Interviews with Outstanding Authors (2022)

Posted On 2022-07-21 16:16:44

In 2022, many 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, with a brief interview of their thoughts and insights as authors. Allow us to express our heartfelt gratitude for their tremendous effort and valuable contributions to the scientific process.

Outstanding Authors (2022)

Elin S. Gray, Edith Cowan University, Australia

Michael J. Sorich, Flinders University, Australia

Per Hydbring, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

Hyun Koo Kim, Korea University Guro Hospital, Republic of Korea

Paola Perego, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Italy

Javier Pozas, Ramón y Cajal University Hospital, Spain

Satoshi Watanabe, Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Japan

Mariano Provencio, Hospital Universitario Puerta de Hierro Majadahonda, Spain

Tadaaki Yamada, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Japan

Jae Cheol Lee, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, South Korea

Toshiyuki Sumi, Hakodate Goryoukaku Hospital, Japan 

Andreas Domen, University of Antwerp, Belgium

Young-Chul Kim, Chonnam National University Medical School and Hwasun Hospital, South Korea

Pascal Hannequin, Annecy Nuclear Medicine Center, France

Rafael Parra-Medina, Instituto Nacional de Cancerologia, Columbia

Yoshinobu Ichiki, National Hospital Organization Saitama Hospital, Japan

Kenji Nakahama, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan

D. Ross Camidge, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, USA

Chittibabu Guda, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, USA

Arianna Palladini and Francesco Gelsomino, University of Pavia and University of Bologna, Italy

Yusuke Okuma, National Cancer Center Hospital, Japan

Elin S. Gray

Associate Professor Elin Gray is a Cancer Council WA Research Fellow, Head of the Melanoma Research Group Leader at the School of Medical and Health Sciences, and Deputy Director of the Centre for Precision Health at Edith Cowan University, Australia. Prof. Gray’s research focuses on identifying diagnostic and prognostic blood-based biomarkers for melanoma. She utilises cutting-edge methodologies to study blood biomarkers such as circulating tumour cells, circulating tumour DNA and exosomes. She aims to develop liquid biopsies that can provide crucial tumour-specific information that can guide the selection of the best treatment strategy for cancer patients. Here are some the pages where you can find out more information about Prof. Gray: Edith Cowan University, LinkedIn, Twitter @ElinSGrayPhD, ORCID, Scopus and Google Scholar.

Academic publications are critical, in Prof. Gray’s opinion, for communicating the acquired knowledge in a particular discipline. Our research is funded mainly by tax-payer and philanthropy. Thus, it is vital that the findings of the research are shared with other scientists and the broad community overall to contribute to the advance of science.

Speaking of the crucial skills an author should possess, Prof. Gray points out that good communication skills are critical for the effective conveyance of the ideas and the study findings. Knowledge of the field, in relation to the latest progress and reports, is helpful when framing one’s work. Effective use of graphics enables the reader’s understanding. Finally, transparency and integrity are also important characteristics of an author.

As an author, Prof. Gray stresses that it is important to follow reporting guidelines such as STROBE and PRISMA during preparation of manuscripts. To her, all these guidelines are important depending on the type of research. Critically some of them need to be considered since the initial design of the study.

I am motivated to do academic writing even though it takes a lot of time and effort. The excitement of reporting on the result of our research and my team's eagerness to see their work reflected in the academic literature,” says Prof. Gray.

(By Brad Li, Eunice X. Xu)

Michael J. Sorich

Dr. Michael J. Sorich is a Professor in Clinical Pharmacology at the College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University, Australia. He is a clinical epidemiologist, biostatistician, and pharmacist with a primary research interest in precision. This involves using biological, chemical, and clinical markers to guide decisions on the most appropriate use of medicines. One research focus is the use of machine learning and advanced biostatistical methods to predict treatment efficacy and toxicity – with a particular focus on anti-cancer medicines. This research involves analysis of pooled data across many clinical trials. Additionally, he researches the development and validation of novel biomarkers to predict drug exposure which will enable personalisation of medicine dosing. Dr. Sorich’s homepage can be accessed here. You may also follow him on LinkedIn.

To Dr. Sorich, a good paper should combine several elements. Firstly, it should seek to answer an important or interesting question. For health research, the question should be meaningful to patients, or otherwise help guide decisions that can improve health outcomes. Secondly, the research methods should be fit for purpose and clearly link with the underlying research question. Finally, the paper should be written clearly and thereby enable the reader to quickly and precisely understand the key elements of the research.

Academic writing often involves evidence synthesis. On selecting the appropriate evidence for synthesis and analysis, Dr. Sorich believes being precise with the research question is an important starting point. Often the underlying research question is nuanced and if not clearly defined it can complicate the process of synthesizing evidence. A precisely defined research question enables design of the most effective strategy for evidence synthesis. It also enables communication of key nuances that emerge from the evidence synthesized – how different studies differ in small but important ways, the implications of these differences and whether differences in study design or populations may explain any heterogeneity in findings.

Data sharing, on the other hand, is an important element of facilitating reproducible research. In Dr. Sorich’s opinion, this should be encouraged as part of the overall strategy for improving both the quality and reporting of scientific research. Sharing of other important elements should also be considered, such as analysis scripts that explicitly detail the process of taking the raw data through to the results reported. It is encouraging to see progress being made in these areas.

