March Meeting.

  • APS recently updated the “Honors Policies and Procedures” including the articles for the Selection Committee Composition.  “H4.2 Selection Committee Composition: Selection committees should be composed of a chair, vice chair, and additional members. The vice chair serves one year before moving into the chair position to serve one additional year as chair. Units without a selection-committee chair and vice chair process like this should adopt and follow a process that ensures continuity, information transfer, and institutional memory from year to year.” DBIO’s Fellowship Committee is chaired by a newly appointed Vice Chair and has no “past chair” according to our Bylaws. A solution to meet the requirement of APS H4.2 is that DBIO will keep the Vice Chair as past chair on the Fellowship Committee in the following year.

Meetings of Chairline and Executive Committee

Each year, the Chair sets regular (typically ~quarterly) meetings of the Executive Committee. While most work is done at the committee level, it is recommended to have at least the following meetings of the full ExComm:

  • March - In person at the March Meeting

  • April/May - Virtual, to “Onboard” new committee members.

  • July/August - Needed if there are any unit processes

  • January/February - (1 or 2 meetings) Virtual, to review processes of past year, approve Operating Procedures.

  • The Chair sets the agenda of each Executive Committee meeting and the Secretary/Treasurer shares the meeting agenda to the members in advance.

  • The Chair sends updates to the Executive Committee members regularly (~bimonthly).

Recordkeeping and Transparency

  • Rubrics used by the different selection committees should be recorded in the Operating Procedures.

  • The S/T should record (and make available as needed) a list of all candidates who ran in the election (not just the winners).

  • Committees should strive to communicate clearly to applicants or nominees what makes for a strong application or nomination.

Expectations of Professional Conduct

    • Adhere to APS Ethical Guidelines

    • All discussions within Committees are to be kept confidential. 

      • Nomination information is to be discarded after deliberations.

    • Committee members are responsible for self-identifying Conflicts of Interest they have with nominations and applications being discussed.

      • COI definition is found here and any reason you may have bias for a nomination/case.

      • Disclose your COI to the Cmte Chair prior to opening nomination materials.

      • The committee comes to unanimous agreement on how COI should be dealt with.

Unit Conflict Resolution

If a conflict should arise, all attempts to resolve amicably within a committee should be made. As needed, the current DBIO Chair can be solicited for advice. The past DBIO chair serves as ombudsperson. Guidance on APS unit operations can also be obtained from Cortney Bougher at APS. Questions about policies for APS Honors, Award & Fellowship Committees should be directed to Jacob Robertson at APS (Honors Program Manager, American Physical Society,

Best Practices for Constituting Intentionally Diverse Committees and Programs

In all activities, DBIO officers and committees strive to reflect, and improve upon, the diversity of our community. This includes diversity across multiple axes including (but not limited to): gender and gender identity; members of historically marginalized groups; disability status, ethnicity; category of institution or employment (including higher education/industry/national lab, and within education, undergrad-serving vs research colleges and universities); geographic location; scientific field and expertise; and academic lineage. Including members with intersectional diverse identities is valuable. Particular effort should be made to include groups historically marginalized in STEM.



2023 Committee: (Chair) Joshua Shaevitz


This is an ad hoc unit activity (not in bylaws). The current DBIO Chair is in charge of canvassing activities, obtains help from the Executive Committee and other members as needed. The activities done to solicit a diverse nomination/application pool of APS Fellows and Delbruck Prize Nominees and Nominations for Executive Cmte were as follows:


  • DBIO S&T maintains a google form throughout the year to solicit ideas for strong individuals for nominations for honors and ExComm. This form was advertised at our Business meeting, as well as several emails and tweets in the spring 2022.   

  • Emails were sent out to all DBIO members asking for their input for nominations. ExComm was requested to submit names to google sheet. 

  • In April, a list of all fellowship eligible APS members and the list of active/rollover fellowship nominations from APS Honors.  The list was to identify strong applicants for Canvassing Chair to reach out to individuals who could serve as nominators for strong candidates - these were senior colleagues who had previously served as mentors or collaborators.  

  • Canvassing for Delbruck may require a multi-year plan and improvements should be made. Activities done in 2023, several potential nominators were contacted by the Canvassing Chair.

  • Canvassing should be done by the Canvassing Chair for the Thesis prize in future years. 

  • Canvassing for Nominations Cmte included obtaining a list of all APS-DBIO members as well as a list of all folks who previously agreed to serve on the ballot (whether or not they were elected or not). ExComm was asked if they’d be willing to help; several members helped identify strong members. 

  • The S&T maintained the spreadsheets. Given the sensitive nature of canvassing, this information should be kept confidential. 


Eligibility of nominators:


  • Any individual, except a member of the selection committee, may participate in one nomination per year for a given honor. Participating in a nomination is considered serving as a nominator, serving as a co-sponsor, or writing a letter in support of a nomination submitted by another individual. See APS’ nomination guidelines.


Example canvassing email:


Dear Professor XXX,


As Chair of the Division of Biological Physics of the American Physical Society, I am writing to suggest that you may be a strong candidate for the APS Max Delbruck Prize in Biological Physics, which recognizes and encourages outstanding achievement in biological physics research. You are among the most highly cited and well respected leaders in our field and it would be my honor to work with a nominator to prepare a packet for nominating you for this award. The instructions for preparing a nomination packet can be found below. The deadline is June 1st. Please let me know if you have more questions for me or questions about the selection process of the Delbruck Prize.  If you wish, please provide the contact information of a nominator whom I can further reach out to.



XXX, Ph.D.

Chair, APS Division of Biological Physics

Delbruck Prize Committee

2023 Committee: Zuzanna Siwy (chair), Xiaoqin Zou (2024 vice chair), Arup Chakraborty, Ajay Gopinathan, Carlos Bustamante (note: Honors committee such as Fellowship, Delbruck, Early Career, and Doctoral Thesis award, will need an overlapping Vice chair on the committee who will serve in the next year’s committee from now on according to the APS’ pending policies. Xiaoqin Zou will be Chair for 2024 Delbruck Committee).


  • Composition: See Bylaws. Fellows may be drawn on for this duty. Committee members must agree that all their deliberations, and the contents of all nominations, are confidential. No Early Career members on this committee.


  • The Canvassing Chair (DBIO Chair) solicited nominations for those persons to help ensure a strong pool. Candidates are not restricted to be DBIO members, nor even to be APS members, or in physics departments.


  • APS supplies committee Chair with detailed procedures and with all nominations, once the deadline has passed.


  • DBIO Chair charges committee to consider diversity in all the above aspects. Diversity can also involve levels of biological organization, theory vs experiment, class of institution, established versus new research areas.


  • Committee Chair (Xie in 2022 and Siwy in 2023) discussed a selection rubric for evaluation and scoring and the case of conflict of interest (e.g. conflicted committee member is excused for part of the discussion). Committee members should not themselves nominate any candidate, though they may previously have done so for an active holdover candidate.


  • Before examining nominations, each year's committee should begin by coming to a consensus on philosophy of the award; for example, "To consider the impact of nominee's research on Biological Physics and Physics more broadly." The committee has had the flexibility to decide for themselves the relative weights of these considerations as well as:

    • Single breakthrough versus sustained career accomplishment.

    • Impact outside Biological Physics  versus inside.

    • Impact through mentoring versus primary literature contributions.

    • International vs US, with the overarching goal that we wish to identify a scientist whom we are proud to hold up as a model. We prefer to award the prize to one scientist in the same year.


A selection rubric for evaluation & scoring used in 2022

The selection committee met to create a rubric for evaluation of the nomination packets. The following selection criteria were evaluated and used in the quantitative scoring:

A. Quality of research achievement (onetime or lifetime) (eg. originality, innovation…)

B. Discovery of new principles or invention of new technology in biological physics

C. Impact on physics, biology, and/or medicine (biol. Phys. research is often multidisciplinary)

D. Diversity (gender & ethnic groups)

The first three criteria were equally weighted in the scoring. The averaged scores from the first three criteria (A-C) were used to rank the nominees. The diversity score was used as a tiebreaker if the top two nominees are close in their scores.


