Editorial Board Highlights

Interviews

Read exclusive interviews with some of our board members and learn about their research and their experience as a Scientific Reports board member.

 

Dr Carlo Cannistraci

Dr Carlo Cannistraci is a Theoretical Engineer and Editorial Board Member for Scientific Reports.

1.  What is your current research focused on?

I am a Theoretical Engineer; my research interests include subjects at the interface between physics of complex systems, complex networks and machine intelligence, with particular interest in brain/bio-inspired computing for Big Data analysis, and applications in precision biomedicine and neuroscience.

2. What has been your biggest challenge and your greatest achievement in your career so far?

Mapping complex networks to their latent geometric spaces helps to investigate, understand and predict the structure and function of complex systems. My biggest challenge and greatest achievement was to recently propose a class of intelligent machines for efficient embedding of large real networks to the hyperbolic space, with future impact on big-network-data analysis in biology, medicine and social science. This work was proposed in the article: Machine learning meets complex networks via coalescent embedding in the hyperbolic space, A Muscoloni, JM Thomas, S Ciucci, G Bianconi, CV Cannistraci. Nature Communications 8 (1), 1, 2017.

3. Why did you decide to become a board member?

I love to support other colleagues to improve their studies and to achieve high standards in their publications. This is the spirit of the review process: to offer feedback that improves science and its dissemination with a clear benefit for all of the scientific community.

4. What do you like most about being a board member for Scientific Reports?
 
Being an Editor for Scientific Reports for me is something more than being a normal Editor. The spirit of Scientific Reports is the spirit of ‘freedom and equal opportunity’ in science. I like the fact that Scientific Reports accept articles according to the only requirement that they should be technically correct. This ensures that the article selection is not biased by the opinion of a ‘group of experts’ that, in my opinion, can be also risky, because very innovative ideas that are against the mainstream in science might be rejected. I feel that being an editor for Scientific Reports allows me to sponsor the freedom to publish new scientific ideas which are technically correct but might not be recognised by a conservative establishment of experts.

 

Dr Joana Maria Ramis

Dr Joana Maria Ramis is a Miguel Servet Researcher at the Balearic Islands Health Research Institute (IdISBa), as well as Adjunct Lecturer at the University of the Balearic Islands, Spain.

1. What is your current research focused on?
 
My research is focused on the development of new therapies and biomaterials for restorative and regenerative medicine and its translation to clinical practice.  My newest research line focus on the approach to cell-free regenerative medicine through the use of extracellular vesicles derived from different cells types.
 
2. What has been your biggest challenge and your greatest achievement in your career so far?
 
My biggest challenge and greatest achievement has been, and keeps being, reconciling family life and my research career. 
 
3. Why did you decide to become a board member?
 
I considered the offer to become a board member as a great opportunity to deepen in the knowledge of the review process and to be an active part of it. Publication of our results is an important part of our work as researchers, and before becoming a board member for Scientific Reports, I have only acted as author or as reviewer, thus, to act as editorial board member was a role I was interested in exploring.  
 
4. What do you like most about being a board member for Scientific Reports?
 
Being a board member for Scientific Reports allows me to be updated in the ongoing research in my areas of expertise and to really deepen in the technical aspects of the manuscripts I handle. On top of that, the most positive aspect of being a board member is how much I learn from the interaction with the reviewers and the authors and how manuscripts improve from it.
 
5. You are leading one of our Guest Edited Collections. What interested you about becoming a Guest Editor? What is your Collection focused on?
 
Yes, I am leading the Special Collection entitled “Extracellular vesicles in cell biology and medicine”. The collection is focused on extracellular vesicles (EV), cell-derived membranous structures known as intercellular communicators exerting their function by exchanging their cargo. EV research is a burgeoning field with a high number of researchers from different disciplines working in this field. This Special Collection intents to deliver an up-to-date overview on some of the current developments in the field.  
To increase my interaction with other researchers of the field is what most interested me about becoming a Guest Editor for the Collection.

