Role of Environmental Genetics in Preventive Medicine. An Interview with Daniel W. Nebert

The medical students of Yale University first published The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine (YJBM), Volume 1, No. 1, in October 1928. Since then, YJBM has been the only internationally recognized medical journal edited and published by students.

In its first year of publication, YJBM presented papers on infectious diseases, embryology, nutritional deficiency diseases, community health, trauma, medical history, and cancer. Today, YJBM continues to cover the breadth of medical science, including the publication of proceedings of international symposia and festschrifts honoring notable Yale medical faculty.

Milton C. Winternitz, dean of the Yale School of Medicine from 1920-1935, founded YJBM for the educational and professional betterment of his students. The son of a Czechoslovakian Jewish immigrant doctor, Winternitz was a Baltimore native who obtained his MD degree from Johns Hopkins in 1907.

Winternitz’s educational mission continues — as student members of the Board of Editors participate directly in the peer review process. Every manuscript reviewed at YJBM is analyzed and scrutinized by a faculty-student team. The faculty is recruited from across the University, and other institutions as needed, on a case-by-case basis to provide an opportunity to work with the best available expert in the field of the manuscript under review. Hypotheses, methods, results, and conclusions are reviewed, questioned, and examined for validity and logical soundness. Each student reports the results of this joint review to the Board of Editors, and thus gains experience in the scientific process from peer review, while maturing into a more confident physician-scientist through his or her interaction with distinguished faculty.

YJBM is, and has been, an internationally distributed journal with a long history of landmark articles. Our contributors also feature a notable list of philosophers, statesmen, scientists, and physicians, including Ernst Cassirer, Harvey Cushing, René Dubos, Edward Kennedy, Donald Seldin, and Jack Strominger. Our Editorial Board consists of students and faculty members from the Yale School of Medicine and the Yale University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

YJBM has been divided into a number of sections over time — so as to cover a wide range of functions and topics — which include original articles, medical reviews, scientific reviews, book and software reviews, case reports, and a section for focus on Yale medicine. Yale M.D. thesis abstracts continue to be published annually, documenting student research in the medical literature. Each year, an average of 15 students joins the Board of Editors. A permanent board of medical faculty joins the students in an advisory capacity. The Board meets monthly throughout the year to consider manuscript reviews and other matters of academic publishing.

YJBM has been indexed at the National Library of Medicine (NLM) since 1949 and has been available on PubMed (and its precursors) for 56 years. YJBM is currently an open-access publication through PubMed Central. Yours truly was honored by an invitation last fall to be interviewed by a graduate student, Brian Thompson. Just published in the first quarter issue of 2021, the interview is attached, for your bedtime reading pleasure. 😊


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