The quantitative evaluation data and the final selection in 2022

We ranked the nominees based on their average scores. After scoring, the selection committee met via Zoom to discuss the research achievements and impacts of the top two nominees. The final selection was made by anonymous votes. One mechanism was designed in advance and used to ensure rational votes (not to be pursued by an eloquent committee member). The selection committee members were allowed to have more than 24 hours to process the information from the Zoom meeting before casting their anonymous votes


  • DBIO Chair as an ex officio to confirm diversity is carefully discussed. DBIO Chair only votes in case of deadlock. Otherwise, the committee has no discussion with the Excomm to ensure independence.


  • Committee chair forwards a decision directly to the APS and waits for APS approval. The committee chair sends the report and informs the decision  to the Unit Chair  as a courtesy. The decision is not to be shared with anyone else, including awardee. It is easy to forget this, so the committee chair firmly instructs the committee.  


In 2023, the procedure as detailed for the 2022 selection was followed. Once the rubric for scoring had been established, the committee members reviewed the candidates they did not have conflict with. The scores were forwarded to the Chair who compiled all scores in all categories. A table with total scores was sent to all committee members and became the starting point for identifying the prize recipient in the subsequent meeting. In 2023, it was decided unanimously that the voting could occur during the meeting after the discussion.


The Chair prepared the documentation required by the APS and shared the draft with committee members for their input.

Community Engagement Committee

2023 Committee: Nancy Forde (Chair), Armita Nourmohammad (Vice Chair, chair  for 2024), Margaret Cheung, Ajay Gopinathan, Sarthak Gupta, Sarah Marzen, Mohammad Nooranidoost, Alice Pyne, Orrin Shindell, David Sivak


For 2023-2024, the community engagement committee undertook two main tasks. Member Sarah Marzen continued to provide ~quarterly newsletters to the DBIO community, which summarize DBIO-sponsored events and promote APS-related opportunities such as awards, publications, etc. She was assisted in newsletter preparation by Orrin Shindell and Alice Pyne. We also continued to organize and host approximately monthly online events throughout the year.  The following is the operating procedure that was followed, which should be re-evaluated annually to see if this process best serves the ongoing needs of our diverse DBIO community.

The engagement committee met in April 2023 and planned a series of monthly events during the year. Members each volunteered to lead one event in an area of interest to them. This helped to distribute the workload!  The working spreadsheet is accessible here: When finalized, information about events was posted to the APS DBIO page, here:

We aimed for a range of events that could cover a variety of interests in the DBIO community, hoping to have “something for everyone”. Events were led by different members of the DBIO Engagement Committee, ranging from our postdoc members and assistant professors through to senior professors. When selecting panelists for the events, organizers were advised to ensure that diverse voices were found.

For each event, the following operating procedure was followed:

  1. Once date, time, title, panelists and description were confirmed by the organizer, the committee chair (Nancy) did the following:

    1. Request that APS set up a Zoom link for the event (

    2. Once the Zoom link was set, request that APS update our events page with the description of the event and a Zoom registration link (

    3. Once the website was live, request that the event organizer/moderator take responsibility for advertising. The following instructions were sent:

Example Email to the event organizer/moderator:

“The website and Zoom registration link for “your” DBIO event are now live:

Can you please do the following?

  • Post to Engage, advertising the event and including a link to the Zoom registration and to our Workshops & Networking page.  

  • 2 weeks prior to the event, ask Andrew Mugler to send an email about the event to all DBIO members

  • Post a reminder to Engage ~5 days prior to your event 

  • Send info to Sarah Marzen to Tweet [Sarah handled our DBIO Twitter account]

  • Ask panellists to complete the permission form so we can post a recording after the event: APS Permission Agreement form

  • Ask Sarah Marzen to include information about this event in the next newsletter.”

  1. APS opens the event on Zoom and readies it for recording. They transfer host duties to the moderator and/or the Chair of the Engagement Committee 15 minutes prior to the event start. We hit record when the event starts. Chair of the Engagement Committee makes a brief intro to the DBIO engagement committee and encourages attendees to attend future events, view past events on our website. Then moderator runs the event. Scheduled for 60 minutes; good to keep to this, though some events had discussions that continued briefly afterwards.

  1. APS sends a notification to the Chair of the Engagement Committee that the recording is available on their YouTube channel. The Chair of the Engagement Committee requests a website update ( to replace the Zoom registration link with a link to the video recording.

  1. The Chair of the Engagement Committee notifies Newsletter Editor (Sarah) that a recording is available, so they can review it and write up a description of the event for the DBIO newsletter.

Attendance at online events ranged from 7 to 64.  Best attended events included Non-academic careers for biological physicists, Preparing for and navigating the academic job market: From grad students to faculty, and PRX Life – what’s it all about and why you should care.  Smallest attendance were for niche (though still important!) audiences including a PUI Networking event and a Postdoc event, as well as our “How to get involved with APS and DBIO” event that we had hoped would encourage people to self-nominate for positions in the executive.

Membership Engagement Committee

2022 Committee: (Chair) Jianhua Xing

2023 Committee: (Chair) Jianhua Xing, (Vice Chair) Noah Mitchell 

In year 2023 - 2024, this committee undertook two main tasks aiming to expand the membership of the division.

One traditional task of the committee is to organize the membership engagement activities at the APS March meeting. The following procedure was followed:

  1. Through discussions with the engagement committee members, the committee works out a purchase plan of swags and reusable materials, and sends the plan to the executive committee for approval. This should happen at least two months before the March Meeting. For items bearing APS logos, the committee should check APS policy and contact APS representatives for approval if needed. The committee has used a number of vendors, and one of them is 4imprint. It generally takes weeks to get the orders shipped. 

  2. In early February, APS (Jennifer Ruberto [APS] <>) will send an email to the Unit Chair about the need of volunteers email addresses for Badge Scanning. The Unit Chair needs to look out for this email and delegate this communication to the membership committee chair. The membership committee chair sets up a signup sheet, solicits volunteers through division newsletters and other social means, and provides the list of volunteers to APS. An example signup sheet can be found here. The volunteers need to install the APS app and activate before the meeting. It is recommended that the chair communicates with the volunteers in advance.

  3. During the meeting, the division will have one table for the committee members to interact with current and potential DBiol members, with swags imprinted with the DBIO logo distributed. The volunteers introduce the divisions, distribute the swags, and scan badges of potential new members. 

To further reach out to potential members who may not attend the APS March Meeting, the committee also initializes an off-meeting membership drive. The committee has organized an image-contest to celebrate the diversity of biological physics research. An Engage website showing a collection of the submissions is here. The committee suggests similar events in the future. Below is the procedure the committee has followed:
1) Create a google drive folder for submission. Send out a solicitation through Engage, division newsletter, and other social media. Make sure that the letter includes the words “the submitters grant permission to APS DBIO to modify, reuse, and distribute the image”.

2) The committee reviews submissions, and selects top designs for membership-drive T-shirts, flyers, and stickers.

3) Work with the APS engage team to set up a gallery webpage, distribute to the community, and encourage community members to help on distributing the flyers, and print out T-shirts themselves.

The DBIO compensates the MM registration fee for the Chair of the Membership Committee as this position requires the Chair to stay throughout most of the week during the MM and especially to arrive early to set up the membership Table at the MM site and coordinate the volunteers’ schedules.


Example Email

Dear colleagues,

DBIO invites you to submit a striking image representing diverse research in biological physics for use on DBIO t-shirts which will be available at the 2024 March Meeting, as well as in DBIO flyers and other media.

To submit your design, upload your file at this link.

Vector graphics, PDF, or PNG file formats are preferred. We recommend a resolution of at least 1200 x 1200 pixels. By submitting the image, you grant permission to APS DBIO to modify, reuse, and distribute the image.

