Looking back and looking forward Andrew M. Clark Trends in Neurosciences, Cell Press, 600 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
Trends in Neurosciences (TiNS) was launched over 35 years ago with the aim of publishing insightful reviews, opinions, and commentaries ‘covering all disciplines of the neurosciences’. TiNS started strong; among the articles appearing in the journal that first year include those penned by a Nobel Laureate, previous and future chairs of the Society for Neuroscience, and numerous other leading experts. Throughout its ensuing tenure, TINS has continued to publish timely and authoritative pieces with the goal of synthesizing, interpreting, and drawing novel insights into an increasingly fractured and complex literature. Although the neuroscientist’s toolkit has greatly expanded over recent years, the subjects covered remain surprisingly consistent: neuropsychiatric diseases, cellular and molecular studies of synapse development and plasticity, and systems investigations of learning and memory, to name but a few. The success of TINS in providing highquality coverage of such topics is reflected in its consistent ranking among the best reviews journals in what has grown from a handful of similar titles at its inception to a plethora today. Despite its long run, TiNS, until now, has had only four editors, in chronological order: David Bousfield, Gavin Swanson, Sian Lewis, and Rachel Jurd. Together, these previous editors oversaw the launch and growth of the journal, shepherded it from print to primarily electronic distribution in the internet age, developed new means for engaging and building a community of readers, and commissioned countless articles that, one hopes, not only reviewed, but also helped set trends in the field. I am humbled to follow in their footsteps and I aim to continue in the tradition that they started; this latest issue reflects both the breadth of coverage and the high standard of quality that I aim to maintain at TINS. The neurosciences are one of the preeminent fields in biology today, as reflected in both the amount of resources devoted to investigations of the nervous system and the increasing number of major prizes being awarded for breakthroughs in this field. In this issue, in a Science and Society article, Reiner and Isacoff highlight the work that led to the recent receipt of one of these significant awards, the Brain Prize 2013, which was awarded to Ernst Bomberg, Edward Boyden, Karl Deisseroth, Peter Hegemann, Gero Miesenbock, and Georg Nagel for their development and refinement of optogenetics. Science and Society pieces are intended to spotlight subjects of wide interest, or topics at the intersection of the bench and the wider world. Readers can look forward to continuing to see more of both types in the future.
Corresponding author: Clark, A.M. ([email protected]
One of the key features of TiNS opinion articles is that they present a personal viewpoint on a particular subject, thus advancing a novel perspective or hypothesis. In this issue, three such opinion articles present novel perspectives on important issues in neurodegenerative diseases, neural development, and neural coding, respectively. Warren, Rohrer, Scott, Fox, Hardy, and Rossor hypothesize that specific neural networks are differentially susceptible to particular pathogenic proteins and propagating protein abnormalities, while Puelles, Harrison, Paxinos, and Watson promulgate a hierarchical classification of brain structures based upon recent findings concerning differential gene expression during development. Finally, Kumar, Vlachos, Aersten and Boucsein note that the parallel, recurrent architecture of most real neural networks limits the utility of selectively inactivating only particular elements (e.g., a given cell class) one-by-one, suggesting careful computational consideration of network structure will be a necessary precondition of experiments seeking to unravel network function. TiNS readers can expect to continue to see creative, novel, and insightful opinion articles covering other equally important topics in the future. Brief, pointed reviews that go beyond simply reciting the literature, to integrate and synthesize recent results into alternative interpretations, and to suggest productive areas for future research are the hallmark of TiNS. In this issue, one can find three such reviews from leading groups in molecular, cellular, and systems neuroscience. Mergenthaler, Lindauer, Dienel, and Meisel review the role of glucose in fueling brain function and the role of breakdowns in this process in neurological disorders, while Lipscombe, Allen, and Toro cover the mechanisms controlling the expression of neuronal voltage-gated calcium channels (CaV). Finally, Wolfram and Baines delve into recent findings suggesting neurotransmitter phenotype and expression of specific ion channels in neurons are not always hard and soft wired, respectively. In some form or another, all of my predecessors have expressed in this space the statement that these are exciting times to be a neuroscientist. That such a statement can be repeated, in all earnestness, over such a long period of time speaks to what a fascinating, dynamic, and exciting endeavor the study of the nervous system is. Currently, the field is faced with many challenges. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the socioeconomic burdens of psychiatric and neurological diseases are only expected to continue to increase . Meanwhile, large scientific funding bodies in many countries continue to see their budgets decline in real or inflation-adjusted terms. However, there are also numerous possibilities and potentials for great discoveries. The ongoing development of methods for controlling the activity of identified neuronal subtypes
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Editorial on a fast timescale offers the potential to dissect circuit function in exquisite detail, next-generation sequencing offers the hope to better understand the genetic basis of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases, and new computational tools for mining large and complex data sets are constantly being refined. As always, the journal welcomes feedback on our effort to cover this exciting ground; it would be impossible to identify and report on all the newest trends without invaluable input from our Advisory Editorial Board, authors, and readers. In teaming with our colleagues at other Cell Press journals, be they other Trends titles such as Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, or Trends in Pharmacological Sciences,
Trends in Neurosciences October 2013, Vol. 36, No. 10
or premier research journals, such as Neuron and Cell, to provide up-to-date and authoritative coverage of the neurosciences, TiNS hopes to be able to serve the increasingly diverse needs of this broad community. I will be at the upcoming Society for Neuroscience conference in San Diego, please stop by the Cell Press/Elsevier booth to chat and pick up a free copy of TiNS, or stop me in a poster aisle or at a symposium, to let me know your thoughts on how the journal can best continue to strive towards achieving this goal. Reference 1 World Health Organization (2011) Mental Health Atlas 2011, WHO