Introducing the Editor-in-Chief for BMC Biophysics

In an exciting development for the journal, the editorial model for BMC Biophysics has changed in order to drive its growth and to better serve the scientific community. We talk to the recently appointed Editor-in-Chief, Professor Dimitrios Morikis.

Until recently, like most other journals in the series, BMC Biophysics has been overseen by an Editor at BMC. However, as the field one that is constantly evolving, we are pleased to be able to announce the recent appointment of Editor-in-Chief , Professor Dimitrios Morikis from the University of California, Riverside to steer its growth and development and ensure it meets the needs of the Biophysics scientific community.

BMC Biophysics will, of course, still uphold the ethos of the BMC series, being open, inclusive and trusted, and committed to a fair, friendly and efficient peer-review service.  Editorial decisions are not made based upon novelty or impact; instead we publish all scientifically valid research, including a scientifically sound question and using suitable methods and analysis, as long as some advance has been made.

To mark the launch of the new editorial model, we have asked Professor Morikis to introduce themselves and to tell us more about their plans for the journal.

What inspired you to study biophysics?

As a graduate student in physics, I recognized the immense opportunities offered by using physical methods and physics-based approaches to study biological function. At the time, I became intrigued by the complexity of biological phenomena, and was captivated by the challenges of reducing this complexity to basic physical principles at the molecular level. I was impressed by advances in structural and computational biology, based largely on physical techniques, that enabled us to look intimately into three-dimensional structures of biological molecules and study forces that keep structures together, influence biomolecular dynamics, and drive biomolecular interactions. As time passed, I developed an appreciation for pathways and networks within and between cells, tissues, organs, and organisms, as well as for bioengineering applications based on biophysical studies.

Why did you decide to get involved with publishing?

Scientific research and publication are interweaved. Publication is the only credible way to disseminate sound research to a broader audience of peer scientists and the public. When I was a young researcher I valued the benefits of the peer-review process in publishing my work, and I became a peer-reviewer to contribute to, and continue this tradition. Now, as a senior researcher in the field of biophysics, I feel that I should serve my scientific community from the position of the Editor-in-Chief of BMC Biophysics. It is my goal to maintain high standards in the peer-review process, more so in these times of an abundance of publication types and venues.

What do you hope to achieve as Editor-in-Chief of BMC Biophysics?

I am interested in enhancing the influence of BMC Biophysics within the field by increasing the number of submissions while maintaining high quality standards of peer review and publication. BMC-series subject-journals do not make editorial decisions on the basis of perceived interest of a study or its likely impact, but rather focusing on rigorous science for the advancement of knowledge, using community-accepted standards relevant to the research field. I will continue serving BMC Biophysics by adhering to the ethos of publication and editorial standards of BMC journals. My interest is in publishing studies that are methodologically thorough and present quantitative data and models that describe biological processes with physical principles.

Currently, there are eight general sections of biophysical research in BMC Biophysics: (i) computational and theoretical biophysics, (ii) membrane biophysics, (iii) mesoscale cellular processes, (iv) novel biophysical methods, (v) nucleic acids, (vi) signalling and interaction networks, (vii) structural stability and dynamics, and (viii) thermodynamics, energy transduction and kinetics. In addition to the established biophysics research directions within the eight sections of the journal, I am interested in introducing topics that translate biophysical studies into understanding health and disease, and development of treatments, by focusing on the origins of diseases. I am also interested in introducing a bioengineering flavor by publishing studies of biophysical applications in bioengineering and biotechnology.

We are living exciting times for biophysics research, and the future outlook is very promising!

What do you think the future holds for the biophysics field?

The future of biophysics is bright! I expect to see more biophysics-based research aiding bioengineering and biotechnology applications. I anticipate seeing more biophysics work geared towards understanding diseases at molecular and cellular levels and designing diagnostics and therapeutics. Network biophysics and systems biophysics are areas of promise and expansion. Advances in structural and cellular biology are being made based on physical methods, and contribute to our understanding of biophysical mechanisms of function at molecular and cellular levels. New technologies originating from physics allow for imaging of cells and tissues at higher resolutions than ever before. Innovations in computational methods and computer hardware are rapidly growing, and can be used to study biophysical function from molecular to organismal length scales, and from femtosecond to second time scales. We are living in an exciting time for biophysics research!

There are some exciting developments planned for the journal in the coming year.

We will implement an internal editorial re-organization to improve the efficiency of the editorial and review processes, with the ultimate goal of reducing the time between submission and publication.

We are excited about launching a number of thematic series in the coming year, starting with Biophysics in Disease and Drug Discovery; this series will accept articles describing research using biophysical methods, both experimental and computational, to elucidate molecular and cellular mechanisms of disease. The focus will be on hypothesis-driven research as well as on database-driven research. Research articles describing diagnostic and drug discovery based on biophysical knowledge will also be welcome.

Also look out for a number of invited review articles in areas of biophysics that display significant recent advances and have not been sufficiently reviewed elsewhere, or reviews that explore a research area from a different point of view.

If you are interested in being involved with the journal, or have suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact the Editor, Dr. Alison Cuff at alison.cuff@biomedcentral.com.

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