A docent tour of Annual Reviews

Welcome Richard Gallagher, President and Editor-In-Chief of nonprofit publisher Annual Reviews, to our news blog. In the coming months Richard, an immunologist, science editor, and publisher, will contribute occasional posts from a personal and professional perspective here and in Annual Reviews’ Twitter stream (tweets signed RG).

On a recent visit to Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, I spent a fascinating hour being guided around a collection of nineteenth- and twentieth-century garments from diverse Jewish communities by a docent (volunteer guide). She brought to life an exhibit that I would otherwise, in my ignorance, have breezed through in minutes.

It got me thinking that a docent tour of some personal favorites of Annual Reviews articles published in 2018 might be of interest. All articles described are freely available to read through the end of February, 2019. I’d be delighted to have suggestions for articles to include in future guides (simply leave a comment on this post or tweet us @AnnualReviews).

Let’s start with a brief article on “Science as a Culinary Art” from the Annual Review of Biomedical Data Science. It presents a vision for transforming medicine based on sharing the responsibility for collecting data and testing ideas among, essentially, everyone. Author Nicholas Tatonetti of Columbia University, New York, likens the process to cooking. “Today alone,” he writes, “billions will form hypotheses about the right combination of spices, temperatures, and wine pairings. Each of these hypotheses will be tested, evaluated for their success, and accepted or rejected, ultimately contributing to the body of human culinary knowledge.” Why can’t the same be done for biomedical research, he asks, with Big Data as the ingredients? It’s a clear and optimistic idea.  

One group that is already contributing a lot of data to the pursuit of health and well-being is people age 100 years and over, the centenarians. A century ago, life expectancy was 50-55 years. Today, in developed countries, it’s up to 87 years for women and 84 for men, and there are some 434,000 100-year-olds alive right now. I suspect that most of us would sign up for a substantial life extension if we knew we’d be healthy enough to enjoy it, so the factors that impact longevity, covered in this Annual Review of Nutrition article on Nutrition and Inflammation by three researchers from Bologna, Italy, are of more than passing interest. I was surprised (read dismayed) to find that regular timing of meals is critical, in part due to effects on the gut microbiome and on sleeping patterns.

Annual Review of Cancer Biology, Circadian Clock’s Cancer Connections.

The importance of maintaining circadian rhythms isn’t just a key characteristic of healthy aging and longevity; another great review in the Annual Review of Cancer Biology, Circadian Clock’s Cancer Connections, traces the link between circadian dysfunction and cancer risk. If your lifestyle is anything like mine, that is, unregulated eating and sleeping patterns and a lot of travel across time zones, a rethink may be required! I wonder when circadian rhythm gurus will start to appear on YouTube – if they haven’t already.

Annual Review of Anthropology, Industrial Meat Production.

Substantially reducing meat consumption was a personal change I made in 2018 that may provide some positive health impact. My decision was made primarily on environmental grounds, but reading an anthropologist’s take on corporate animal agribusiness (Industrial Meat Production in the Annual Review of Anthropology), offers additional reasons. Some of the statistics quoted by Alex Blanchette (Tufts University, Massachusetts) are grimly impressive, including the fact that “[b]etween 1935 and 1995, the time it took to raise a mature chicken decreased by some 60%, and yet the average size of each grown bird swelled by a stunning 65%.” Other facts, such as the existence of packinghouses where 20,000 pigs are killed every day, are simply grim. I challenge you not to find the “deanimalization” of meat to be grotesque. 

Annual Review of Criminology, Gun Markets.

This article on Gun Markets from the Annual Review of Criminology addresses an even greater social ill, gun violence. While the article is focused on the transactions that arm criminals and the sources of their weapons, it also provides an overview of guns in the United States. “Increasingly, people buy guns not to shoot animals or targets but rather to prepare for a time when they might need to shoot or at least threaten another person,” Philip Cook (Duke University, North Carolina) writes. “Half of gun owners say that self-protection is the reason or primary reason they own a gun.” That’s before he turns his attention to criminal use! Cook describes the underground gun market as “thin and balkanized,” depending on personal connections. Depressingly, after assessing regulation changes to impact this market, the best that he can say is that “[t]here is enough evidence of regulatory effectiveness to rule out the extreme version of the futility argument.” Hmm. Meanwhile, in 2018 there were 35 murders within 5 miles of my house, of which 30 were shootings. As an immigrant here in the United States, I find it unfathomable that we are prepared to live (and die) with the current legal, and consequent illegal, gun cultures.

Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, Mycofluidics.

And now for something completely different: mycofluidics, which (of course!) is microfluidics in fungi. Cells are the building block of all forms of life. You can think of them as enormously complex over-stuffed bags of chemistry and biochemistry. There must be rules that bring order, direction, and intent to the chaos, and this enthralling article from the Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics (Mycofluidics) describes one such set of rules: the fluid mechanics and engineering that underlie the growth and dispersal of fungi. For example, Marcus Roper (UCLA, California) and Agnese Seminara (Institut de Physique de Nice, France) describe four different approaches by which fungi can relocate by using explosive movement – remember, fungi lack limbs, fins, or wings – that are quite extraordinary. The illustrations are excellent and their writing is wonderfully descriptive; for example, “The unfurling of a mushroom is a feat of reverse origami.”

Another mind-expanding article covers our new-found ability to explore evolution through the analysis of ancient biomolecules. In Ancient Biomolecules and Evolutionary Inference from the Annual Review of Biochemistry, a distinguished group of European experts describe the preservation of ancient DNA, proteins, and lipids; how they are extracted and analyzed; and the unique processes developed for their sequencing and analysis. The second half of the article sheds new light on everything from the origins of early life forms to the domestication of plants and animals. Analyzing ancient biomolecules “profoundly deepened our understanding of the origin of early life forms, adaptation and extinction processes, and past migrations and admixtures that gave rise to present-day biological diversity, including in our own species,” the authors say. And this is just the beginning; their extensive “Future Directions” section points to even more profound insights to come.

As a keen-but-crummy chess player, I took some pleasure in reading that championship chess, attained by only the most gifted minds, is actually easier than moving the pieces. Dubious? In Toward Robotic Manipulation from the Annual Review of Control, Robotics, and Autonomous Systems, Matthew Mason (Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania) explains that while there are world-champion-level chess computers, they “still need human beings to do the actual moving of the chess pieces.” Manipulation of objects (control of the environment through selective contact) is a routine but extraordinary talent that animals in general, and especially humans, excel at, but that presents an array of challenges to robots. Mason contrasts animals’ manipulative breadth, robustness, and adaptability on the one hand, with specialization and performance advantages on the other gripper. He describes how machine learning will improve robotic manipulation, but it will be a while before a robot team competes in baseball’s World Series. 

Science is a pursuit of excellence that has parallels in art, athletics, cooking, and even comedy. But, while we have ready access to the deepest thoughts and the daily doings of rock stars, football players, chefs, and funnymen, similar treatment of researchers is rare; unfortunately so, because it could help reduce the gap between science and mainstream culture. Many of the Annual Reviews journals do include autobiographical profiles, which present scientists as, well, real people. A case in point is Fred Ausubel’s Tracing My Roots: How I Became a Plant Biologist from the Annual Review of Genetics. Ausubel’s early earnestness, influenced by C.S. Lewis and Zhou Enlai; curiosity; collegiality; and, ultimately, flexibility on what he wanted to study shine through in this description of evolving research on plant-microbe interactions over a 20-year period between the mid-1960s and mid-1980s.

I hope you’ll dip in to some of these articles. None of them are a quick, relaxing read, but they’ll leave you with the natural high that a little insight provides and a positive feeling about humankind’s abilities to explore our external and internal worlds.

Annual Reviews is a nonprofit publisher dedicated to synthesizing and integrating knowledge for the progress of science and the benefit of society.

Knowable Magazine wins Folio award; receives several honorary mentions

Good news from the Folio Awards: Knowable Magazine has won the Ozzie Award for Design, New Magazine > Consumer/Custom.

