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WormBoard Charter

Last Update: November 2020


Since its inception the C. elegans field has relied on the voluntary efforts of community-minded individuals to develop and organize key resources and meetings. As the field enters its second half-century, continued growth necessitates a more formal structure for such efforts. The International C. elegans Board (ICB), a.k.a. WormBoard, was formed in 2015 to advocate for C. elegans research internationally and to foster the continued development of community resources.

Composition of WormBoard

The WormBoard is a representative group of working scientists and educators who use C. elegans or related nematodes as their primary model organism. WormBoard will meet in odd-numbered years at the biennial International C. elegans meeting, and if possible at one of the topic or regional meetings in even-numbered years. Additional business will be conducted by email or teleconference.

Representatives (total 15); 12 regional, including one underrepresented minority from USA, 1 additional underrepresented minority from any country, 1 postdoc and one graduate student.

Regional representatives will be selected by votes of the entire community and will serve for 4 years. Representation of regions is based on approximate number of active labs and will be periodically reviewed.

Number of labs 1 Proportion Proposed # of representatives Notes
US 711 52% 4
- include one underrepresented minority
- include one representative from a PUI (primarily undergraduate institution)
- discontinue geographic representation (East/West, etc.)
Canada 78 6% 1
Latin America 17 1% 1 (created in the 2020-2021 Wormboard reorganization)
Europe 322 23% 2
Middle East 26 2% 1 (created in the 2020-2021 Wormboard reorganization)
Asia 196 14% 2
Pacific (Aus/NZ) 23 2% 1 (created in the 2020-2021 Wormboard reorganization)
Minority 1 this shall be member of an underrepresented minority from whatever country the nomination comes from
PhD Student 1 Alternates from different geographic regions. No two trainees from same region, no trainee whose mentor sits on WormBoard
Postdoc 1
Total 15

1 Only registered worm labs that published in last 5 yrs (2015-2020) were considered.

Terms and Election of Representatives and Officers

Worm Board will have four officers: A President, a President-elect, a Secretary, and an Officer. An election held at the end of each 2-yr cycle will chose a President-elect, who will serve as an officer the first term. Usually, the President-elect becomes President in their second term. To ensure continuity in the Board, the President will then serve one year ex officio.

A call for nominations will precede biennial elections. Self-nominations are allowed. All nominations shall be accompanied by a short statement (~200 words) in which the candidate explains their motivation to become a WormBoard member. Candidates are encouraged to highlight their background, experience and qualifications, particularly as they relate to diversity efforts. For the US representatives, nominations of faculty from HSIs (Hispanic serving institutions) and HBCUs (historically Black colleges and universities) will be specifically encouraged. If there are insufficient nominations to fill a category, the past president – in consultation with other board members – will solicit additional nominations.

Nominees must agree to be willing to serve their full term on WormBoard and must commit to attending at least two meetings per year. If unanticipated circumstances make it impossible for an elected representative to fulfill this commitment during the course of their term, WormBoard may choose to fill their slot by special election.

The final slates shall be drawn up by a committee composed of 2 board members (one current and one out-going) from two different geographical regions, plus 2 non-board community members unanimously agreed upon by the board and representing 2 different regions. Slates will ensure balanced gender and ethnic diversity of the board.

Elections will be held the first week of June in odd years starting 2021, before the International Worm meeting. • February 1: call for nominations shall be sent out by the out-going president • March 1: deadline to return nominations • March, April: slates for election to be drawn up • May 1: the slates shall be announced • June 1-7: 1-week election period open to all community members

Going forward, this cycle will allow 6 representatives to remain and 7 to be elected (or vice versa) each 2-year cycle. To ensure continuity and past commitments (e.g. succession of Maureen Barr as president in 2021), recently elected board members will remain on the board.

The 2021 election will fill slots as follows:

# reps continue to serve to be elected total representatives
US 3 [2021 = Barr (president elect), Yanowitz, Skop (minority rep)] 1 PUI 4
Canada 1 1
Latin America 1 1
Europe 2 [2021 = ConradtA, van den Heuvel B] 2
Middle East 1 1
Asia 1 [2021 = Wang A] 1B 2
Pacific (Aus/NZ) 1 1
Minority 1 1
PhD Student 1 to be elected/yr 1
Postdoc 1 to be elected/yr 1

The 2023 election will fill slots as follows:

# reps continue to serve to be elected total representatives
US PUI rep 3 4
Canada 1 1
Latin America 1 1
Europe 1 A + 1 B 2
Middle East 1 1
Asia 1 B 1 A 2
Pacific (Aus/NZ) 1 1
Minority 1 1
PhD Student 1 to be elected/yr 1
Postdoc 1 to be elected/yr 1

Representatives will serve a 4-year term, with the exception of the PhD student and postdoc members who will be elected annually.

