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Minutes of the Genetics Society Annual General Meeting 2010

Forty-two members of the Society, including 9 members of the Committee attended the meeting. In addition, 52 members had registered online votes in advance, including five attending the meeting in person who were not allowed to vote again. Because members voting in advance online are deemed to contribute to the quorum, there were therefore online votes or attendance at the meeting to total 89 members, and the meeting was declared to be quorate.

Agenda Items

1. The 2010 AGM was opened by Honorary Secretary Patricia Kuwabara who had been asked by Genetics Society President Veronica van Heyningen to chair the session in her absence. The minutes of the previous year’s AGM (Friday 8th May 2009), which had been made available on the Society’s web site, were agreed by those present to be an accurate record of proceedings and were duly signed by the Honorary Secretary.

2. Honorary Secretary Patricia Kuwabara read a report prepared by President van Heyningen on the state of the Genetics Society. In the report, President van Heyningen commented that the Society is thriving and is fortunate to be in a stable financial situation due to the income generated by ownership, or co-ownership, in the journals Heredity and Genes and Development, respectively. Honorary Treasurer Josephine Pemberton was credited for her efforts in maintaining the finances of the Society and Hiro Ohkura was mentioned as being her successor. The officers of the Executive sub-Committee were also thanked for their efforts in running the Society’s business, as were the Committee members who work together to ensure the smooth running of operations; it was further mentioned that the office might undergo future expansion. It was announced that President van Heyningen had secured a successor for the Presidency, as Enrico Coen from the John Innes Institute had agreed to take over in 2012 and would begin to shadow the post from April 2011. The institution of a new Prize Lectureship – the JBS Haldane Lecture was announced and Society members were encouraged to nominate for this award people who excel at communication in genetics to the public. With regard to public engagement in Genetics, it was reported that the Genetics Society had sponsored a successful Schools Day on Genetics and Darwin, which was held in Edinburgh in December 2009. The report ended with President van Heyningen encouraging greater participation from the membership at large, including postgraduates, to stand for election to the Committee and to make proposals to hold scientific meetings with a strong genetic content that could be sponsored by the Society.

3. Honorary Treasurer Josephine Pemberton reported on the finances of the Genetics Society. She stated that the Society has been fortunate in its ability to weather the recent international financial crisis, due to a healthy income stream generated from the journals associated with the Society, Heredity and Genes and Development. She reported that members of the Committee were involved in developing a long-term financial strategy of investment to nurture the finances of the Society, so that it could continue to sponsor meetings and contribute to Genetic training. She described the various grant schemes available to those who had been members of the Society for more than a year, including the newest Genetics Society Training Grant. Honorary Treasurer Josephine Pemberton finished her report by actively encouraging members of the Society to apply to the various grant schemes that are available to students and other members of the Society.

4(a,b). Honorary Secretary Patricia Kuwabara described two changes to the Society’s byelaws with the introduction of (a) the Genetics Society new prize lecture, the JBS Haldane Lecture, which recognises an individual for outstanding ability to communicate topical subjects in genetics research and (b) the Genetics Society Training Grant, which would enable members to go on short training courses in the area of Genetics research. An announcement describing these proposed byelaw changes had been previously circulated to the membership by email and had been posted on the Genetics Society website. No objections had been raised by any member of the Society to the introduction of these changes, so the byelaw changes were deemed to be acceptable to members of the Genetics Society.

4(c, d, e). Honorary Secretary Patricia Kuwabara announced that (a) Dr Madan Babu Mohan (MRC – HGU) had been elected as the 2011 Balfour lecturer, and that (b) Professor Jonathan Hodgkin (Oxford) would be the recipient of the 2011 Genetics Society Medal. She also announced that Kreepa Kooblall had been awarded the Mather Prize. She then explained the rationale for voting on the admission of new members to the Society and of new members to the Committee.

4(f).  A list of 177 people proposed for membership to the Society had been posted on the Society web site, circulated by email to members and distributed in hard copy at the AGM. No objections were raised to prevent the admission of any of these individuals to the Society; on a show of hands there were 42 votes cast in favour to add to the 52 cast online, with no votes against. These 177 individuals were therefore elected to the membership of the Society.

4(g). The new Committee members: Area B (Genomics) Jane Rogers to complete the term of Graham Moore; Area C (Cell and developmental genetics) Ian Henderson to complete the term of Liam Dolan; Area D (Applied and quantitative genetics) Gilean McVean to complete the term of DJ Hoskin; Area E (Evolutionary, ecological and population genetics) Matthew Hurles to replace Mark Beaumont; Area F (Corporate genetics and biotechnology) John Whittaker to replace Tanita Casci; Postgraduate representative Lynne Harris to replace Tom Nowakowski, as proposed by the current Committee were supported by 42 votes cast at the AGM, and by 50 votes cast online, with 2 votes against. Thus, the new Committee members were duly elected by majority to join the Society’s Committee.

4(h) The Executive sub-Committee members: Scientific Meetings Secretary, Andrew Ward, a 1-yr extension of office to 2011; Honorary Treasurer – Elect, Hiro Ohkura to shadow present Treasurer, Josephine Pemberton; Newsletter Editor, DJ Hosken to replace Steve Russell, as proposed by the current Committee were supported by 42 votes cast at the AGM, and by 51 votes cast online, with 1 vote against. Thus, the new Committee members were duly elected by majority to join the Society’s Committee.

5. Under Any Other Business, Honorary Secretary Patricia Kuwabara thanked the outgoing Committee members for their contribution to the Society’s work on behalf of President van Heyningen. As no other items were raised the meeting was closed.