November 27, 2006

Minutes of November Board Meeting

November 15, 2006

by Gloria. D. Jahnke, GEMS Secretary

1. The meeting was called to order at 3:00 PM by Greg Stuart. The following board members were present: Greg Stuart, Susan Ross, Gloria Jahnke, Cindy Innes, Jayne Boyer, Rose Anne McGee, Jeff Ross, Errol Zeiger, Dana Dolinoy, Dan Shaughnessy, Dario Ramirez, Mac Law, Kristine Witt, and Stephen Little. Since this is the first meeting with new board members, everyone introduced themselves and their affiliation. An assortment of cookies and soft drinks were made available to the participants by the host, Susan Ross and CIIT. Corrected minutes from the October 3, 2006 Board meeting were approved.

2. Treasurer’s Report (provided in two handouts) The balance in the checking account and the money market account were reported. The Friday Center has not been paid as yet, and this payment will reduce the balance in the checking account. Susan also provided a summary of expenses for the 2006 Fall Meeting. Facility expenses, speaker/other costs, and miscellaneous expenses were reported. Total revenues from NIEHS contribution, registration fee, and corporate sponsor support yielded a net loss of $317. Attendance at the Fall meeting was 147. Susan has contacted everyone on the 2003–2006 GEMS mailing list who owes dues.

3. Corporate Representative Report Julie Ginsler, GEMS corporate representative, was unable to attend. Susan Ross read the following report from Julie. “All the corporate sponsors were very pleased this year. Everyone said that many researches came and spent time learning about new products, collecting pertinent information and getting some free samples to try out in the lab. The raffle of prizes and questionnaire helped to determine if there was a product that would fit with the researcher’s interest. Everyone will be back next year if their schedule permits. Our sponsorship as corporate sponsors really felt appreciated by the GEMS group. I am sorry I could not make the meeting today. Have a nice Thanksgiving!----Julie

It was agreed by the board that the drawing initiated by Julie for free products was very successful in attracting people to the sponsor tables.

4. Meeting with Genetic Toxicology Association (GTA) Representatives

Errol Zeiger provided the following report to the Board on the GEMS/GTA meeting at EMS Meeting in Vancouver, BC.

“Les Recio and I met with Dan Levy (current GTA president) and other GTA members on Sept. 19, 2006, during the EMS Annual Meeting in Vancouver, BC, Canada. The meeting was arranged at Dan Levy’s request. The GTA is concerned that the EMS has been moving away from genetic toxicity testing and regulatory toxicology issues, as evidenced by the Annual Meeting programs. They wanted to know if GEMS was also concerned about this trend and, if so, what the two regional societies can do to counter-act it.

[n.b., A number of regional environmental mutagenesis-related regional societies came into being during the 1980s. GTA was the first to form, centering around the Philadelphia- Baltimore-Washington DC area. As I recall, GEMS was the next to form, with other regional societies in New England (MANE) and the San Francisco Bay area (GETA). According to Dan, these other two regional societies had moved away from mutagenesis and were emphasizing general toxicology topics.]

There is a basic difference between the GTA and GEMS. The GTA is made up primarily of pharmaceutical and drug industry people and Washington, DC government regulators. In contrast, GEMS members are more basic and applied research oriented, with fewer, if any, testing or regulatory interests. These different interests are reflected in our respective meeting programs. It is likely that programs of interest to the majority of GTA members would not [necessarily] be of interest to the majority of GEMS members.

The main emphasis of our discussions were about whether, and how, GTA and GEMS, either individually or combined, could have their interests represented at future EMS meetings. One approach that could be presented to the EMS program committees, is that GEMS, GTA, and other regional societies act similar to the SOT interest groups. That is, the societies, alone or in concert, would propose and organize sessions related to their members’ interests. No decisions were taken at this meeting. We agreed that we would present the concept of organizing and/or sponsoring EMS meeting sessions to our respective BoDs.”

5. Web site. The possibility of consolidating all of GEMS presence on a single GEMS web site was discussed. Our own web site will allow us to appear more professional and to have more web content, have it better organized, and have it more easily accessible. A web domain name has already been obtained by Frank Stack, following approval by the BoD. Frank provided information on Yahoo supported site hosting, and its costs. Jeff Ross volunteered information about another web host that could be equally as good, but cost less per year. The BoD decided to look into alternate web site hosts before making a commitment.

6. 2006 Fall Meeting. The meeting had 147 attendees and 17 corporate sponsors. ILS provided the program booklets gratis. Greg and Les proposed that Sherry Blue, who printed and collated the program booklets, receive a small monetary compensation in appreciation from GEMS, and the recommendation was approved by the Board. The Board also approved purchasing a GEMS mug for Mercedes Arana (postdoctoral poster awardee). Some of the awardees receiving cash awards are from NIEHS (Dario Ramirez and Mercedes Arana). Mercedes will meet with NIEHS bioethicist, David Resnik, to check on government conflict of interest rules. GEMS received [funding] from NIEHS to help defray the costs of this meeting, but it is unlikely that NIEHS will have as large a role in future meetings. Greg has been investigating other avenues of financial meeting support. Aside from the application for NIEHS funding, Greg also applied to Operon Biotechnologies for grant funding. Greg noted that he has not heard from Operon Biotechnologies concerning his request for a grant.

7. New BOD Members Greg welcomed new Board members and noted that the awardee for best postdoctoral speaker, Dario Ramirez, has also received a K99 grant award from NIEHS.

8. Sustaining Members’ Initiative Greg is initiating a project to obtain sustaining corporate sponsors for GEMS from the local scientific community. He will be circulating a draft letter requesting financial support for Board review.

9. 2007 Spring and Fall Meetings Rose Anne presented an overview of plans for GEMS meetings and has provided this synopsis. Spring Meeting Suggested meeting dates are April 24, 25, or 26 at the US EPA or Sigma Xi. Availability and costs need to be checked. Jeff Ross volunteered to check availability and cost regarding meeting rooms and catering at US EPA. Mac Law suggested the Spring meeting attendance may increase if the meeting is reduced to a half day. Fall Meeting This will be the 25th anniversary of GEMS and a 1½ day meeting may be planned. Errol brought up the real possibility that we may not have enough momentum to sustain a day and a half meeting. Possible meeting dates are October 29–30, 2007. Suggested venues are the Sheraton Imperial and the Radisson Governor's Inn or the Washington Duke Inn as a back-ups. Rose Anne has talked to several past presidents’ about ideas for this meeting and their involvement in the meeting. Some past presidents' suggestions are: establish a one-time 25th anniversary travel award to the EMS meeting, have a 30 minute presentation on the history, accomplishments and impact of GEMS membership, and involve past presidents in meeting planning.

10. Other Business Greg Stuart has written a detailed manual for GEMS president-elects. There will be an article in the NIEHS Newsletter featuring Steve McCaw, NIEHS photographer, on the GEMS fall meeting.

11. The next Board meeting will be on January 11, 2007 at CIIT.