book1-430The Galton Institute is a charity (charity number: 209258), registered with the Charity Commissioners in 1960, and also a limited company (company number: 217533), incorporated by guarantee on 15 November 1926. Since 1978 the Institute has also had overall control of the assets of the Birth Control Trust, now known as the Galton Institute Artemis Trust.

The governing body of the Galton Institute is its Council of Management (‘Council’), elected by the Institute’s membership and comprising four officers and up to fourteen members. Only Fellows of the Galton Institute may be elected to Council or hold offices within the Institute. The limitations on length of service laid down in the Institute’s articles ensure the regular rotation of Officers and Council members giving opportunities for all Fellows to participate in the running of the Institute. Council members are expected to contribute to the work of the Institute and, according to charity legislation, are Trustees of the Institute.

Council manages all the Institute’s business and meets in London three times per year; the AGM of the Galton Institute takes place immediately before the June meeting.

The President is supported by three other officers, who are elected members of Council. The Treasurer is responsible for keeping the accounts and administering the Institute’s finances.


Officers of the Galton Institute

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  • Veronica van Heyningen_19122013Institution: Institute of Ophthalmology, University College, University of London; MRC Human Genetics Unit, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh

    Position: Honorary Professor (post-retirement)

    Following early work in human gene mapping, Veronica van Heyningen studied the genetics of developmental malformations of the human eye at the MRC Human Genetics Unit at the University of Edinburgh. Major genes implicated in the eye disorders aniridia and microphthalmia/anophthalmia were identified: PAX6, SOX2 and OTX2 are key genes in these conditions. Veronica’s research group explored their broader biological role in development and disease through observation of human cases and studies in model organisms. Her team also studied disease-causing mutations that disrupt the regions of genes that control gene activity, including long-range control, particularly for the PAX6 gene. Variability in the way identical mutations are manifested in people who carry the variant gene, and non-penetrance (the phenomenon of absence of disease, despite the presence of a mutation which leads to disease in other carriers) are frequent in developmental anomalies, and Veronica’s group focussed on the role of other factors influencing this. Veronica’s other interests include exploring social and ethical issues in genetics, for example as a founding member of the Human Genetics Commission. Veronica has served as President of the European Society of Human Genetics and of the UK Genetics Society.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and is Patron of Aniridia Network UK.

  • Philippa-Talmud-sPosition: Professor of Cardiovascular Genetics

    Institution: University College London

    Philippa Talmud is a geneticist working in the field of cardiovascular genetics. She graduated from University of Cape Town in Physiology and Microbiology, but her main interest was in genetics; to pursue this she left South Africa for London to undertake a PhD in Microbial Genetics working under Professor Dan Lewis FRS, in the Department of Microbiology, University College London (UCL). After obtaining her PhD and a period of postdoctoral research at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Mill Hill, she decided to take a sideways step to work in human genetics. In 1985 she joined Professor Steve Humphries’ laboratory at St Mary’s Hospital and has worked in the field of cardiovascular genetics since then. In 1991 the laboratory transferred back to UCL. Her focus has been understanding the functional basis of genes involved in heart disease and using genes to improve disease risk prediction.  She has supervised numerous PhD students and is Director of the MSc in Cardiovascular Science at UCL. In 2000 she obtained a DSc from the University of London and was awarded MRCPath. In 2004 she was promoted to Professor of Cardiovascular Genetics. She has been on the editorial board of several journals and a member of the executive committee of the British Atherosclerosis Society, The European Lipoprotein Club and the International Society for Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics.

  • JohnBeardmore-photo2015-sJohn Beardmore is Professor Emeritus of Genetics at Swansea University, a consultant in aquatic resources and chairman of Fishgen Ltd. He is treasurer of the Galton Institute.

    His research interests are in population and quantitative genetics – especially of aquatic species – genetic applications to aquaculture, and human genetics; he has many publications in these areas in the international scientific press.

    In earlier years he was Director of the Genetics Institute at the University of Groningen, National Science Foundation Senior Foreign Fellow in Pennsylvania State University, Vice-Principal of Swansea University and visiting professor at Ghent University. He also managed the Department for International Development research programme in fish genetics, chaired the Natural Environment Research Council Aquatic Life Sciences committee and was honorary secretary of the Institute of Biology.

  • David-Galton-sPosition:   Emeritus Professor Molecular Genetics/Human Metabolism

    Institution: Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Charterhouse Square London EC1M 6BQ

    David J Galton is Emeritus Professor at the University of London (Department of Molecular Genetics and Metabolism, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital). He gained doctorates in Medicine (MD for work done in the USA) and in Science (DSc). He has published eight books, and more than 250 research papers on genetics; nine students from his laboratory have become Professors. He served as consultant physician to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and Moorfield’s Eye Hospital, London.

    Reviews of his last book on Eugenics in the 21st Century : Sunday Times: ‘impressively accessible’; New Scientist: ‘A rare book: level-headed compassionate … comprehensive in its treatment of the dangers and benefits of the genetic modification of people. If you haven’t been following the debate closely, this is the book to buy’. Daily Telegraph: A clearly written book that gives a guarded welcome to the ‘new eugenics’.

