Molecular Interventions (2001–2011): An Experiment Completed

As many of you know, this will be the final issue of MI. When first launched by ASPET, in April, 2001, Sue P. Duckles, the Founding Chair of the Editorial Advisory Board, formulated the mission statement for MI. “The heart of the journal would consist of pithy, cutting-edge scientific reviews by the most outstanding leaders in the field….Our goal is no less than to define the discipline of pharmacology by exploring its many manifestations” (1). MI was charged “to reflect the entire range of pharmacological approaches, from reductionist genetic approaches to an integrated understanding of the impact of molecules on the whole organism.” Pretty lofty goals that, as might be expected with our Society, stimulated considerable discussion about the discipline of pharmacology.

ASPET is populated by experimentalists, and MI provided the Society with an opportunity not only to define ourselves, but also to reach out to scientists in other fields, to postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, to teachers, and even to the lay public. From the very beginning, the publication had articles and figures that appealed to both the uninitiated and the aficionado. MI sought to bring the rigor of ASPET science to its short review articles, with an eye, starting with the inaugural issue, on credibility among the scientific community.

ASPET first hired Harry Smith as the MI Editor, who reduced MI’s charge to a tangible concept. A sense of fun and adventure essential to any good experiment was also important. The inaugural editorial board wanted to have cartoons and other departments, including Reflections, CrossTalk, Speaking of Pharmacology, and Beyond the Bench. With time, and with the addition of Associate Editor John Nelson, came MI’s Viewpoints, in which John brought extremely prominent authors to the pages of MI. John also made his mark by naming additional departments that we more recently brought to MI, including Nascent Transcripts and Therapeutic Windows, not to mention MI’s contribution to ASPET’s centennial celebration, in 2008, which John named Significant Deciles.

MI debuted at a very exciting time in science and in publishing. The dotcom bubble had just burst, but there was no doubt that the Internet would remain in our present and would color our future. All the major science publishers of the time were looking to go online (ASPET was clearly at the fore of this front). The full sequence of the human genome was not yet published, but “genomics” was everywhere in biomedical science, and nowhere did the term hold more substance and promise than in pharmacology. When people whether part of the science community or not wanted to know what the fuss was all about, it was “pharmacogenomics” that supplied the answer.

Of course, important times entail change, with all its attendant insecurity. In MI’s inaugural year, 9/11 and the economic fallout touched everyone, and when financial compromises became inevitable for ASPET, the Society’s leadership made the brave decision of sticking with MI, despite the very significant costs of its publication. As a consequence, we can proudly look back on sixty-five issues and over 4000 pages that cover topics across the biomedical spectrum and that will continue to be available to the public.

Thanks to the huge effort of the Editorial Advisory Board, the Board of Publications Trustees, ASPET leadership and staff, and our authors (whom we name in this issue), we were able to pursue the goal of exploration that we started with. That we caught readers’ attention is reflected, to some degree, in the remarkable impact factors we obtained, but even more so in the very spirited support we have enjoyed over the years from the enormously talented and dedicated people that are ASPET. I know I speak for myself as well as Harry and John in extending our sincerest thanks to all.


John S. Lazo, PhD, is the Associate Dean for Basic Research and the Harrison Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology and Chemistry at the University of Virginia. After graduating with a bachelor degree in Chemistry from the Johns Hopkins University, he completed his PhD in Pharmacology with Raymond Ruddon at the University of Michigan. He joined Alan Sartorelli’s laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow and remained on the faculty in the Department of Pharmacology at Yale University until 1987, when he became Chairman of Pharmacology at the University of Pittsburgh. His laboratory is currently interested in the biological role of protein phosphatases and in the mechanism of action of novel agents. John has been Chairman of the Editorial Advisory Board for Molecular Interventions for the past six years. E-mail JSL8F{at}

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