Molecular Therapy

Meet the Editor: Roland W. Herzog, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Therapy

ASGCT Staff - November 25, 2019

ASGCT member and Indiana University professor of pediatrics Roland W. Herzog, Ph.D. will become the editor-in-chief of ASGCT's field-leading journal, Molecular Therapy, on January 1, 2020.

<p>ASGCT member and Indiana University professor of pediatrics Roland W. Herzog, Ph.D. will become the editor-in-chief of ASGCT's field-leading journal, Molecular Therapy, on January 1, 2020.</p>

ASGCT recently announced that Roland W. Herzog, Ph.D. will become the editor-in-chief of the Society’s field-leading journal, Molecular Therapy effective January 1, 2020. Get to know Herzog and his plans for Molecular Therapy as part of this enlightinging Q&A.

Herzog, currently the editor-in-chief of Molecular Therapy—Methods & Clinical Development, will assume the same role for a five-year term at Molecular Therapy from Seppo Ylä-Herttuala, M.D., Ph.D. at the conclusion of Ylä-Herttuala’s term. Herzog is also a professor of pediatrics, Riley Children's Foundation Professor of Immunology, and director of the gene and cell therapy program at Indiana University.

What drew you to become the editor-in-chief of Molecular Therapy?

Mostly my positive experience as EiC of MTM, my passion for scientific publishing, and my bond to ASGCT, my scientific home. having served in various capacities for ASGCT and Molecular Therapy for many years, I feel a responsibility to advance their causes further, and I enjoy the collaboration with others doing so.

Can you tell me about your career path and expertise? How does someone get to the point at which they’re leading a journal?

I discovered a passion for scientific writing beyond my research papers. I enjoyed writing reviews, editorial and commentaries. At some point, I had the opportunity to edit a special topic for a journal, invite authors, and shape an entire issue. Eventually, I edited multiple journal issues and 2 books and started serving as a deputy editor for Molecular Therapy. That experience prepared me to take the lead for MTM, which in turn prepared me for Molecular Therapy. So, it is a learning process that takes time. It is also a commitment for time and effort, as well as an opportunity to be responsible and creative. A certain amount of discipline factors into this type of position as well.  

What is it about gene and cell therapies that inspire your work?

I got into the gene therapy filed when it was still young. I knew nothing about it, except that I was specifically interested in applications of genetic engineering and felt that treating diseases by gene transfer had to be the ultimate application for such technologies. It is rewarding to now see the clinical success of gene and cell therapies. The interdisciplinary nature of this kind research is exciting and provides so many opportunities for collaboration between institutions and between basic scientists and physicians. 

What separates Molecular Therapy from other journals covering gene and cell therapies?

Some of the strongest science in the field is published in Molecular Therapy, so it is a top choice for many to submit their manuscripts to. The journal is backed up by ASGCT, the strongest society that combines gene and cell therapy. Molecular Therapy is at the center of an entire family of high-quality journals, providing members of ASGCT and the broader research community a wide range of excellent opportunities to publish their work. Molecular Therapy is also a leader in education on gene and cell therapy through its reviews and commentaries.   

What challenges face the field, and how can Molecular Therapy help address them?

​Gene and cell therapies are undoubtedly components of modern medicine that are here to stay and to further evolve and advance. Nonetheless, as with any other discipline and technology, there will be successes and setbacks. We are now going though a massive phase of commercialization. New technologies will emerge, as illustrated in recent years by gene editing and cellular immunotherapy. Applications of gene therapy will widen. Publishing the best science and continuing to educate through editorial materials and review articles, embracing new developments, will continue to help the field along. Molecular Therapy provides an excellent opportunity for ASGCT to contribute articles and commentaries on science policy and important developments on the field. As the clinical experience with gene therapy medicines that have market approval widens and patients are followed over time, Molecular Therapy will take the lead in educating and informing on these treatments. 

Is there anything else you would like to tell the ASGCT community about yourself or your vision for the journal?

It is important to understand that the Molecular Therapy family of journals offers unprecedented opportunities to publish high-quality articles in gene and cell therapy. My vision is continued and even further strengthened close coordination and collaboration between the journal editors and partnership with Cell Press and ASGCT. We will also continue to innovate coverage of clinical gene and cell therapy and of larger developments in the field.   

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