Any researcher can participate. Please help on spreading the words. A membership of APS or APS/DBIO is NOT required. We would like to use this event to advocate biological physics research and attract new members to our division.

We have extended the deadline to November 1, 2023.

Thank you for your participation and support of our Division!

DBIO Membership Committee
Jianhua Xing & Noah Mitchell

Program Committee

  1. Committee Composition:


    According to the by-law:

    “The Program Committee shall consist of the Chair-Elect, the Chair, the Vice-Chair, the Secretary-Treasurer, and three Members-at-Large appointed by the Chair, upon the recommendation of the Chair-Elect, to staggered three-year terms. “


    2021 committee:

    Margaret Cheung (Chair, program chair for DBIO March 2022), Josh Shaevitz (2023 program chair), Margaret Gardel (2021 program chair), Moumita Das, Omar Saleh, Taras Pogorelov, Serena Bradde

    2022 Committee: Josh Shaevitz (Chair, Program chair for DBIO March Meeting 2023) 

    Ajay Gopinathan (Tutorial, 2024 Program Chair), Margaret Cheung (2022 program chair), Mugler, Manley, Xing, Forde

    2023 Committee: Ajay Gopinathan (Chair, Program chair for DBIO March Meeting 2024), Arpita Upadhyaya (Tutorial, 2024 Program Chair), Joshua Shaevitz (2023 program chair), Andrew Mugler, Nancy Forde, Suliana Manley, Alison Patteson, Agnes Curatolo (PRL biological physics associate editor)

    The APS March Meeting Handbook will be sent to the DBIO Program Chair at the end of April (April 25 for MM23, April 20 for MM 24). At the same time, APS will also set up the first Program Committee meeting to begin planning the March Meeting (held on April 28, 2023 for MM 24). It is advisable to have a representative present as important information is covered in this and subsequent meetings. 

    The MM handbook (March Meeting 2024 Program Committee Handbook) contains a large amount of information about running the meeting and all relevant APS deadlines. This set of Operating Procedures outlines the main tasks for the Program Committee and DBIO volunteers as a whole. There are many other smaller tasks that the Program Chair carries out and are not discussed below but are well-covered in the APS March Meeting Handbook.

  2. Focus Session Topics  

    Focus sessions are the primary mode for DBIO talks. There is no limit to the number of focus topics that DBIO can sponsor at the March Meeting. 

    Early in April (April 1, 2023 for MM 24), APS will send the Program Chair a sheet with all the focus topics from the last meeting along with their abstract counts and a request to finalize our list of focus topics for the next MM by a deadline (May 11 in 2024, June 3 in 2023).

    Pre-identified Focus Topics:  Based on the number of abstracts received in the previous MM (cut-off was 10 for MM 24), some topics were automatically carried over to the next year as “Pre-identified Focus Topics”. Once these topics are agreed upon by the Program Committee, an email is sent to the DBIO membership asking for volunteers to organize the Pre-identified Focus Topics via a Google Form (2024). Volunteers  are asked why they are interested, whether they would like to tweak the topic title and how they intend to advertise the session to maximize abstract submissions.

    New Focus Topics: New Focus Topics are solicited at the same time from the DBIO membership via a Google Form (2024). Volunteers Organizers are asked for a title, a description, estimates of aniticipated abstract submissions and how they intend to advertise the session to maximize abstract submissions.

    Submissions for both Google Forms were due on May 5, 2023. Submissions are discussed and approved by the Program Committee. As there is no cap to the number of topics, the committee's main goal is to make sure there is not significant overlap between two topics and to encourage a merging of topics if there is.

    The selected focus session organizers were then informed that we were moving forward with their sessions. A master list of focus session topics and organizers for each was shared with them. Organizers were assigned by the program committee from the volunteers based on fit and interests expressed, while maintaining a reasonable distribution across sessions.They were asked to provide descriptions of their focus sessions and select invited speakers (see section below on target number of invited speakers) as well broadly advertise their sessions.. For March Meeting 2024, we had 56 volunteer organizers.

    Focus topics and any “Standard Sorting Categories” (8 for DBIO in 2023) make up the set of sorting categories available during contributed abstract submission. DBIO had 41 total sorting categories in 2024. The final list of categories was due to APS on May 11, 2023, while the focus topic descriptions were due June 15, 2023.

    3. Invited Symposia and the APS’ “Invited Nomination System”  

    For the past two years, DBIO has “opted in” to the APS Invited Nomination System (Request due May 5, 2023). This is a very flexible system and different units use it differently. DBIO is closing in on an effective pipeline but there is room for improvement in the future. The system opened June 8 and closed on July 20, 2023

    Invited Symposia: The APS MM logistics team provides the quota (8 for 2024 and 2023) for Invited Symposia for each unit based on the size of participation over the past 5 years. It has also been the tradition for several years to host a Symposium organized by the Delbruck Prize winner (which is not decided by the nomination deadline), and thus the Program Committee must choose (N-1) Symposia.

    Invited Symposia are nominated through the APS Nomination System which opens on June 8 (2023) and has a submission deadline of July 20 (2023). Nominators are asked for a topic description, list of (confirmed) speakers, and talk titles. If the number of submissions is larger than (N-1), then the Program Committee must meet to select the final slate of symposia. The Nomination System allows submissions with speakers that are not confirmed. This has caused issues in the past and DBIO should make a concerted effort to make it known that nominators should secure commitments before submission and the Committee should only select symposia with confirmed speakers.

    The Program Chair and the Delbruck Prize Winner work together to select an appropriate set of diverse speakers for the Delbruck Symposium after the winner is selected. This is often a rushed process but has been successful in the past. 

    Invited Talks for Focus Sessions: The Focus Topics Volunteer Organizers are tasked with selecting invited speakers for the Focus Sessions. Each single focus session at the March Meeting can have one (ideal) or two (APS discourages)  invited speakers–a hard line for the APS. As the invited talk nominations are due before the contributed abstract submission, there is some noise in this process as we don’t know the final number of sessions for each topic. For the 2023 meeting, some focus topics had far too many invited speakers relative to the number of submitted contributed talks which caused problems during the sorting process. To alleviate this problem, a target number of invited speakers (column D in the master list ) was assigned for each topic. This was based on the number of contributed abstracts from MM 23 for these sessions and was essentially the number of sessions we projected for the topic with 1 invited speaker and 12 contributed abstracts. Target numbers for new focus sessions were set at 1 unless they are a combination of 2 distinct proposals (in which case it is 2). The purpose of having a target number was to make sure that we do not have too many (or few) invited speakers relative to contributed, which makes it hard to construct meaningful, full sessions. If speakers felt that their target number needed revision, they could petition (with a strong justification) and the program committee would adjust as needed. Very few requests were made and about half were accepted.

    4. Sorting the Contributed Abstracts

    After the deadline for contributed abstract submissions (October 20, 2023), the DBIO abstracts need to be sorted into sessions. Contributed sessions have either: 15 contributed talks; 12 contributed talks + 1 invited talk; or 9 contributed talks + 2 invited talks. In the sorting process, APS pushes for completely full sessions so the process must have some flexibility. Based on the total number of submissions, APS allots DBIO a number of total contributed sessions N=(Num_contributed + 3*Num_invited)/15. This is basically a hard cap from APS. For 2023, DBIO had 690 contributed submissions and 72 invited talks for focus sessions which resulted in 61 total sessions.

    Sorting happens in two phases. For Phase I, DBIO involved all of the  56 volunteers to do a rough sorting of the talks into sessions. Sorters were obtained from asking session organizers to volunteer at least one per topic with the Chair assigning the organizers as default. Communication was facilitated by the creation of a Slack group though APS had open zoom rooms during “sorting week” (Nov.14-17, 2023) that were open all day and mostly used. Sorting these rough groupings into the final sessions was performed by a smaller group of sorter team leads in Phase II. 