Having an efficient process for writing and undertaking research is important. For primary research papers, I find it helpful to incrementally develop the key elements of the paper over the course of undertaking the research. Before commencing the research, I will write an outline of the relevant background, research question and methods. This is invaluable for clarifying and focusing the research question and research plan and will serve as the skeleton for these sections in the paper. As the research progresses, I incrementally incorporate key draft results. This helps to structure my thoughts regarding any additional work to clarify or extend the initial results. This outline is also useful to circulate to collaborating researchers, enabling early inclusion of coauthor ideas and development of consensus regarding the interpretation of results. Once all co-authors reach agreement on results and interpretation, the document outline can be relatively quickly fleshed out to form the paper,” says Dr. Sorich.

(By Brad Li, Eunice X. Xu)

Per Hydbring

Dr. Per Hydbring, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. His current research is focused on coding- and non-coding RNAs in lung cancer. He is specifically focused on investigating the role of RNAs as potential molecular biomarkers and targets for therapeutic interventions. You may connect with Dr. Hydbring through LinkedIn.

The most commonly encountered difficulties in academic writing, in Dr. Hydbring’s view, relate to the following points: 1. Assessing the results of the study in an unbiased way without overstating the potential value of the study, and 2. Putting the study in light of the published literature. These two points are connected with each other since authors often fail to recognize recently published literature, impacting the novelty of the study.

As an author, Dr. Hydbring believes that they should have an enormous responsibility to prepare the paper and present it in a way that reflects the scientific findings and the potential influence of the paper to the scientific community. Regardless of the depth of the study, the paper may be of informative value to other scientists in the field, but the message should reflect the actual results. To him, it is imperative to be self-critical and to openly disclose any limitations of the study in order for other scientists to conduct relevant follow-up studies.

A conflict of interest (COI), according to Dr. Hydbring, could have a detrimental influence on the conducted research if not disclosed properly. By disclosing COI, authors openly provide potential ties to entities that may influence their abilities to remain unbiased. Therefore, he deems that it is mandatory to have COI disclosed for any form of research.

Finally, there are a few words Dr. Hydbring would like to share with other academic writers, “When you start to prepare a scientific manuscript, make sure to have a structured plan and abundant amount of time. All academic writers can have their own unique strategy but the important thing is to not rush the writing process in an unstructured way. Moreover, review the recent literature in the field and select the papers with the highest relevance to your study. This is extremely important for both original research articles and for review articles. Many academic writers tend to cite their own previous work, regardless of its relevance, and thereby fail to recognize highly relevant papers from other research groups. Finally, think about what message you want to convey with the paper to maximize its communication to the scientific community and beyond.”

(By Brad Li, Eunice X. Xu)

Hyun Koo Kim

Dr. Hyun Koo Kim, MD, PhD, is Professor and Chief of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at the Korea University Guro Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. He is an expertise in single port VATS and utilizing 3D thoracoscope during VATS. In addition, he is one of the first surgeons in Asia who used robotic stapler during robotic major pulmonary resection. Furthermore, he published the world’s first article about the single-site using da Vinci Xi system and single-port robot surgery using da Vinci SP system in thoracic disease. His major research topic is focused on image-guided surgery, and he has been conducting numerous national research projects for developing various kinds of intraoperative imaging devices and contrasts through a lot of in vitro laboratory works to preclinical animal and human studies.

The essential elements of a good academic paper, according to Dr. Kim, include hypothesis based on unmet needs from daily clinical practices and keeping up with recent trend of research on that field. He explains, “Clinical data analyzed based on hypothesis would be evidence synthesis, thus the hypothesis should always be updated by new data and new research trend.”

On the other hand, Dr. Kim stresses that it is important for all clinical trials to apply for institutional review board (IRB) approval and follow the relevant regulations. It is a crucial way to ensure patients’ right and safety, and research would be deemed invalid without such approval.

Despite the heavy workload of being a doctor and researcher at the same time, both clinical and research work are same important for me. Paperwork is thus usually done at night and weekend,” says Dr. Kim.

(By Brad Li, Eunice X. Xu)

Paola Perego

Dr. Paola Perego is a Senior Staff Scientist at the Molecular Pharmacology Unit of the Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale Tumori in Milan, Italy. She obtained a degree in biology with full marks and honours and a diploma of Specialization in Applied Genetics (University of Milan), and a PhD in Translational Biomedicine (University of Verona), as well as the National Scientific qualifications as full professor of Pharmacology and of Applied Biology. Dr. Perego has experience in preclinical development of novel antitumor agents and in translational studies. Her recent focus is the overcoming of drug resistance by targeting tumour molecular alterations in various tumor types including lung cancer, ovarian carcinoma, and melanoma. The main current fields of interest of Dr. Perego are the mechanisms of drug resistance with particular reference to the role of deubiquitinases and their targeting as a strategy to overcome drug resistance. She has authored 173 publications in peer-reviewed journals. You may connect with Dr. Perego through her Twitter @McPerego.

A good academic paper, in Dr. Perego’s opinion, must be prepared with three things: a clear statement of the objective of the study that is presented, an introduction of the scientific background that highlights the findings that led to the working hypothesis and the presented results must be described in a manner that they are understandable to readers of different disciplines.

