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Bylaws amendment: In September 2009, SMBE Council proposed to the membership a series of bylaw changes made necessary in part by the launching of a second SMBE journal, Genome Biology and Evolution. In November 2009, the amendments proposed by the Council were approved by the membership by a vast majority (252) of those voted (262). The new Bylaws are posted on the SMBE Web site.
Election of SMBE officers: Past-President Paul Sharp appointed a Nominations Committee in early 2009 to select candidates for the offices of President-Elect, Councillor, and Secretary. Members of the nominations committee included Laura Katz (Chair), Brian Golding, Yoko Satta, Marta Wayne, and Jianzhi Zhang (ex officio). Secretary Jianzhi Zhang informed society members of the composition of the committee and invited suggestions for nominees. The candidates are Ken Wolfe (Trinity College Dublin) and Shozo Yokoyama (Emory University) for President-Elect, Robin Bush (University of California at Irvine) and Chau-Ti Ting (National Taiwan University) for Councillor, and Manyuan Long (University of Chicago) and Harmit Malik (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center) for Secretary. The elections were conducted online from May 11 to May 29, at the OUP member-subscription site, where short biographies of each candidate were made available. In the final tally, Drs Wolfe, Bush, and Long were elected to hold the offices of President-Elect (2010), Councillor (2010–2012), and Secretary (2010–2012), respectively.
Report on 2009 SMBE Annual Meeting: The 17th annual meeting of SMBE was held 3–7 June 2009, at the University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA), with the theme of “Darwin to the Next Generation.” The meeting attracted around 600 delegates. The scientific program included 4 plenary lectures, 30 symposia, and more than 300 posters. Eight contestants were selected to compete for the Walter Fitch Student Prize, and the final winner was Joshua Bayes from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. In addition to supporting eight Fitch-Prize contestants for traveling to Iowa City, SMBE awarded a total of 11 Postdoctoral Researcher Travel Awards and 20 Graduate Student Travel Awards. SMBE also gave several poster prizes and sponsored the Undergraduate Diversity Mentoring Program Awards.
Future Annual Meetings: The presentation of the proposal for SMBE2010 (4–8 July 2010) in Lyon, France, was given by Manolo Gouy of Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. Facilities as well as organizational plans were presented, along with maps of the site, general information about the locale, and the organizers’ ideas for generating sponsorships for invited symposia presentations. The Council suggested that the meeting organizers investigate the potential of using webcams to broadcast some of the oral presentations so that the content of the meeting becomes accessible to a broader audience. The Council voted to increase the seed money to $40,000–$50,000 per annual meeting. Subsequent to the council meeting, President Michael Lynch informed the Council of several potential organizers of the 2011 and 2012 Society Meetings.
Financial Support for Attending Society Annual Meetings: Based on the current financial status of the Society, the Council approved the motion of providing up to US$1,500 for each associate editor of MBE and GBE to attend the 2010 annual meeting. The Council also approved the motion to provide up to $1,000 per individual for 20 graduate students and 20 postdoctoral fellows to attend the 2010 annual meeting. The support for undergraduate students and Fitch-Prize contestants to attend the annual conference will continue, with undergraduate support to be expanded to include nonminorities. In addition to continuing the poster awards for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, the Council approved the establishment of a poster award for undergraduate students.
SMBE Web site: There was extensive discussion about a facelift and maintenance of the Society Web site. Dan Graur will examine the Web site and report to the council in the next few months.
SMBE Journal and Membership: Due to the excellent financial health of the Society, the Council decided to keep the membership fee unchanged for 2010.
SMBE logo: The Council approved a proposal to call for c-membership design competition for the Society logo.
The Council also discussed a person-specific financial issue.