News & Comment

  • Editorial
    | Open Access

    Coastal regions are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change. Preserving the ecological, economic and societal benefits of these environments will rely on synergy across disciplines.

  • Editorial
    | Open Access

    The robustness of science is best revealed when independent investigations of the same problem arrive at similar conclusions. At Nature Communications, we commit to disregard from our editorial evaluation any competing works that are published while a submission to our journal is under review or under revision by the authors.

  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Bayesian brain theories suggest that perception, action and cognition arise as animals minimise the mismatch between their expectations and reality. This principle could unify cognitive science with the broader natural sciences, but leave key elements of cognition and behaviour unexplained.

    • Daniel Yon
    • , Cecilia Heyes
    •  & Clare Press
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    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.

    • Sarah Aldridge
    •  & Sarah A. Teichmann
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    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.

    • Karl-Heinz Glassmeier
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Controlling the hybridization of single atoms in suitable host materials opens unique opportunities for catalyst design, but equally faces many challenges. Here, we highlight emerging directions from the last, highly productive, decade in single-atom catalysis and identify frontiers for future research.

    • Sharon Mitchell
    •  & Javier Pérez-Ramírez
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Weather may marginally affect COVID-19 dynamics, but misconceptions about the way that climate and weather drive exposure and transmission have adversely shaped risk perceptions for both policymakers and citizens. Future scientific work on this politically-fraught topic needs a more careful approach.

    • Colin J. Carlson
    • , Ana C. R. Gomez
    • , Shweta Bansal
    •  & Sadie J. Ryan
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    The Montreal Protocol has begun to heal the Antarctic ozone hole and avoided more global warming than any other treaty. Still, recent research shows that new unexpected emissions of several chlorofluorocarbons, carbon tetrachloride, and hydrofluorocarbons, are undermining the Protocol’s success. It is time for policymakers to plug the holes in the ozone hole treaty.

    • Susan Solomon
    • , Joseph Alcamo
    •  & A. R. Ravishankara
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    A clinical trial published in Nature Communications examined the effect of fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) during chemotherapy in breast cancer patients. The overall negative study results highlight the need for ameliorating future trial design and investigating alternative FMD-based therapeutic combinations.

    • Claudio Vernieri
    • , Francesca Ligorio
    • , Emma Zattarin
    • , Licia Rivoltini
    •  & Filippo de Braud
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    There is an urgent need for drugs, therapies and vaccines to be available to protect the human population against COVID-19. One of the first approaches taken in the COVID-19 global response was to consider repurposing licensed drugs. This commentary highlights an extraordinary international collaborative effort of independent researchers who have recently all come to the same conclusion—that chloroquine or hydroxchloroquine are unlikely to provide clinical benefit against COVID-19.

    • S. G. P. Funnell
    • , W. E. Dowling
    • , C. Muñoz-Fontela
    • , P.-S. Gsell
    • , D. E. Ingber
    • , G. A. Hamilton
    • , L. Delang
    • , J. Rocha-Pereira
    • , S. Kaptein
    • , K. H. Dallmeier
    • , J. Neyts
    • , K. Rosenke
    • , E. de Wit
    • , H. Feldmann
    • , P. Maisonnasse
    • , R. Le Grand
    • , M. B. Frieman
    •  & C. M. Coleman
  • Q&A
    | Open Access

    Robert S. Langer is an Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Leading one of the largest biomedical engineering labs in the world his research covers many areas of biotechnology including tissue engineering, drug delivery, biofabrication and the development of medical devices. Mark Tibbitt is an Assistant Professor of Macromolecular Engineering at ETH Zürich. His research focuses on combining polymer engineering, synthetic chemistry, mechanical and bioengineering for biofabrication, drug delivery and mechanobiology applications.

  • Comment
    | Open Access

    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.

    • Alexandre Tkatchenko
  • Q&A
    | Open Access

    Andrew J. Boydston is the Yamamoto Family Professor of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As a trained chemist he worked on catalysts for the synthesis of polymers during his postdoc time and started his independent career as an assistant professor of Chemistry in 2010 at the University of Washington. In 2014 he involved in a project with colleagues at the mechanical engineering department at the University of Washington which piqued his interest in additive manufacturing and which remained one of his research lines after moving to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2018. He is interested in organocatalysts for polymerization reactions, mechanophores, polymers for controlled release and additive manufacturing.

  • Q&A
    | Open Access

    Professor Peter D Lee is a materials scientist at the University College London. His group focuses on X-ray imaging and computational simulation of materials at a microstructural level for materials design and advanced manufacturing.

