Meet the Editor: Nico Wagner

Have you ever wondered about the scientists behind JEI's editorial and review process? We recently spoke with senior editor and director of outreach Nico Wagner to learn more about his experiences with JEI, as well as his own scientific research at Harvard University.

Nico is a 4th year PhD student in Harvard University's Molecules, Cells, and Organisms Graduate Program.

What do you study for your thesis research?
I’m working on determining the structure-function relationship of a stretch of RNA involved in translational stop codon readthrough of a human gene.

How long have you worked with JEI?
I have worked with JEI for 3 years as an editor and director of outreach.

What was your motivation to start working with JEI?
I was involved with a lot of outreach as an undergraduate and wanted to continue volunteering as a graduate student. JEI outreach seemed like the perfect place to do so.

What was the most memorable paper you have edited, and why?
A paper titled "Computer Simulations of Cheetah Roaming, and the Effects of Safety Corridors on Cheetah-Human Conflict and Genetic Diversity" (it is currently in copy editing; not published yet) The authors of this paper took a problem, namely cheetah conservation, and created a very realistic model to look at potential solutions to better preserve cheetah populations. I found this paper to be memorable since it bridged science with ideas that could be implemented into policy making decisions.

What is your favorite part about working with JEI?
I enjoy reading the manuscripts as they come in to see what the students are working on. Even as a PhD student, there’s always something new to learn.

What is the most challenging aspect of working with JEI as an editor?
There’s a fine balance between providing constructive criticism to the authors and overwhelming them with the number of edits our most dedicated reviewers request. It’s up to the editors to digest the reviewer feedback and clearly communicate it to the students such that they learn why certain things should be changed, all without overwhelming them.

What advice would you have for JEI student authors when writing their manuscripts?
Don’t give up! After you submit your manuscript and it has gone through peer review, you will receive a list of ideas to make it better. While the number of edits may seem overwhelming, don’t give up here. You’re almost done as most of the work goes into your initial submission. Power through the edits, and it’ll pay off!

What’s one interesting (or strange!) fact about you?
I have a smurf collection of over 150 individual figurines and accessories.