Molecular Medicine would like to recognize the efforts of its exceptional peer reviewers, for their excellent service. The following individuals have exceeded expectations as far as acceptance rate, the number of completed reviews, and timeliness, for each of the listed three-month periods. The journal cannot succeed without its peer reviewers, and we thank the hard-working members of our network.
Reviewers of the quarter
Third Quarter of 2020
Dr. Louise A. Johnson
MRC Human Immunology Unit
MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine
John Radcliffe Hospital, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
Dr. Johnson received a BSc (Hons) First Class degree in Biochemistry with Physiology from Royal Holloway College, University of London, and subsequently attained a PhD at the MRC Human Immunology Unit, MRC Weatherall Institute for Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford. Her research interests are centered upon cellular trafficking in the lymphatic system, specifically to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which immune cells migrate from peripheral tissue to draining lymph nodes. This is a particularly important step under both normal physiological conditions and in inflammation, as it determines the success of an immune response to potential pathogens and also to certain vaccines. Furthermore, the lymphatic system constitutes a frequent route for metastasis of tumor cells, which may hijack the entry mechanisms used by immune cells, and disseminate to other organs. Dr. Johnson uses a wide range of techniques in her research, including state-of-the-art microscopy and flow cytometry, combining in vitro studies using primary cells with transgenic mouse models.
Second Quarter of 2020
Dr. Dimiter Avtanski
Director, Endocrine Research Laboratory
Friedman Diabetes Institute at Lenox Hill Hospital, New York, New York
Associate Professor of Medicine
Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, Hempstead, New York
The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, Manhasset, New York
Dimiter Avtanski is a Director of the Endocrine Research Laboratory at Friedman Diabetes Institute of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, Associate Professor of Medicine at Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell in Hempstead, New York, and Assistant Professor at the Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine at Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research in Manhasset, New York. Dr. Avtanski received his M.Sc. degree in Biology and Chemistry from Sofia University in Bulgaria and his Ph.D. degree from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in collaboration with Beth Israel Medical Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. Dr. Avtanski specialized at Leipzig University, Germany and completed seven years of post-doctoral fellowships at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. His main research focuses on the connection between obesity, diabetes, carcinogenesis, and steroidogenesis. Dr. Avtanski serves as Associate Editor for Molecular Medicine journal and is an Editorial Board Member for several other scientific journals. He is actively reviewing for variety of journals and has multiple recognitions for his reviewing activity. Dr. Avtanski is a research mentor of rotating fellows from Lenox Hill Hospital, Hofstra University and Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research.
First Quarter of 2020
Dr. Nethaji Muniraj
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Presently, I am working on development of novel cancer prevention strategy using bioactive compounds and investigating the anti-cancer efficacy and functional involvement of autophagy. Also, I am investigating the obesity-breast cancer connection and exploring the crosstalk between adipocyte and breast cancer cells. My research interest are finding the mechanism of cancer progression by tumor associated macrophages (TAMs) on adipocyte-induced breast cancer. Overall, my research interest is finding the molecular interaction between obesity and breast cancer. To understand the immune interaction by which obesity affects stem cells, EMT, metastatic progression, resistance to therapies of breast cancer and discover novel target for immunotherapy to effectively disrupt obesity-breast cancer axis. However, combination with chemotherapy with immune based will provide a better solution for the treatment of cancer.
Fourth quarter of 2019
Monowar Aziz, PhD
Center for Immunology and Inflammation
The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research
Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine
My research interest is centered on the discovery of novel pathophysiology of inflammatory disease conditions, e.g., sepsis, ischemia-reperfusion (I/R), and acute lung injury by elucidating the effects of PAMPs and DAMPs like extracellular cold-inducible RNA-binding protein on neutrophil heterogeneity. I am also interested in elucidating novel therapeutic avenues by using the immunoregulatory properties of B-1a cells for controlling exaggerated inflammation and organ injuries caused by sepsis, shock or I/R injury.