To ensure her writing is up-to-date in an era where science rapidly advances daily, Dr. Perego thinks it is important to read the scientific literature related to the fields of interest and pay attention to the new findings. “The results coming from the laboratory have to be continuously challenged with the novel scientific evidence,” she states.

For Dr. Perego, what makes academic writing fascinating is its ability to focus more on the obtained results and to compare them to the available literature, which allows novel results to be challenged with known knowledge and able to improve our understanding of processes.

In terms of disclosing conflict of interest, Dr. Perego believes it is important to do so, as such interests should not influence a research once they are declared.

(By Christopher Hau, Brad Li)

Javier Pozas

Javier Pozas is a medical oncology trainee at Ramón y Cajal University Hospital in Madrid, Spain. He obtained his MBBS from Complutense University of Madrid while complementing his training with internships at APHP (Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris) in Paris, France, and at Peking Union Medical College Hospital, in Beijing, China. He is a member of the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM) and the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO). He has special interest in thoracic, urinary, endocrine tumors and melanoma. He is currently a PhD student focusing his research on the genomic intricacies of neuroendocrine tumors with carcinoid syndrome. You may find more about Dr. Pozas’ work in his ResearchGate page. You may also connect with him through his Twitter @Javi_poz and his LinkedIn page.

Despite the time-consuming nature of academic writing, Dr. Pozas believes academic writing is imperative in cancer centers and university hospitals to ensure responsible research. “Since most of the funding comes from competitive public grants, we have the obligation to communicate and share our findings with the international community to collectively push science forward, always with the ultimate goal of helping our patients,” he says.

To ensure his writing is up-to-date and able to provide new insights to the field of research, Dr. Pozas states, “First, you must formulate a relevant question and elaborate a hypothesis that is meaningful and potentially useful for patients. Second, you should conduct a thorough bibliographic research to understand the ‘state-of-the-art’ of the topic of interest and to recognize important papers in the field that can be of utility to your project.” He thinks that this way scientists can shape one’s research to offer new insights. Dr. Pozas also says that establishing international collaborative groups and conducting multi-centric projects is key to reach more ambitious scientific goals.

As a firm believer that every research must be strictly unbiased, Dr. Pozas considers that disclosing COIs should be made mandatory in any paper that aims to be published, as it allows transparency on potential ties to entities that may influence the outcome of the research.

(By Christopher Hau, Brad Li)

Satoshi Watanabe

Dr. Sataoshi Watanabe is an Associate Professor at the Department of Respiratory Medicine and Infectious Diseases in Niigata University Medical and Dental Hospital since 2021, where he began working from 2008 and worked as Assistant Professor in the Department from 2015. In addition, he is an Assistant Professor at the Bioscience Medical Research Center and Vice Director at the Oncology Center, both in Niigata University Medical and Dental Hospital, since 2011 and 2018 respectively. He began his education at the School of Medicine in Niigata University from 1992 to 1998. He then had two rotating internships in the Niigata University Medical and Dental Hospital and the Department of Medicine at Takeda General Hospital, in 1998 and 1999 respectively. He then became a resident in the Department of Medicine at Shonai Hospital in 2000. He would study at the Graduate School in Niigata University from 2001 to 2004. Afterwards, he worked at Nagaoka Red Cross Hospital in 2004 and became a Research Fellow at the Center for surgery research in the Division of Surgery at Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, the United States in 2005.

For Dr. Watanabe, academic writing is important for him as he believes that advanced stage lung cancer is still a disease with poor prognosis, and publication of his findings from research and daily clinical practice is crucial.

To ensure his writing is up-to-date and can provide new insights to the field of research, Dr. Watanabe thinks it is important to read new papers as much as you have time and to attend conferences to learn about new research. Furthermore, he states that it is very important to discuss your new research ideas with your colleagues who are doing research on your field of research, in his case, lung cancer.

Despite the lengthy and strenuous nature of academic writing, Dr. Watanabe reveals that his main goal of improving the treatment outcome of advanced stage lung cancer with poor prognosis as much as possible motivates him to do so. “A lot of people are involved in research, and it is a process in which we all work together to create something. I like this process very much,” he says.

Regarding the disclosure of Conflict of Interest (COI) among authors, Dr. Watanabe comments that COI must be clarified in order to properly interpret research results. “I think we will be somewhat affected by COI,” he notes.

(By Christopher Hau, Brad Li)

Mariano Provencio

Professor Mariano Provencio graduated in Medicine and Surgery from the University Alcalá de Madrid and gained his doctorate cum laude from the same university in 1997. In 2011, he was appointed Head of the Medical Oncology Department in Puerta de Hierro University Hospital Majadahonda, Madrid, and became the Director of the Puerta de Hierro Research Institute. He is currently Full Professor in the Autonomous University of Madrid, as well as Adjunct Professor of Medicine of The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health since 2019. Since 2014, Professor Provencio has been President of the Spanish Lung Cancer Group. He is the author of more 350 peer-reviewed papers and several books chapters. His publications have more than 22,000 citations (h-index of 62). You may connect him through his Twitter @MARIANOPROVENCI.