The digital-only publication also received honorary mentions in the following categories:

For the full list of winners, see: https://www.foliomag.com/go/2018-eddie-and-ozzie-awards/ 

knowable_magazine_logomark

Knowable Magazine explores the real-world significance of scholarly research through a journalistic lens. Using plain English and providing necessary context, Knowable Magazine reports on the current state of play across a wide variety of fields, with occasional forays into wonder and awe.

This initiative receives support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

2018 MacArthur Fellows

Congratulations to the whole class of 2018 MacArthur Fellows, in particular, these four Annual Reviews contributing authors:


Analytical Chemist Livia S. Eberlin, of the University of Texas. Find her article for the 2013 Annual Review of Physical Chemistry here.


Health Economist Amy Finkelstein, of MIT. Find her articles for the 2010 and the 2018 Annual Review of Economics here.


Sociologist and Legal Scholar Rebecca Sandefur, of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Find her article for the 2008 Annual Review of Sociology here.


Neuroscientist Doris Tsao, of the California Institute of Technology. Find her article for the 2008 Annual Review of Neuroscience here.

 

2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Congratulations to our contributing author Frances H. Arnold, of the California Institute of Technology, who won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with George P. Smith, of the University of Missouri, and Gregory P. Winter, of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK. Dr. Arnold received half of it “for the directed evolution of enzymes” and Drs. Smith and Winter shared the other half “for the phage display of peptides and antibodies.”

We’ve made this article freely available to celebrate her achievement:

Synthetic Gene Circuits: Design with Directed Evolution, E.L. Haseltine and F.H. Arnold, 2007 Annual Review of Biophysics and Biomolecular Structure

Annual Reviews is a nonprofit publisher dedicated to synthesizing and integrating knowledge for the progress of science and the benefit of society. To find out how we create our highly cited reviews and stimulate discussion about science, please watch this short video. To find out how we create our highly cited reviews and stimulate discussion about science, please watch this short video. Members of the media can visit our Press Center to sign up for journal access.

2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Congratulations to our contributing authors James P. Allison, of the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, and Tasuku Honjo, of Kyoto University, who share the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.” Dr. Honjo was also a corresponding member of the Editorial Committee for the Annual Review of Immunology from 2005 to 2016.

We’ve made these articles freely available to celebrate this achievement:

Structure, Function, and Serology of the T-Cell Antigen Receptor Complex, J.P. Allison et al., 1987 Annual Review of Immunology
The Immunobiology of T Cells with Invariant gammadelta Antigen Receptors, J.P. Allison et al., 1991 Annual Review of Immunology
CTLA-4-Mediated Inhibition in Regulation of T Cell Responses: Mechanisms and Manipulation in Tumor Immunotherapy, J.P. Allison et al., 2001 Annual Review of Immunology
Immune Modulation in Cancers with Antibodies, J.P. Allison et al., 2014 Annual Review of Medicine
Immunoglobulin Genes, T. Honjo et al., 1983 Annual Review of Immunology
Origin of Immune Diversity: Genetic Variation and Selection, T. Honjo et al., 1985 Annual Review of Biochemistry
Molecular Mechanism of Class Switch Recombination: Linkage with Somatic Hypermutation, T. Honjo et al., 2002 Annual Review of Immunology

Annual Reviews is a nonprofit publisher dedicated to synthesizing and integrating knowledge for the progress of science and the benefit of society. To find out how we create our highly cited reviews and stimulate discussion about science, please watch this short video. To find out how we create our highly cited reviews and stimulate discussion about science, please watch this short video. Members of the media can visit our Press Center to sign up for journal access.

On-campus or off – institutional access to our journals on the go!

Nonprofit Annual Reviews has implemented a powerful and convenient new service from Google Scholar called Universal CASA (Campus Activated Subscriber Access).

Universal CASA delivers the same seamless on-campus access experience, wherever you start and end your content journey.

  • Whether on PubMed, Google Scholar or a Publisher site
  • Wherever you go – in your college library, or reading at home on the weekend from a different IP address
  • Whatever device you prefer – desktop or mobile

The freedom Universal CASA offers is in keeping with an evolution in how we work: from being a place that we go to something that we do, wherever we are.

