Interviews with Outstanding Authors (2023)

Posted On 2023-09-18 14:21:43

In 2023, many TBCR authors make outstanding contributions to our journal. Their articles published with us have received very well feedback in the field and stimulate a lot of discussions and new insights among the peers.

Hereby, we would like to highlight some of our outstanding authors who have been making immense efforts in their research fields, with a brief interview of their unique perspective and insightful view as authors.

Outstanding Authors (2023)

Virginia Kaklamani, UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, USA

Mary M. Salvatore, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, USA

Eugene Mun Wai Ong, Luma Women’s Imaging Centre, Singapore

Alexandra Acco, Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), Brazil

Outstanding Author

Virginia Kaklamani

Dr. Kaklamani is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio, USA, and is the Leader of the Breast Cancer Program at the Mays Cancer Center. She completed her medical training with honors at the University of Athens and her residency in Internal Medicine at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Boston, MA. She completed her fellowship in hematology/oncology at Northwestern University. She also received a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation from Northwestern University. She was the Head of the Translational Breast Cancer Program at Northwestern University and the co-director of the cancer genetics program at the same institution. She has also served as the Associate Director for Clinical Research at UT Health San Antonio. Her research interests include designing clinical trials with targeted agents. She has also identified several genetic mutations that link obesity and breast cancer. Connect with Dr. Kaklamani on X (Twitter).

From Dr. Kaklamani’s perspective, science is all about exchanging ideas. Listening to others and critically evaluating their work make better scientists. To her, exchanging of ideas cannot happen without academic writing. In the process of academic writing, she thinks it is impossible to avoid bias. She explains, “We all have innate biases which come from our own interpretation of data, but while these biases solidify our opinions, we need to listen to an opposing point of view with an open mind. The truth lies typically between two extremes.”

Dr. Kaklamani points out, when writing a scientific piece, it is authors’ task to present the data in its entirety and provide all possible interpretations. She elaborates, “If what we are writing is an opinion piece, then our personal interpretation is important; but we need to state this clearly. We should also provide the readers with other possible interpretations so that we can give them the opportunity to shape their own opinion.”

To Dr. Kaklamani, reporting guidelines such as STROBE or CONSORT are written to help authors prepare a manuscript in a uniform format for easier reading and interpretation of the data. That is the reason why she thinks it is extremely important to abide by the guidelines.

(by Masaki Lo, Brad Li)

Mary M. Salvatore

Mary M. Salvatore, MD, MBA, is a Professor of Radiology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the Vice Chair of Radiology Education. Her previous interests included early and correct diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis and its radiographic quantification. Her current research has expanded to include the intersection of fibrosis and cancer in multiple organs, including the lung and breast tissue. She is pursuing a prospective head-to-head comparison of low-dose, non-contrast chest CT compared to mammography for breast cancer risk and early diagnosis. Dr. Salvatore has been instrumental in creating the lung cancer screening program at Columbia and is now extending its reach to include patients with pulmonary fibrosis who are also at increased risk for lung cancer development. She is a teacher at her core, creating a program called “Mentors without Borders” to support global educational initiatives so no student is without a mentor.

Dr. Salvatore believes that the best balance for a physician is to combine clinical care, teaching, and research. The performance of each is enhanced by involvement in the others. In her view, it is a travesty to waste the privilege of learning from the patients and not sharing the knowledge with the community of scientists through the process of research and publication.

To ensure one’s writing is critical, Dr. Salvatore points out that the only way to do so is to be involved in clinical care and learn the challenges faced by patients, as well as daily reading of the medical literature.

My mentor said a paper can change the world. I am motivated to think clearly and lead change in medicine,” says Dr. Salvatore.

(by Brad Li, Alisa Lu)

Eugene Mun Wai Ong

As the radiologist of choice for top breast surgeons and physicians, Dr. Eugene Ong's expertise ranges from screening mammography to complex cases involving multi-modality imaging and challenging biopsy and localisation procedures. Dr. Ong did his fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts (USA). He has led breast imaging services both at restructured hospitals and in private practice. His research interest is in breast imaging and intervention. He has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and also appears regularly on the teaching faculty of breast imaging and intervention meetings, conferences, and workshops both locally and internationally. Aside from his technical skill and renown, he is widely praised for his gentle and sensitive approach in caring for his patients with breast diseases. More information about Dr. Ong can be found here.

TBCR: What role does academic writing play in science?

Dr. Ong: Academic writing helps to share new ideas, findings in research work and opinions with our fellow practitioners and scientists. In today’s environment, it is never possible for an individual to know everything, even within our own specialty. This shared knowledge helps us to be aware of what other practitioners in our field of interest are thinking and doing. Having science and medical practice without academic writing would be like living life without any news!

TBCR: How to avoid biases in one’s writing?

Dr. Ong: I think reading what others have written in the literature about our area of interest and focusing on the methodology and discussion sections of the papers helps to be aware of the potential areas of bias identified by the authors themselves. The letters to the editor or comments on these articles also highlight what others may identify as biases in the writing. For myself, my role as a reviewer for various medical journals has helped me to evaluate the aims, methodology, results and conclusions of various studies, particularly in my own specialty. This helps me to think along the same lines when I am designing studies and writing academic articles. By viewing my own writing from the perspective of a reviewer, I find it easier to detect areas of potential bias and avoid them.

TBCR: Would you like to say a few words to encourage other academic writers who have been devoting themselves to advancing scientific progress?

Dr. Ong: I believe all academic writers face the pain of designing and performing studies, analyzing the findings, writing up the articles, receiving pages of comments and criticisms from the reviewers, and having to address all of these as well as facing rejection of one’s articles from various journals. This can often be discouraging enough to deter anyone from participating in academic writing. In the process of writing, I often tell myself that this is going to be the article I ever write! However, the joy of seeing one’s hard work in print and the encouragement from peers who benefit from reading one’s work makes it all worthwhile.

(by Brad Li, Alisa Lu)

Alexandra Acco

Dr. Alexandra Acco is a Full Professor of Pharmacology at the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), Curitiba - PR - Brazil. Her academic background includes a degree in Veterinary Medicine at UFPR, PhD in Biological Sciences at the State University of Maringá (UEM – Maringá – PR – Brazil) and postdoctoral period at the Tytgat Institute for Liver and Intestinal Research (former AMC Liver Center) at the University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands). Her primary research interest is in pharmacology, particularly in liver metabolism, oncology and toxicology. The research projects developed by her students in the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Metabolism are related to these subjects. You may get to know more about Dr. Acco through ORCID, ResearchGate and her laboratory’s Instagram.

A good academic paper, according to Dr. Acco, is one that meet its objectives, has consistent results, is well-written, provides new information, respects scientific ethics, and contributes to science.

In Dr. Acco’s view, the number of publications is very large nowadays, and it is difficult for scientists to keep up to date. Therefore, before starting new projects or articles, searching databases to find what has already been published on that subject is the main way to produce different articles, including review articles.

Academic writing is a challenge of putting scientific data into the form of a well-told story. Instead of fairy tales, scientists tell real stories that take place in their laboratories,” says Dr. Acco.

(by Brad Li, Alisa Lu)