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.

Jennifer A. Doudna, Annual Reviews Contributing Author, Wins Kavli Prize, NAS Medal

Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 11.27.06
Photo: Doudna Lab, UC Berkeley

Congratulations to Jennifer A. Doudna, of the University of California, Berkeley, who won the 2018 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience and the National Academy of Science Award in Chemical Sciences.

Dr. Doudna shared the Kavli Prize with Emmanuelle Charpentier, of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, and Virginijus Šikšnys, of Vilnius University, “for the invention of CRISPR-Cas9, a precise nanotool for editing DNA, causing a revolution in biology, agriculture, and medicine.” 

She received the NAS Award “for co-inventing the technology for efficient site-specific genome engineering using CRISPR/Cas9 nucleases.”

Read her articles on the topic here.

First observations of gravitational waves from colliding neutron stars

Today, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, Virgo Collaboration, and its partners announced the first observation of gravitational-waves from a pair of inspiraling neutron stars. Electromagnetic emission from the resulting collision was also observed in multiple wavelength bands. This occured on August 17, 2017 and represents the first time a cosmic event was observed with both gravitational waves and light.

For those who would like to do some background reading on this historic observation, we’ve made this review article from the 2016 volume of the Annual Review of Nuclear and Particle Science freely available to read.

Electromagnetic Signatures of Neutron Star Mergers in the Advanced LIGO Era by Rodrigo Fernández, Department of Physics, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA and Brian D. Metzger, Department of Astronomy and Theoretical Astrophysics Center, University of California, Berkeley, California and Columbia Astrophysics Laboratory, Columbia University, New York, USA.


The Edifying Beauty of Geysers

Old Faithful Geyser erupts on a clear winter day in Yellowstone National Park (Credit: Jacob W. Frank, National Park Service. Public domain.)

Geysers are a rare occurrence. There are only about 1,000 of them in the world, half of which are located in the United States’ Yellowstone National Park. They also take different forms, with varying frequencies, sizes, or lengths of eruption. Despite over 200 years of study, they are still poorly understood, but scientists persist in their exploration: geyser processes provide a scale model for the processes of volcanic eruptions, and they could give us clues on how to predict and prepare for such events.

In the 2017 Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Shaul Hurwitz, of the U.S. Geological Survey, and Michael Manga, of the University of California, Berkeley, discuss the current state of the science on geysers. They also delineate the questions that must yet be answered. The article, titled “The Fascinating and Complex Dynamics of Geyser Eruptions,” was highlighted by the U.S. Geological Survey.

They examine the geography and geology of geysers, their chemistry, the dynamics of their eruption. They ask why some erupt continuously and others only from time to time, why some erupt at great heights and others don’t, why some erupt regularly and other unpredictably.

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. Journalists and bloggers who require journal access, please visit our Press Center.

Bernard L. Feringa, Laureate of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

pc600407-f9Congratulations to Bernard “Ben” L. Feringa, of the University of Groningen in The Netherlands, who shared the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Jean-Pierre Sauvage, of the University of Strasbourg in France, and Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, of Northwestern University in the U.S. They were rewarded “for the design and synthesis of molecular machines.”

Dr. Sauvage was the first, in 1983, to create a catenane, a chain of mechanically interlocked molecular rings. Eight years later,  Dr. Stoddart built upon this by creating a rotaxane, a molecular ring threaded through a molecular axle.

Using these techniques, in 1999, Dr. Feringa was able to create the first molecular motor. This will allow for the development of new materials and sensors, and more. Read about possible applications of molecular motors in the 2011 Annual Review of Bioengineering.

Read Dr. Feringa’s article about molecular motors and light switching of surfaces in the 2009 Annual Review of Physical Chemistry.

Yoshinori Ohsumi, Laureate of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Congratulations to Yoshinori Ohsumi, of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, who won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on autophagy, the process by which a cell “recycles its content,” and his identification of genes responsible for this process.

cellbio270107-f1Dr. Ohsumi’s research has shown how “self-eating” in cells provides them with the energy and components necessary to renew themselves, helping organisms resist starvation, among other types of stress. Autophagy also helps cells to fight infections and prevent the negative consequences of aging.

Parkinson’s, cancer, and type 2 diabetes were later linked to disruptions in autophagy, leading scientists to target this process in order to develop treatments for these diseases.

Learn more.

Read Dr. Ohsumi’s articles on autophagy for the Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology and the Annual Review of Biochemistry.

