Today we announce that the final addition to the line-up of three new Co-Editors-in-Chief of FEMS Pathogens & Disease is Associate Professor Jörn Coers, Director of the Center for Host Microbial Interactions at Duke University Medical Center. Dr Coers’ research focuses on the function of Interferon-stimulated host defense programs and the regulation of inflammation in response to bacterial infections.
He joins our previously announced Co-Editors-in-Chief: Willa Huston and Alfredo Garzino-Demo to create a three-person-strong team that will give Pathogens and Disease a unique range of research expertise and editorial oversight.
You can follow Jörn on Twitter: @JornCoers
We interviewed Jörn to give you some insights into his research, his career, and his work with the FEMS Journals:
What encouraged you to pursue a career in the field of microbiology?
”I initially wanted to study neurobiology and behaviour but got hooked once, by chance, I had found my way into a microbiology lab. Of course, we now appreciate that microbes affect all aspects of our lives including our behaviour. So maybe I’ll get to do some (microbe-inspired) behavioural studies eventually…”
What inspired you to get involved with Pathogens and Disease, and what have been the highlights so far?
”The way academic publishing works is changing and it’s hard to predict what current trends will prevail ten years from now. I wanted to be part of this process and to do my small part in bringing about changes for the better. Indeed, one of the first things we did as an editorial team was to implement several changes in our review process that are intended to make things better for authors and reviewers alike. These changes should ultimately lead to faster as well as higher quality publishing. It was also important to me to support FEMS, a society that does much good for the community of microbiologists.”
What do you think are the challenges being faced in the field today?
”I think the major challenges are similar across the various scientific fields and not unique to microbiology. They include seemingly unrelated topics such as keeping up with new technologies or implementing effective science communication. These challenges are best tackled in a coordinated manner as a group, which is why scientific societies such as FEMS are so important.”
How do you see this field/the journal developing in the future?
”This is an exciting time for microbiology. Microbes are everywhere and they rule our planet. Progress in many technologies – such as deep sequencing – have opened up new opportunities and changed the way we do science. Pathogens and Disease (PAD) provides a platform to publish impactful studies on the causative relationship between microbes and disease. Our goal as a journal is definitely to raise the bar, to improve the editorial process and the quality of the work that we publish.”
How would you describe Pathogens and Disease in three words?
”Microbes and Disease – MAD?! Maybe we need to change the title of the journal? – but seriously, we are striving to publish work not only on bona fide pathogens but also on non-pathogenic or beneficial microbes as well as microbial communities, and how they impact the incident or outcome infectious diseases. Of course, an important aspect of disease is the host response (the focus of my own research) and I am hoping to see more submissions from that research area in the future as well.”
Do you think there are misconceptions regarding Pathogens and Disease – if so, what?
”A common misconception appears to be that PAD is a journal for European scientists only. We want PAD to be journal read and published in by researchers from around the world. Accordingly, we are recruiting an increasingly diverse group of editors from different continents and we will be present at international conferences around the globe to raise the profile and visibility of PAD.”
”Be collaborative – you’ll accomplish more, learn more and you’ll have more fun along the way. Work with a diverse group of people – your science will become more innovative that way.”
What is your favourite microbe, and why?
”Legionella! First bug I worked on as an undergrad. It grows on black plates (so goth!). And the Legionella genus features an unbelievable repository of more than 18,000 secreted proteins with all sorts of (mostly unknown) effector functions. Is there a microbe more versatile and innovative than Legionella?”