Meet the Candidates for Board of Directors

Term: 2022-2025  |  Open Positions: 2  |  Candidates: 4

Tamara Franz-Odendaal

Candidate Statement: I have a reasonably long history with the American Association of Anatomy and the association has certainly been my home society for the last 15 years. The AAA has changed a lot over this period. It definitely has taken a leadership role with respect to equity, diversity and Inclusion, which I value highly. The association is open to new suggestions about new directions or initiatives and this is another aspect that I appreciate. I would like to be involved in its growth and expansion especially in Canada, where the number of members is steadily increasing. 

I have leadership experience and have conducted research about workplace cultures in academic science departments and the experiences of trainees in post-secondary institutions. As such, I believe that I can bring my EDI lens to board discussions to help ensure that new directions/initiatives, etc. are equitable and inclusive. When I joined as a post-doc, my supervisor did not regularly attend the AAA meetings, I knew no-one, and our lab was small. In addition, even though I was a post-doc in Canada, I am not a Canadian citizen and therefore did not have a network of scientist-friends in Canada or the US when I joined. I believe my perspective and experience as a non-Canadian and non-American going through my career as an AAA member from post-doc to Full Professor will enable me to provide a unique perspective at the board level. I would highly value this opportunity to bring my voice to the table.

Current Position/Institution: Professor of Biology, Mount Saint Vincent University, Nova Scotia, Canada

Ph.D. Institution:
University of Cape Town, South Africa

Earlier Positions: 
Post-doctoral fellow, Dalhousie University, Canada; Teaching Assistant, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Vertebrate Developmental Biology, Introduction to Vertebrate Histology

AAA Committee/Roles:
Post-doctoral board member (2006-2008); Scientific Affairs Committee (2016-2020), Young Investigators Award Committee (2013-2015, Chair in 2014-2015);  Visiting Scholarships Selection Committee (2011-2013, Chair in 2012-2013); Member of Task Force to set-up Post-Doctoral Scholars Program, 2007; Editorial Board Developmental Dynamics (2020-)

Other Professional Activities: 
President, Nova Scotian Institute of Science, 2020-2022; Lead-Ally and co-Founder, Steering committee, Canadian Black Scientists Network, 2020- 2022; Member of Equity Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee, Science Atlantic (2021-2022); Member of Equity Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee, Canadian Society of Zoologists, (2019-2021)Vice-president, Nova Scotian Institute of Science, 2019-2020, and 2016-2017; Councilor, Nova Scotian Institute of Science,  2015; Board Member, Canadian Coalition for Women in Engineering, Science, Trades, Technology,  2015-2020; Ethics Committee Member, Canada-Wide Youth Science Fair, 2015-2020; Member, Executive Council, Diversity Officer, Pan-American Evolutionary-Developmental Society, 2015-2020 

Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award, MSVU 2020; Fellow of the American Association of Anatomy, 2020-present; Crystal Award for Women Worth Watching in STEM, Diversity Journal, 2017; NSERC Chair Women in Science and Engineering-Atlantic Region, 2011-2017, renewed 2017-2022; Research Excellence Award, Mount Saint Vincent University, 2015; Young Investigators Award in Morphological Sciences, American Association of Anatomists, 2013; NSERC University Faculty Award, Mount Saint Vincent University, 2006-2011; Young Faculty Award, American Association of Anatomists, 2009; Exceptional Service Award, Canadian Society of Zoologists, 2008; Dedicated Service Award, American Association of Anatomists, 2008; Young Anatomists Publication Award, American Association of Anatomists, 2006; Post-doctoral Fellow Poster Award, American Association of Anatomists, 2006

Research Interest: 
My group’s research focus is to understand the developmental mechanisms that underlie diversity of the vertebrate skeleton. Over the last 15 years, this research has expanded to study the comparative embryology of the ocular skeleton, the effects of simulated microgravity and vibration on the skeletal development and more recently the development of the tracheal cartilage. Through these studies, we have obtained a greater understanding of skeletal robustness and plasticity which has implications for understanding the evolution of the skeleton. Based at a primarily undergraduate institution, our research is largely conducted by undergraduate students and visiting graduate students, with the occasional post-doctoral fellow. 

Other Professional Memberships Currently Maintained: Society of Developmental Biology, Pan-American Evolutionary-Developmental Biology Society, Society of Comparative and Integrative Biology

Web Link:

All Candidates

Secretary/Treasurer Elect

Raj Ettarh
Shaun Logan

Board of Directors

Melissa Carroll
Tamara Franz-Odendaal
Casey Holliday
Katherine Willmore

Student/Postdoc Directors

Andrew Cale
Tarimobo Otobo

Program Co-Chair

Angelo Iulianella
Paul Kulesa