Collection |

Nature Communications 10th Anniversary Collection

The past decade has been one of stunning progress and revolutionary change across the natural and social sciences. As part of our 10 year anniversary, the editors of Nature Communications asked our authors to discuss the advances that shaped the last decade and to look forward to what will define the next ten years of science.

Looking back on the past ten years

Synthetic biology is among the most hyped research topics this century, and in 2010 it entered its teenage years. But rather than these being a problematic time, we’ve seen synthetic biology blossom and deliver many new technologies and landmark achievements.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Immunotherapy using immune-checkpoint modulators revolutionizes the oncology field far beyond their remarkable clinical efficacy in some patients. It creates radical changes in the evaluation of treatment efficacy and toxicity with a more holistic vision of the patient with cancer.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

The timing of cancer metastasis has implications for treatment and prevention. Traditional forward-time views of metastasis assume it occurs late during evolution. However, looking backward in time reveals metastasis often occurs prior to clinical detection of primary tumors.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Over the last decade, we have witnessed the emergence of ever more machine learning applications in all aspects of the chemical sciences. Here, we highlight specific achievements of machine learning models in the field of computational chemistry by considering selected studies of electronic structure, interatomic potentials, and chemical compound space in chronological order.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Single cell transcriptomics technologies have vast potential in advancing our understanding of biology and disease. Here, Sarah Aldridge and Sarah Teichmann review the last decade of technological advancements in single-cell transcriptomics and highlight some of the recent discoveries enabled by this technology.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

The human body supports a thriving diversity of microbes which comprise a dynamic, ancillary, functional system that synergistically develops in lock-step with physiological development of its host. The human microbiome field has transitioned from cataloging this rich diversity to dissecting molecular mechanisms by which microbiomes influence human health. Early life microbiome development trains immune function. Thus, vertically, horizontally, and environmentally acquired microbes and their metabolites have the potential to shape developmental trajectories with life-long implications for health.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

The 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for their contributions in the development of lithium-ion batteries, a technology that has revolutionized our way of life. Here we look back at the milestone discoveries that have shaped the modern lithium-ion batteries for inspirational insights to guide future breakthroughs.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Over the past 15 years, genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have generated a wealth of new information. Larger samples sizes, refined phenotypes and higher-resolution genome-screens will continue to drive gene discovery in years ahead. Meanwhile, GWAS loci are increasingly translated into new biology and opportunities for clinical care.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Protected areas (PAs) are the most important conservation tool, yet assessing their effectiveness is remarkably challenging. We clarify the links between the many facets of PA effectiveness, from evaluating the means, to analysing the mechanisms, to directly measuring biodiversity outcomes.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Organocatalysis has become a major pillar of (asymmetric) catalysis. Here, the authors discuss recent trends in organocatalytic activation modes for challenging stereoselective transformations and the emerging integration with other fields, such as photoredox catalysis and electrosynthesis.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Looking forward to the next ten years

Rapidly advancing genomic technologies and cross-disciplinary partnerships are accelerating the biological and clinical interpretation of genome-wide association studies, with some therapies developed based on these findings already being tested in clinical trials. The next decade promises further progress in understanding the function of genetic variants.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Neural recording technologies increasingly enable simultaneous measurement of neural activity from multiple brain areas. To gain insight into distributed neural computations, a commensurate advance in experimental and analytical methods is necessary. We discuss two opportunities towards this end: the manipulation and modeling of neural population dynamics.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

It would be unwise to assume ‘conventional’ lithium-ion batteries are approaching the end of their era and so we discuss current strategies to improve the current and next generation systems, where a holistic approach will be needed to unlock higher energy density while also maintaining lifetime and safety. We end by briefly reviewing areas where fundamental science advances will be needed to enable revolutionary new battery systems.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

As Nature Communications celebrates a 10-year anniversary, the field has witnessed the transition of cancer immunotherapy from a pipe dream to an established powerful cancer treatment modality. Here we discuss the opportunities and challenges for the future.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

In the next decade, advances in our understanding of microbes and microbiomes will likely transform our way of life; providing novel therapeutics, alternate energy sources, and shaping fundamental doctrines of biology. We explore the promises herein, and tools required to achieve this progress. Notably, it is critical that we improve the inclusivity and diversity of our research agendas and teams, so that science benefits people of all identities and backgrounds.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

In light of the surging research on porous organic materials, we herein discuss the key issues of their porous structures, surface properties, and end functions. We also present an outlook on emerging opportunities, new applications, and data science-assisted materials discovery.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Knowing about the diversity of planetary processes is of paramount importance for understanding our planet Earth. An integrated, comparative planetology approach is required to combine space missions, autonomous surface exploration, sample return laboratories, and after-mission data exploitation.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Gene therapy is at an inflection point. Recent successes in genetic medicine have paved the path for a broader second wave of therapies and laid the foundation for next-generation technologies. This comment summarizes recent advances and expectations for the near future.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

After two decades of steady growing, symbiotic merger of organocatalysis with emerging electrochemical and photochemical tools are envisioned as hot topics in the coming decade. Here, these trends are discussed in parallel to the implementation of artificial intelligence-based technologies, which anticipate a paradigm shift in catalyst design.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Discovering chemicals with desired attributes is a long and painstaking process. Curated datasets containing reliable quantum-mechanical properties for millions of molecules are becoming increasingly available. The development of novel machine learning tools to obtain chemical knowledge from these datasets has the potential to revolutionize the process of chemical discovery. Here, I comment on recent breakthroughs in this emerging field and discuss the challenges for the years to come.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Life Sciences