6. Which is your favourite Scientific Reports paper?

It is really difficult to select one single paper! I will list you some:

Cells release subpopulations of exosomes with distinct molecular and biological properties.
Willms, E.; Johansson, H. J.; Mäger, I.; Lee, Y.; Blomberg, K. E. M.; Sadik, M.; Alaarg, A.; Smith, C. I. E.; Lehtiö, J.; El Andaloussi, S.; Wood, M. J. A.; Vader, P.

Size-Exclusion Chromatography-based isolation minimally alters Extracellular Vesicles’ characteristics compared to precipitating agents.
Gámez-Valero, A.; Monguió-Tortajada, M.; Carreras-Planella, L.; Franquesa, M. la; Beyer, K.; Borràs, F. E. 

Labeling Extracellular Vesicles for Nanoscale Flow Cytometry.
Morales-Kastresana, A.; Telford, B.; Musich, T. A.; McKinnon, K.; Clayborne, C.; Braig, Z.; Rosner, A.; Demberg, T.; Watson, D. C.; Karpova, T. S.; Freeman, G. J.; DeKruyff, R. H.; Pavlakis, G. N.; Terabe, M.; Robert-Guroff, M.; Berzofsky, J. A.; Jones, J. C.

Bone marrow stromal/stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles regulate osteoblast activity and differentiation in vitro and promote bone regeneration in vivo
Qin, Y.; Wang, L.; Gao, Z.; Chen, G.; Zhang, C. 

Exosomes derived from human adipose mensenchymal stem cells accelerates cutaneous wound healing via optimizing the characteristics of fibroblasts
Hu, L.; Wang, J.; Zhou, X.; Xiong, Z.; Zhao, J.; Yu, R.; Huang, F.; Zhang, H.; Chen, L. 

 

Professor Xiaochun Li

Professor Xiaochun Li is the Raytheon Endowed Chair in Manufacturing Engineering at the Departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering & Materials Science and Engineering at UCLA, USA. He is also a Guest Editor for the Nanotechnology enabled metallurgy Collection, which is currently welcoming submissions. 

1. What has been your biggest challenge and your greatest achievement in your career so far?

The biggest challenge has been to bridge science and manufacturing for long term impact. The greatest achievement in my career so far is the discovery of the nano-particle self-dispersion and stabilisation mechanism in molten metals, which establishes a scientific foundation for nanotechnology enabled metallurgy.

2. Why did you decide to become a board member?

Being a board member is a good opportunity to provide a valuable service to the technical community.

3. What do you like most about being a board member for Scientific Reports?

My greatest pleasure is to help make the review process better, while having the opportunity to Guest Edit a special Collection.

4. You are leading one of our Guest Edited Collections. What interested you about becoming a Guest Editor? What is your Collection focused on?

I really like the opportunity to promote an important emerging field, Nanotechnology enabled metallurgy.

5. Which is your favourite Scientific Reports paper?

Core-shell nanoparticle arrays double the strength of steel
J.-B. Seol et al.

 

Professor Luciano Bosso

Professor Luciano Bosso is an Assistant Professor of Ecology at the University of Naples Federico II.

1. What is your current research focused on?

I am an ecologist expert in ecological modelling and GIS analysis. My main research interests include conservation biology, global change ecology, biogeography and invasion ecology and the application of species distribution models, niche analysis, risk mapping, conservation gap analysis, landscape ecology, spatial analysis, species connectivity and corridor network simulation. 

2. What have been your biggest challenge and your greatest achievement in your career so far?

My biggest challenge is to make scientific research more accessible and comprehensible to a wider non-scientific audience. I am particularly devoted to increasing the ecological knowledge of non-experts. Several of my studies have informed policy makers about best management strategies of protected areas in Italy and Europe, and I consider this use of my research as my greatest achievement.

3. Why is Scientific Reports one of your favourite journals?

Scientific Reports is a multidisciplinary journal that publishes scientifically valid primary research from all areas of the natural sciences and beyond. I have always admired the quality and rigour of the scientific studies published in this prestigious journal.

