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

(click to reveal biographies)

  • 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 and Chairs their Diversity Committee, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and is Patron of Aniridia Network UK.

  • Position: 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 a 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).

  • Position: Emeritus Professor of Human Genetics

    Institution: Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, University of Manchester

    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.

  • 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)

  • Position: Lecturer

    Institution: Queen Mary University of London

    Elena Bochukova is a geneticist investigating the genetic basis and molecular mechanisms underlying human neurological and endocrine disease. She is currently a PI and Lecturer in Genomics based at the Blizard Institute at Barts & The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London. She previously worked at the MRC-Wellcome Institute of Metabolic Science (Cambridge), and 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: Senior Lecturer in Medical Genetics

    Institution: Kingston University of London

    Jess Buxton’s scientific interests are focussed on understanding the contribution of genetic variation and genomic integrity to human disease. During her early career, she investigated the molecular pathology underlying the monogenic conditions myotonic dystrophy and Angelman syndrome. Following a career break taken for family reasons, she returned to full-time research at Imperial College in 2009, supported by a Wellcome Trust Career Re-entry Fellowship. This funded her work on the identification of genetic and other factors associated with telomere length – an indicator of cellular ageing and an independent risk factor for age-related metabolic dysfunction. She carried out further postdoctoral work at University College London before joining Kingston University in 2017. Jess also has a long-standing interest in public engagement with human genetics. She is a Trustee of Progress Educational Trust, a UK charity that aims to facilitate debate on the responsible application of reproductive and genetic science, in order to improve the choices for people affected by infertility or genetic conditions

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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: Professor of Epigenetic Epidemiology and Director of Bristol Population Health Sciences Institute

    Institution:  MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, University of Bristol 

    Caroline Relton is currently a Professor of Epigenetic Epidemiology, she obtained a PhD in molecular genetics at Newcastle University in 1999 where she then held an academic position for 12 years, before moving to the University of Bristol in 2012.  Caroline’s research focuses on understanding the role of both epigenetic variation in development and disease.  The work of her group includes using population-based approaches to study epigenetic information as a biomarker of exposure and predictor of disease.  She has developed and applied causal analysis methods to understand the role of epigenetic processes as disease mechanisms and has led studies investigating the genetic architecture of DNA methylation variation.  Her research spans multiple clinical areas from perinatal health to cancer.  Caroline is also Director of the Bristol Population Health Science Research Institute.

  • Position:  Emeritus Professor of Human Genetics

    Institution: Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London

    Dallas has a BSc from the University of St Andrews, where she studied Zoology, and a PhD in Genetics from the University of London. She spent some 25 years in the MRC Human Biochemical Genetics Unit in UCL, and is currently in the Research Department of Genetics,  Evolution and Environment, UCL, where she is now an Emeritus Professor. She has had a long interest in functionally significant genetic variation in humans, with a particular focus on epithelial proteins – molecules located at the barrier between the ‘inside’ and the ‘outside’ of the body,  -in particular mucins (MUCs) and digestive enzymes such as lactase, for which she wrote the Chapter in The Metabolic and Molecular Bases of Inherited Disease. Uncovering the molecular basis of  the lactase persistence polymorphism led to her strong interest in the evolutionary and disease significance of variation in gene-regulation.  Her ongoing research interests include, as well as the population genetics of the  lactase persistence polymorphism, investigations into the impact of haplotype structure in interpreting population dynamics, and on disease association studies.  

  • Position: May Professor of Medicine

    Institution: Academic Endocrine Unit, Radcliffe Department of Medicine. University of Oxford

    Thakker studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge and Clinical Medicine at the Middlesex Hospital, London.  His main research interests include the molecular basis of disorders of calcium homeostasis and he has authored over 410 publications, which have included peer-reviewed papers in the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Nature Genetics, Journal of Clinical Investigation and Lancet Journals.  He is a Consultant Endocrinologist who provides expertise in the fields of neuroendocrine tumours (NETs), and disorders of calcium and phosphate metabolism. He was Professor of Medicine at The Royal Postgraduate Medical School, The Hammersmith Hospital, London, until 1999, when he took up his present position in Oxford.  He has served on the MRC Physiological Medicine and Infections Board (2000-2005), the Council for the Society for Endocrinology (2003-2006), and as Chairman of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) / MRC Efficacy and Mechanisms Evaluations (EME) Board (2008-2016).  He has been the recipient of prizes which include: the Raymond-Horton Smith Prize (Cambridge University, UK) (1994); the Society for Endocrinology (UK) medal (1995); the European Journal of Endocrinology Prize (EFES) (1998); the Graham Bull Prize from the Royal College of Physicians (UK) (1999); the Jack W. Coburn Endowed Lectureship from the American Society of Nephrology (2012); the Louis V Avioli Founder’s Award from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (USA) (2009); and the Dale Medal from the Society for Endocrinology (UK) (2015).   He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Academy of Medical Sciences, and is Patron of the patient group – the Association of Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Disorders (AMEND), UK.

  • 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)

  • John Beardmore is Professor Emeritus of Genetics at Swansea University, a consultant in aquatic resources and chairman of Fishgen Ltd.

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Company details:

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

Registered Office: 19 Northfields Prospect, London SW18 1PE