Third quarter of 2019
Dr Vidyanand Anaparti
Manitoba Center for Proteomics and Systems Biology
Department of Internal Medicine
University of Manitoba
Dr Sen Peng
Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)
Dr Peng's research focuses on designing and applying bioinformatics techniques to identify biomarkers and mechanisms underlying human cancer diseases such as brain and pancreatic cancers. He has progressively developed, tested, and implemented analytical pipelines for processing, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of next-generation sequencing (NGS) data and other complex biological data sets using state-of-art tools. These methods & frameworks may be used, for example, to uncover cancer-specific somatic mutations that may be contributing to carcinogenesis, to identify molecular sub-classification of cancers with applications for more accurate therapeutic selection, and to predict patients’ treatment response on the basis of mutational and mRNA expression profiles.
Professor Jason Plemel
Department of Medicine
Division of Neurology
University of Alberta
PD Dr Andreas H. Wagner
Institute of Physiology and Pathophysiology
Division of Cardiovascular Physiology
PD Dr Wagner's field of interests include reactive oxygen species as signaling molecules, oxidative posttranslational protein modi-fications and their ability to regulate redox enzyme activity, development of nucleic acid-based therapeutics for the treatment of heart failure and Marfan syndrome, experimental cardiovascular physiology focusing on biomechanical phenotype regulation in vascular cells, and endothelial cell-platelet-leukocyte interactions in the early phase of atherosclerosis.
Second quarter of 2019
Professor Rory R. Koenen
CARIM – School for Cardiovascular Diseases
Department of Biochemistry
Professor Koenen studied biochemistry in Sittard (B.Sc.) and at the Radboud University in Nijmegen (M.Sc.), the Netherlands from 1993-1999. He completed the training programme 'Vascular Biology, Cardiac Function and Adaptation, Thrombosis and Hemostasis' (2003) and his Ph.D. in biomedical sciences (2005) at the Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), Maastricht University, The Netherlands. He then moved to the Institute of Molecular Cardiovascular Research at RWTH Aachen University in 2003, chaired by Christian Weber where he was granted a tenured faculty position in 2008. In 2011, Dr. Koenen moved along with Christian Weber to Munich and continued his work at the Institute for Preventive Cardiology (IPEK) at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany before moving back to CARIM in 2012 as the recipient of a VIDI grant. He is currently a tenured associate professor at CARIM.
He is currently investigating the inflammatory functions of platelets and the role of particular inflammatory molecules in vascular disease. A VIDI grant was awarded to a project that aims to characterize the molecular aspects of chemokine secretion from platelets and the role of this secretion in cardiovascular diseases. Inflammatory leukocyte recruitment is currently studied from the viewpoint of the endothelial cells. Here, the versatility of a particular adhesion molecule, termed JAM-A, is in special focus. JAM-A can be redistributed from intercellular junction pools to the apical cell surface. Thus, JAM-A can rapidly become available for leukocyte recruitment. This process was found to drive monocyte recruitment during atherosclerotic plaque development.
Previously focusing mainly on atherosclerosis, the topic of his research will slightly shift towards flow- induced vascular remodelling and vascular disorders that occur on a shorter time scale, such as venous thrombosis. In addition, he will set up novel methods for early diagnosis of vascular disease, including functionalized antibodies against chemokines and against JAM-A for SPECT measurements. Moreover, ELISA-based methods have been established for determining soluble JAM-A, CCL5 and CXCL4 in biologic specimen and studies are ongoing to (further) establish these molecules as biomarkers. In addition, he is setting up a research line focusing on extracellular vesicles from platelets, which affect the behavior and phenotype of other cells.
First quarter of 2019
Dr Nethaji Muniraj
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University
Dr Muniraj's research is primarily focused on different aspects of breast carcinogenesis and autophagy. His research interests include cancer cell signaling; bioactive compounds in cancer therapy; adipocyte-macrophage-breast cancer tumor microenvironment; adipocyte browning; and macrophage polarization.