4. Why did you decide to become a board member?

Considering the crucial role that editors have in scientific communication, I was looking for an opportunity where I can apply and especially improve/broaden my editorial skills as well as find professional and personal satisfaction both as an editor and a scientist. I am very grateful to Scientific Reports for this exciting opportunity.

5. What do you like most about being a board member for Scientific Reports?

I am particularly satisfied by the opportunity to enrich my background, collaborate in an international context, and contribute to the journal’s high-quality publication standards.

6. Which is your favourite Scientific Reports paper?

It is really difficult to select a single paper! I was really impressed by these recent publications:

 Integrating experimental and distribution data to predict future species patterns.
Kotta et al. (2019).

Risk of biodiversity collapse under climate change in the Afro-Arabian region.
Soultan et al. (2019). 

Climate change-driven range losses among bumblebee species are poised to accelerate.
Sirois-Delisle and Kerr (2019).

Modeling the distributions of tegu lizards in native and potential invasive ranges.  
Jarnevich et al. (2018). 

Assessment of the effect of climate changes in the Late Pleistocene and Holocene on niche conservatism of an arvicolid specialist
Castellanos-Frías et al. (2018).

Can Niche Modeling and Geometric Morphometrics Document Competitive Exclusion in a Pair of Subterranean Rodents (Genus Ctenomys) with Tiny Parapatric Distributions? 
Kubiak et al. (2017).

 

Dr Ryoung Shin

Dr. Ryoung Shin is a Unit Leader at RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science.

1. What is your current research focused on?

Potassium is one of major nutrients for plant growth, and lack of it in the soil environments has led to the increased use of fertilizers. However, such increased fertilizer usage does not necessarily result in a comparable production increase, and excess fertilizer run-off creates soil pollution. To address these issues, we elucidate the components of plant potassium sensing and deficiency signaling in plants using various approaches. In parallel, we are also using a marine red macroalgae Pyropia yezoensis in order to understand the mechanisms that enable seaweeds to survive in high salt conditions and to compare these mechanisms with those of the land plants in terms of Na+/Khomeostasis. In addition, we identify and characterize chemicals which affect cesium and heavy metals uptake in plants to establish new methods of phytoremediation.

2. What has been your biggest challenge and your greatest achievement in your career so far?

My biggest challenge was starting the radiocesium phytoremediation research after the accident of Fukushima nuclear power plants following the big earthquake in Japan. It was a very challenging project (see here and here); and we are still actively working on this. One of my greatest achievements was that I have found and proven for the first time that Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) is a key signal molecule of potassium-deficient signal transduction in plant roots.

3. Why did you decide to become a Board Member?

When I got the offer of being a Board Member, I recalled the time when we published two papers in Scientific Reports. It was an interesting and unique experience. Scientific Reports publishes articles from a variety of scientific backgrounds, including interdisciplinary research. Additionally, the editorial criteria for decision are different from other journals. I wanted to know more about this, and to be involved in Scientific Reports as a Board Member.

4. What do you like most about being a Board Member for Scientific Reports?

When I review the manuscript as a reviewer or handle the manuscripts as an editor, the manuscripts are usually from the specialised fields. At Scientific Reports I have really enjoyed reading the interdisciplinary manuscripts. These are not easy because I should know many different fields to handle these manuscripts, but handling these papers gives me opportunity to learn about the various aspects and I can then see and appreciate the different angles.

5. Which is your favourite Scientific Reports paper?

One of my favourite Scientific Reports paper is “The antifungal plant defensin AtPDF2.3 from Arabidopsis thaliana blocks potassium channels” by Virens et al. Previously we found the link between Jasmonic acid signalling, including PDF genes and potassium/cesium signalling. This particular paper provides much more detailed insights into the relationship between PDFs and potassium channels. I really enjoyed reading this article. Recently, I have also had a pleasure of reading and handling a later published article “Effects of green seaweed extract on Arabidopsis early development suggest roles for hormone signalling in plant response to algal fertilisers” by Ghaderiardakani et al. This one was well balanced between the practical and basic scientific approaches using seaweeds. Ideas are attractive and the logical flow through was clear.

