Since the spring of 2005, the BCCRC Graduate Student and Post Doctoral Society (GrasPods) has been creating opportunities for trainees and post doctoral fellows to learn and network. 



Dear Friends,

We have an exciting year of discovery and opportunity ahead of us this year.

Last year we had an abundance of events, including two Bennett Family Distinguished Lecturers Dr. Mina Bissell and Dr. Owen Witte as well as a CRISPR mini-symposium and networking event. We had other social and networking events including Jobs in Science Interviews and Board Games Nights.

This year, GrasPods will yet again be dedicated to providing students with academic and professional development. Currently we have many events planned for this year including a Research Day and the summer barbeque.

GrasPods hopes to provide all students with an opportunity to learn more about cutting edge technologies and research. This year we plan to provide workshops focusing on: CRISPR, R/Programming, troubleshooting experiments and hopefully more! We want to know what you would like to learn, so if you contact GrasPods we can make it happen.

Networking is an important part of our mission at GrasPods as it provides a sense of community among researchers and trainees. Continuing with traditions we hosted another Holiday party and welcome week which were well attended, so keep an eye out for other networking events in our newsletters every month, as they are a great opportunity to meet new people and have a lot of fun! We also want to encourage everyone to attend our wellness initiatives including: weekly yoga session and monthly art nights (the last Wednesday of every month).

I hope to see you in the New Year and at some GrasPods events!


Yours Truly in Research,

James Lawson

GrasPods 2017 President


Who we are

President | James Lawson

VP Internal | Jessica Pilsworth

VP External | Jasleen Grewal

VP Finance | Colin Hammond

Sponsorship Coordinator |  Patrick Coulombe

Academic Coordinators  | Angela Mo & Derek Wong

Communications Coordinator |  Vanessa Porter

Jobs In Science Interview Series Coordinators | Yang Xia & Sohrab Salehi

Webmaster & Social Media Coordinator | Sean Minaker

Sports Coordinator | Ann Sun

Wellness Coordinator | Rachel Wong

PostDoc Rep | Rouhollah Mousavizadeh

Social Events Coordinators | Marion van den Bosch & Shary Chen

Sustainability Coordinator | Margie MacAldaz

Deeley Centre Liason | Julian Smazynski

3rd & 4th Floor Rep | Sonya Langman

5th & 6th Floor Rep | Courtney van Ballegooie & Cassia Warren

7th & 8th Floor Rep | Annie Cavalla

9th & 10th Floor Rep | Jennifer Grants

11th Floor Rep | Michael Yuen

12th Floor Rep | Lauren Chong

13th Floor Rep | Fangwu Wang

Genome Sciences Centre Rep | Jake Lever

Prostate Centre Rep | Jake Noble & Ninadh d'Costa

If you would like to volunteer with the society, or have suggestions for speakers to invite, ideas for events, or other questions or comments, please contact us

Constitution and Bylaws of the British Columbia Cancer Agency Graduate Student and Post Doctoral Fellow Society
Current version
Incorporates amendments ratified by the membership on:
December 6, 2012
Original version ratified by the membership:
November 27, 2008

1. The name of this society is “British Columbia Cancer Agency Graduate Student and Post Doctoral Fellow Society”.
2. The purpose of the society is:
a. To support the research environment for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows (trainees) at the British Columbia Cancer Agency Branch Society (BC Cancer Agency) by providing opportunities for academic, professional, and social development.
b. To facilitate social and scientific networks among the many trainees of the BC Cancer Agency.
c. To act as a representative voice for the scientific trainees at the BC Cancer Agency when other typical trainee advocacy groups have been rendered deficient or non-existent.

Bylaws of British Columbia Cancer Agency Graduate Student and Post Doctoral Fellow Society.
Part I — Interpretation
1. In these bylaws, unless the context otherwise requires:
a. “alumnus” or “alumna” means any person who has ceased to be eligible for membership in the society by completing or otherwise exiting any and all training programs in which he/she was enrolled at the BCCA. Persons who exited all such training programs before the incorporation of the society shall also be considered alumni.
b. “BCCA” means the British Columbia Cancer Agency Branch Society.
c. “BCCRC” means the BC Cancer Research Centre, a research building of the BCCA.
d. “directors” means the directors of the society for the time being.
e. “Executive Council” means the directors of the society for the time being referred to collectively as a unit.
f. “GrasPods” means British Columbia Cancer Agency Graduate Student and Post Doctoral Fellow Society and is the preferred abbreviation for the name of the society.
g. “GSC” means the BCCA’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre.
h. “GSS” means The UBC Graduate Student Society.
i. “Society Act” means the Society Act of the Province of British Columbia from time to time in force and all amendments to it.
j. “trainee” means any person currently enrolled in a training program as a graduate student or a postdoctoral fellow at the BCCA.
2. The definitions in the Society Act on the date these bylaws become effective apply to these bylaws.
3. Words importing the singular include the plural and vice versa; and words importing a person include a male or female person.

