Editors-in-Chief Kasturi Haldar and Grant McFadden highlight 10 years of PLOS Pathogens research in celebration of past accomplishments and future endeavors.
As PLOS Pathogens turns 10, we are excited to assemble a collection of primary research articles that reflects the high quality and breadth of original research published over the journal’s first decade. The strength of PLOS Pathogens remains its vibrant community of editors and authors, its high standard of peer review, its collective vision and commitment to publish and make available immediately and universally, outstanding original articles that significantly advance the understanding of pathogens and how they interact with their host organisms. Over 60 PLOS Pathogens Section Editors—experts on viruses, bacteria, prions, fungi, oomycetes and parasites of animals and plants—were invited to select articles they believe represent the very best exemplars from their respective fields. From this nomination process emerged 42 articles that were chosen for their scientific excellence, diversity, and sheer influence on pathogens research and human health.
A significant proportion of these chosen research articles from the past decade focus on the molecular resolution of the diverse complex machineries built at the interface of pathogen-host determinants (indeed, more often both) and poised at critical junctures of infection or disease. These articles have all been hard-won windows into the internal mechanics of pathogenesis. They show how in response to environment, changes in molecular structure and function result in a pathogen’s ability to become a deadly silent infection, a seasonal threat, a chronic public health concern despite herculean control efforts, antagonistic or synergistic with other pathogens, or a threat to our food supply. The underlying rationale at PLOS Pathogens has been to develop evidence-based strategies that translate into improved pathogen detection and the stimulation of new avenues for the treatment of infection and disease. Some studies utilize powerful -omics tools to scan both pathogen and host genetic material, physiology, and intermediates in between to exploit “Achilles heels” using targeted smart therapies capable of selectively disrupting the pathogen but not the host networks. Sometimes, paradoxically, the strategy has been to strategically disrupt host infection prevention processes, which minimizes drug-selected antimicrobial resistance and can also be responsive to rare but nonetheless terrible infectious outbreaks or mixed infections, since all are escalating problems in the treatment of modern disease.
The PLOS Pathogens vision of publishing research of interest across the wide spectrum of pathogens ensures work of broad interest reaches the public as well as those whose work is impacted by novel findings. Indeed, there are several instances where research in one pathogen system actually stimulated research in a vastly different disease area, sometimes not even of infectious etiology. These shared principles unify not just the outstanding research studies but also the community of editors, authors and readers bound by mutual interest in molecular pathogenesis and Open Access. We are deeply indebted to this community and hope you will enjoy perusing this 10th Anniversary Collection, will celebrate the successes of the last decade with us, and will continue to support the highest level of research publication and its unhindered dissemination at PLOS Pathogens.