    A separate virtual meeting was abandoned for 2024 and instead there are virtual only sessions simultaneously with the in-person meeting.

    5. Tutorials/Short Courses

    Tutorials are separate workshops held on the Sunday before the March Meeting (March 3, 2024) consisting of four one-hour pedagogical talks on a specific topic. Each tutorial is four hours long (Morning tutorials are 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM, afternoon tutorials are 1:30 - 5:30 PM). Tutorials should be designed to bring researchers up to speed on a new or rapidly developing field or teach a technique to new users. The deadline to submit proposals for Tutorials is typically in July (July 21, 2023)

    Short Courses are unit-led and feature an intensive course on a particular topic relevant to that unit. They are typically one full day (8:30 AM to 5:30 PM) but may vary depending on the course structure and needs. Courses are designed for graduate students, postdocs, and other early-career scientists, though they are open to all conference attendees. The deadline to submit proposals for Short Courses is typically August / September (September 8, 2023)

    Proposals for Tutorials/Short Courses should include:

    1. A descriptive title

    2. A one-paragraph description addressing timeliness and relevance of the topic. This should include a list of potential specific topics that will be covered by each speaker. 

    3. Names of confirmed speakers with their affiliations and email addresses

    4. Target audience

    A reasonable procedure is to solicit the membership for tutorials/short courses of interest - both interest in attending and interest in delivering - in June or earlier. In the last few years, the Vice-Chair was the organizer of the Tutorial and determined the Tutorial topics and recruited speakers. Alternatively, the responses from the membership can help identify interested individuals who can serve as organizers who would then be responsible for recruiting speakers and organizing the Tutorial. The Vice-Chair should decide how to do this. 

    A Google Form was used to solicit potential topics from the DBIO membership. Two themes were chosen this year (2023) – Super-resolution imaging methods and analysis in Biological Physics and Topological Methods in Biological Physics. DBIO also joined with several other units (GDS, DPOLY, DSOFT, GSNP) to propose an all day tutorial on Data Science for Physicists. 

    The Tutorial Chair contacted several experts in these fields who might potentially be interested in delivering these. 3/4 lecturers for each tutorial were finally confirmed for the DBIO only tutorials. The Chair collaborated with each set of lecturers separately to come up with the details of the proposal (see above) by the deadline. Submissions were made to the APS Tutorial Organizer. The tutorial on Super-resolution Imaging (half day) and the Tutorial on Data Science for Physicists (full day - to be run as two sessions) were accepted by APS in September. Four speakers were confirmed for the Tutorial on Imaging, and one DBIO selected speaker confirmed for the Data Science Tutorial.

    The Tutorial organizer sets up meetings with the lecturers to help coordinate the lectures. The organizer should emphasize that the lectures should be largely pedagogical and geared towards students / postdocs including some recent research advances as examples, rather than entirely research talks. Hands-on activities should be encouraged, if the topic permits. APS then follows up with lecturers regarding paperwork for honorarium, materials to share etc. in January. APS sets up a website on Engage for materials to be shared with participants and discussions. Both Tutorials were well attended. 

    Helpful comments: It is vital to advertise the tutorials sufficiently in advance (especially before the early registration deadline) to ensure strong participation. The typical APS-DBIO outlets (Engage), emails to the membership, as well as Twitter/Linkedin feeds of the organizers, speakers and DBIO leadership are good means of dissemination. 

    Things to be aware of: There was not sufficient time between when the March Meeting program went online and the early registration deadline of January 17. There was a problem with the Tutorial registration website. People who had already registered for the March Meeting could not add the Tutorial after the fact. Those who wished to do a 1-day registration for MM could not add the Tutorial even at the time of registration. People not attending the March Meeting could not register for just the Tutorial. The APS staff have been notified about this, but this needs to be followed up on and the process to add Tutorials should be made more seamless.

    7. Timeline of Activities

    Note that the dates below (for 2024)  change from year to year and typically tend to get earlier

    Apr 1: Email sent to 2024 Program Committee members to schedule first meetingAPS MM 24 Handbook received (March Meeting 2024 Program Committee Handbook)

    May 5:  Opted in the Invited Nomination Systems

    April 17: Email sent to DBIO members re. volunteering and proposing new focus sessions.

    May 5: Deadline for volunteering and suggesting new focus topics from DBIO members.

    May 5-May 11:  DBIO Program Committee Meeting to finalize the selections of New Focus Topics and existing sorting categories. The Chair also held meetings with Program Chairs of DSOFT, DPOLY and GSNP to discuss overlaps and co-sponsoring both sets of topics. There is effectively no penalty to co-sponsoring sessions with another unit. Final list was due to APS May 11


    Jun 8: APS Nomination System opens

    June 15th: Program Chair submitted the descriptions of the Focus Topics on a google sheet to the APS. The co-organizers copied and pasted the descriptions from the last cycle, or wrote a new one.

    Jul 21: Deadline to submit tutorials

    July 20: APS Nomination System closes

    July 1: APS Abstract submissions open

    Sep 7: : Deadline to submit invited session and speaker nominations

    Sep 8: Deadline to submit short courses

    Sep 22: March Meeting Program Committee (including the DBIO chair) meets to discuss symposia grid

    Sep 29: Deadline to provide session chairs to APS

    Oct 11: Deadline to provide sorters to APS

    Oct 20: Abstracts due

    Nov 14-17: “Synchronous” sorting week

    Nov 15: Phase I Sorting due

    Nov 17: Phase II Sorting due.

    Dec 16: Session chair list due to APS

    Dec 1 - Mar 6: Many small changes are made to the schedule, speakers pull out, etc. The Program Chair is heavily involved at this point in keeping the system at a simmer.

    Feb-Mar 6: Unit Chair and S&T reach out to APS’ Vinaya Sathyasheelappa <> to arrange refreshment, coffee for breaks, and conference rooms for the Executive Meeting and Business Meeting.

    8. General Notes

    1. For the most part, the APS March Meeting team will only respond to emails from the Program Chair. All communication re. speakers, invitations, problems with sorting etc. should go through the Program Chair.

    2. APS will vet invited speakers (both kinds) and complain to you if (a) a speaker is ineligible (technical invited talk the previous year), or (b) a speaker has been asked to give two invited talks this year (typically in DBIO and some other unit, so you weren’t aware). You’ll have to resolve those conflicts in cooperation with any other unit involved.

    3. The selected invited speakers will be sent letters from APS directly in late October. Suddenly at this point speakers will start to say “well of course I won’t come unless you pay my registration.” Remind session organizers up front that the APS or DBIO won’t waive registration fees. The organizers are welcome to raise funds for their invited speakers, although this did not happen in 2023.

    4. While the nomination system seems very rigid, there is a lot of flexibility if problems arise. It is good for the Program Chair to be well-acquainted with APS staff.

    5. It is common to cosponsor sessions with other units, notably DSOFT, DFD, DCOMP, DMP, DCMP, DPOLY, GSNP, DFED. For focus sessions this involves no cost, as noted above. If an invited session is co-sponsored, it ends up counting only 0.5 towards our quota of invited sessions (so these need to be done in pairs!). Because the abstract numbers affect the assignment of conference rooms, most Units were cautious about co-sponsoring. 

    6. It is highly recommended to have a meeting with the program chairs of DSOFT, DPOLY and GSNP before finalizing focus sessions as there may be overlaps and redundancies and opportunities to cosponsor and share abstracts as needed can be discussed. Another meeting before finalizing the program after sorting is also recommended to look at conflicts in scheduling of sessions with thematic overlap.

    7. APS doesn’t have a hard deadline for invited abstracts. This means that for every FOCUS session, DBIO must manually keep track of what invited abstracts are still missing and trust those speakers not to pull out. The Program Chair should encourage the sorting volunteers to nag the invited speakers to submit their abstracts sooner rather than later.

    8. Late in the process, the Program Chair requests a room for the annual DBIO Business Meeting. For 2023, this will also be broadcast live over the internet so that infrastructure needs to be set up through APS.

