Associate Prof Paul Gegorevic, PhD
Dear AGCTS Members,
While we are meeting on-line rather than in person at this AGM, it is great to see you, and I’m grateful that you have made the time to join us. Our society exists to support the needs of its members in their endeavours to advance gene and cell therapies, so your involvement and your feedback is vital. For that, I thank you.
I also wish to express my thanks for once again having the opportunity to serve as your President for the 2019-2021 cycle. It is always an honour and privilege to have your support. But the real credit lies with our Executive Committee, for all that they do. Their dedication to AGCTS doesn’t receive enough recognition, so I ask that in your own way please make time to thank Jim Vadolas (Vice President), Ann Simpson (Treasurer), Samantha Ginn (Secretary), May Aung-Htut, Livia Carvalho, Sharon Cunningham, Cindy Kok, and Leszek Lisowski, and our ex officio member, Steve Wilton for their continued dedication to The Society. We are deeply grateful to them.
In terms of the most significant AGCTS activities since my last report, it would be fair to say that most of the work has been “behind the scenes”. The Exec Committee of AGCTS has been working hard on the planning for our next Scientific Meeting. Based on the feedback of our members after of our previous meeting in Brisbane, the decision has been made to hold our next event as a joint meeting with the Australian Society for Stem Cell Research once again. Pandemic-related challenges have made for some interesting discussions around planning, but with the worst of Covid-19 hopefully behind us, we are excited about the opportunity to be gathering in-person in Melbourne over March 9-11 in 2022.
Working with conference organisers ICMS, the two Societies have secured an exciting venue for the meeting itself, and for our mixers and conference dinner on the Wednesday and Thursday evening. Going with the theme of “From cells and genes to therapies” the program is set to bring together many of the most exciting research advances in gene and cell therapies from both near and far. With prizes on offer for selected abstracts, and calls for our Esteemed Member and Young Investigator awards, we encourage you to bring your latest research to the meeting. Our hope is that soon, we will once again enjoy the exciting, inspiring and lively interactions that we have all missed while being limited to working on-line. Please look out for updates in the weeks ahead and help spread the word.
In the research space, in Australia and abroad, the progress of exciting gene and cell therapy advances proceeding to and through clinical trials has continued to gather pace. To those of you who have toiled for years the potential of these approaches has always been there. But it is exciting to see the rest of the world catching up to what you have believed in all along. One example of that recognition is the inclusion of Professors Steve Wilton and Sue Fletcher on the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours list, for their long-standing contributions to research into the treatment of rare neuromuscular disorders. I look forward to seeing other AGCTS members receiving these honours in the future, as their efforts to advance gene and cell therapies toward clinical reality progress. I wish you the best of luck and am cheering you on.
In closing, it has been an eventful and challenging year for all. But as a Society, we look towards 2022 with great optimism, and renewed hope that we will be gathering to learn from each other and celebrate successes in better times not too far away
With best wishes,
Paul Gregorevic, PhD
President, Australasian Gene and Cell Therapy Society