For Prof. Provencio, academic writing plays a crucial role in science. As such, he states that independent research should be better supported.

To ensure his writing is up-to-date and can give new insights to the field of research in an era where science advances day by day, Prof. Provencio remarks that a lot of effort and time must be devoted to keep up to date with all the advances, which leads to new doubts and ideas to be developed later.

Despite the heavy burden of being a scientist, Prof. Provencio finds writing an article helps him think more about others and learn more while writing it, just as lectures are a source of new knowledge. However, he cautions that articles should be thought about from the beginning of the research.

Furthermore, Prof. Provencio thinks it is important for authors to disclose Conflict of Interest (COI). Nevertheless, they are being reported as a simple addition. Instead, he suggests that perhaps it would be more important to know the real role of each researcher in the elaboration of the articles.

(By Christopher Hau, Brad Li)

Tadaaki Yamada

Dr. Tadaaki Yamada is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pulmonary Medicine at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Japan. He obtained his medical and doctoral degrees from Kawasaki Medical School in 1999 and Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine in 2007, respectively. From 2013 to 2015, he studied the molecular biology for lung cancer and mesothelioma in the Ohio State University as a visiting scholar (supervised by Prof. David P. Carbone). His research interest is to elucidate the adaptive response of molecular targeted therapy in lung cancer and mesothelioma, especially to drug resistance to targeted drugs for lung cancer harboring with driver oncogenes.

Dr. Yamada thinks that the most commonly encountered difficulties in academic writing is that researchers may not always find possible to come up with original ideas on a daily basis. He adds, “In the process of generating interesting and up-to-date findings, we sometimes find ourselves competing with other researchers on research topics.” To solve this, he believes that we need to have a slightly different perspective from other researchers and the ability to gain deeply insight into things.

To ensure his writing writing is up-to-date and can give new insights to the field of research, Dr. Yamada believes it is important to always be aware of the latest research trends and how to reflect research findings in clinical practice based on the current situation. “As a clinical researcher, I am always aware of this,” he says.

In terms of authors disclosing Conflict of Interest (COI), Dr. Yamada inserts that it is important to avoid COI situations that could unduly influence and create significant risks to the researcher's responsibility to ensure scientific objectivity and to protect the interests of patients and subjects.

(By Christopher Hau, Brad Li)

Jae Cheol Lee

Dr. Jae Cheol Lee, MD, PhD is a professor at department of oncology in Asan Medical Center, College of Medicine, University of Ulsan, Seoul, Korea. His research is focusing on the therapeutic resistance and overcoming strategies in lung cancer including targeted therapy and immunotherapy. He first showed that the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is one of the resistant mechanisms to EGFR-TKI in non-small cell lung cancer. He also elucidated the role of AXL in EMT-related resistance to EGFR-TKI. Currently, he is working on the AXL-mediated lung fibrosis and immune-modulation. The co-work with some start-up companies to develop a novel AXL inhibitor is another one of his interests.

For Dr. Lee, a good academic paper should give new insights on unmet needs in medical science or inspiration to pursue further research. “It would be also great if the paper can provide novel findings on basic science or clear evidence to change clinical practice,” he notes.

Dr. Lee believes authors should first try to catch up unmet needs through reading many up-to-date papers on his interests or mulling his clinical & experimental experiences over. “It also helps to learn how to design and perform a good study,” he adds. Furthermore, Dr. Lee points out that the cooperation with experts in other fields become very important nowadays because the research often requires very specific knowledge or skill or involvement of many researchers. Thus, the open attitude and communication are also needed.

What makes academic writing fascinating, Dr. Lee says that it is a good opportunity to review the past results and the current status on related issues. Then, author may realize what his/her study can add up in that field.

When asked about whether following reporting guidelines, such as STROBE and TREND, during the preparation of manuscripts, he replies, “Of course, it’s important to follow these guidelines because these make the academic paper more objective, reliable and sound.”

(By Christopher Hau, Brad Li)

Toshiyuki Sumi

Dr. Toshiyuki Sumi is a chief physician at the Department of Respiratory Medicine, Hakodate Goryoukaku Hospital, Japan since 2018. He studied medical science at the Sapporo Medical University from 2003 to 2009. Thereafter, he completed two rotating internships at Muroran General Hospital and Sapporo Medical University Hospital in 2009 and 2010, respectively. After working at a fundamental hospital in Hokkaido, he studied at the Graduate School in Sapporo Medical University from 2015 to 2018. More details of Dr. Sumi’s work can be found in his ResearchGate page.

For Dr. Sumi, what makes a good academic paper is that it must contain novel information that is useful to clinical medicine and lung cancer patients. Furthermore, he believes that an author must possess several key skill sets, which include thinking about clinical questions and seeking answers to them while examining and treating lung cancer patients daily.

As an author, Dr. Sumi believes that it is important to adhere to guidelines such as CARE during the process of writing case reports. “This is important as the guidelines enhance the accuracy, transparency, and usefulness of the article,” he adds.

Despite the heavy burden of being a scientist/doctor, Dr. Sumi encourages his peers to allocate time by setting aside a short amount of time every day to do academic writing. “They must ensure that they continue to write every day,” he says, “For example, they can practice the following morning routine: wake up in the morning, drink coffee, write a paper, walk the dog, and have breakfast.”

(By Christopher Hau, Brad Li)

Andreas Domen

Andreas Domen is a medical oncology trainee at the Oncology department of the Antwerp University Hospital, and he is currently pursuing his PhD on oncogene and therapy-induced cellular senescence in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) at the Center for Oncological Research (CORE) of the University of Antwerp. His research interests include translational approaches to investigate therapy resistance in order to develop novel treatment strategies and enhance prognosis for NSCLC and by extension cancer patients in general. You may find more about Dr. Domen’s work in his ResearchGate and Google Scholar pages.

TLCR: What are the essential elements of a good academic paper?

Dr. Domen: In my opinion, essential elements of a good academic paper are a relevant research question or hypothesis addressing a clinically relevant problem in cancer patients, and should be substantiated with state-of-the-art data and pioneering articles. A good academic paper should also provide new insights into a known problem in the field of interest or address an emerging area of research, and should provide clear conclusions and future perspectives on the topic for readers. Finally, regarding preclinical and translational research investigating novel anticancer therapies, it is important to address the potential impact and take into account the cost effectiveness compared to standard of care therapies.

TLCR: Science advances rapidly day by day. How do you ensure your writing is up-to-date and can give new insights to the field of research?

Dr. Domen: Staying up to date with science advances is time-consuming. Next to reading relevant papers and visiting congresses of your area of interest, listening to podcasts such as The Oncology Journal Club is easy and accessible way to stay up to date as they discuss and summarize the latest pioneering cancer articles on a regular basis. Also, post-ESMO and/or post-ASCO meetings keep you up to date with latest changes in standard of care regimens for different cancer types.

TLCR: Why do you choose to publish in Translational Lung Cancer Research (TLCR)?

Dr. Domen: I choose to publish in TLCR since my research neatly fits the scope of TLCR and TLCR is a respected translational cancer journal.

TLCR: Data sharing is prevalent in scientific writing in recent years. Do you think it is crucial for authors to share their research data? And why?

Dr. Domen: Data sharing is crucial to enable large-scale analyses and reproducibility. As such, data sharing can accelerate confirmation of preliminary findings in small patient cohorts.

(By Christopher Hau, Brad Li)

Young-Chul Kim

Dr. Young-Chul Kim, MD, PhD, has worked in Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital and Chonnam National University Medical School in Hwasun, Jeonnam, South Korea since 1995. Additionally, he worked in Lung Cancer Research Laboratory of Duke University Medical Center under the auspices of Dr. Gerold Bepler from 1997 to 1999. He had also been the Director of Lung Cancer Registration Committee and Chief Executive Officer of Korean Association for Lung Cancer from 2019 to 2020 and 2021 to 2022, respectively. Dr. Kim’s recent research interests are focused on Lung Cancer Clinical Research, where he conducted many investigator-initiated trials which were published in ‘Cancer Research and Treatment’, ‘Clinical Lung Cancer’ as well as ‘Translational Lung Cancer Research’. He also participated as an author of several global sponsor-initiated trials such as Pacific trial (Durvalumab consolidation therapy in stage III NSCLC) and Tepotinib trial in NSCLC with MET exon 14 skipping mutations. He is currently conducting a Research Project funded by National Cancer Center Korea for the detection of a biomarker for lung cancer screening and early detection. You may find more about Dr. Kim’s work in his faculty page.

Dr. Kim first says that the reason we need academic writing is that its function of archive of knowledge, dissemination of new findings, inventions, and promotion of human health and wellbeing. He states, “Research papers conducted in a scientific and reproducible way are a prerequisite for scientific progress that promotes human health.”

For Dr. Kim, a good paper should start from a good question. A good question arises from clinical needs to get better treatment, diagnosis or prevention of diseases. “Once a question has been decided, thorough planning of research to obtain an answer to the question should be followed,” he adds, “Research needs to be conducted scientifically and ethically in accordance with the GCP guidelines.” Additionally, he points out that the interpretation of the results and preparation of the paper should better follow appropriate guidelines such as STROBE, CONSORT, PRISMA or STARD according to the nature of the research.

As an investigator of many sponsor and investigator initiated clinical trials, Dr. Kim follows the CONSORT guidelines when reporting clinical trial research results, since it offers a standard way to describe the results completely and transparently.

When asked about what makes academic writing fascinating, Dr. Kim replies, “As a medical doctor and also as a professor of a medical school, I am proud of my contribution to building scientific knowledge in lung cancer research.”

(By Christopher Hau, Brad Li)

Pascal Hannequin

Dr. Pascal Hannequin, MD, PhD began his medical career as a physician at the Reims Cancer Center, France, where he worked from 1980 to 1989. He later transferred to the Annecy Center of Nuclear Medicine, France, where he again worked as a physician from 1990 to 2021 and still works there today. Nowadays, his research area consists of thyroid and lung oncology, nuclear cardiology, image processing and medical statistics. His current project focuses on following medical interest of radiomics and trying to simplify its routine use. In a general way, to continue research on the statistical analysis of medical images.

When asked about the most commonly encountered difficulties in academic writing, Dr. Hannequin replies, “An important point is to identify the aim of the study and to focus on.” He also points out that asking the opinion of the clinicians before starting a study is essential as well as collecting the most suitable references, with different results and conclusions. Additionally, he singles out validation of results as a major key and requires suitable techniques such as training/testing or bootstrap.

Dr. Hannequin reminds that authors should stay motivated during the process of the academic writing in spite of spending a lot of time and effort. “They must also keep in mind that calculations and results must stay rigorous,” he states, “Indeed, the data are supposed to be shared with clinicians and other scientists.”

For Dr. Hannequin, the most fascinating thing about academic writing is to confirm known results or to find new ones and to share them with the scientific community.

During the process of academic writing, Dr. Hannequin reveals that he and his colleagues were surprised by their results which differ from some already published papers. “That prompted us to look for explanations and to mention these differences in the discussion,” he adds.

(By Christopher Hau, Brad Li)

Rafael Parra-Medina

Rafael Parra-Medina, MD, PhD, is a chief of pathology laboratory of National Cancer Institute (INC) of Colombia and Associate Professor at Fundación Universitaria de Ciencias de la Salud (FUCS), Bogotá, Colombia. His current research focuses of biomarkers with clinical impact (diagnosis, treatment, prognosis) in different tumors and he continues the research that he developed in his doctoral project on the role of ncRNAs and mRNAs in tumor cells and the tumor microenvironment. In addition, Dr. Parra-Medina is focused on artificial intelligence with molecular and histopathological data. You may connect with Dr. Parra-Medina through Twitter @rafa_p10, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Dr. Parra-Medina believes that academic writing is one of the most important areas of science to present results to the scientific community.

To select the appropriate evidence for synthesis and analysis, Dr. Parra-Medina recommends the following:

  • Identify the best journals in the specific areas. 
  • Design search strategies to find the most articles.
  • Identify the research goals to select the appropriate evidence.
  • In the systematic reviews, more than one author should review the whole information.
  • Use reporting guidelines (e.g. STROBE, CONSORT, PRISMA, STARD and CARE) to assess evidence.

When asked about the importance of following reporting guidelines, Dr. Parra-Medina points that these guidelines are important during manuscript preparation because authors have the most important items to write manuscripts with high-quality evidence. “Additionally, manuscripts applying these guidelines may be more trustworthy to readers,” he says.

In addition, Dr. Parra-Medina agrees that the burden of being a scientist/doctor is heavy. “In the morning, I work as a pathologist and in the afternoon, my focus is mainly on research which includes discussion of results and writing of articles,” he reveals.

(By Christopher Hau, Brad Li)

Yoshinobu Ichiki

Dr. Yoshinobu Ichiki, MD, PhD, currently serves at Department of General Thoracic Surgery, Saitama Medical University International Medical Center, Saitama, Japan. His research areas include surgery, lung cancer and cancer immunology. He is recently working on the project of “Analysis of the Influence of Systematic Lymph Node Dissection on Cancer Immune Response in Lung Cancer Surgery”. Learn more about Dr. Ichiki from Research Map.

On the importance of academic writing, Dr. Ichiki mentions that medical treatment is progressing day by day, and treatment results for many diseases are also improving. Basic research has led to the development of new drugs, and clinical research has led to optimal treatment methods. As a respiratory surgeon, he treats respiratory diseases and works on the therapeutic effects. He thinks his work should not be stopped only with the sensory experience. He would like to analyze the therapeutic effects scientifically and obtain hints that would lead to next-generation treatments. He would like to carefully examine all cases, both successful and unsuccessful cases, and connect them to the next step. In this sense, he thinks academic writing is necessary.

Dr. Ichiki has been doing cancer immunology research for a long period. Being asked of some difficulties encountered, he shares with us the following example. He and his team tried to establish lung cancer cell lines by in vitro culture of lung cancer cells obtained from all lung cancer surgically resected cases. However, the success rate of lung cancer cell line establishment was only 15/570 cases (2.6%). “If that can be established, reproducible experiments would become possible, but in fact 97.4% did not go well from our past experience. Most of the time, we did not get the desirable results, but we would continue with the research as we believe a wonderful next-generation treatment is waiting ahead,” says he. With such an experience, motivation is crucial for him and his team to move on. He continues to do research and presents with academic writing because he would like to validate his clinical experience and connect it to better next-generation treatments. He loves thinking about how to improve the treatments by adding scientific verification to the current clinical experience and that is definitely what supports him to keep on.

In conducting research nowadays, disclosure of Conflict of Interest (COI) becomes more and more prominent. Dr. Ichiki gives example that when he participates in corporate-sponsored research meetings, he often pays attention to the so-called “lip-service” to see which speakers are receiving the “lecture fees” and present in flavor to the organizers. The audience may overestimate the effectiveness of the treatment and it is often the case that the recommended treatment would be applied, just as the organizer has intended. Dr. Ichiki thinks COI disclosure is important because scenarios like this happen in reality. In handling or dealing with presentations involving COI, he tries to interpret the information by taking the COI factor into account and draws a careful conclusion.