Part II — Membership
4. The members of the society shall consist of all persons as defined in Bylaws 5 and 6.
5. A person becomes a member by commencing a training program as a graduate student or a postdoctoral fellow at the BCCA or being a non-BCCA graduate student who expresses his/her interest in becoming a member by notifying the President.
6. The directors may grant special membership to any person not normally entitled to membership under Bylaw 5.
a. Such membership shall confer the same benefits and responsibilities as normal membership, except that he/she shall not receive a vote in matters concerning the granting or removal of special membership of himself/herself or another person.
b. Such membership shall be valid for one year unless otherwise determined by a majority of the directors eligible to vote on such matters.
c. Members who receive special membership may be expelled from the society by a two-thirds majority vote of the directors eligible to vote on such matters.
d. Special members who commence a training program as a graduate student or a postdoctoral fellow at the BCCA shall lose their special membership and gain normal membership in the society.
7. Every member must uphold the constitution and comply with these bylaws.
8. A person ceases to be a member of the society upon satisfying the criteria for becoming an alumnus according to Bylaw 1, upon completing his/her non-BCCA training program, upon expiration of his/her special membership according to Bylaw 6.b, by being expelled according to Bylaw 6.c, or by submitting to the President of the society a signed and witnessed declaration formally renouncing his/her membership in the society.
9. An alumnus is not a member of the society, unless granted special membership under Bylaw 6, but shall be welcome at all society functions and events.
10. All members are in good standing unless deemed not in good standing by a unanimous vote at a meeting of the directors.
a. This power of the directors shall be reserved for extraordinary circumstances, as judged by the directors.
b. A member not in good standing may be reinstated to being in good standing by a subsequent majority vote of the directors.

Part III — Meetings of Members
11. General meetings of the society will be held at the time and place, in accordance with the Society Act, that the directors decide.
12. With the exception of annual general meetings, which shall be subject to Bylaw 14, the directors may, when they think fit, convene a general meeting.
a. The members may request a general meeting by submitting to the directors a petition, bearing the witnessed signatures of at least ten (10) members in good standing, stating the request and the purpose of the proposed meeting.
i. The directors shall convene the requested meeting not less than seven (7) days and not more than thirty (30) days after the receipt and acknowledgement of the petition.
ii. In lieu of convening the requested meeting, the directors may choose to add the requested business to the agenda of an upcoming annual general meeting, provided this meeting is held within the timeframe that would have otherwise been required by Bylaw 12.a.i.
13. Notice of a general meeting must specify the place, day, and hour of the meeting.
a. The accidental omission to give notice of a meeting to, or the non-receipt of a notice by, any of the members entitled to receive notice does not invalidate proceedings at that meeting.
b. Examples of suitable notice of a general meeting include, but are not limited to, a general email to the membership or a message on the society’s website at least a week before the meeting.
14. Annual general meetings of the society shall be held every calendar year in either November or December.

Part IV — Proceedings at General Meetings
15. Annual general meetings shall, at a minimum, conduct the following items of business:
a. The report of the directors.
b. The election of directors for the upcoming term.
c. Other business that, under these bylaws, ought to be conducted at an annual general meeting, or business that is brought under consideration by the notice convening the meeting.
16. Business, other than the election of a chair and the adjournment or termination of the meeting, must not be conducted at a general meeting at a time when a quorum is not present.
a. If at any time during a general meeting there ceases to be a quorum present, business then in progress must be suspended until there is a quorum present or until the meeting is adjourned or terminated.
b. A quorum is three (3) members present or a greater number that the members may determine at a general meeting.
17. If within thirty (30) minutes from the time appointed for a general meeting a quorum is not present, the meeting must be terminated.
18. Subject to Bylaw 19, the president of the society, the vice president, or, in the absence of both, one of the other directors present, must preside as chair of a general meeting.
19. If at a general meeting
a. there is no president, vice president, or other director present within fifteen (15) minutes after the time appointed for holding the meeting, or
b. the president and all other directors are unwilling to act as the chair, the members present must choose one of their number to be the chair.
20. A general meeting may be adjourned from time to time and from place to place. Where reasonably possible, notice of an adjourned meeting must be given as in the case of the original meeting.
21. The chair of a meeting may move or propose a resolution.
a. In the case of a tie vote, the chair does not have a casting or second vote in addition to the vote to which he or she may be entitled as a member and the proposed resolution does not pass.
22. A member in good standing present at a meeting of members is entitled to one vote.
a. Except for elections, voting is by show of hands.
b. Elections shall be held by secret ballot.
c. Voting by proxy is not permitted.

