Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Egmond aan Zee, The Netherlands


A General Assembly of the ESPCR took place on Tuesday, September 10, at the Hotel Zuiderduin, in Egmond aan Zee, Holland.


1- Opening of the General Assembly

The Assembly was opened by Prof. Bennett. Agendas and the Minutes of the previous General Assembly, held in Rome, Italy, were distributed to all the members attending the Assembly (18 in total).


2- Approval of the minutes of ESPCR General Assembly in Rome

The Minutes of the previous General Assembly were read and unanimously approved without changes. They were signed by Prof. Bennett.


3- Secretary’s report

The Secretary commented on the main activities during 2002. A report on the Xth ESPCR Meeting held in Rome was coordinated by the Secretary and published in the ESPCR Bulletin (December 2001), with a general introduction by Dr. M. Picardo. Chair persons were contacted, who kindly agreed to write a short summary of the relevant aspects of their session. These contributors were Drs. M. d’Ischia, E. Healy, L. Larue, N. Smit, F. Solano, G. Ghanem, J.-M. Naeyaert and A. Taïeb. For future ESPCR Meetings, the Meeting Organizer and the Secretary will coordinate efforts to ensure that the collaboration of chair persons is engaged in time to cover all the relevant activities.

During 2002, the existing ESPCR databases have been finally merged. The database run by the Treasurer and the one presented in the Web page are regularly updated, compared, and completed with new information. Complete contact information including email addresses is available for more than 95 % of the membership. Research interests are available for more than 50% of the membership.

The term of four Council members, Drs. F. Beermann, M. Picardo, A. Thody and W. Westerhof expired this year, making it necessary to proceed to an election. Drs. Beermann, Picardo and Westerhof were eligible for re-election. A call for nominations was issued on May 15, with June 15 as deadline. Seven candidates were duly nominated and a ballot was launched on July 4. Three procedures for voting were set up: by regular mail, fax, or email. In this case, a secret email vote was made possible. A large majority of the members that voted did so by direct email. The elected candidates were:

-        Dr. Friedo Beermann, from the ISREC, Lausanne (Switzerland)

-        Dr. Mauro Picardo, from the Dermatological Institute San Gallicano, Rome (Italy)

-        Dr. Nico Smit, from the University of Leiden (The Netherlands)

-        Prof. Alain Taïeb, from the University of Bordeaux (France)

On the other hand, the term of the current Officers, elected on 2000, will expire next year. The ESPCR Council decided that elections should be held one year in advance, to ensure a reasonable overlap between acting and elected Officers, aiming at an efficient transfer of duties. A call for nominations was issued simultaneously to the one for ESPCR Council. Only one nomination per Office was received, and it was not necessary to proceed to a formal election. The names of the nominees, whose term will begin in September 2003, was announced by our President in a letter distributed to the membership on July 4. These names are:

-        President: Prof. José Carlos García-Borrón (Spain)

-        Secretary: Prof. Jean-Marie Naeyaert (Belgium)

-        Treasurer: Dr. Patrick Verrando (France)

During this year ESPCR needed to select candidates for two awards.  The H.S. Raper Medal was established by the ESPCR, to recognize "outstanding contributions to the biochemistry and molecular biology of pigmentation". The Takeuchi Medal is awarded by the JSPCR as an international recognition of "outstanding contributions to the molecular biology of pigmentation". Nominations from the membership were requested by mail on January 8 (deadline for reception February 8). Nominations were forwarded to the Council for voting, and then communicated by the President to the corresponding Awards Committees, who selected the following awardees:

-        HS Raper Medal: Prof. Anthony Thody

-        Takeuchi Medal: Drs. Shigeki Shibahara and Masayoshi Tachibana.


There were no further questions or comments from the audience. Prof. Bennett thanked the Secretary and moved to the next item.


4- Treasurer’s report

This report included detailed data on the membership, and was delivered by Dr. Larue. As of September, the Society comprises 195 members, with 19 new members in 2002 and 14 student members. Therefore, the number of members has remained approximately stable for the last few years.

Dr Larue described the incomes and outgoings, as follows (data given in euros):


  Balance carried over from 2001:                                       3,855.05           


  Income 10/2001-09/2002

  Member subscriptions                                                           6,520.00

  Pigment Cell Research subscriptions                                   3,280.00

  Donations                                                                              0,138.00


  Total income                                                                         9,938.00


  Outgoings 9/2001-9/2002

  International Federation of Pigment Cell

Societies, subscriptions for 2001                                3,062.65                     

  Bulletin and web costs (Prof. Ghanem)                                0,600.00         

  Bank charges CCF                                                                0,323.42

  Bank charges Natwest                                                           0,048.23         

  ESPCR Travel Awards                                                        1,580.00            

  Pigment Cell Research Subscriptions                                 3,280.00

  Two plaques for honorary members                                     0,629.81

  HS Raper medal                                                                   0,031.35

  Credit card machine (running budget)                                   0,206.05

  Stamps (gift from the treasurer)                                                       


  Total outgoings                                                                     9,761.51


  Balance at 09/02                                                                  4,031.54                                   


Dr. Larue noted that the positive balance is stable as compared to last year. Prof. Bennett thanked the Treasurer for this summary, and the report was unanimously accepted.

Before moving on to the next item, Prof. Bennett summarized the discussion in the Council Meeting concerning the need to find corporate sponsors, and informed on the appointment of an ad-hoc Committee formed by Drs. C. Goding and M. Picardo.


5- ESPCR Bulletin and Web site report

This was delivered by Prof. Ghanem, who commented on the large number of hard copies of the ESPCR Bulletin that are still printed and mailed, and on the decision of the Council to discontinue the preparation of a printed Bulletin. A computer printout or a photocopy will be mailed to those requesting a hard copy. Access to the Bulletin will remain protected, restricted to members in good standing, and denied to those members that did not pay for the last two years.

Prof. Ghanem then moved to the Web site report. He acknowledged the help and numerous suggestions from the Officers, notably D. Bennett and L. Larue. He reviewed recent improvements, including online registration forms, a list of related sites of interest, and frequently updated membership lists. The site registered between 1000 and 2000 hits per month, but the exact number of hits is impossible to determine owing to differences in the routes to access the Web page. The issues of security and confidentiality discussed by the Council were then considered, with the decision that the membership list including contact information will remain password-protected.

After some discussion on the pertinence of minor layout changes on the Web page, Prof. Bennett thanked G. Ghanem, and moved on to the next item.


6- Election of Officers, Council Members and new Council composition

This was very briefly summarized by Profs. Bennett and García-Borrón, since most of the relevant information had already been given under item 3. The Assembly was reminded of the new composition of the Council, effective after approval by the General Assembly, which is: F. Beermann (Lausanne), D. Bennett (London), G. Ghanem (Brussels), J.-C. García-Borrón (Murcia), C. Goding (Oxted), L. Larue (Paris), J.-M. Naeyaert (Ghent), S. Pavel (Leiden), M. Picardo (Rome), N. Smit (Leiden) and A. Taïeb (Bordeaux).


7- Number of voting members in the ESPCR Council

Prof. Bennett explained the situation arising from the fact that Prof. Ghanem, in his capacity of Web Master and Bulletin Editor, has become an ex officio, non-voting Council member. She summarized the discussion during the Council Meeting, and the decision that the total number of Council members should remain 11, according to the current Constitution, with 10 voting members. Prof. Bennett asked for approval by the General Assembly for this change in the rule governing Council composition. This was unanimously approved by the General Assembly.


8- Any other business

No further business was raised.


9- Close of Assembly

With no other matters to discuss, the General Assembly was then closed by Prof. Bennett.