Associate Prof Paul Gegorevic, PhD
Dear AGCTS Members,
As your President for the 2017-2019 cycle, I’d like to begin by thanking our past President, Rosetta Martiniello-Wilks for the huge contribution she made to the Society through the many years of effort and leadership that she dedicated to this role. Rose, I am most grateful for all that you did to help AGCTS during your years as President. I hope I can build on the great things that you accomplished and can call on you for advice. I strongly encourage AGCTS Members to contact Rose themselves to thank her in their own way.
I am honoured to be stepping in to the role of President after Rose, and I thank the AGCTS Members for having confidence in me to take on this responsibility. The challenge is made easier knowing that we have a fantastic and hard-working Executive Committee who are passionate about seeing our Society grow. To Jim Vadolas (Vice President), Ann Simpson (Treasurer), Samantha Ginn (Secretary), May Aung-Htut, Sharon Cunningham, Cindy Kok, (Exec. members), and Steve Wilton (ex-officio, along with Rose), I thank you for your commitment to AGCTS. We wouldn’t be anywhere near the Society we are today without your hard work.
Last year saw the AGCTS hold its biennial conference in Sydney, this time in partnership with the Australian Society for Stem Cell Research. Both Societies worked hard to put together a great joint event, and feedback from those who attended confirmed that the meeting was a big success. The outstanding quality of the research presented, the stimulating interactions during break sessions and the conference dinner, the high level of organisation at the meeting, and the quality of the sponsor support were all appreciated by many. I would like to thank the conference organisers of both AGCTS and ASSCR for their hard work. I would also like to thank our sponsors again. It would not be possible to put together a meeting like this without the support of Benitec Biopharma, Murdoch University WA, Western Australian Neuroscience Research Institute, Children’s Medical Research Institute Westmead, The Sydney Children’s Hospital Network, National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Lonza, Miltenyi Biotec, TerumoBCT, Australian Proteome Analysis Facility, Bio-Rad, Bluechip Tracking Solutions, Corning, GE Healthcare, Beckman Coulter Life Sciences, Chemometec, Genesearch, Leica, illumina, Laftech, Macropharma, UTS, the NSW Department of Health, the NSW Office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer, Sapphire Bioscience, the British Society for Gene and Cell Therapy, the Japan Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, Stem Cell Australia and the Journal of Gene Medicine.
Members of both Societies have expressed an enthusiasm to hold another joint meeting in 2019. The AGCTS Exec Committee is working with the ASSCR Exec Committee to identify dates and venues that could be suitable, and we look forward to updating you as progress is made. I encourage anyone who is interested in helping organise our next meeting to please get in touch with the AGCTS Exec Committee.
Elsewhere, the AGCTS was represented at the 3rd meeting of the Asia Pacific Consortium for Gene and Cell Therapy in Qingdao City, China, by our vice president Jim Vadolas. I thank APCGCT Chairman Prof Masatoshi Tagawa for extending this invitation to the AGCTS and look forward to our society working with our neighbour societies within the APCGCT to develop closer interactions across future meetings. Together with our Society’s continued commitment to work with the American and European Societies for Gene and Cell Therapy, we are working hard to promote greater awareness of the excellent research being undertaken here in Australia.
Those of you who have followed the literature or attended recent meetings of the American or European Societies for Gene and Cell Therapy will know that there are exciting signs of progress for gene therapy approaches moving through clinical trials and towards patient use. No doubt there will be challenges still to encounter, but it is fascinating to watch these developments. It is also interesting to see renewed interest in gene therapy approaches by the pharmaceutical industry. A sign of renewed belief in the potential of gene therapy? It feels like the field is poised to accomplish important steps in the near term, and I look forward to reading of how our Society’s members will be part of those efforts. Best of luck with your research, and please keep the ASGCT updated on your progress so that we can celebrate your achievements together.
With best wishes,
Paul Gregorevic, PhD
President, Australasian Gene and Cell Therapy Society