book1-430Thee 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 four 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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  • Institution:  Department of Genetics & Genome Biology, School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester

    Position: Professor of Public Engagement and Reader in Genetics & Genome Biology 

    Turi King is a Canadian who started her career in Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.  She then joined the University of Leicester on a scholarship studying for an MSc in molecular genetics to complement this background with the aim of applying interdisciplinary approaches to human evolutionary genetics and to answer questions in history and archaeology. Her very successful PhD research was funded by a Wellcome Trust Prize Studentship. This research, acclaimed through several awards, investigated the relationship between British surnames and Y chromosome haplotype. Not only academically novel and productive, the area of research spawned a huge amount of public and media interest. Here Turi gained her first experience in public interaction and the communication of her research and it became clear that the combination of human genetics, history and archaeology really fascinates a broad spectrum of the public and provides a unique opportunity to explain genetics to a lay audience. The research continued to investigate the application of patrilineal surnames to forensics, population history and genetic epidemiology. Turi progressed onto related work on the the genetic legacies of the Vikings in Britain and Ireland.

    Turi’s work has centred around combining genetics with forensics, history and archaeology for many years and throughout this Turi greatly extended her experience and skills in outreach, be it with schools, societies, museums or various aspects of the media, for example advising and appearing in numerous television programmes. For the King Richard III project Turi was well placed to both lead the crucial genetic analysis of the remains, but also interact with the relatives and communicate the results to the public. Again the research, in which her input was decisive, and her public engagement, received several accolades and widespread recognition. As a reflection of her work and ability, Turi was appointed to a unique lectureship in Genetics and Archaeology, held jointly across the two departments and later promoted to Reader and made Professor of Public Engagement at the University of Leicester. 

    Turi is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and the Society of Antiquaries in London as well as being an Honorary Fellow of the British Science Association.

  • Position: Professor of History and Philosophy of Science   

    Institution: University of Leeds  

    Greg received his PhD from the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge, UK.  He has published widely on the history of biology and the human sciences after 1800, with particular emphases on Darwin and Darwinism, genetics and eugenics, and the sciences of mind, language and behaviour. He has also pursued more general questions about scientific knowledge, especially to do with history-of-science counterfactuals and intellectual property, narrowly and broadly construed.  His current research focuses on the early-twentieth-century debate over Gregor Mendel’s experiments with hybrid peas and how a new understanding of it can change the way we think about – and in particular teach – genetics today.  He is a Past President of the British Society for the History of Science, and current President of the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology.

  • 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.

  • Position:   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.

  • Institution: 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.

Council Members of the Galton Institute

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  • 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: 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.

  • Position: Research Associate

    Institution: Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge.

    Pierpaolo Maisano Delser completed his BSc and MSc at the University of Ferrara (Italy) and he obtained a PhD in genetics at the University of Leicester. He then worked as Research Fellow at the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle in Paris (France) and at the Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) before joining the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge as Research Associate.

    Pierpaolo Maisano Delser’s scientific interests are focussed on population genomics and human genetic studies. He investigated the demographic histories of several organisms also linked to conservation genetics. Currently, he is working on integrating genetic, climatic and environmental data to reconstruct the histories of anatomically modern humans before the advent of agriculture. He has also developed and applied several methods to better understand the dynamics of structured populations and the interactions between humans and domesticates.

  • Position: Director of Research in Global Health, Professor of Human Population Biology and Health and Fellow of Churchill College

    Institution:  Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge

    Nick Mascie-Taylor trained at Cambridge and has a PhD and ScD in Human Population Biology and Genetics.  He was appointed as a Lecturer in the Department of Biological Anthropology, University of Cambridge in 1974 and remained in that department until he retired in 2016. He served as Head of Department for nearly 19 years, has supervised 40 PhD students and has edited the Journal of Biosocial Science published by Cambridge University Press for 31 years. In 2017 he moved to his current Department where he is a co-investigator working on a four-year RCUK funded project in Bangladesh focusing on social, behavioural and environmental drivers of non-communicable diseases. Much of his research has been undertaken in Africa and Asia on the inter-relationships between poverty, nutrition, growth and disease.  He is Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, Overseas Fellow of the Hungarian National Academy of Sciences and former President of the European Anthropological Association.

  • 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: Honorary Professor

    Institutions: MRC Human Genetics Unit, Institute of Genetics and Cancer, University of Edinburgh; & Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London

    Veronica van Heyningen studied Genetics as part of the Natural Sciences Tripos in Cambridge, followed by a DPhil in Oxford on early human gene mapping.  She moved to Edinburgh as a Beit Memorial Fellow and joined the MRC Human Genetics Unit where her major research interests were in defining genes and exploring genetic mechanisms associated with developmental eye abnormalities in humans and model organisms.  She has a long-standing interest in public perceptions of genetics and was a member of the Human Genetics Commission from 2000-20005.   She has engaged in organising meetings on many aspects of genetics, including on ethical issues, through the human Genome Organisation (HUGO), the European Society of Human Genetics (President 2003) and the (UK) Genetics Society (President 2009-2012).  As President of the Galton Institute from 2014-2020 she helped convene biennial genetics update meetings for teachers.  Veronica is a Fellow the the Academy of Medical Sciences, of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the Royal Society, where from 2019-2022 she chaired the Diversity Committee, working to develop and implement equity and inclusion strategies.

  • 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

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  • 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).

Company details:

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

Registered Office: 19 Northfields Prospect, London SW18 1PE