Meet the Editor: Dr. Chris Nelson, Biochemistry and Cell Biology

November 04, 2014

Dr. Christopher J. Nelson is an Assistant Professor in Biochemistry & Microbiology at The University of Victoria and has been an Associate Editor of  Biochemistry and Cell Biology for several years, Chris earned his Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia, and was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Gurdon Institute of Cancer and Developmental Biology at the University of Cambridge, before coming to the University of Victoria. Dr. Nelson joins long-time editor Dr. James R. Davie at the helm of the journal.  

Q. How did you choose science as a career?

A. I was fortunate to land a summer student position as a third-year undergraduate. It was chance to see what working in a lab was like (for a meager stipend). The choice turned out to be a pivotal one as I was quickly hooked on life in the lab, the camaraderie of very smart peers, and of course the rush of getting an experiment to work and provide you with a new piece of the puzzle, no matter how small.

Q. What is your area of research?

A. My lab works at the interface of two fields: the epigenetic regulation chromatin, and the functions of peptidyl-proline isomerases (which we showed modify histones in chromatin). 

Q. What are some of the most exciting things happening in your field right now?

A. The epigenetics field has expanded in numerous directions so the hottest topics are somewhat subjective.The control of epigenomes by metabolites and metabolic status, the participation of non-coding RNAs in epigenetic regulation, and as epigenetic units themselves, are all exciting areas.

Q. What are your hopes for the journal?

A. Biochemistry and Cell Biology has a long history as a quality product, and I’d like to build on that.  Together with Dr. Davie we aim to increase our exposure to national and international researchers. Balancing timely review articles with exciting new work in biochemical and cellular biology is central to this goal as is minimizing the time a paper spends in the review pipeline. 

Q. Do you have any advice for young researchers looking to publish their work?

A. Certainly. The best papers are presented logically and they tell a story. What is your story and what experiment would make it even better? 

Q. There are a lot of changes happening in scholarly publishing right now… What do you see as the biggest challenge or greatest opportunity?  

A. Open access publishing offers a great opportunity to share research outputs globally and rapidly.  It will be important to establish fair funding strategies to support open access formats. The challenges of ensuring appropriate expertise for expedient peer review will likely be even more relevant as research in many fields generates larger and larger data sets.      

Q. How do you spend your free time when not in the Lab?

A. I try to be outdoors. Gardening, cycling, walking my dog and spending time at our remote cabin all help me to recharge.


Many thanks to Dr. Nelson for sitting down to answer some of our questions. We're very pleased to welcome him to BCB and the our Editorial team. 

[Photo courtesy of Chris Nelson]

Filed Under: NRC Research Press Meet the Editor Scholarly Publishing Science Careers

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