Fred Guengerich is a professor and Tadashi Inagami Chair in biochemistry in the School of Medicine Basic Sciences. During his 47 years as a professor at Vanderbilt, he has published over 700 papers and received over one hundred thousand citations. He is the former director of the Vanderbilt Center in Molecular Toxicology and the former interim chair of the biochemistry department. Outside of Vanderbilt, Guengerich is heavily involved in the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and he served as an associate editor and deputy editor-in-chief of their premiere journal, the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC). He served as the interim editor in chief on two separate occasions and has been involved with JBC since 1975. Guengerich stepped down from his role with JBC in December after over 35 years with the journal.
In this interview with Department of Biochemistry chair David Cortez, Guengerich discusses his time with ASBMB and his multiple roles with JBC over the years. He emphasizes the importance of being an active part of the scientific community and his own experience playing a part in advocating for the system of peer reviewed science. He elaborates on his feelings about the peer review process, open access journals, and preprinted papers. His straightforward advice on how to write better papers — “you can’t write well if you don’t read well, so read a lot of papers” – gives insight to how he became one of the world’s most highly cited researchers in biochemistry.
Listen to the full audio recording of this interview: