Tell us a little about yourself. What made you consider taking on the role as Editorial Board Member for Bioresources and Bioprocessing (BIOB)?
I am currently a professor in the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at Ohio University. I got my PhD degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University in USA under Prof. George T. Tsao in 1990.
I have done research in various areas including bioseparations (mostly liquid chromatography separation of proteins), bacterial and fungal fermentation, bioelectrochemical systems, biocorrosion, control of problematic biofilms in industrial settings (especially oil and gas) and medical settings (e.g., biomedical implants), and utilization of biofilms for bioremediation. I have one year of corporate research experience with Miller Brewing Company prior to my academic career.
I joined the BIOB editorial board upon invitation from my friend, Prof. J.H. Xu, who is the editor-in-chief. It was also because of my desire of service to the research community. Editors and reviewers spend their valuable time on our own publications. Thus, we are obligated to serve others as well. It is only fair that way.
How has the journal’s field advanced in the last few years?
This journal has a major focus on utilization of bioresources for bioenergy and bioprodcuts. This field has seen tremendous advances in the past decade. Metabolic engineering and synthetic biology are playing significant roles.
The low oil prices are hampering biomass/bioenergy research. After a delay, their effect is more visible now as research funds are expiring. We may see fewer published works because of this.
Oil prices are stabilizing now. Hopefully, they will go up and biomass/bioenergy research will bounce back. Environmental remediation research will see continued growth because countries like China are investing more in environmental research.
What do you think will be an important focus of research in the next several years?
I think metabolic engineering and synthetic biology will become more important in the coming years. I have seen lots of advances in metabolic engineering in bioenergy research and production of value added products.
In our work on electron transfer in biofilms, we have teamed up with molecular biologists to manipulate the relevant genes in bacteria in order to explain electrogenicity and biocorrosion mechanisms with implications in evolutionary microbiology. Metagenomics and microbiomes are popular buzz words in environmental research. We will see more papers using them.
In your perspective, what do you see as opportunities for the journal’s field to grow, specifically in your region?
Biochemical engineering will continue to grow. Almost all chemical engineering departments at USA universities have been renamed with an emphasis on bioengineering. With the microbiome initiative in the USA which started in May 2016, we will see more research on industrial microbiology and medical microbiology utilizing metagenomics and microbiomes.
Metabolic engineering and synthetic biology will play even bigger roles in biomass/bioenergy research. Bioengineering research in Asia, especially in China and India, will see more growth because of increased government investments.
What advice would you give a researcher before submitting to the journal?
Read some published articles as examples. Follow journal guidelines. Pay attention to technical writing details. Do not abuse significant figures because that will make you look bad. Add error bars and use p values for statistical significance when needed.
Be consistent in your writing. Tell a complete story. Telling a good story is better than telling several stories without good organization. Do not miss important information that helps others to learn or to reproduce your experiment. Self-plagiarism is taboo. This means you should not use previously published unique sentences to describe experimental procedures, etc. You must rephrase using new sentence structures and words or your can skip the details by citing a published paper when you describe a known experimental procedure.
Bioresources and Bioprocessing is a peer-reviewed open access journal published under the brand SpringerOpen. BIOB co-foundered by State Key Laboratory of Bioreactor Engineering (SKLBE) and Springer Nature (Springer Nature) publishing group.
BIOB aims at providing an international academic platform for exchanging views on and promoting research to support bioresource development, processing and utilization in a sustainable manner.
As an application-oriented research journal, BIOB covers not only the application and management of bioresource technology but also the design and development of bioprocesses that will lead to new and sustainable production processes.