Reviewer of the Month

Each month beginning in October 2018, our editors will select one of our outstanding referees to be featured as Reviewer of the Month. See our editorial from September 6, 2018 for more information about our Reviewer of the Month program.

Our featured reviewers are those who have:

  • made a significant and positive contribution to the peer review process, regardless of whether the paper was eventually accepted by the journal;
  • taken both a broad and detailed view of the paper;
  • demonstrated professionalism and compassion in their reviews; and
  • provided comments that truly help the authors to improve their work.

We must note that, while it is our opinion that these referees have provided exceptional reviews, many of our referees meet the above criteria and we regret that we cannot recognize each of them publicly here. We are equally grateful to all of the individuals who agree to review for Communications Biology, thereby helping to strengthen the scientific record. We hope that by highlighting a few of our most outstanding referees, we can bring attention to the valuable contributions of peer reviewers to the scientific process.


May: Chiea Chuen Khor, Genome Institute of Singapore
April: Jeanette Mumford, University of Wisconsin-Madison
March: Wen Huang, Michigan State University
February: Peter Friedl, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, NL & MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA
January: Shaun Killen & Jack Hollins, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK


December: Lucia Di Marcotullio, University of Rome "La Sapienza", Rome, Italy
November: Sandra Rieger, University of Miami, USA
October: Rebecca Howard, Science for Life Laboratory, Stockholm, Sweden


May 2019

Chiea Chuen Khor

Dr. Chiea Chuen Khor is Group Leader and Senior Principle Investigator at the Genome Institute of Singapore. He also holds appointments at the National University of Singapore and the Singapore Eye Research Institute. Although he qualified as a medical doctor, he realized his calling was to pursue medical research in a full-time manner. The Khor lab focus spans many areas of human genetics studied across diverse human traits and disease conditions, with the long term goal of translating genetic findings into predictive medicine to improve healthcare.

About peer review, Dr. Khor says, “I feel it keenly that the peer review process has helped very much in improving the quality of the manuscripts which I have submitted for publication. The improvement was seen not just in the scientific content, but also in the manner which the findings were communicated. Having benefitted so much from the help of many anonymous peer referees over the past 10 years, I feel honor– and duty–bound to pay all of this help forward.”

April 2019

Jeanette Mumford

Dr. Jeanette Mumford is a biostatistician and Associate Scientist at the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As a scientist and consultant, Dr. Mumford focuses on developing new methodologies to improve fMRI data analysis. She also researches best practices and common problems associated with correlating activation patterns in fMRI analyses. In addition to having an impressive publication record, Dr. Mumford, is also the co-creator of fMRIpower, a power analysis toolbox for fMRI data.

When asked why she chose to review for us, Dr. Mumford says, “After 3 years serving as a handling editor with many manuscripts at a time, I’m enjoying having more time with fewer manuscripts as a reviewer so I can really dig into the details again.  I’m not going to lie, I also enjoy that I no longer have to repeatedly ask people to submit their reviews in a timely manner.”

As a side note, the editors at Communications Biology attest that Dr. Mumford always sent in her thorough and thoughtful reports on time – she likes to lead by example we suppose.

March 2019

Wen Huang

Dr. Wen Huang is a quantitative geneticist at the Department of Animal Science at Michigan State University. He has a Ph.D. in animal breeding and genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed postdoctoral training at North Carolina State University. His lab studies the genetics of complex quantitative traits, in particular context-dependent effects such as genotype by environment interactions and gene gene interactions, in livestock animals and the model organism fruit flies using a combination of laboratory and computational approaches.

Dr. Huang says, "I see peer review as an indispensable part of doing science and if done correctly can greatly improve a paper. Over the years I have benefited tremendously from the reviews of my own papers and the only way to pay back is to pay it forward."

February 2019

Peter Friedl

Dr. Peter Friedl is a cell biologist and Professor with joint appointments at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen. He and his team are interested in the mechanisms of collective cell migration in physiological (immune defense) and pathological context (cancer invasion and metastasis).  He also studies the cross-talk between cancer cell migration and its response to radiation- and chemotherapy. You can check out a complete list of his published work here and find more information about him here. He has received numerous awards including those from the German Cancer Society, Netherlands Science Foundation, and European Society for Molecular Imaging for his contribution to the identification of a kinetic mechanism of T cell activation and the discovery of collective cell migration in cancer.  

Dr. Friedl says what motivates him to review a manuscript is to combine a personal committment to science and a needed service with an opportunity to gain further insight into the topic of his interest, sometimes even beyond his own direct comfort zone.​

January 2019

Shaun Killen & Jack Hollins

Dr. Shaun Killen is a Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow in the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine. Dr. Killen's review for Communications Biology was completed together with PhD student Jack Hollins. The Killen lab studies how physiology and behavior effect the ecology of marine and freshwater species. Dr. Killen's recent research has included studies of the mechanisms underlying fisheries-induced evolution as part of the Physfish project. Mr. Hollins's PhD research is aimed at understanding how physiology in wild fish influence patterns of habitat use and behavior, and how these patterns affect susceptibility to capture in commercial fisheries. Research from the Killens lab has also been covered recently in the New York Times

The Communications Biology editorial staff selected Dr. Killen and Mr. Hollins for Reviewer of the Month on the basis of their constructive review and we are excited to highlight them as an example of peer review mentoring. 


December 2018

Lucia Di Marcotullio

Dr. Lucia Di Marcotullio is a molecular biologist and Professor at the University of Rome "La Sapienza". She and her team are interested in understanding how dysregulation of signal transduction pathways, such as the Hedgehog signaling, can lead to tumorigenesis.  She is also interested in identifying and developing novel treatment strategies for Hedgehog-dependent tumors. You can check out her latest work published in Nature Communications.

Dr. Di Marcotullio says she “chose to review for Communication Biology because it is one of the latest Nature Research Journals publishing innovative and high quality works in diverse disciplines of biological science offering useful and significant advances to scientists in their research field.”

November 2018

Sandra Rieger

Dr. Sandra Rieger is an Associate Professor at the University of Miami where she uses zebrafish as a model system for wound repair and peripheral neuropathy. Her group investigates axon-keratinocyte interactions with a focus on the role of hydrogen peroxide signaling in wound repair. She has been named by Journal of Cell Science as a Cell Scientist to Watch.

Dr. Rieger on peer review: “I see my role as a reviewer as being fair and fast. I often experienced myself that reviewers ask for unnecessary experiments that are unjustified… My goal therefore is to ask for minimal and reasonable experiments that contribute to the conclusions, and help the authors to publish their data relatively fast. Another important aspect for me is that the criticism of all reviewers involved in the review process helps me to better understand strengths and weaknesses of manuscripts, which can assist me in writing my own manuscripts.”

October 2018

Rebecca J. Howard
Dr. Rebecca Howard is a biochemist and Lab Manager of the Molecular Biophysics Stockholm group at the Science for Life Laboratory, a national center in Stockholm, Sweden. She manages a team using biochemistry, electrophysiology and molecular simulations to understand the structure and function of ion channels and the molecular interactions between proteins and behavior-altering drugs. Learn more about Dr. Howard's research at her website.