Officers (President, Secretary, Treasurer) will be elected by WormBoard from among representatives at the first meeting after the election, and will serve for a 2-year term. To ensure continuity in the Board, the President will serve one additional year on the board ex officio.

PhD student and postdoc representatives will be (self-)nominated and will submit – like all board members that stand for election – a statement as to why they want to be on the board. After 2021, the annual call for nominations will be from the PhD student and postdoc representatives. Current WormBoard members will elect these representatives prior to the IWM so that they can attend the first Wormboard meeting of the new cycle. PhD student and postdoc representatives will serve for a single year.

Ex officio members

The following individuals or their representatives will serve on the Board as non-voting, ex officio members, and may also serve as voting officers or regional representatives, if elected:

  • Liaison with the Genetics Society of America (a GSA board member, if available).
  • PI of the WormBase consortium
  • Director of the CGC
  • C. elegans nomenclature coordinator
  • WormBook editor
  • PIs of the gene knockout consortium projects
  • One PI of nematode genome projects
  • Current and most recent International Worm Meeting organizers

WormBoard's discussion of community issues benefits from input from the entire community. The regional representatives are responsible for canvassing C. elegans researchers from their regions on major issues. Advice from ex officio members will also be solicited on all Board issues. The Officers and the Regional Representatives, as the elected officials of the Board, constitute its voting body.

Responsibilities of WormBoard

1. To advocate for C. elegans research and represent the interests of the worldwide C. elegans scientific community.

2. To gather input, discuss, and articulate strategic goals for the C. elegans community, including a report at regular intervals.

3. To support international cooperation and communication among C. elegans researchers.

4. To act as a liaison with other communities and scientific societies with related interests.

5. To ensure a successful International C. elegans Meeting. The Board will approve the venue and appoint the Scientific Organizers. The Board will also support the Topic and Regional meetings in alternating years, as well as other community activities.

6. To promote the relevance of C. elegans research to human health, both in fundamental discovery and in biomedical or disease modeling.

7. To promote C. elegans investigators for honors, awards, and prizes

8. To promote public outreach, educational initiatives, programs, or forums, and to support the use of C. elegans in biology education.

9. To promote the generation, maintenance, and advancement of infrastructure projects valuable to the international C. elegans community, including: the WormBase consortium, WormBook, the Caenorhabditis Genetics Center, the C. elegans gene knockout consortia, and nematode genome sequencing projects.

10. In the event that any unspent funds are available, to the Board will develop plans to administer them for the benefit of the C. elegans research community.

Prepared by E. Jane Hubbard (NYU) November 16, 2020

WormBoard Members

Role 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
President Jane Hubbard Andrew Chisholm
President-Elect Maureen Barr Anne Hart
Secretary Oliver Hobert Oliver Hobert
Officer/Treasurer Ahna Skop Julie Ahringer
US/East Judith Yanowitz Jane Hubbard
US/Central/South David Greenstein David Greenstein
US/West Miriam Goodman Miriam Goodman
US/PUI Te-Wen Lo Te-Wen Lo
Canada and Americas Brent Derry Brent Derry
Europe-A Barbara Conradt Ralf Sommer
Europe-B Sander van den Heuvel Peter Meister
Asia-A Xiaochen Wang Hong Zhang
Asia-B Asako Sugimoto Asako Sugimoto
Ex-officio non-voting members
GSA Liaison Swathi Arur Anne Villeneuve
WormBase PI Paul Sternberg Paul Sternberg
CGC Director Ann Rougvie Ann Rougvie
Nomenclature coordinator Tim Schedl Tim Schedl
WormBook EIC Iva Greenwald Iva Greenwald
Knockout Consortium PI Don Moerman Don Moerman
Knockout Consortium PI Shohei Mitani Shohei Mitani
Nematode Genome PI Erik Anderson Mark Blaxter
IWM Current Organizer Barbara Conradt (2021) Julie Ahringer
IWM Current Organizer Piali Sengupta (2021) Michael Koelle
IWM Past Organizer Julie Ahringer (2019) Andrew Chisholm
IWM Past Organizer Michael Koelle (2019) Marie-Anne Felix

WormBoard Meetings and Reports