 

Dr. Alberto G. Fairén

Dr. Alberto G. Fairén is an Astrobiologist at the Centro de Astrobiología in Madrid, Spain, a Visiting Scientist at the Department of Astronomy, Cornell University, and Editorial Board Member for Scientific Reports.

 


1. What is your current research focused on?

My research is focused on helping to understand the nature of the early Martian environments using a variety of tools from different disciplines: geomorphology, sedimentology, paleohydrology, geochemistry, aqueous mineralogy, and environmental microbiology. My research interests in Martian science are broad, spanning from surface evolution and habitability, to robotic exploration and mission design and operation. My research activities include a combination of theoretical modeling, laboratory experiments, field work and spacecraft data analysis.

2. What has been your biggest challenge and your greatest achievement in your career so far?

The biggest challenge has been keeping focus while moving among institutions, countries and continents, during my postdoc years. As soon as I got my PhD in Spain, I moved to NASA Ames in California for my postdoc, and later I worked for the SETI Institute also in California, and Cornell University in New York. After 8 years in the US, I returned to my home country and joined Centro de Astrobiologia, where I have recently got tenure. The journey has been challenging, but it also had its rewards, because the interaction with a wide variety of colleagues with different expertise and backgrounds allowed me to significantly grow in my career, and to reach my greatest achievements in publications, grants and awards.

3. Why did you decide to become a board member?

One of the most important tasks for a scientist is communicating the results of your investigations to the community. We, as researchers, should help to disseminate the scientific outcomes of our work. These responsibilities are essential for authors and reviewers indeed, but also for editors contributing to achieve high standards in publication quality, ethics, and fairness.

4. What do you like most about being a board member for Scientific Reports?

Being a board member for Scientific Reports is a good opportunity to provide a valuable service to the Mars community, helping to improve the review process facilitating the interactions between authors and reviewers, while contributing to Scientific Reports’s high-quality publication standards. In addition, the only requirement for the publication of a paper in Scientific Reports is that they must be “technically correct original contributions”, and they don’t need to have a subjective significance as perceived by the editors, which may very well be erroneous and most likely biased.

5. Which is your favourite Scientific Reports paper?

It is very difficult to single one paper out, but I was really impressed by “Perchlorates on Mars enhance the bacteriocidal effects of UV light”, by Wadsworth and Cockell, because of its significant implications to our current search for life on Mars. In addition, I recently had the pleasure of handling “The fate of lipid biosignatures in a Mars-analogue sulfur stream”, by Tan et al., “A record of igneous evolution in Elysium, a major martian volcanic province”, by Susko et al., and “Seasonal deposition and lifting of dust on Mars as observed by the Curiosity Rover”, by Vicente-Retortillo et al., three very impressive papers dealing with different aspects of Mars exploration.

 

Professor Xuyang Lu

 Professor Xuyang Lu is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is an Editorial Board Member for Scientific Reports and is currently Guest Editing a Collection on Mountain surface processes and regulation, which is currently welcoming submissions until the end of September 2019.

 

1. What is your current research focused on?

My academic research interests focus on the biogeochemical cycle and its microbial mechanism in mountain ecosystems. My recent work focuses on the effect of litter and soil organic matter chemistry on soil N transformation and its microbial function molecular ecological networks by comparing the China (Tibetan Plateau) and U.S. (Rocky Mountains) alpine ecosystems.

2. What has been your biggest challenge and your greatest achievement in your career so far?

I think my biggest challenge is the collection of soil and plant samples from alpine ecosystems, especially in the Tibetan Plateau. The plateau is considered to be the third “pole” of the world with an average elevation of 4 km above sea level. The natural environment is extremely harsh which characterized by high altitude, strong solar radiation, low temperatures and thin air. In this extreme environment, human survival is a challenge in itself, not to mention taking samples. In present, the greatest achievement in my career was that I discovered the influence extent and pattern of litter chemical composition and diversity on soil C, N transformation, which the related researches have been published in Scientific Reports, Soil Biology & Biochemistry, Biology and Fertility of Soils.

