Dr. Charles Jennings is the Executive Director of the BWH Program for Interdisciplinary Neuroscience and the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases. Before, he served as the founding editor of Nature Neuroscience, and an editor at Nature.

#34: Charles Jennings – From Graduate School to Founding Editor of Nature Neuroscience and Beyond

We had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Charles Jennings, an accomplished scientist and leader in the field of neuroscience. As the Executive Director of the Program for Interdisciplinary Neuroscience at the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Disease, Dr. Jennings oversees a vast network of researchers and clinicians who are dedicated to advancing our understanding of the brain and developing new treatments for neurological disorders.

Dr. Jennings’ work is especially noteworthy for its collaborative approach. As a “connectome” here in Boston, he bridges the gap between different research teams, fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and cooperation. He oversees the “Neurotechnology Studios” which is a prime example of this collaborative approach, providing state-of-the-art equipment and technical support to researchers across a wide range of fields.

During this episode, Dr. Jennings shared fascinating insights into his career path and the challenges he has faced along the way. He spoke about the importance of mentorship and the role that his own mentors played in shaping his scientific outlook. He also discussed his experiences as the founding editor-in-chief of Nature Neuroscience and offered his thoughts on what makes a successful journal.

In addition, we discussed some of the trends and issues that are currently shaping the field of scientific publishing, including the rise of sub-journals, the impact of open access, and the challenges posed by excessive article processing charges. Dr. Jennings provided a thoughtful and nuanced perspective on these topics, drawing on his extensive experience in the field to offer valuable insights and suggestions for the future.

Finally, in a rapid-fire round towards the end of the interview, Dr. Jennings offered some valuable advice for young researchers who are just starting out in the field. He also shared his thoughts on the future of neuroscience and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Overall, our conversation with Dr. Jennings was a fascinating and informative glimpse into the world of neuroscience and scientific publishing.

Taha, Alaa; Horn, Andreas (2023): #34: Charles Jennings – From Graduate School to Founder Editor of Nature Neuroscience and Beyond. figshare. Media. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.22780007.v1

References and Links:

We ask Dr. Jennings’ so summarize his landmark paper about the muscular trk receptor (attached below), published back in 1993.


News and Veiws Nature Piece that Dr. Jennings wrote as an assistant editor: 

Jennings, C. Death of a synapse. Nature 372, 498–499 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1038/372498a0

A story at the Kings Canyon National Park that Dr. Jennings shared with us after the meeting:

“In 2016 I did a backpacking trip in Kings Canyon National Park in California with my friend Simon, and since we are both scientists we decided to visit the Evolution Valley, where the peaks are named after famous evolutionary biologists.  The highest is of course Mt Darwin, but it looked a bit daunting, so instead we climbed some of the lesser summits, including Mt Spencer, Mt Lamarck and Mt Huxley.  The last of these was quite a challenge for us, involving ice axes, crampons, and an exposed scramble to the summit. When we finally reached the top we found the summit log (a notebook in a weatherproof canister, in which climbers record their names), with an entry by Alex Honnold, dated July 2008. Honnold is now a world-famous climber but back then he would have been an unknown 22-yr old.  He recorded that he had just finished a solo traverse of the entire Evolution Range and was ‘psyched to get down’.  We could see the ridge that he had traversed, and it looked unbelievably difficult.  And we realized the route that we had struggled to climb was his easy final descent at the end of an epic day.”

Q/A session with past Chief Editors of Nature Neuroscience including Dr. Jennings.

Wiseman, S. Reflections from the former Chief Editors of Nature NeuroscienceNat Neurosci 26, 712–714 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41593-023-01319-2

NeuroImage editor debacle which was very briefly discussed in this episode.