    9. The Program chair should inform the Session chairs who have award winners/new fellows in their sessions that the person is an award winner. Ask for the award to be mentioned in the introduction of the person. 

    10. Logistics and payment regarding Execom meeting, refreshments for the business meetings, and Town Hall were communicated with APS via DBIO’s S&T.

    11. The APS MM Logistics team will pay the hotel expenses for the Unit Program Chair and the Unit S&T.

Nominating Committee

2023 Committee: Margaret Cheung (Chair, DBIO Past Chair), David Lubensky (2021, 2022, 2023), Mo Das (2022, 2023, 2024), Hugo Sanabria (2023,2024, 2025), Herbert Levine (one-year APS Appointee)


The Nominations Committee is in charge of identifying capable candidates willing to be put on the ballot for open DBIO Executive Committee positions. Below “Chair” refers to Nominating cmte chair.

  1. The Nominations Cmte typically meets 2-4 times in August/September so that the election may occur in October. 

  2. Nominees must meet the membership requirements in the Bylaws. 

  3. Per Bylaws, if by October 1 as many as five percent of the total Division membership (determined on December 31 of the year preceding the election) suggests the same person for the same office, and that person agrees to run, then that person shall be nominated. The Nominations Committee must then provide enough other nominations for a slate. In 2023, there was consensus that fielding more than the required number of candidates for each open position was undesirable (this means 2 candidates for each open seat (Vice Chair, Early Career MAL, and 3 candidates for each open seat (MAL)..

  4. Starting early September, Cmte discusses and draws up a rubric of desirable qualities before discussing any specific individuals.

  5. Cmte members circulate some names and Chair annotates the list, especially noting past service. Past service in a lower office was a plus when being considered for higher offices. Any candidate who ran unsuccessfully in the recent elections (<3 cycles) was fielded again. 

  6. Ways to identify candidates:

  1. Google form (online tip sheet) to self-suggested and member-suggested names. Advertised at the Annual Meeting in March and again on other occasions via email. All were added to the working list and annotated as above.

  2. Canvassing Chair sends an email to the general membership asking for ideas for nominees including self-nominations via the tip sheet. This email must be sent early (April just after the meeting), so that the suggested nominees can be vetted by the nominating committee. 

  3. List of past candidates from prior year’s Nominations Cmte Chair

  4. Active solicitation of candidates over the course of the year by Executive Cmte members (and in some cases over several years)

  5. Brainstorming by the Nominations Cmte

7. Chair consults with APS (Unit Operations Manager, Ericka Stansbury) to make absolutely sure we know which candidates meet eligibility criteria before the nominating committee members meet and discuss candidates. Note that APS employees, including full-time journal editors, are ineligible due to COI. Also no one may run for DBIO office while also running for office in any other APS unit.

8. Cmte gives careful consideration to diversity along several axes: balance of sub-fields of biological physics, balance of approaches used to study problems (experiment/computation/theory), geographic diversity, institutional diversity. This is considered  not only the proposed new Excomm members but also the composition of the proposed Excomm including existing members that will carry over. Cmte must ensure that two candidates from the same institution are not competing for the same office.

9. As names are selected, Chair proposes to vice chair candidates by email phone, outlines the duties, and offers them a few days to think it over. Other members shared the workload by reaching out to other candidates for a rapid turnaround. When a candidate declines to run, cmte goes down its list if necessary adding names until a full slate of willing candidates has been found. 

10. When a candidate agrees to run, the DBIO Secretary/Treasurer requests a photo, short bio, and short statement (<250 words but can be much shorter). In 2023,, S/T circulated some samples of past statements. (Photos are not required, but if submitted must be in a 100:124 aspect ratio to upload without skewing. APS can assist with this.)

11. DBIO Sec/Treas, who communicates with the APS (through the Unit Service Desk Email Request Form) submitting the short bios, photos, and statements. The ballot’s “Welcome Page” should also include names of all officers and MALs (and now Early Careers) who will carry over, to let members assess overall diversity.

12. Sec/Tres conducts election online ASAP.  Nov 1 – Dec 1. Election closes Dec 1.

13. Nominating cmte Chair informs all candidates of results of the election (see 2021 sample letter below). Then S/T announces results to members.

14. Sec/Tres informs new ExCom members of the calendar for the ExCom activities to begin orientation, and specifically communicates the dates for their required participation at various events, depending on role.

15. Something to think about in the future: According to the DBIO by-laws, the Nominating Committee can also suggest candidates to run for positions at the general elections. We haven’t done that, but it will require coordination with the DBIO officers as the voting of the general election happens in May-June.

Article VIII.1: “ The Nominating Committee shall advise the Chair on suitable candidates for Society committees, including relevant Society Prize and Award committees, and on candidates for Society offices.”

Sample letter from cmte Chair:

Dear XX

Thank you for running for the position of XX of the  Division of Biological Physics executive committee, and especially for offering your time, energy, and creativity to DBIO. Congratulations: you have been elected by the DBIO membership to serve the division!

Your service will start this March at the end of the 2022 APS March Meeting.

Your term is a XX years (20XX–20XX).

You are expected to be present for the DBIO Executive Committee dinner and meeting and the DBIO Business Meeting each year.

Traditionally, the Executive Committee meeting is on-site at the March Meeting on Monday.

Traditionally the DBIO Business meeting is on-site at the March Meeting on Tuesday; you will be introduced as a newly elected member of the DBIO executive committee.

The Secretary-Treasurer will be in touch soon to confirm those dates.

I am attaching for your reference:

• The current Bylaws, which outline how DBIO operates. In the attached copy I have highlighted passages about duties of the XXX. We also have a less formal set of Operating Procedures; the current S/T will transmit these to you after a few updates get made.

• A list of other election results appears at the end of this mail. 

I will be making an announcement to the membership soon, but it takes a few days for APS to send those notifications.

Thank you again for your commitment to making DBIO a vibrant community of scholars. Your service helps us to function, grow, and thrive!

Phil Nelson

DBIO Past Chair

Chair, Nominating Committee

A shorter mail was sent to unsuccessful candidates.

Fellowship Committee

2023 Committee: Upadhyaya (chair), Koslover, Manley, Fisher, Gopinathan


  1. The Fellowship Committee’s role is to review and rank the qualifications of all nominated fellowship candidates and can not themselves be candidates.

  2. The fellowship committee is led by the DBIO Vice-Chair. See Bylaws for its composition. No Early Career members are allowed on this committee. It is recommended that the DBIO Chair-elect sit on the committee.

  3. Solicitation of fellowship nominations: The chair in coordination with the S/T sent out a call for nominations to the APS DBIO membership (April 20, 2023), describing the fellowship criteria and encouraging the nomination of outstanding candidates reflective of the DBIO membership (see example email below). Executive committee members (who are not on the fellowship committee) are encouraged to further solicit nominations. 

  4. Nominations are due to the APS by June 1. This can be extended by one month through request to the APS. On May 1, one month before the nomination deadline, the committee Chair reviews the roster of nominees and contacts the Canvassing Committee if the pool needs to be expanded.

  5. The APS has set out guidelines for Conflicts of Interest (COIs, ( along with Ethics Guildlines ( 

In 2023: On May 26, 2023 the chair convened an initial meeting before the nomination deadline  to discuss best practices, scoring criteria and rubrics, how to handle conflicts etc. before starting reviewing of applications. The following rubric was adopted: 

-Research (1-5)

- Pedagogy/Mentoring (1-5)

- Service/Outreach (1-5)

The committee will also give an overall score:

- Overall ranking (1-5)

(The maximum score of 5 being the best)

The committee also discussed the process of handling conflicts of interest. 

  1. After the nomination deadline, the committee receives the list of nominees (June 6, 2023). Committee members review the list of nominees and disclose to the entire committee any conflicts of interest as described above. The committee then unanimously decides on a response (ranging from case-by-case recusal to replacement) based on the level of the conflict.