(by Masaki Lo, Brad Li)

Kenji Nakahama

Dr. Kenji Nakahama graduated from Osaka City University School of Medicine, Japan. With practical experience accumulated from Osaka City General Hospital, National Hospital Organization Kinki-Chuo Chest Medical Center, Izumiotsu Municipal Hospital, and Ishikiri Seiki Hospital, he has become a member of the Department of Respiratory Medicine, Osaka Metropolitan University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan, since 2019. In his career, he has been predominantly engaged in lung cancer medical practice and research at Osaka Metropolitan University. Currently, he is focusing on clinical research using real world data to determine optimal treatment strategies in immunotherapy for patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

Speaking of academic writing, Dr. Nakahama says while large scale randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are very useful in clinical medicine, they alone cannot encompass all the scenarios from daily clinical practices. He thinks it is very important to consider with the perspectives from others and learn from the experiences of different individual clinicians in order to derive the optimal medical care for each patient. The findings of clinicians can be shared globally through academic writing and publications. This would initiate new discussions and deepen the insights into the area.

As an academic writer, Dr. Nakahama believes the most important quality is to be aware of clinical questions. And in order to do this, it is essential to confront with more cases from daily clinical practice and give a thought to the encountered clinical questions. He points out that one's perspective is limited and it is better to have daily discussions with as many people as possible and to grasp the opportunities to reach out to information from a vast range of fields. He finds it is interesting that the results of his clinical research can make a difference to the daily practice, and this is what motivates him to continue on the research road.

Dr. Nakahama is in favor of data sharing in scientific writing. He believes that can ensure the reliability of the paper. “It is desirable to present detailed information about the data utilized in the paper and the analysis conducted, if requested, while giving utmost importance to the personal information of the patients,” says he.

(by Masaki Lo, Brad Li)

D. Ross Camidge

Dr. D. Ross Camidge, MD, PhD, is the Director of Thoracic Oncology at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, US, where he holds the Joyce Zeff Chair in Lung Cancer Research. His research has led to multiple discoveries relating to the natural history and therapy of lung cancer with a particular focus on targeted therapies and, most recently, antibody drug conjugates.

Academic writing, to Dr. Camidge, is an opportunity for objective opinions to be put in the public domain. This is particularly important as it allows both the good and bad interpretations of research to be presented and new ideas to emerge. If there is no academic writing, the alternative would presumably be purely promotional writing which he thinks there is value but it will tend to present only the favorable parts.

In presenting a research work or an academic writing, Dr. Camidge thinks there are inevitably some grey areas which would fall down to the realm of ‘beliefs’ before definitive evidence emerges. It is fine to have more than one opinion in the field but during that stage, he emphasizes, the key thing is to be clear if those beliefs might be, knowingly or unknowingly, influenced by an agency (such as a drug company) being involved whereby the slant of the data has monetary implications. He further points out while that cannot be avoided, for the weight of an involved academic’s opinion to be considered, the financial disclosures (especially share/company ownership) are important. As an additional control, the value of level-setting editorials and discussants are also very important.

Speaking of the pre-requisite for being an academic writer, Dr. Camidge raises certain key qualities: brevity, originality, attention-to-details and meeting the deadlines.

On the issue of applying institutional review board (IRB) approval for an original research, Dr. Camidge believes that it is essential for any prospective interventional studies involving patients to do so. Patients’ consents are necessary and the questions being asked of them in the study should be appropriate, with sufficient safety measures. If no patients or patient samples are involved, then usually that is not an issue. Animal experiments have its own oversight procedures. Whether IRB approval is needed for a retrospective patient chart review varies depending on the details. He further explains, “Identifiable features are a big thing that an IRB would look at; or a study that the participants might object to if they knew (for instance, germline testing); or using their archived samples to study a commercial question with no therapeutic intent. Sometimes blanket patient consents exist in institutions to cover the parameters of what might be done. Sometimes a call to the IRB is still needed.”

(by Masaki Lo, Brad Li)

Chittibabu Guda

Dr. Guda is a tenured Professor and Assistant Dean for Research Development at the College of Medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, USA. He received interdisciplinary training in molecular biology, computer science and computational biology, with over 25 years of experience in research, teaching and mentoring, and academic administration. His current research focuses are on the development of novel bioinformatics tools for predicting fusion genes, the application of deep learning tools, and the integrative analysis of multi-omics data from cancer tumor samples. His research has been continuously supported by funding from NIH, NSF, and DoD since 2008. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed research articles on topics related to computational biology, systems biology, cancer genomics and precision medicine. Dr. Guda has also been heavily involved in graduate training; he has mentored over 60 members including 15 PhD students and 11 postdocs. He also serves on the grant review panels and external advisory boards of several NIH program grants. Learn more about Dr. Guda from Guda Laboratory.

Speaking of academic writing, Dr. Guda thinks it is very important to convey the scientific findings to laymen or even to the scientists in an interesting and appealing manner. While detailed results can be accessed from the journal articles, the salient findings and the perspectives can be conveyed to broader audience through academic writing. In the preparation of a manuscript, he recommends using a structured format because research articles usually have a page limit or word limit and maintaining proper structure in the text helps keep the sub-sections brief and relevant.  He further explains, “In simple terms, the paper should convey an interesting story to the readers yet maintaining the structure and scientific rigor. The most important components for building a good story include a good rationale for the question(s) being addressed; novelty of the current work; and details of the approach being used to overcome the current limitations. The results and discussion sections are relatively straightforward but care should be taken to effectively present the results that are most relevant to the questions being addressed in the study. Validation of results is another important component that cannot be overlooked.”

