She is the Director of the Parkinson & Other Movement Disorders Center at the University of California, San Diego, the Director of the National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence at the University of California, San Diego and the Tasch Endowed Professor in Parkinson Disease Research. During her career, Dr. Litvan has worked in diverse but related research areas, from neuropsychology to psychiatry, from neuroepidemiology to dementia and movement disorders and neuropathology. She has led several multicenter studies and task forces involving researchers from multiple universities across the United States and Europe.
We have asked Dr. Litvan what she thinks are the main scientific challenges in neurology: “The cost of neurological disorders is high and will continue to increase as our population ages. Despite clear advances in understanding several neurological disorders, the search for treatments that would stop or cure them remains challenging. Treatments are slow to advance even when the genes or specific proteins or enzymatic abnormalities that cause the disease are known.” she says. “It has also been challenging to find disease markers that allow to early diagnose neurological disorders when lesions are not extensive. Even more demanding is the prevention of these disorders”. However, research in neurology gives hope:” New imaging, cerebrospinal fluid, blood and induced pluripotent cell markers are being investigated to early diagnose and better measure outcomes in therapeutic trials. In addition, now that novel genetic engineering, RNA-based therapeutics, and immunological approaches are being explored, one hopes that significant advances will be achieved in the coming years”
Dr. Litvan recognizes that Open Access plays an important role in the advancement of research in the field of neurology: “The free access to the content of Open Access journals increases the public awareness of novel discoveries. Increasing the number of readers in turn facilitates cross-fertilization between distinct disciplines and within multidisciplinary research collaborations. Additionally, the unique peer review system of Frontiers improves the quality of the contributions to the journal and allows their timely publication.”
By becoming the Editor in Chief of Frontiers of Neurology, Dr. Litvan hopes to have more opportunities to contribute to further advance science and increase the impact of research in neurology. She aims to increase the number of excellent research articles published in Frontiers in Neurology and to make the Journal a prime venue for scholarly reviews, and discussions of controversial neurological themes as well as novel multidisciplinary research.
We thank Prof. Jose Biller, retiring Field Chief Editor, for the excellent foundations that he has laid down for the journal and we are excited to welcome Dr. Litvan as the new Editor in Chief! We expect she will lead Frontiers in Neurology to new heights and we look forward to beginning this new era of the journal!
Laura E Perlini – Journal Development Specialist, PhD – Frontiers in Neurology