There is that old parable from Plato about the six blind people trying to describe an elephant; and they try to describe it by the part of the pachyderm they have access to (trunk, tusk, foot, ear, tail…) And so it goes, metaphorically, with the traditional disciplines describing a living body. Is a human body a mechanical system? An interaction of chemical reactions? A thermodynamic system? Really, it’s all of these, and made more complex in that a body is more than a sum of its parts.
To try to address this—to get these six metaphorical people talking to each other as it were—in 2011, Nobel laureate Phillip Sharp and noted biomedical research Robert Langer* coined the term “convergence,” which they described as a way for these different perspectives—in physics, engineering, chemistry, biology, etc.—to come together synergistically to solve complex problems.
Difficult and intractable problems such as cancer, for example. So to address this, we’ve launched the journal Cancer Convergence, which opened for submissions just last week. Led by Krastan Blagoev (Johns Hopkins University) and David T. Ting (Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center—Harvard University), we intend for this journal to be a leading platform for that cross-disciplinary synergy. The journal will be a
Led by Krastan Blagoev (Johns Hopkins University) and David T. Ting (Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center—Harvard University), we intend for Cancer Convergence to be a leading platform for that cross-disciplinary synergy.
single platform to bring together techniques and synergistic perspectives from different disciplines to facilitate the study and development of strategies for curing cancer. [It will connect] researchers from the physical and mathematical sciences and engineering, who bring quantitative approaches, new questions, and testable hypotheses to the study of cancer, with cancer biologists and research oncologists who represent a long tradition of progress toward understanding the emergence and pathogenesis of the disease. (From the Aims and Scope.)
Drs. Blagoev and Ting are joined by Bo Sun of Oregon State University as Managing Editor, and by Associate Editors Herbert Levine of Rice University and Thea Tlsty of the University of California, San Francisco. Joining them is a group of Executive Advisory Editors as well as an Editorial Board (the entire list is here).
You can read more about this new journal at its main page at http://cancerconvergence.springeropen.com.
*Professor Langer serves on the International Editorial Board for another SpringerOpen journal, Progress in Biomaterials.