On the topic of Conflict of Interest (COI) disclosure, Dr. Guda believes that it is important for authors to properly disclose it as this can help avoid misuse of resources in science, especially the tax dollar supporting the research programs. And finally, he points out, as a researcher, time management and prioritization of tasks should be a crucial part of the daily routine for effective time utilization. He adds, “Organizing your day for different tasks and executing accordingly with some discipline will help stay on the top of things.”

(by Masaki Lo, Brad Li)

Arianna Palladini and Francesco Gelsomino

Arianna Palladini

Dr. Arianna Palladini, from the University of Pavia, Italy, has been working at the Department of Molecular Medicine since May 2022 and she oversees the Laboratory of Tumour Immunology and Cancer Vaccines. Since 2003, she has worked in the field of solid tumour models and recently has started a profitable collaboration with the Medical Oncology Division, of the IRCCS Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Bologna, Italy, and of the IRCCSS, Matteo Hospital of Pavia, Italy, to study NSCLC progression and response to therapy. The mission of her laboratory is to identify new drivers of progression or molecules responsible of therapeutic resistance for the development of vaccines against lung cancer. The research is based on a multidisciplinary approach including: the study of distinct clinical cases, the molecular characterization of tumour and its microenvironment, the structural and functional analysis of candidate antigens, and in silico trials testing. Learn more about Dr. Palladini from here or ResearchGate. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Francesco Gelsomino

Francesco Gelsomino is currently a medical oncologist at IRCCS Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Bologna, Bologna, Italy. He received his board in Oncology in 2011 after completing his training in different Italian Referral Oncology Centers, including National Cancer Institute in Milan and University Hospital of Parma. His clinical research has been focused on breast and thoracic tumours. In recent five years, he has focused on clinical management of patients with thoracic cancers and he has been involved in several clinical trials (Phase I-III). He is a staff member of the Phase 1 Unit within the Medical Oncology Unit (with Dr. Andrea Ardizzoni as the Chief Professor). The topics of his clinical and translational researches are the identification of molecular mechanisms of resistance to immune checkpoint inhibitors and to tyrosine kinase inhibitors in oncogene-addicted lung cancers. He is the Primary Investigator and Co-primary Investigator in two research projects funded by Italian Health Ministry and Regional Emilia-Romagna, respectively. Connect with Dr. Gelsomino on LinkedIn.

During the preparation of a paper, Dr. Palladini and Dr. Gelsomino think one has to be clear of the clinical setting. Author has to consider the relevance of the study for the advancement in the treatment of patients, review the published literature and the limitations of the used techniques. In addition, all data should be reported and discussed in the manuscript, including the negative ones. They point out that it is important to discuss the raw data with co-authors and colleagues and to share the manuscript with colleagues from the laboratories or other relevant centers, in order to ensure the writing is critical.

Speaking of reporting guidelines such as STROBE, CONSORT and PRISMA, Dr. Palladini and Dr. Gelsomino think it is important to be rigorous and honest with the authors ourselves.  Guidelines are a support to do a second check of the work.

(by Masaki Lo, Brad Li)

Yusuke Okuma

Dr. Yusuke Okuma, MD, PhD, is a thoracic oncologist at the Department of Thoracic Oncology, National Cancer Center Hospital, Tokyo, Japan. She is also serving at the Section of Liaison for Cancer Genomic Medicine Hospitals, Center for Cancer Genomic and Advanced Therapeutics (C-CAT), National Cancer Center, Tokyo, Japan. Throughout her career, providing personalized medicine and immunotherapy to patients is her utmost priority. To achieve that, she has come to realize that treatment optimization by way of translational research to clinical trials is a very important aspect that she would like to dedicate to. To overcome challenges, she thinks it is necessary to take a global approach that ensures collaboration with different countries to speed up the scientific development for treating cancer patients. She has researched on less invasive approaches to investigate biomarkers for immune checkpoint inhibitors such as the soluble form of PD-L1 and gut microbiome. She has been awarded as the Best of AACR journals for the year 2001-2022. She is currently conducting a few clinical trials for thoracic malignances.

In preparing an academic paper, Dr. Okuma thinks authors have to bear in mind the audience of the manuscript. Instead of only writing what the authors would like to reveal, it is necessary to consider from the view of the readers. To achieve that, the authors should have a consistent and sophisticated message, to make it as short as possible, and to include it in the title. And to ensure the writing is critical, it is beneficial to have both the specialists of the field and the non-specialists to review on the manuscript. Dr. Okuma further discusses the aspect of following reporting guidelines. She thinks in general, a common standard for reports would help authors to include important items comprehensively. And that can also help readers to better evaluate the paper.

Dr. Okuma shares more on the process of designing a research, “First of all, we need to grasp the research background of the topic of interest for evaluation, to know well a comprehensive knowledge of the specified theme and consider how the results of the research would bring new knowledge to the field and how the results would fill the current gaps.” She points out that, in clinical research, the results would sometimes change the clinical practice or decisions of oncologists or patients, and that is one of the encouragements.

(by Masaki Lo, Brad Li)