Part V — Directors and Officers
23. The directors may exercise all the powers and do all the acts and things that the society may exercise and do, and that are not by these bylaws or by statute or otherwise lawfully directed or required to be exercised or done by the society in a general meeting, but subject, nevertheless, to
a. all laws affecting the society,
b. these bylaws, and
c. rules, not being inconsistent with these bylaws, that are made from time to time by the society in a general meeting.
24. The directors of the society shall minimally comprise the President, the Vice President Internal, the Vice President External, and the Vice President Finance.
a. The directors may from time to time create or remove positions on the Executive Council not explicitly required by these Bylaws.
i. A position so created shall exist until removed by another resolution of the directors.
ii. Directors filling such created positions shall abide by the rules set out in these Bylaws, and in particular Parts V and VI.
iii. A resolution creating a position on the Executive Council shall also detail the duties of the officer holding that position and any director holding said position shall be expected to fulfill those duties as if they were a part of these Bylaws.
b. Each position shall be held by a single person unless otherwise decided by the directors.
c. A single person may only hold a single position unless otherwise decided by the directors.
i. Such an exemption shall be subject to the provisions of the Society Act.
25. The term of office shall normally be one calendar year from January 1 to December 31.
a. A director who has held one complete term of office shall be ineligible to run for re-election for the same office for the following term.
i. This ban shall be waived in the event of a vacancy arising from an election, according to Bylaw 26.b.
ii. This ban may additionally be waived by a two-thirds majority decision of the directors prior to the election.
26. Separate elections must be held for each office to be filled.
a. The ballot for each election shall offer the choice of either electing a candidate or reopening nominations.
i. Each candidate shall be a single person unless approval has been granted by a two-thirds majority of the directors prior to the election.
ii. If a plurality of ballots is cast for the reopening of nominations, the position shall be declared vacant.
b. If an election results in the vacancy of a position, the person previously elected or appointed continues to hold that office until the next meeting of the directors, when a successor shall be appointed.
i. Such a successor, upon completing his/her term of office without premature removal, shall be considered to have served a full term of office.
ii. For a vacancy in a position not explicitly listed in Bylaw 24, the directors may choose to remove the position in lieu of appointing a successor.
27. Any member in good standing is eligible to run for and/or hold office as a director of the society, subject to the restrictions and bans imposed by these bylaws.
28. The directors may at any time and from time to time appoint a member in good standing as a director to fill a vacancy in the directors, subject to the restrictions and bans imposed by these bylaws.
29. The members may, by special resolution, remove a director, before the expiration of his or her term of office, and may elect a successor to complete the term of office.
a. Such an election shall be carried out in accordance with the rules set out in Bylaw 26.
b. The officer so recalled may run in this election.
30. A director must not receive financial compensation solely for being or acting as a director but a director must be reimbursed for all expenses necessarily and reasonably incurred by the director while engaged in the affairs of the society.
a. A director shall be eligible to hold and receive payment from a contract with the society, provided that such a contract was competitive and was advertised to all members.
i. In such a competition, members who are not directors but who otherwise possess the appropriate qualifications shall be favoured over any director competing for said contract.

Part VI — Proceedings of Directors
31. The directors may meet at the places and times they think fit to conduct business, adjourn, and otherwise regulate their meetings and proceedings, as they see fit.
32. The directors may from time to time set the quorum necessary to conduct business, and unless so set the quorum is three (3).
33. The President is the chair of all meetings of the directors, but if at a meeting the President is not present within fifteen (15) minutes after the time appointed for holding the meeting, the Vice President Internal shall act as chair. If neither is present the directors present may choose one of their number to be the chair at that meeting. If advance notice of an absence is given, the VP Internal may chair the meeting.
34. Any director present at a meeting of directors, including the chair, may move or propose a resolution.
a. In the case of a tie vote, the chair does not have a casting or second vote in addition to the vote to which he or she may be entitled as a member and the proposed resolution does not pass.
35. Meetings of the directors shall be open to the public. Anyone may attend and contribute, but only current directors shall be entitled to vote.
a. The directors may from time to time resolve to take a meeting of the directors in camera. Scenarios when this power shall be exercised include, but are not limited to, dealing with matters sensitive to the society or to one of its directors.