When you see these badges (left) displayed on an Annual Reviews article, it indicates that Universal CASA is enabled. Click on either of them to activate the service. Then, use Annual Reviews full-text while on campus and your access will follow you. Clicking on “Help” takes you to a page from Google Scholar that explains more about the service and what to do if you want to switch it off.

Coupled with the introduction of Quick Abstracts from Google Scholar on Annual Reviews journals earlier this year, 2018 has shaped up to be a good one for anyone with a mobile lifestyle!

 

 

 

 

 

Annual Reviews appoints Jonathan Michael to role of Chief Financial Officer.

Nonprofit publisher Annual Reviews is pleased to announce that Jonathan Michael has been appointed Chief Financial Officer following the retirement of Steve Castro.  Jonathan has over 30 years of experience gained in companies ranging in size from start-ups to multinationals.

Richard Gallagher, President and Editor-In-Chief said:

It gives me great pleasure to welcome Jonathan to Annual Reviews. He has broad experience, and his entrepreneurial streak is part of what makes him a good fit for Annual Reviews as we explore ways to increase our impact and adapt our business models.

Jonathan joined us from Pinnacle Engines, a Californian company that is developing clean, ultra-efficient engines and previously worked in the semiconductor, software and solar power sectors. He also serves on the Steering Committee of The Silicon Valley CFO Leadership Council.

I’ve always been drawn to companies that seek to improve the lives of the communities that they serve, Jonathan says. Whether I am focusing on the societal advantages of clean technologies or the importance of synthesizing expert research to help develop critical policies that shape our lives, I enjoy being at the forefront of change. Stepping into the nonprofit world is also a first for me and I am very much looking forward to the journey.

About Annual Reviews: Annual Reviews is a nonprofit publisher dedicated to synthesizing and integrating knowledge for the progress of science and benefit of society.  Journalists who require further information, access to our content or press contacts can visit the Press Center.

 

 

2019 NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing – Call for Nominations in Astronomy

Annual Reviews is pleased to sponsor the 2019 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Award for Scientific Reviewing presented in Astronomy.

The NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing has been presented annually since 1979 to recognize authors, whose reviews have synthesized extensive and difficult material, rendering a significant service to science and influencing the course of scientific thought. The field rotates among biological, physical, and social sciences.

The NAS Award for Scientific Reviewing was established in 1977 by the gift of Annual Reviews and the Institute for Scientific Information in honor of J. Murray Luck (our founder). The award is currently sponsored entirely by Annual Reviews.

The 2019 award recognizes authors who, through their conceptual consideration and review of the field, have both rendered a significant service to science and had a profound influence on the course of scientific thought.

To nominate a review author in the field of Astronomy, you must submit your application by October 1st, 2018.

Annual Reviews is a nonprofit publisher dedicated to synthesizing and integrating knowledge for the progress of science and the benefit of society. To find out how we create our highly cited reviews and stimulate discussion about science, please watch this short video.

The NAS is a private, nonprofit society of distinguished scholars. Established by an Act of Congress, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. The NAS is committed to furthering science in America, and its members are active contributors to the international scientific community.

Mass Incarceration’s Collateral Damage

Homelessness, unemployment, higher debt rates, poor health for both the formerly incarcerated and their families, disengagement from community life and isolation… There is plenty of evidence that jail time causes social damage in the United States, which accentuates inequalities because it affects poor people of color disproportionately. The US has the highest imprisonment rate of the developed world and a complex criminal justice system, yet data on the mechanisms by which mass incarceration generates harm on this scale are surprisingly hard to come by.

In their article “Collateral Consequences of Punishment: A Critical Review and Path Forward,” in the first volume of the Annual Review of Criminology, David S. Kirk, of the University of Oxford, and Sara Wakefield, of Rutgers University, argue that imprisonment rates and confinement conditions vary significantly across states. “These differences are not well understood or systematically documented but likely influence the scope, magnitude, and character of collateral consequences,” they write.