3. Why did you decide to become a board member?

The first motivation is to learn how to become a qualified editor the academic journals. I feel a sense of accomplishment when a paper could reach the high-quality publication standard for Scientific Reports through the process of peer review and feedback with the authors. 

4. What do you like most about being a board member for Scientific Reports?

I particularly like the criteria for publication in Scientific Reports, assessing an original article on the basis that they are technically sound and scientifically valid rather than innovation and importance, which provides the opportunity for more research works to be published. In addition, the Guest Edited Collection “Mountain surface processes and regulation”, which I served as Guest Editor, supplies a high-quality publication platform for interdisciplinary studies of mountain surface processes and their responses to climate change and human activities. I sincerely appreciate Scientific Reports for this exciting opportunity.

5. Which is your favourite Scientific Reports paper?

Here I list three of my favourite Scientific Reports papers:
A transnational perspective of global and regional ecosystem service flows from and to mountain regions”, by Schirpke et al. (Article number: 6678, 2019).
Altitudinal, temporal and trophic partitioning of flower-visitors in Alpine communities”, by Lefebvre et al. (Article number: 4706, 2018).
Planting increases the abundance and structure complexity of soil core functional genes relevant to carbon and nitrogen cycling”, by Wang et al. (Article number: 14345, 2015).

 

Professor Matjaž Perc

Matjaž Perc is a Professor of Physics at the University of Maribor, Slovenia and Editorial Board Member for Scientific Reports.

1.  What is your current research focused on?

Climate inaction, the overexploitation of natural resources, and a harrowing gap between rich and poor are some of the most pressing issues of our time. Since these problems can't even be fully understood, let alone solved, from a perspective of a single scientific discipline, the future prospects of our societies will be determined by interdisciplinary and cross disciplinary research that cuts across different domains of science. We are working hard to make physics, particularly methods of statistical physics, together with network and data science, a key piece of this puzzle. Social physics enables us to theoretically describe and understand collective social phenomena that are due to the interactions among individuals, groups, and governments. From the responsible use of antibiotics and vaccination, to the mitigation of social crisis and inequalities, we aim to develop better social systems and more efficient policies for a sustainable and better future by synergizing physics with the social sciences.

2. What has been your biggest challenge and your greatest achievement in your career so far?

One of my career goals has always been to stay at my home university, and ultimately to get a permanent position there. This has turned out to be the biggest challenge, as well as the greatest achievement of my career. Slovenia is a small country. Research funding is scarce, and vacant tenure track positions are basically nonexistent. A consistently impressive research output is needed, along with some luck and sponsorship from senior colleagues, to finally make it. For me it worked out great, but for many talented researchers in Slovenia this reality means being forced to go work abroad.

3. Why did you decide to become a board member?

Being a Scientific Reports board member is for me a way to give back to the research community, and to promote and support the research field in which I am active. Scientific Reports always stood for high quality, but also for freedom and opportunity, which together with the open access policy make it a perfect outlet for the most innovative research. Such research is often difficult to publish in journals that judge impact and novelty because it often challenges the mainstream in science.

4. What do you like most about being a board member for Scientific Reports?

The role puts you right in the center of research that is close to your heart. It feels a little bit like having reserved the finest seats in the theater of science, getting to learn about fascinating new discoveries before they are officially published. I also very much enjoy good cover letters, where authors usually explain the gist of their research in simpler terms, discussing its broader implications, and pondering about potential impact and directions for the future.

5. Which is your favourite Scientific Reports paper?

My favorite Scientific Reports paper remains to be the first paper I have handled after joining the editorial board, titled "Flavor network and the principles of food pairing" published in 2011. The paper generated a lot of attention at the time, both in the scientific community and in the media, and it stands precisely for the type of avant-garde research I was hoping Scientific Reports would encourage. In this particular case opening new avenues towards a systematic understanding of culinary practice across the world. From my own publications in Scientific Reports my favorite is "Self-organization of progress across the century of physics" published in 2013, for its collaboration with the American Physical Society and the resulting n-gram viewer for physics that is akin to Google's version for books.