Doctoral work accepted by PLOS ONE

Its been a good week. I have finally gotten the bulk of my PhD work published! It is to appear in PLOS ONE, and is currently in the production process. This paper has been a long time coming, we first started talking about a paper like this in 2010. Since then, its been through 14 complete redrafts, not to mention being written up as a PhD thesis.

This is a real milestone for me; I’ve been working on this material for so long, conscious that a large chunk of my PhD hasn’t been published and pondering the implications on my CV. To read the paper you’d think the focus is on ARTIMMUS, the EAE simulator that I created. Indeed, the bulk of the results are focussed on EAE, investigating recovery-mediating regulation, the role of the spleen in recovery, and how we can simulate intervention strategies. However, for me the more powerful result here is the approach through which we constructed the simulation. Its about engineering high quality simulations, as indeed is my thesis. The close alignment that the paper demonstrates between wet-lab data and that of ARTIMMUS serves as a validation of our approach. Its a hard message to balance, selling the process requires the validation, but the validation message shouldn’t dwarf the process.

Its not easy to write a paper like this, after having written an entire thesis on the subject. As plenty in academia know, thesis writing can be a harrowing experience. To then have to re-address this material and go through draft after draft of a journal manuscript requires quite some motivation. Its worth it though, and in a world where academic progression seems increasingly contingent on publishing astounding quantities of papers, you can’t afford not to. By the way, the implications on my CV can’t have been too severe; I recently landed a job as a Research Fellow at the University of Sydney (before this paper was accepted). I shall write about what I’m doing here next week – two blog posts in one day is plenty.