ACS Publications is pleased to announce Professor Chuan He’s appointment as Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of ACS Chemical Biology, replacing founding EIC Professor Laura L. Kiessling. He is the John T. Wilson distinguished service professor in the departments of chemistry and of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Chicago. His research group studies a broad range of topics in chemical biology, nucleic acid chemistry and biology, epigenetics, and genomics. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the American Chemical Society Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, and the ACS Chemical Biology Lectureship Award, among many other awards.
“Since its inception, ACS Chemical Biology has established itself as the main platform for chemical biologists to communicate their research and share scientific discoveries,” says He. “I envision the journal expanding its scope to encompass emerging research areas that are likely to blossom in the coming decade. I also look forward to building relationships with young chemical biologists through new initiatives, and I believe that the journal can play an active role in encouraging all chemical biologists to explore new areas of research.”
Learn More about Professor Chuan He and his vision for ACS Chemical Biology
What is your vision for ACS Chemical Biology as Editor-in-Chief?
Under the leadership of former Editor-in-Chief Professor Laura Kiessling, ACS Chemical Biology has become a platform that glues the chemical biology community and serves everyone. It is the first chemical biology journal run by academic chemical biologists. Its main goal is not to make a profit but to serve the research community of chemical biology. I will strengthen the journal’s role in serving everyone, especially to ensure that we can help young chemical biologists develop their careers. We also care about scientific impact and encourage researchers to submit the latest findings and cutting-edge research ideas to ACS Chemical Biology. I believe many of us are tired of the lengthy revision process after submission, so our editorial team will keep the process of publishing papers as short and streamlined as possible while maintaining high standards.
What are your expectations for submissions to ACS Chemical Biology?
I think there are generally three types of submissions: can be a development of a new method, a new scientific discovery, or the accumulation of data that is valuable to the research community. We welcome different types of submissions, including research resources type work. We plan to have a new mechanism for junior chemical biologists to summarize the scientific significance and breakthroughs of their research.
Can you tell us about your current research?
I started my independent lab working on bioinorganic chemistry, microbiology, and structural biology in the first 6-8 years. Over the past 13 years, my lab has focused more on RNA biology, epigenetics, and genomics. We study nucleic acid chemistry and biology and also use chemical principles to invent new genomics methods. Over the past decade, my lab has been more focused on answering biological questions, but we have recently embarked on several new research directions in chemical biology, and we hope to report results from these new directions in the future.
How did you determine this research direction? What is your advice for choosing a research direction?
For me, there are three criteria for choosing a research direction: first, whether it has great scientific significance; second, whether the pathway has notable in vivo functions or phenotypes; third, whether I can bring in unique ideas or invent methods to help address the challenges.
What advice would you give to young scientists for their career development?
I would suggest going beyond research areas you are familiar with. Have the courage to get into real biology and try to start a new research direction every 5 to 10 years. Consider attending biology conferences like Keystone meetings, and don’t just stay in your familiar field and attend only familiar meetings. As a chemical biologist, your success will be judged by your contribution to biology or the truly useful chemical biology approach you have developed.