  2. The APS describes the fellow selection as follows, "The criterion for election is exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise; e.g., outstanding physics research, important applications of physics, leadership in or service to physics, or significant contributions to physics education." The committee will primarily consider and score each candidate in three categories: (i) scholarship, (ii) service to community, and (iii) teaching and mentoring. The committee is also encouraged to consider as secondary contributions: uniqueness of personal trajectory, barriers overcome, and other unique factors of the candidate’s portfolio. There is no difference or preference for fellows from the US compared to non-US. 

  3. The committee reviewed the nominations and scored these according to the rubric above. 

  4. The scores are compiled by the Chair and shared with all committee members. These scores are used to guide discussions during a video conference meeting of the committee held to rank the nominees. It is recommended to reserve ~ 4 hours for this meet to ensure in depth discussion of the nominees and consideration of all factors. In 2023, two shorter meetings (~ 2h each) were held on June 26 and June 29, 2023 to discuss the nominations and make the final selection. 

Note: It is recommended that the Chair does not participate in the ranking process but facilitates the discussions and uses their vote only in case of ties. The chair reads all of the nominations carefully to be able to facilitate this. 

  1. Following this meeting, the committee recommends, via an unranked list, the number of fellow candidates that APS has requested from DBIO, in addition to a ranked list of qualified alternatives. (Note: In 2023, the APS website asked for one ranked alternative). The APS Committee on Fellowship will use these alternate candidates to assign any additional slots not used by other units. The lists as well as a Chair’s Report of the procedures followed and COI procedure is then sent by the DBIO Vice-Chair to the APS by August 1. 

Note: The committee chair reports the selected nominees on the fellowship nomination site along with the ranked alternatives, conflicts of interest and how they were handled, as well as the suggested citation for each nominee. No additional report was required. Ratings do not need to be entered into the nominations site. 

  1. The outgoing DBIO Chair-Elect communicates directly with nominators of specific candidates whose applications the committee felt could be strengthened for next year. It is recommended that this is done only if the nominators reach out to the committee for feedback.

  2. Candidates must be a current APS Member ( If a candidate’s membership with the APS has lapsed on the membership, they can petition a waiver by directly emailing to the APS honors program.

  3. Nominations are good for two years. Past year’s nominations are automatically included in the APS online ranking system for the current year. 

Note from 2023: According to an email from Delia - Since 2020, nominators are required to resubmit carryover nominations as they are no longer automatically added to the nominee pool for that year. Nominators receive email reminders to do this at the beginning of the year and on a monthly basis up until the deadline. 

The APS can send thank-you letters to the applicants who were not selected before the announcement of the awards. The Committee Chair can request to customize the thank-you letters that encourage the applicants to apply again next year.

Example email to membership to solicit fellowship nominations (April 20, 2023):

Dear DBIO Community,

Have you ever wondered what an APS Fellow is? APS Fellows have made exceptional contributions to physics, as recognized by their professional peers. DBIO-nominated Fellows have made these advances to biological physics through significant research, service, or pedagogy. Fellows are typically mid-career or later and are nominated by community members like you.

Think about your DBIO heroes. You might be surprised at how many are not yet Fellows. You can fix that!

Nominations are due June 1, 2023. More information to follow.

The membership of APS is diverse and global, and the nominees and recipients of APS Honors should reflect that diversity so that all are recognized for their impact on our community. Nominations of members belonging to groups traditionally underrepresented in physics, such as women scientists, LGBT+ scientists, scientists who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), disabled scientists, scientists from institutions with limited resources, and scientists from outside the United States, are especially encouraged.

Early Career Award

2023 Committee: Xie (chair), Stephens (2024 chair), Parthasarathy, Desai, Tehver


This is a unit level award that was created in 2021. It is expected that the Operating procedures will need refinement over the next several years.  As a unit-level award, the Executive Cmte can alter the eligibility and procedures with a simple vote. No other APS approval is required.  This award is not mentioned in the bylaws. It is expected that this will change if/when the award becomes a APS-level award.  A description of the award is found here:


2021 DBIO chair (Margaret Gardel) selected a full committee that does not include the member from the Executive Committee with staggered terms. She sought feedback from chair line in this process. It is expected that future chairs will re-appoint the members whose terms are staggered, and appoint new members as needed.


2022 DBIO Chair (Margaret Cheung) received a note from the APS that this unit level honor selection committee should have a vice chair.  There is also a term limit of two consecutive years. However, several members on this committee has agreed to serve 3 years.  (H4.2 Selection Committee Composition) Each committee should consist of a chair, a vice chair, and members. After serving as vice chair, that individual should become the chair in the next cycle. Members should not serve for more than two consecutive years. Terms should be staggered to prevent the entire committee turning over at once.


2022: The committee met on Wednesday Sept. 7, and had had several email discussions in the months prior about methodology, including scoring rubrics and criteria. Like last year,  the committee emphasized work done during the candidate's independent career, originality of the research, impact on the field of biophysics, and citizenship / activity in the biological physics community. The committee also considered diversity and adversity, noting especially the candidate statements. Also like last year, the committee felt that the award  should be targeted towards faculty who are truly early career, i.e. pre-tenure or five years from start of independent position. All applications were reviewed by each committee member (except in cases of conflict).

The meeting followed the assignment of numerical scores by each committee member based on the following criteria (the same as last year):  Originality of research (1-5), Impact of research (1-5), Citizenship in the scientific community (1-5), Diversity / Adversity (yes/no) (0/1). All scores were shared prior to the meeting, and served as the starting point of discussion.

The following are some suggestions for future committees as well as the APS leadership:

  •  This award should be targeted towards faculty who are truly early career, i.e. pre-tenure or five years from start of independent position.

  •  The applications should include a section on citizenship and service to the APS/Biological Physics community. This was a criterion for the committee but applicants did not sufficiently highlight their contributions.

  •    The committee would like to note that it deeply impressed by all the applicants, and we suggest that in DBIO's communications with those who weren't selected, it be conveyed that they are warmly invited to apply again next year (assuming eligibility).

  • The award should be widely advertised to get applications from early career international applicants and broaden the reach of the fellowship and recognition of biological physics research.

  •  All applications should be vetted for current memberships at the time of application. This should also be clearly stated in the fellowship application guidelines.

  •   We also note that one very strong candidate is at a primarily undergraduate institution, and has nonetheless been able to conduct an impressive research program. We suggest that DBIO may wish to consider a separate award for candidates at primarily undergraduate institutions, or two tracks of this award. (We are aware of the APS undergraduate institution prize, which is APS-wide, and not early-career. 

Note: This is not a unit-wide award, so the APS will not announce our selection with other society-wide awardees in their news release. Therefore, the news of our selection was not embargoed. The Unit Chair can inform the awardee about the selection. The APS can send thank-you letters to the other applicants who were not selected before the announcement of the award. The Committee Chair can request to customize the thank-you letters that encourage the applicants to apply again next year.

Example Letters:

Regret Letter:


Dear Dr. XXX (nominator),


On behalf of the APS DBIO unit, I regret to inform you that your nominee was not selected for

the 2022 APS DBIO Early Career Award this year.  The awards committee would like to convey that it was deeply impressed by all the applicants, and it would like to encourage applicants to apply again next year if eligible.


Margaret Cheung, DBIO Unit Chair 2022-2023

Raghuveer Parthasarathy, DBIO Chair of the Early Career Award Selection Committee 2022.


Congrats Letter: Unit Chair and the Early Career Award Chair sent this letter.


Dear Professor XXX


On behalf of the APS DBIO unit, I write to congratulate you on receiving the 2022 APS DBIO Early Career Award!


This award recognizes outstanding and sustained contributions by an early-career researcher to biological physics. The Division of Biological Physics presents the award annually, consisting of $2,000, a certificate, up to $1000 U.S  travel reimbursement, and a registration waiver to receive the award and give an invited talk at the APS March Meeting in 2023. In its citation, the award committee notes your selection "XXXX."