Synthetic biology is among the most hyped research topics this century, and in 2010 it entered its teenage years. But rather than these being a problematic time, we’ve seen synthetic biology blossom and deliver many new technologies and landmark achievements.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Rapidly advancing genomic technologies and cross-disciplinary partnerships are accelerating the biological and clinical interpretation of genome-wide association studies, with some therapies developed based on these findings already being tested in clinical trials. The next decade promises further progress in understanding the function of genetic variants.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Neural recording technologies increasingly enable simultaneous measurement of neural activity from multiple brain areas. To gain insight into distributed neural computations, a commensurate advance in experimental and analytical methods is necessary. We discuss two opportunities towards this end: the manipulation and modeling of neural population dynamics.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Immunotherapy using immune-checkpoint modulators revolutionizes the oncology field far beyond their remarkable clinical efficacy in some patients. It creates radical changes in the evaluation of treatment efficacy and toxicity with a more holistic vision of the patient with cancer.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

As Nature Communications celebrates a 10-year anniversary, the field has witnessed the transition of cancer immunotherapy from a pipe dream to an established powerful cancer treatment modality. Here we discuss the opportunities and challenges for the future.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

The timing of cancer metastasis has implications for treatment and prevention. Traditional forward-time views of metastasis assume it occurs late during evolution. However, looking backward in time reveals metastasis often occurs prior to clinical detection of primary tumors.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Single cell transcriptomics technologies have vast potential in advancing our understanding of biology and disease. Here, Sarah Aldridge and Sarah Teichmann review the last decade of technological advancements in single-cell transcriptomics and highlight some of the recent discoveries enabled by this technology.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

In the next decade, advances in our understanding of microbes and microbiomes will likely transform our way of life; providing novel therapeutics, alternate energy sources, and shaping fundamental doctrines of biology. We explore the promises herein, and tools required to achieve this progress. Notably, it is critical that we improve the inclusivity and diversity of our research agendas and teams, so that science benefits people of all identities and backgrounds.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

The human body supports a thriving diversity of microbes which comprise a dynamic, ancillary, functional system that synergistically develops in lock-step with physiological development of its host. The human microbiome field has transitioned from cataloging this rich diversity to dissecting molecular mechanisms by which microbiomes influence human health. Early life microbiome development trains immune function. Thus, vertically, horizontally, and environmentally acquired microbes and their metabolites have the potential to shape developmental trajectories with life-long implications for health.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Gene therapy is at an inflection point. Recent successes in genetic medicine have paved the path for a broader second wave of therapies and laid the foundation for next-generation technologies. This comment summarizes recent advances and expectations for the near future.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Over the past 15 years, genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have generated a wealth of new information. Larger samples sizes, refined phenotypes and higher-resolution genome-screens will continue to drive gene discovery in years ahead. Meanwhile, GWAS loci are increasingly translated into new biology and opportunities for clinical care.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Protected areas (PAs) are the most important conservation tool, yet assessing their effectiveness is remarkably challenging. We clarify the links between the many facets of PA effectiveness, from evaluating the means, to analysing the mechanisms, to directly measuring biodiversity outcomes.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Physical Sciences

It would be unwise to assume ‘conventional’ lithium-ion batteries are approaching the end of their era and so we discuss current strategies to improve the current and next generation systems, where a holistic approach will be needed to unlock higher energy density while also maintaining lifetime and safety. We end by briefly reviewing areas where fundamental science advances will be needed to enable revolutionary new battery systems.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

In light of the surging research on porous organic materials, we herein discuss the key issues of their porous structures, surface properties, and end functions. We also present an outlook on emerging opportunities, new applications, and data science-assisted materials discovery.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Knowing about the diversity of planetary processes is of paramount importance for understanding our planet Earth. An integrated, comparative planetology approach is required to combine space missions, autonomous surface exploration, sample return laboratories, and after-mission data exploitation.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Organocatalysis has become a major pillar of (asymmetric) catalysis. Here, the authors discuss recent trends in organocatalytic activation modes for challenging stereoselective transformations and the emerging integration with other fields, such as photoredox catalysis and electrosynthesis.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

After two decades of steady growing, symbiotic merger of organocatalysis with emerging electrochemical and photochemical tools are envisioned as hot topics in the coming decade. Here, these trends are discussed in parallel to the implementation of artificial intelligence-based technologies, which anticipate a paradigm shift in catalyst design.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Discovering chemicals with desired attributes is a long and painstaking process. Curated datasets containing reliable quantum-mechanical properties for millions of molecules are becoming increasingly available. The development of novel machine learning tools to obtain chemical knowledge from these datasets has the potential to revolutionize the process of chemical discovery. Here, I comment on recent breakthroughs in this emerging field and discuss the challenges for the years to come.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Over the last decade, we have witnessed the emergence of ever more machine learning applications in all aspects of the chemical sciences. Here, we highlight specific achievements of machine learning models in the field of computational chemistry by considering selected studies of electronic structure, interatomic potentials, and chemical compound space in chronological order.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications

The 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for their contributions in the development of lithium-ion batteries, a technology that has revolutionized our way of life. Here we look back at the milestone discoveries that have shaped the modern lithium-ion batteries for inspirational insights to guide future breakthroughs.

Comment | Open Access | | Nature Communications