Part VII — Duties of Officers
36. The President is the chief executive officer of the society and must supervise the other officers in the execution of their duties.
a. The President normally presides at all meetings of the society and of the directors.
b. The President attends Discovery Council of the BCCA and voices the concerns and accomplishments of the membership.
c. The President makes all efforts to ensure the Society is represented at major levels of the BCCRC, BCCA, and GSS.
37. The Vice President Internal must carry out the duties of the president during the president’s absence.
a. The Vice President Internal shall act as the secretary of the society and do the following:
i. issue notices of meetings, events, and functions of the society and directors;
ii. keep and distribute minutes of all meetings of the society and directors;
iii. maintain access to all records and documents of the society, except those required to be kept by the treasurer, so that they may be produced upon request;
iv. maintain or delegate the responsibility of maintaining the society’s website;
v. maintain the register of members.
38. The Vice President External shall act as a liaison between the society and the GSS as well as other agencies/groups external to the BCCA.
a. The Vice President External shall seek or have sought a voting or non-voting seat on the GSS Council and, while fulfilling the duties and obligations inherent in said seat, shall represent the British Columbia Cancer Agency Graduate Student and Post Doctoral Fellow Society at the GSS.
b. Notwithstanding subsection (a), the society may be additionally represented on GSS Council through other members.
39. The Vice President Finance shall act as the treasurer of the society and must:
a. keep the financial records, including books of account, necessary to comply with the Society Act;
b. render financial statements to the directors, members, and others when required; and
c. issue reimbursements to members and directors for expenses incurred while engaged in the affairs of the society.
40. In the absence of the secretary from a meeting, the directors must appoint another person to act as secretary at the meeting.
41. The duties of the directors who are not the President, Vice President Internal, Vice President External, or Vice President Finance, shall be detailed in the resolution creating the relevant position according to Bylaw 24.a.iii.

Part VIII — Signing Authority
42. The President and VP Finance shall be the signing authorities of the society for financial transactions.
a. The signature of at least one of the President or the VP Finance is required to approve financial transactions of the society.
i. In the event of a potential conflict of interest, an additional impartial director shall co-sign affected transactions.
43. If the funds of the society are held in an account that requires transactions to be approved by someone who meets certain criteria that neither the President nor the VP Finance meet, the directors shall appoint an individual, who meets said criteria, to act as a third signing authority of the society.

Part IX — Borrowing
44. The society shall not borrow money to carry out the purposes of the society.
45. The society shall attempt to raise funds from all available sources including, but not limited to, user fees, the GSS, the BCCA, and industry.

Part X — Emergency Governor
46. The society shall have an emergency governor.
47. The emergency governor shall be appointed by the directors of the society.
a. Any person may be appointed as the emergency governor.
i. If the emergency governor is not already a member of the society, he/she shall automatically become a member and remain so for as long as he/she holds office.
b. The emergency governor shall only be removed from his/her position by appointing his/her successor.
48. The emergency governor shall not normally be considered a director of the society.
49. The President may, when he/she sees fit, declare the society to be in a state of emergency.
a. Such a declaration shall be communicated immediately to the directors.
b. The directors of the society may, within seventy-two (72) hours of a declaration of emergency, veto said declaration by a two-thirds majority vote.
50. When the society is in a state of emergency, the emergency governor shall have all the powers and responsibilities normally vested in the directors and the Executive Council.
a. During a state of emergency, the Executive Council shall reorganize itself in preparation of resuming its duties.
51. A state of emergency may be terminated by a two-thirds majority vote of the directors.
a. Upon termination of a state of emergency, the powers and responsibilities of the emergency governor shall return to those in place before the declaration of emergency.

Part XI — Bylaws
52. Each member is entitled to a copy of the constitution and bylaws of the society.
a. This obligation may be fulfilled by placing an updated copy on the society’s website.
53. The constitution and bylaws may not be altered or added to except by special resolution.