The DBIO would be pleased to recognize your achievement at the APS March Meeting 2023. We hope to see you there!



Margaret Cheung, DBIO Unit Chair 2022-2023

Raghuveer Parthasarathy, DBIO Chair of the Early Career Award Selection Committee 2022.

Travel Awards Committee:

2023 Committee: Ashkar (Chair), Patteson (2024 chair), Marzen


Following procedures started in 2022, the DBIO Execom has expanded the eligibility of the DBIO travel awards to all early career DBIO members, including students, postdocs, or early career faculty/researchers, as well as the number of the travel awardees per year.


As part of the award restructure, the application form was changed from a fillable pdf (submitted by email) to a web-based application form, which is tailored to applications at different career stages. For students and postdocs, the form allows applicants to send letter requests to advisors, making the application self-contained. 


  1. Applicant Qualifications:

    1. Applicant can be a graduate or undergraduate student, postdoctoral researcher, or early career faculty. 

    2. Applicant  must be the first author of a contributed paper (talk or poster) in a session sponsored by DBIO at the March Meeting. Applications will be evaluated based on merit, with specific attention to applicants with strong financial needs or from underrepresented and historically marginalized groups.

    3. Applicant , domestic or foreign, must be members of DBIO, not just of the APS. New members can sign up and are encouraged to do so before Dec. 31 for verification purposes (it is only $8 for APS members to become also DBIO members!).

    4. Applicant cannot be a former recipient of the award.

    5. Applicants must use the online application website to submit an application and request a letter of support from research advisor

  2. Committee Responsibilities:

    1. Committee will set a deadline for the travel award that aligns with the abstract submission deadline for the annual APS March Meeting. Award announcement and solicitations will be made by the Sec/Tres. The award announcement and deadline should be staggered by one week relative to the abstract open-close date..

    2. Applications will be shared by the APS point-of-contact with the committee chair and will be distributed to the rest of the committee, with clear instructions for COI and for a deadline for application reviews. 

    3. Committee will rank applications by mid-December and put together a short list of potential awardees. Committee chair must check the institution of the awardees to ensure institutional diversity (besides demographic diversity) 

    4. The ranked list will be sent to Sec/Tres to check DBIO status of applicants.

    5. Committee will finalize the list of awardees by early January.

    6. Committee chair will send the list of awardees to APS to be published on the award webpage. 

    7. Committee chair will contact session chairs before the APS March Meeting to encourage the announcement of the travel awards while introducing awardees before their talks.

Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Biological Physics: 

2023 Committee: Koslover (chair), Mugler (2024 chair), Mitchell, Upadhyaya


The committee Chair consults the previous year's committee committee Chair for information from last year's selection process and the criteria used. 

The committee Chair consults the DBIO by-laws for the list of criteria and shares with the committee members before any review of the applications. Committee also reviews the Unconscious Bias Resources made available by the APS.

The 2023 committee consisted of one early career member, two mid-career members, and one senior member. Following the APS guidelines, the committee Chair abstained from scoring nominations and would have intervened only as a possible tiebreaker, which was not needed. 

In 2022 Unit Chair Margaret Cheung received a note from the APS that the Doctoral Thesis Award Selection Committee should install a vice chair who will serve again a Chair in the following year.


(H4.2 Selection Committee Composition) Each committee should consist of a chair, a vice chair, and members. After serving as vice chair, that individual should become the chair in the next cycle. Members should not serve for more than two consecutive years. Terms should be staggered to prevent the entire committee turning over at once.


Nominations were collected by APS.

All the committee members read the nomination packets for all applicants. The committee members (other than chair) were asked to rank the applications on a 5-point scale before the deliberations meeting on Wednesday, July 12, at 12:00pm ET. Committee members were asked to report any conflict of interest before reviewing the applications; no conflicts were reported. During the meeting, the committee discussed four of the top-ranked nominees and reached a consensus on the selection of the award recipient of the 2023 DBIO Dissertation Award.

DBIO members were messaged by e-mail and in the annual business meeting and urged to nominate strong, diverse candidates.

The 2023 committee suggests that in future years the nomination process instructions be revised so that point 5 reads “A statement prepared by the nominee describing the thesis research...”, rather than “A manuscript prepared by...”, to avoid misinterpretation that caused some candidates to submit an existing manuscript reprint instead of a purpose-written thesis summary.

Timeline of Important DBIO Yearly Events

(Person in charge of making sure these things happen and are organized is put in parenthesis)


January & February 

  • (DBIO Chair) ExComm meeting to approve Operating Procedures from previous year, resolve any outstanding business. 

  • (DBIO Chair) 2 Chairline Meetings

    • 1 to discuss any issues that need to be brought up at full ExComm Meeting

    • 1 to select Cmte membership for next year.  All but the fellowship committee can be announced at Annual Meeting. 

  • (S/T) Solicits and collates reports from all standing and ad hoc committees. 

March, 2022 During and After MM

  • Before MM, Margaret G and Orit prepared for the documents and agenda for the executive meeting and business meeting. 

  • Membership Drive (Application forms from chairs, whatever it takes!)

  • (DBIO Chair): Dinner and Executive Committee Meeting on Monday night

  • (DBIO Chair): Annual Business Meeting on Tuesday night

  • ~3/13-18, 2022 March Meeting

  • At the Executive Committee Meeting, the cmte reviewed the operational procedure and discussed heavily on the topics selection proposed by the Program Committee.


  • In the same afternoon before the Business meeting started, MG and MC met and created an acceptable policy for focus topics selection for MM23. At the Business Meeting, MG presented it to the members.


  • MC and MG appointed Jianhua Xing as a one-year MAL to serve on the Program Committee and the Engagement Committee (Chair of the Membership Drive at the MM23).

  • MG sent emails to the APS informing them about the members on the honors committees (awards). MG sent emails to members of the Program and Engagement committees letting them know of including Xinghua.


  • Chair & ExCom select Honors (Fellowship) Committee Members. S-T (Andrew) notifies APS by 3/31.

April, 2022

  • Chair arranges an Onboarding Meeting of all new members; Chair arranges a “set the calendar” meeting for all committee chairs and S/T to update this timeline for year. S/T puts all those dates into the calendar. 

  • Unit Chair (Cheung) and S&T (Andrew) set up biweekly meeting to go over the budget and unit business.

  • 4/25 S-T submits ExCom Meeting Minutes from Annual Meeting

May, 2022

  • Mid-may - Josh S. sets two 1 hour meetings of the Fellowship Cmte.

  • 5/25 Josh S. reaches out to Margaret about how canvassing for fellowships went and tell her what to do. 

  • The APS informed the Unit Chair that Dissertation Committee and other honors selection committees needs a Vice Chair onwards, need to update this in the Operational Procedure

(H4.2 Selection Committee Composition) Each committee should consist of a chair, a vice chair, and members. After serving as vice chair, that individual should become the chair in the next cycle. Members should not serve for more than two consecutive years. Terms should be staggered to prevent the entire committee turning over at once.

  • Travel Awards were budgeted at $15K

  • S&T removed legacy contents on the DBIO engage websites.

  • The APS has confirmed the appointee of the Delbruck Prize committee

  • Unit Chair Reached out to the Chairs of the selection committees, thank them, and share them the on-boarding materials.


June, 2022

  • 6/1 Deadline for Focus and Invited Session

  • 6/1 Ensure that Tutorial Chair knows about the APS deadline for the Tutorial for 2022 March Meeting

  • First week of June - Fellowship cmte members self-identify conflicts; Second week of June - (possible) Fellowship Cmte Meets to come up with a unanimous decision on what to do about conflicts

  • In June, Fellowship Cmte meets to decide candidate. Josh writes a report. 

  • Late June - Program Cmte meets to decide on Invited and Focus Sessions in time for the APS Sorting Category Deadline

  • Completed the fund raising for the Delbruck Prize, fully endowed.