MacArthur Fellows, Class of 2016

Our warmest congratulations to the 23 people honored this year by the MacArthur Foundation for “breaking new ground in areas of public concern, in the arts, and in the sciences, often in unexpected ways.”

Among them is Dianne K. Newman, a Microbiologist at the California Institute of Technology and of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She is also an Editorial Committee Member of the Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

Dianne Newman
Dianne Newman, 2016 MacArthur Fellow, Caltech, Pasadena, CA, 09.08.2016.

Dr. Newman’s research in microbiology spans across disciplines, from geobiology to biomedicine: she and her group study bacteria that thrive in low-oxygen environments, such as bacteria that “breathe” arsenic or iron, as was the case in Earth’s early atmosphere. This work has taken them to study the metabolism of Pseudonoma aeruginosa, an opportunistic bacterium that thrives in mucus-filled lungs where oxygen is limited, such as those of cystic fibrosis patients. This could open the door to more effective treatment of these infections. Browse the articles she wrote for Annual Reviews here.

Another 2016 MacArthur Fellow is Bioengineer Rebecca Richards-Kortum, of Rice University.

Rebecca Richards-Kortum
Rebecca Richards-Kortum, 2016 MacArthur Fellow, BioScience Research Collaborative at Rice University, Houston, August 31, 2016.

Dr. Richards-Kortum and her students create cheap and effective solutions that seek to redress imbalances in access to health care across the world. Their products have helped overcome challenges in the diagnosis of various types of cancers, but also for the care of premature newborns or babies with jaundice. Read her article for the Annual Review of Physical Chemistry here.

Photo credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

2016 Lasker Awards

Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 Lasker awards.

1. Basic Medical Research Award:

William G. Kaelin, of Dana Farber-Harvard Cancer Center.

Gregg L. Semenza, of Johns Hopkins University.

They helped identify how all animals react to variations in oxygen. They share the award with Peter J. Ratcliffe, of Oxford University. Click on their names to read the articles they wrote for various Annual Reviews journals.

2. Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award:

Charles M. Rice, of Rockefeller University.

He shares the award with Ralf  F. W. Bartenschlager, of the University of Heidelberg, and Michael J. Sofia, of Arbutus Biopharma. Drs. Rice and Bartenschlager were able to find a way to make the Hepatitis C virus replicate in laboratory conditions, which allowed research to proceed. Dr. Sofia then developed a drug that made it possible to treat the disease.  Click on Dr. Rice’s name to browse the articles he wrote for various Annual Reviews journals.

3. Lasker-Koshland Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science:

Bruce M. Alberts, of the University of California, San Francisco.

He was recognized for his work in molecular biology and his efforts toward science education. Click on his name to browse the articles he wrote for the Annual Review of Biochemistry.

Boosting the reach and impact of Annual Reviews articles – KUDOS for authors

Every once in a while, a digital research communication tool that serves a real need and is both well designed and easy-to-use comes along. This doesn’t happen every day!


Recently, Annual Reviews introduced its authors to KUDOS, a tool that makes it simple for them to claim, explain and share their research. The service won a prestigious “Innovation in Publishing Award” in 2015 from the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers.

We chose this service because although a lot of energy is directed towards writing and preparing the review, somewhat less is spent on arguably the most important part of the publishing cycle, namely sharing this knowledge with others thereby increasing its reach and impact.

As one author amusingly describes it: “Invitations to write an Annual Review article typically elicit some mix of thrill, dread, pleasure, indecision, burden, intimidation, and challenge—not unlike commencing one’s PhD or undertaking a skydive.” Durham W. 1999. Preface. Annual Review of Anthropology. Vol. 28

Authors write reviews as a service to those in their discipline and society as a whole. Annual Reviews provides them with a concierge publishing experience. Our skilled editors are hands-on in terms of copyediting, layout and figure editing (see before and after below), resulting in compelling articles that are clearly presented for an expert and broad audience.


To ensure visibility for these high-quality reviews, we invite our authors to register with KUDOS (which takes about 30 seconds) and share their work with the world. A helpful and short video about this free service can be found here. They can then claim their review/s and are prompted to:

  • Write a pithy headline
  • State what the article is about
  • Explain why it is important
  • Add, any additional perspectives that they wish to share

Within about 15 minutes or so, Authors have created an introduction about their article (which also links to the review itself) and they can then seamlessly share it on social media from the same page. The results (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.) can be viewed and there’s even a link to the ISI citation count for that article.

And the best part? Although not everyone is an Annual Reviews author, anyone can sign up for KUDOS, the service is completely free to end-users.