    His new book entitled Man of Science, Man of God, Gregor Mendel – discovering the Gene. Due for publication 2015.

Council Members of the Galton Institute

(click to reveal biographies)

  • Stuart-basten_esrc-sPosition: Associate Professor of Social Policy

    Institution: University of Oxford

    Stuart Basten is Associate Professor of Social Policy at the University of Oxford. He is also a Governing Body Fellow of Green Templeton College; Non-stipendiary Lecturer in Demograpy at St. John’s College and an Associate Member of Nuffield College. He studied history and demography at the University of Cambridge (BA 2002; MPhil 2004; PhD 2008). Following postdoctoral positions in Oxford and Austria, he was awarded a Future Research Leaders grant by the Economic and Social Research Council in 2012. In 2013, he was appointed University Lecturer in Social Policy and a research fellow of Green Templeton College. He also holds a number of other positions at UK and international research institutes.

    He is currently chair of the Asian Population Association Scientific Committee for fertility preferences, convenor for fertility of the European Population Conference, strand organiser for the British Society for Population Studies and editor of the series Studies in European Population. Along with Professor Francesco Billari, he co-founded and is the editor of, one of the world’s leading collaborative blogs on population issues.

    Stuart’s research interests focus on the interaction between population dynamics and social policy in Asia. He is currently involved in a number of research projects in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India and Thailand.

    Stuart is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, the Royal Society of the Arts and the Higher Education Academy.

  • EleneBochukova-portrait1_2015-sPosition: Senior Scientist

    Institution: University of Cambridge, UK

    Elena Bochukova is a geneticist investigating the genetic basis and molecular mechanisms underlying human neurological and endocrine disease. She is currently based at the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute for Metabolic Science at University of Cambridge, where she studies the genetic factors leading to severe early-onset obesity. She previously worked at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics and The Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine in Oxford. Her background is in human molecular genetics and molecular biology with focus on gene expression phenomena. She is a member of the American Society of Human Genetics, the Society for Endocrinology-UK, and the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO); she has served on the Council of the Galton Institute since 2012.

  • Position: Professor Emeritus

    Institution: Department of Social Policy and Intervention, and St John’s College, University of Oxford.

    David Coleman was Professor of Demography at the University of Oxford (2002-2013). From 1985 to 1987 he was Special Advisor to the Home Secretary, later to the Ministers of Housing and the Environment. David’s research interests include comparative demographic trends in the industrial world, the future of fertility, the demographic consequences of migration and population decline. He is currently consultant/advisor to the Home Office, the United Nations, Australian National University (ANU), Statistics Canada, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and others.

    David has published over 150 papers and eight books including The State of Population Theory (ed with RS Schofield, 1986); The British Population: Patterns, Trends, and Processes (with J Salt, 1992); International Migration: Regional Responses and Processes (ed with M Macura, 1994); Europe’s Population in the 1990s (1996), Ethnicity in the 1991 Census. Volume 1 (ed with J Salt); Immigration to Denmark (with E Wadensjo, 1999). With Stuart Basten and Francesco Billari edited Population: the long view, a special edition of Population Studies (2015). Recent journal papers have considered The Twilight of the Census, Immigration, Population and Ethnicity, Population decline, New measures of population reproduction, Partnership in Europe and The Death of the West. He was joint editor of the European Journal of Population 1992-2000, and in 2001 he was elected to Council of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population.

  • DianDonnai-sPosition: Professor of Medical Genetics and Consultant Clinical Geneticist

    Institution: Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, University of Manchester and Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

    Dian Donnai trained in paediatrics and clinical genetics and is a clinical geneticist with a major interest in the care and investigation of children with developmental disorders; her research has focussed on elucidating the underlying causes of these disorders.  She was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in Genetics by the March of Dimes in 2010. She has also been involved with genetic service development and sat on many national and international committees including a term as consultant advisor to the Chief Medical Officer of England (1998-2004). She also has a major interest in public engagement in genetics and was Executive Director of Nowgen, a centre for genetics in healthcare from 2002-2014. She is past president of the Clinical Genetics Society (1997-9) and the European Society of Human Genetics (2009-10).

  • anne-ferguson-smith

    Position: Arthur Balfour Professor of Genetics at the University of Cambridge, UK.  Head of the Department of Genetics.

    Anne received her PhD from the Department of Biology at Yale University USA, studying the functional genomic organisation of the mammalian genome in development, and conducted postdoctoral work in Cambridge UK developing genomic imprinting as a paradigm for understanding epigenetic inheritance. For the past two decades, her team has studied genomic imprinting in development and disease, but more recently, work has been focused on the epigenetic control of genome function in a wider context including non-DNA sequence based inheritance.  Her current research focuses on three themes – stem cells and the epigenetic programme; genome-epigenome interactions; and mammalian development, environment and disease. She is a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator, an elected member of EMBO and a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences.

