Return to NIEHS | Current Issue
Increase text size Decrease text size

Institute Employees Meet EHP Editor-in-Chief Candidates

By Eddy Ball
October 2007

Martin emphasized objectivity and consistency throughout the interview series.
Martin emphasized objectivity and consistency throughout the interview series. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Maintaining that there should be
Maintaining that there should be "no or very little influence by NIEHS" on the publication, Cunningham proposed a proactive role for the editor-in-chief, inviting impressive presenters at professional meetings to submit papers to the journal. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Emphasizing teamwork and consensus, Tilson described himself as having
Emphasizing teamwork and consensus, Tilson described himself as having "almost too much management experience." He presented a list of four core principles as his vision statement and described the "wall" he envisions between the editor and the Institute. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)


Wiggins shared his ambition to brand EHP as "the world's platform" for environmental science and spoke confidently of raising the journal's impact factor. He promised to be aggressive in defending editorial independence. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

NIEHS kicked off a series of open interviews of three top candidates for the position of Editor-in-Chief of the NIEHS journal Environmental Health Perspectives on September 5 in Rodbell Auditorium. Facilitated by Associate Director William Martin, M.D., selecting official for the position, the series was open to all Institute employees, contractors and the public.

The candidate interviews opened with chemist Mike Cunningham, Ph.D., of NIEHS/NTP. The interviews continued on September 6 with pharmacologist Hugh Tilson, Ph.D., of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and September 13 with chemist Richard Wiggins, Ph.D., also of EPA. Each interview session followed the same format, with a welcome and introduction by Martin, a ten- to fifteen- minute talk by the candidate about his qualifications and reasons for seeking the job and 40 to 50 minutes of questions from the audience.

In their opening comments or in response to questions from the audience, each of the candidates touched on several issues, including the relationship between the journal and the Institute, the editorial balance of the publication, potential conflicts of interest, the role of the editorial board, ideas for non-subsidy revenue streams, and ways to boost the journal's circulation and impact factor.

Cunningham is a 20-year veteran of NIEHS who is a chemist in the Chemistry Group in the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Chemistry. He has also worked in the National Toxicology Program, the NTP Toxicokinetics Faculty, the National Center for Toxicogenomics and the ToxGroup. He has experience as an associate editor of Toxicological Science, an editor of Mutation Research and a member of the Faculty of 1000.

Tilson, a former NIEHS section head, is currently a National Program Director of Human Health Research at EPA. He has served in leadership roles in the Office of Research and Development and as the assistant laboratory director for human health and the director of the neurotoxicology division. He has edited books, served as an associate editor on three journals and held seats on several editorial boards.

Wiggins has served as senior science advisor in the National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory for five years. Prior to joining federal service, he served in several academic posts, most recently as chair of the Department of Anatomy at West Virginia University. A neuroscientist specializing in under-nutrition and brain development, Wiggins was co-creator of the niche journal Metabolic Brain Diseases and served as its editor-in-chief.

In order to ensure a comprehensive and open process for this important position, NIEHS convened a panel of subject matter experts (SME) to review applications received by NIH Human Resources in response the vacancy announcement. The panel included Senior Research Biologist Ken Korach, Ph.D., Laboratory of Respiratory Biology Chief Steve Kleeberger, Ph.D., Medical Corps Officer Matt Longnecker, M.D., ScD., and Office of Director Special Assistant Brenda Weis, Ph.D. The SME panel selected the top four candidates, whose applications Martin reviewed before choosing three to participate in the next phase of interviews.

An interview committee, which included the SME panel as well as EHP Writer/Editor Susan Booker and Director Emeritus Ken Olden, Ph.D., then developed a strategy for in-depth interviews of the candidates in a series of meetings with interested communities within the Institute. These interest groups included the EHP staff, NIEHS public community, the Division of Intramural Research, the Division of Extramural Research and Training, and the National Toxicology Program staff.

Participants were encouraged to submit their comments about the candidates to Martin for his consideration in choosing the candidate to fill the position. The search closed on September 28. Martin will make the final selection in the coming weeks.


Rodbell B was more than adequate as a venue for the series. A core of vocal participants showed up at the meetings, including Toxicologist James Huff, Ph.D., foreground, and EHP Technical Publications Editor Dorothy Ritter.

Brogan and Partners contract employee Joseph Tart, EHP publications director, attended the first two interviews. He was especially interested in how broadly the journal should define its subject areas.
Brogan and Partners contract employee Joseph Tart, EHP publications director, attended the first two interviews. He was especially interested in how broadly the journal should define its subject areas. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

"Obesity and Built..." - previous story Previous story     Next story next story - "Media Training..."
October 2007 Cover Page

Back to top Back to top