  • Q&A
    | Open Access

    Professor Julia R Greer is a materials scientist at the California Institute of Technology . Her group focuses on designing, fabricating and characterising micro- and nano-architected materials using 3D lithography, nanofabrication, and additive manufacturing (AM) techniques for a multitude of applications ranging from biological devices to damage-tolerant fabrics.

  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Climate science and climate economics are critical sources of expertise in our pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals. Effective use of this expertise requires a strengthening of its epistemic foundations and a renewed focus on more practical policy problems.

    • David A. Stainforth
    •  & Raphael Calel
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    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.

    • Caroline Robert
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    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.

    • Shao-Hua Xiang
    •  & Bin Tan
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    As investment in urban conservation grows, researchers must balance the needs of residents and conservation targets. We discuss some of the challenges we have encountered and the importance of taking a transdisciplinary approach informed by design and social knowledge.

    • Katherine J. Turo
    •  & Mary M. Gardiner
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    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.

    • José M. Lassaletta
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Niche hijack by malignant cells is considered to be a prominent cause of disease relapse. Barbier and colleagues uncover (E)-selectin as a novel mediator of malignant cell survival and regeneration which, upon blockade, has the potential to significantly improve therapeutic outcomes.

    • Myriam L. R. Haltalli
    •  & Cristina Lo Celso
  • Editorial
    | Open Access

    Nature Communications are pleased to announce that we are now considering Registered Reports for publication in the fields of cognitive neuroscience, human behaviour and psychology, as well as epidemiology.

  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Many biomaterials have been developed which aim to match the elastic modulus of the brain for improved interfacing. However, other properties such as ultimate toughness, tensile strength, poroviscoelastic responses, energy dissipation, conductivity, and mass diffusivity also need to be considered.

    • Eneko Axpe
    • , Gorka Orive
    • , Kristian Franze
    •  & Eric A. Appel
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    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.

    • Amanda Finck
    • , Saar I. Gill
    •  & Carl H. June
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    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.

    • Zheng Hu
    •  & Christina Curtis
  • Editorial
    | Open Access

    Nature Communications encouraged rapid dissemination of results with the launch of Under Consideration in 2017. Today we take one more step by offering an integrated preprint deposition service to our authors as part of the submission process.

  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists around the globe have been working resolutely to find therapies to treat patients and avert the spreading of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In this commentary, we highlight some of the latest studies that provide atomic-resolution structural details imperative for the development of vaccines and antiviral therapeutics.

    • Yi Zhang
    •  & Tatiana G. Kutateladze
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Since its arrival at Jupiter in 2016, NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been performing high-precision measurement of the gravity and magnetic fields. When combined with numerical simulations, they provide a unique window to the dynamics in the planet’s deep atmosphere.

    • Johannes Wicht
    •  & Thomas Gastine
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Time horizons for nuclear materials development and qualification must be shortened to realize future nuclear energy concepts. Inspired by the Materials Genome Initiative, we present an integrated approach to materials discovery and qualification to insert new materials into service.

    • Jeffery A. Aguiar
    • , Andrea M. Jokisaari
    • , Matthew Kerr
    •  & R. Allen Roach
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    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.

    • Jing Xie
    •  & Yi-Chun Lu
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Exotic degeneracies in open quantum systems, so-called exceptional points, show rich physics and promise new applications, such as sensors with greatly enhanced response. Recent research on laser gyroscopes has uncovered limits of such sensors due to excess quantum noise.

    • Jan Wiersig
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    3D printing can allow for the efficient manufacturing of elaborate structures difficult to realise conventionally without waste, such as the hollow geometries of nickel-based superalloy aeronautic components. To fully exploit this method, we must move towards new alloys and processes.

    • Chinnapat Panwisawas
    • , Yuanbo T. Tang
    •  & Roger C. Reed
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Optical elements play a crucial role in many modern systems, from cellphones to missiles. The miniaturization trend poses a challenge to optics, since classical lenses and mirrors tend to be bulky. One way of dealing with this challenge is using flat optics. For many years flat optics has been implemented using diffractive optics technology, but in the last two decades a new technology called metasurfaces has emerged. This technology does not replace diffractive optics, but rather expands on it, leveraging the new ability to manufacture subwavelength features on optical substrates. For imaging and focusing applications, diffractive lenses and metalenses are used, as a subset of diffractive optics and metasurfaces, respectively. Recently there has been debate over whether metalenses offer any real advantages over diffractive lenses. In this commentary we will try to gain some insight into this debate and present our opinion on the subject.

    • Jacob Engelberg
    •  & Uriel Levy
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Big data reveals new, stark pictures of the state of our environments. It also reveals ‘bright spots’ amongst the broad pattern of decline and—crucially—the key conditions for these cases. Big data analyses could benefit the planet if tightly coupled with ongoing sustainability efforts.

    • Rebecca K. Runting
    • , Stuart Phinn
    • , Zunyi Xie
    • , Oscar Venter
    •  & James E. M. Watson
  • Editorial
    | Open Access

    Nature Communications launched in April 2010 with the mission to publish significant advances in each field in a multidisciplinary venue. Ten years on, we reflect on our achievements and look at future challenges in a changing publishing landscape.

  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Asteroids, comets and moons are leftovers of planet formation. Studying them and their samples, including meteorites, can help us to learn how the Earth was made and acquired the ingredients for life, to obtain practical information for deflecting near-Earth objects (NEOs), and to access resources that would enable space habitats and voyages. Answers are hidden beneath their complex and evolving exteriors.

    • Erik Asphaug
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Observations from the Juno and Cassini missions provide essential constraints on the internal structures and compositions of Jupiter and Saturn, resulting in profound revisions of our understanding of the interior and atmospheres of Gas Giant planets. The next step to understand planetary origins in our Solar System requires a mission to their Ice Giant siblings, Uranus and Neptune.

    • Tristan Guillot
    •  & Leigh N. Fletcher
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Jupiter’s satellite Europa almost certainly hides a global saltwater ocean beneath its icy surface. Chemistry at the ice surface and ocean-rock interface might provide the building blocks for life, and NASA’s Europa Clipper mission will assess Europa’s habitability.

    • Samuel M. Howell
    •  & Robert T. Pappalardo
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    How does chemistry scale in complexity to unerringly direct biological functions? Nass Kovacs et al. have shown that bacteriorhodopsin undergoes structural changes tantalizingly similar to the expected pathway even under excessive excitation. Is the protein structure so highly evolved that it directs all deposited energy into the designed function?

    • R. J. Dwayne Miller
    • , Olivier Paré-Labrosse
    • , Antoine Sarracini
    •  & Jessica E. Besaw
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Utilising identical genetic aberrations but targeting different cells, Zhang and colleagues seek to uncover how the cell of origin influences high-grade serous ovarian cancer biology, metastasis and response to treatment.

    • Emily K. Colvin
    •  & Viive M. Howell
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    While electrosynthesis represents a green and advantageous alternative to traditional synthetic methods, electrochemical reactions still suffer from some drawbacks that require further efforts in order to fully express the potential of electricity-driven transformations. In this Comment, we will briefly discuss both the advantages and limitations of electrosynthesis, especially when compared with the other traditional synthetic organic methods, and share some forward-looking thoughts on the future developments of electrochemical reactions.

    • Yong Yuan
    •  & Aiwen Lei
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Skyrmions in chiral magnets are a particle-like texture that has been attracting growing interest due to their novel dynamics and possible applications. Here, we discuss the role of disorder and skyrmion-skyrmion interaction in governing their motion under an external drive.

    • C. Reichhardt
    •  & C. J. O. Reichhardt
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    A pharmaceutical industry viewpoint on how the fundamental laws of photochemistry are used to identify the parameters required to implement photochemistry from lab to scale. Parameters such as photon stoichiometry and light intensity are highlighted within to inform future publications.

    • Holly E. Bonfield
    • , Thomas Knauber
    • , François Lévesque
    • , Eric G. Moschetta
    • , Flavien Susanne
    •  & Lee J. Edwards
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Can organic chemistry mimic nature in efficiency and sustainability? Not yet, but recent developments in photoredox catalysis animated the synthetic chemistry field, providing greener opportunities for industry and academia.

    • Giacomo E. M. Crisenza
    •  & Paolo Melchiorre
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Understanding the cellular adaptation to oxygen deficiency -hypoxia- has a profound impact on our knowledge of the pathogenesis of several diseases. The elucidation of the molecular machinery that regulates response to hypoxia has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

    • José López-Barneo
    •  & M. Celeste Simon
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Two complementary studies in Nature Communications define a critical role for the anti-apoptotic protein MCL-1 as a driver of adaptive survival in tumor cells treated with oncogene targeted therapies, providing a rationale for combining these agents with newly developed MCL-1 inhibitors in the clinic.

    • Kris C. Wood