  • Position: Principal Investigator and Senior Lecturer in Epigenetics

    Institution: School of Biological & Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London

    Paul Hurd’s research interests focus on the analysis and elucidation of the biological functions of epigenetic mechanisms at the cellular, whole organism and population level, using both genomic and state of the art molecular techniques. Epigenetics is a special class of chemical modifications that exist ‘on top’ of the genetic information where they act as instructions to direct cellular programmes such as switching genes on and off. His major focus concerns understanding how the environment influences these epigenetic tags. As illustrative examples, Paul’s laboratory works on three model organisms: the honeybee, the zebra finch and the single cell eukaryote Tetrahymena thermophila.

    His long-standing interest in epigenetic mechanisms was developed during his PhD at the University of Sheffield and subsequent postdoctoral fellowships at Kings College London and more recently at The Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge.

  • BobJohnston-sInstitution: St Mary’s College, Liverpool

    Position: Head of Science (retired)

    Robert Johnston recently retired as Head of Science at St Mary’s College in Liverpool, having taught secondary school Biology for 39 years. He has a lifelong interest in genetics since reading the subject at the University of Liverpool. He is a member of the Public Communications Committee of the Galton Institute and, as editor of the Galton Institute Newsletter, is chair of the Editorial and Publications Committee. He has a number of roles within the Royal Society of Biology including Associate Editor of the Journal of Biological Education, Assessor for the Chartered Science Teacher Register and is a member of the Biology Education Research Group. He is also a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London.

  • Position: Emeritus Professor of Human Genetics

    Institution: Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, University of Manchesterapr-photo

    Andrew Read trained in Cambridge as an organic chemist, specialising in the chemistry of nucleotides. After research in Cambridge, Heidelberg and Warwick University, he eventually moved into genetics and joined the Department of Medical Genetics at Manchester University. He worked on identifying disease genes, particularly for hereditary deafness, but has also a strong interest in translational research, in which connection he set up and initially ran the molecular genetics diagnostic laboratory at St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester. He was founder chairman of the British Society for Human Genetics (now the British Society of Genetic Medicine) and is an Executive member of the European Society of Human Genetics. He is co-author of two leading textbooks, Strachan & Read’s Human Molecular Genetics (Garland; 5th edn in preparation) and Read & Donnai’s New Clinical Genetics (Scion, 3rd edn 2015). He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences

  • Position:  Galton Professor of Genetics and Research Director of the UCL Genetics InstituteN.Wood

    Instituti0n: University College London Genetics Institute

    Nicholas Wood is Galton Professor of Genetics and Research Director of the UCL Genetics Institute.  He is currently a Consultant Neurologist and Vice-Dean for Research in the UCL Faculty of Brain Sciences.  He is the UCLH BRC Neuroscience Programme Director. He qualified in medicine from Birmingham University in 1986 and undertook doctoral research at the University of Cambridge and was awarded a PhD in 1994.  He trained in clinical neurology in Cambridge and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London.  He was made a Senior Lecturer (UCL Institute of Neurology) and Honorary Consultant Neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in 1995. In 2004 he was made a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and in 2012 a Fellow of the American Neurological Association. His primary research interest is the genetics of neurological disease with an emphasis on the genetics of Parkinson’s disease and the ataxias.  He has published over 350 peer-reviewed articles and is on the board of several international neuroscience journals.


Council Attendees

(click to reveal biographies)

  • Position: Curator, Teaching & Research Collections (Biomedical and Galton)SD in Path Museum

    Institution: Public and Cultural Engagement, University College London (UCL PACE).

    Subhadra Das is Curator of the Galton and Pathology Collections at UCL. Having trained as an archaeologist, she has worked with UCL museum collections since 2005 and was appointed to her current position in 2012. She has approached the challenge of curating two collections with completely different subject areas by covering the common thematic ground of the history of 19th and 20th Century science and medicine.

  • Position: Retired Senior Archivist 

    C0102600 Roy Porter Lecture 2014

    Institution: The Wellcome Library

    Lesley Hall retired as Senior Archivist, Wellcome Library, in May 2015, after over 30 years there, during which she catalogued, among many other collections, the archive of the Eugenics Society and the papers of Marie Stopes. She has published extensively on matters of gender and sexuality in Britain from the 19th century to the present, including the textbook Sex, Gender and Social Change in Britain since 1880 (2nd edition, Palgrave, 2012), and a biography of the pioneering abortion law reform campaigner, Stella Browne (IB Tauris, 2011). She has also written several articles and chapters in edited collections on Marie Stopes. She was the co-author (with Lucy Bland) of the chapter on the UK in Alison Bashford and Philippa Levine (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics (2010). She is currently a Wellcome Library Research Fellow and an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at University College London.

Company details:

Company Secretary: Ms B Nixon (General Secretary of the Galton Institute)

Registered Office: 19 Northfields Prospect, London SW18 1PE