July, 2022

  • Nominations Cmte meets to initiate brainstorming of possible candidates. They will plan to meet twice to finalize 

  • Tutorial Chair (Ajay) discussed the topics for tutorials.

August, 2022

  • Early Career Award 

  • Summer Exec Committee meeting: Close the discussion on membership swags, travel award plan, tutorial vs short course. 

  • Confirmed that the Delbruck Prize was fully endowed by the APS.

  • Selected Twitter APSDBIO handler who serves until MM23.

September, 2022

  • Nominations Cmte will make decisions on who is on the ballot not before September 1, 2021

  • Unit Chair (an ex officio member) informed the ExeComm  that the two selection committees (Delbruck and the DBIO early career awards) have selected the winners. The names of the awardees are still embargoed by the APS, and not on the purview of the DBIO Execomm for news announcement

  • the Travel Award Committee have announced the DBIO Travel Award application to the DBIO membership.

  • Community Committee have successfully established a strong following on the monthly DBIO Networking Workshops Webinars.

  • Sarah has published Newsletters and Andrew has curated the DBIO websites for news archives

  • the new DBIO twitter handler was selected.

  • Program and Co-organizers have handled the programs MM23. and Tutorial/Short course sessions 

  • APS will create a new DBIO logo soon, and that will be on the giveaways and banners in late winter.

  • Forwarded the names of the APS DBIO fellows and dissertation awardees to the Program Committee

  • Coordinate the Twitter between Program Comm and Communication Committee to drive MM registration


Emails set to the Focus Session Organizers.


Hi all,


APS DBIO offers each focus session the opportunity to self-promote by providing up to 5 Tweets (up to 280 characters each) + an accompanying figure for a “Tweetorial” on our Twitter channel.  Suggestions on how to make an effective posting are below. 

If you wish to do this, then in collaboration with your other focus session organizers, please finalize the content of the Tweets & figure that you wish to use, and send it to our DBIO Twitter master, XXXX for posting.

The sooner you get this to him, the better: both because your Tweet will stand out from others in the DBIO stream because it will get posted sooner, and also because it then has more time to influence our followers to submit an abstract for your session.  All Tweets must be received by Friday October 14.

Feel free also to self-promote your session via a post on the APS Engage platform.


Thanks for helping us to promote the exciting scientific program that DBIO will be sponsoring at the APS March Meeting. We hope your session will be a great success and are looking forward to seeing you in Las Vegas.


Best wishes,

Nancy Forde

Chair, APS DBIO Community Engagement Committee


October, 2022

  • 10/31 Nominations Cmte solicit bios and statements, check eligibility with the APS, and tell S&T who is on the ballot; S&T set up for elections.

  • Charlines met to discuss. (1) yes to NIH program officers to have a Town Hall meeting.

(2) Write a blanket regret letter instead of targeting individual applications. The outgoing Fellowship Chair can communicate the metrics when needed.

November, 2022

  • S&T held elections

  • Nomination Chair informed the election decisions and thanked the candidates.

  • Unit Chair reached out to committee chairs for updating the Ops for 2022-2023, with the due date of Dec 20th, 2022, 

  • Summarizing the yearly DBIO achievement. DBIO will host a Town Hall meeting on “NIH funding opportunities”.The panelists will be three program directors from the NIGMS (confirmed attendance). 

  • (Ad Hoc committee Chair) Dan Goldman has led a one-person special ad hoc DBIO committee to lobby PoLS into the US News Rankings, and he succeeded.

  • DBIO received new DBIO logo.

December, 2023

  • DBIO Chair reviewed the Ops for 2022-2023

  • (DBIO Chair) DBIO will collaborate with Physical Review about the launch of PRX Life at the APS MM23.

  • Unit Chair arranges ExeCom Meeting/Dinner, Business Meeting, and Town Hall Meeting at the AP MM.

  • DBIO Chair emailed the incoming Execomm Members, and sent them current OPS and by-laws, and invited them to the Exec Meeting/Dinner at the MM23.

  • DBIO Chair asked the Execom to review the Ops (this document), probe the committee assignment using a google form, and scheduled a when2meet for the Spring Execom meeting in early February.

January, 2023

  • (DBIO Chair) Chair lines communicated committee assignments and pending issues on the Ops

  • (S&T) Reserve a conference room for the Executive Meeting from the APS (Monday). Order food and drinks for the Business Meeting from the APS (Tuesday).


February 2023

  • (DBIO Chair) Synchronous Spring Executive Committee meeting to discuss and approve the Operational Procedure for the next cycle starting after the MM23 with a simple vote.

  • The Executive Committee has agreed to install vice chairs to the selected ad hoc committees including Community Engagement, Membership, and Travel Awards Selection. The vice chair will become chair in the next cycle. This will establish a staggered leadership in these important ad hoc committees and sustain the institutional memories of know-hows.

  • (Membershp Chair) Circulate the sign-up google sheet for driving membership at the Table.

  • (DBIO Chair) Unit Chair will delegate the APS’ request of volunteers’ information for badge scanning to the Membership Engagement Chair. 

  • (DBIO Chair) Communicate committee assignments with ExeComms and incoming ExeComm members.

  • (S&T) Reserved the restaurant for the Execom and incoming Excom members before the Execomm meeting on Monday because it is much cheaper this way. 

  • (S&T) Request the APS to print out certificates for unit level awards such as travel and early career awards.

March 2023 Preps Before MM

  • (Membership Cmte Chair) Finalize the logistics of membership drive for the MM23, making sure that the APS has the emails of the volunteers for badge scanning before MM.

  • (Engagement Cmte Chair) Finalize twitter feeds and prepare QR codes for feedback.

  • (DBIO Chair) Finalize the unfinished operational procedures.

  • (DBIO Chair) Collect reports and slides from Committee Chairs

  • (DBIO Chair) Set Agenda for the Executive Comm Meetings and Business Meetings during the week of the MM.

  • (DBIO Chair) Prepare gifts to outgoing ExeComm Members.

  • (DBIO Chair) Inform the DBIO volunteers to join the Business Meeting. Their names will be included on the Chair’s report (shout-out).

  • (DBIO Chair) Finalized the hybrid logistics of the Business meeting and the Town Hall events (DBIO paid for the access of zoom links from the APS for these two events).

  • (S&T) Pick up fellowship pins and certificates as well as the certificates for unit-level awards such as travel and early career awards.


The new term starts at the end of the March Meeting. The outgoing Unit chair emailed committee members and cc the incoming chair and prepared knowledge transfer.


To Send Emails Out/Get Information/Update Webpage

Example Emails to incoming Execom members:


To incoming Execom members .


Dear all,


Happy New Year!

On behalf of the DBIO Executive Committee, I welcome you to be on board. Your term will begin at the end of the March Meeting, 2023.


As an incoming member on the Executive Committee, you are invited to the DBIO Executive Dinner and Meeting on Monday (March 6th) in Las Vegas. I will send you information about the location and time once I confirm the reservations. A hybrid meeting with a virtual component would be possible upon request.


Please take the time to be familiar with the DBIO by-laws about your duties

and the Operational Procedure (2021-2022)


The executive committee members will review and approve the latest Operational Procedure (2022-23) in a few weeks. Once approved by the Executive Committee at the MM 23, it will be posted online by Andrew, Mugler the Secretary and Treasury of the DBIO. (cced)


The names of the current DBIO Executive Committee members and their terms on posted on the Engage page:


The time commitment of an Execom member varies. Chairlines typically spent 8 hours per month, and member_at_larges typically spent 2 hours per month, depending on the assignment. As an out-going unit chair,  I will be drafting the committee assignments for the next cycle in January. I will circulate them with you and the Executive Committee in February for feedback, before the March Meeting. After the March Meeting, the incoming Unit Chair (XXX) will be providing on-boarding training.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know. My c-phone number is XXXXX. And I’d be happy to chat with you under a short notice if there is something you’d like to know.

Thank you again!



Chair (2022-2023), DBIO/APS