The federal system, for example, houses only 13 percent of all prisoners, half of whom are sentenced on drug-related charges. “Crimmigration”, the portmanteau for immigration and criminal law, is also on the rise in the federal system, although this hike “reflects an increasing punitiveness toward immigrants rather than a growth in the crime rate among immigrants.” In contrast, the jail system houses the higher number of prisoners, and the state system has 53% of its inmates locked in for violent crimes. Given the differences between the two systems on post-incarceration consequences, the authors believe contrasting the data could lead to a better grasp on the stakes of imprisonment: “Unfortunately, comparisons across different types of confinement are nearly impossible to accomplish with available data.”

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Kirk & Wakefield, 2018. Annual Review of Criminology.

“Crimmigration” policies have become stricter under the Trump administration, as the threshold for deportation has dropped considerably, and any alleged criminal offender is set for deportation upon arrest, regardless of conviction. Detained migrant children are also an urgent topic of research, as the number of unaccompanied children apprehended by US Border Patrol has been growing steadily. Evidence shows their detainment has similar characteristics to typical imprisonment, and they endure the same suspected cases of verbal, physical, sexual abuse and human rights violations. There are no systematic investigations of the consequences of these conditions on detained children and their families, one of the reasons the authors recommend that immigration be made a more central focus of the collateral consequence research agenda.

The authors argue the consequences of the crime, such as imprisonment, should be studied separately from consequences of the punishment itself, like difficulties finding employment. They also think the impact of specific types of prison and the conditions of confinement need to be examined. They advocate for the creation of more robust databases compiling all the information on the inmates, during and after their time in jail.

They recommend looking to Europe, specifically Nordic countries, for a model of continuing information collection that tracks inmates and their families. These nations use a national registration system that allows for cross-referencing data on an individual’s crime and punishment with, e.g., their education and family status.

Read more in the first volume of the Annual Review of Criminology.

Congratulations to Annual Reviews Authors on NAS Awards

Congratulations to the following Annual Reviews contributing authors for receiving these National Academy of Sciences awards:

Barbara Dosher, of the University of California, Irvine, won the Atkinson Prize in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences “for her groundbreaking work on human memory, attention, and learning.” She wrote for the 2017 Annual Review of Vision Science.

She shared the prize with Richard Shiffrin, of Indiana University, who was recognized “for pioneering contributions to the investigation of memory and attention.” He wrote for the 1992 Annual Review of Psychology.

Günter Wagner, of Yale University, won the Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal “for his book  Homology, Genes, and Evolutionary Innovation, which makes fundamental contributions to our understanding of the evolution of complex organisms.” He wrote for the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics in 1989 and 1991.

Mark E. Hay, of the Georgia Institute of Technology, won the Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal “for his research into algal science, with implications for the world’s imperiled coral reefs.” He wrote for the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics in 1988 and 2004, and the Annual Review of Marine Science in 2009.

James P. Allison, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Center, won the Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal “for important discoveries related to the body’s immune response to tumors.” He wrote for the Annual Review of Immunology in 1987, 1991, and 2001, and the Annual Review of Medicine in 2014.

Howard Y. Chang, of Stanford University, won the NAS Award in Molecular Biology “for the discovery of long noncoding RNAs and the invention of genomic technologies.” He wrote for the Annual Review of Biochemistry in 2009 and 2012.

Rodolphe Barrangou, of North Carolina State University, won the NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences “for the discovery of the genetic mechanisms and proteins driving CRISPR-Cas systems.” He wrote for the Annual Review of Food Science in 2012, 2016, and 2017, and the Annual Review of Genetics in 2017.

Marlene R. Cohen, of the University of Pittsburgh, won the Troland Research Award “for her pioneering studies of how neurons in the brain process visual information.” She wrote for the Annual Review of Neuroscience in 2012 and 2018.

Etel Solingen, of the University of California, Irvine, won the William and Katherine Estes Award “for pathbreaking work on nuclear proliferation and reducing the risks of nuclear war.” She wrote for the Annual Review of Political Science in 2010.