President's Perspective

President's Perspective: April 2017

Our work as scientists is very occasionally celebrated by the wider community. Recently, Professor Alan Mackay-Sim was awarded the Australia Day Prime Minister’s Prize for Science for his work on neural stems cells. In addition, Professor Colin Masters was awarded an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia for his work on Alzheimer’s disease, and Professor Richard Faull was made a Knight Companion of the Order of New Zealand for services to brain research.

“The love for and dedication to my work seems to me to be the basis for happiness. As a research worker, the unforgotten moments of my life are those rare ones which come after years of plodding work, when the veil over nature’s secret seems suddenly to lift and when what was dark and chaotic appears in a clear and beautiful light and pattern.” Professor Gerty Cori, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1947, for understanding glycogen and energy metabolism. Source: http://beckerexhibits.

ANS Council is very pleased to announce that the new annual meeting plenary lecture to be named after a female neuroscientist will be named after Professor Elspeth McLachlan, FAA. Professor McLachlan made seminal discoveries in the autonomic nervous system (see https://, was the first woman president of ANS (1996-1997), and held a number of senior management roles both at The University of Queensland and The University of New South Wales. In addition, Professor McLachlan’s contributions to Australasian science endure in her mentorship of a number of highly successful neuroscientists. The inaugural Elspeth McLachlan Plenary lecture will be held at the annual ANS meeting in Brisbane in 2018. Nominations for the speaker (male or female) will be made through the usual plenary speaker nomination process.

At the ANS AGM meeting in Hobart, ANS Council and members raised the possibility of having the AW Campbell and Nina Kondelos medal winners give talks in the meeting in the year following their award. ANS Council has now agreed that these significant awards should include a lecture by the awardee. Both medal winners from 2016, Dr Stephen Abbott (AW Campbell winner) and Professor Naomi Wray (Nina Kondelos winner) will be invited to give talks at the annual ANS meeting in Sydney in 2017.

The local organising committee (LOC) for the annual meeting in Sydney has been working extremely hard. The final program for the meeting will be available shortly. A significant issue the LOC and the ANS Executive have had to deal with are the significant cost increases arising from holding the meeting in Sydney. The LOC has managed to retain the registration cost at the same rate as the 2016 meeting in Hobart, partly by making the lunch costs optional, but also through other cost-saving measures, while retaining all the features of what will be a truly excellent meeting with an outstanding scientific program.

ANS Executive met recently for a full-day workshop to discuss strategies for maintaining the upward trajectory of the Society that will allow it to remain financially stable while providing the best possible support for our members as the peak body for neuroscience in Australia and New Zealand. This is a work in progress and the full ANS Council will meet in July to discuss developing a five-year strategic plan for the Society. Full consultation of this process with all ANS members will occur once Council has developed a draft plan. A major goal of the strategic plan will be to continue to provide an outstanding annual meeting and to develop a range of year-round benefits for the membership of the Society that will provide significant value.

Some of the ANS member benefits are detailed further in this issue of the newsletter with the new committees beginning their work to promote areas of interest to our members. In addition, the ANS Executive has negotiated some reciprocal benefits with the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) for travel awards and conference attendance at local membership rates. These will be advertised in the ANS newsletter and on our website as they become available. In this issue, we are promoting ANS-FENS travel scholarships to attend Cajal courses in Europe for PhD students and early career researchers who are ANS members.

Your membership of the Society is crucial and ANS cannot exist without it. ANS provides your collective voice for science advocacy and the funding of neuroscience and represents your interests across a range of national and international science organisations. With so many areas of science competing for limited resources, it is imperative that the Society has a strong voice and this can only come from demonstrating our influence through membership numbers. We are grateful that many people have already renewed their membership for 2017, with the option of both 1 and 3 year memberships. The three-year membership option provides a saving of the consumer price index increase over three years.

If you have not renewed your membership, please do so by logging into: Don’t delay, renew today!

Professor Linda Richards

President, ANS

Past Presidents' Perspectives

2017 - January