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Portrait Scott R. Johnstone

Scott R. Johnstone
Assistant Professor, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC & Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science



1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Scott Johnstone, originally from Glasgow Scotland, I am now an Assistant Professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech Carilion in Roanoke Virginia. I am passionate about science communication and take all opportunities to engage with as many groups as possible. I regularly discuss our science with the public and encourage high school students to engage in science through local programs. Outside of science, I enjoy woodworking and the amazing outdoor life here in Virginia. I coach a youth mountain biking team (Star City Cycling) and really enjoy watching the kids come up through the ranks in our team and compete throughout Virginia.

2. You and your team focus on understanding how healthy blood vessels are altered in disease and defining pathways to therapeutically target vascular disease. How did you become interested in this field?

I have always focused on ways to translate our basic science findings into therapeutically useful targets. In my PhD, I was interested in how cell division is controlled in both health and disease. As a Postdoc, I realized how important cell division is in blood vessel repair after injury. Over the last 15 years, I have specifically investigated how cell division is controlled following damage caused by stent placement or vein graft surgeries. Our research aims to identify new molecules using target-based therapeutic design approaches. At the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, I am surrounded by like-minded investigators, with many spin-out companies arising from their research. Our long-term goal is to improve patients' lives through discoveries made in our lab.

For more details visit The Johnstone Lab.

3. You were on the Board of the Journal of Vascular Research (JVR) as a Junior Associate Editor for a couple of years before your recent promotion to Associate Editor. Can you describe what your role entailed up to now?

I have really enjoyed being a part of the JVR editorial team. Having performed ad-hoc manuscript reviews for years, joining JVR gave me greater insight into what happens during the editorial process. My role involves an initial manuscript review for suitability followed by the invitation of reviewers. I try to find the best fit between the manuscript and reviewers in the field who can provide a constructive and helpful critique. I love the idea that the reviewers work to champion each manuscript and have a vested interest in making sure the research has the greatest impact when it comes time for publication. We have weekly virtual meetings, where we discuss all current submissions and on ensuring efficient turnaround of reviews.

4. What are the benefits and challenges of starting with a junior role before transitioning to an Associate Editor role? Is this something you would recommend to your colleagues given the opportunity?

JVR has been in publication for almost 60 years and is highly regarded in the vascular research fields. The main benefit of this role has been gaining greater insight into the editorial process. Working as an editor has really helped me think about my own manuscripts. There have been a number of challenges over the last few years. However, our constant goal as an editorial team has been to ensure scientific integrity and to provide high-quality cutting-edge research manuscripts to the readership. I would definitely advise all new investigators to become involved with editorial teams in well-established journals.

5. As an Associate Editor what would you like to invest in seeing in the journal? Any particular sub-topic of vascular research, or any particular article type?

Many of the therapeutics that are available in the treatment of vascular disease are non-specific, targeting whole subsets of cells thereby reducing surrounding tissue health. I would like to see more manuscripts that focus on understanding the fundamental nature underlying vascular cell functions, especially those that highlight novel signaling pathways that have the potential for therapeutic and clinical translation.

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