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Staff Editors

Joerg Heber


Joerg studied physics at the University of Erlangen in Germany. Having obtained a PhD in semiconductor physics from Imperial College London in 2000, Joerg went on to postdoctoral positions at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, USA, and the University of Marburg in Germany. In 2005 he joined what is now Springer Nature as a manuscript editor at Nature Materials, and moved on to Nature Communications in 2012. Having held several managerial positions there, he became the journal’s Executive Editor in 2015. In 2016, Joerg was appointed PLOS ONE’s Editor-in-Chief.

Iratxe Puebla 

Managing Editor

Iratxe graduated with a degree in Chemistry and an emphasis in Biochemistry from the University of the Basque Country in Spain. She then headed to the UK and worked as a technician, before studying for a MPhil at Imperial College London. She moved into publishing in 2003, when she joined BioMed Central and became Senior Editor for the BMC-series journals. Iratxe became involved with PLOS ONE while working as a freelance editor. She acted as Consulting Editor for PLOS ONE for several years before joining the editorial team in the UK office. In her current role, Iratxe oversees the day-to-day editorial operations of the journal.

Independently of her role in PLOS ONE, Iratxe also assists with the administration and processing of complaints submitted to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) in a freelance capacity.

Meghan Byrne 

Senior Editor

Meghan has a background in microbiology, molecular biology, and cell biology research, as well as in medical writing. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Williams College in Massachusetts and a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California San Francisco, where she investigated how cells sense and adapt to changing environmental conditions. She then worked as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California Berkeley, studying the cell biology and diversity of magnetotactic bacteria. Before joining PLOS, Meghan worked as a medical writer at Motive Medical Intelligence (formerly newMentor), a medical information services company. She began working at PLOS ONE in 2012 as an Associate Editor and is happy to be able to make a contribution to the Open Access movement.

Christna Chap

Senior Editor

A French national, Christna studied biochemistry at Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble and at McGill University in Montreal. She obtained a MSc in Biotechnology from the École Nationale Supérieure de Technologie des Biomolécules de Bordeaux (ENSTBB) and completed her PhD at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin, working on the molecular mechanisms of pluripotency in embryonic stem cells. She started her publishing career at BioMed Central (BMC) in London in 2010, first as an Assistant Editor, then as Executive Editor for several open access journals within the BMC-series. Before joining PLOS in 2013, Christna was Senior Executive Editor with overall responsibility for the scientific content and development of BMC Cancer and BMC Hematology.

Michelle Dohm

Senior Editor

Michelle received her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from DePaul University, and then headed north along Lake Michigan to Northwestern University, where she completed her PhD in the Chemistry of Life Processes. Her research focused on the synthesis and biophysical characterization of non-natural polymers that may behave as “protein mimics” in therapeutic applications. She then moved west and undertook postdoctoral work in Bioengineering at the Stanford University Schools of Engineering and Medicine with a similar research focus. Before PLOS, Michelle left the lab to pursue her interests in editing and digital publishing by accepting a Senior Managing Editor role at Shmoop, an educational online publishing startup. During her time there, she built and led a growing content team that wrote, edited, and produced math and science products.

Eric Martens

Senior Editor

Eric grew up in New Jersey before attending Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, where he earned a degree in Biochemistry. He then headed west to University of California Berkeley for his doctorate, which focused on patterns of gene regulation associated with oncogenic transformation and cancer. Departing from lab research, he then relocated to Washington, DC to become Managing Editor at the American Chemical Society where he guided growth and development of the fledgling journal ACS Chemical Biology. Eric joined PLOS in 2012.

Gina Alvino

Associate Editor

Gina Alvino joined PLOS in 2012 as a Senior Publications Assistant for PLOS Pathogens and became an Associate Editor for PLOS ONE the following year. She earned both her master’s degree and PhD in Animal Biology from the University of California Davis (UCD).  During her time at UCD, she studied applied animal behavior and animal welfare science, focusing her research on housing and environmental conditions for commercial poultry (broiler chickens and laying hens). Gina also has a professional background and avid interest in animal research issues, including regulatory compliance, ethics/law, and welfare considerations. At PLOS ONE, a primary focus of hers is working to improve the reporting of animal research procedures in manuscripts under review, in order to enhance transparency and reproducibility. Gina is also a supporter of Open Access publishing, and enjoys participating in outreach on behalf of PLOS ONE - both at scientific conferences and Open Access-centered events. 

Sarah Bangs 

Associate Editor

Sarah studied natural sciences at the University of Cambridge, eventually choosing to specialize in virology and immunology. She went on to earn a doctorate at the University of Oxford Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. There she worked with Xiaoning Xu and Andrew McMichael to investigate mechanisms and consequences of activation of bystander T cells during immune responses. She then relocated to California and simultaneously made the transition out of the lab and into scientific writing and editing, taking up a position in the Department of Neurology at University of California San Francisco (UCSF). She was fortunate to join UCSF as the NIH Public Access Policy was coming into effect for annual grant reporting, and she soon developed an interest in the Open Access movement. She joined PLOS ONE in February 2011 and has worked on editorial screening of manuscripts, animal research reporting and ethics, and issues around research integrity and publication ethics.

Eileen Clancy

Associate Editor

Eileen was born and raised in Ontario, Canada where she obtained an undergraduate degree in Microbiology from the University of Guelph. Enthralled with the world of virology, Eileen continued her education with a PhD from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia before making the move to the Bay Area for a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University. While pursuing her research interests in RNA virology and virus-host interactions, Eileen also became increasingly interested in how we communicate science. She joined PLOS in 2014.

Alejandra Clark

Associate Editor

Alejandra was born and raised in Argentina. She graduated with a degree in Molecular Biology from Edinburgh University. Inspired by undergraduate lectures on the RNA world, she stayed in Edinburgh to undertake a PhD on the mechanism of mRNA localisation in Ilan Davis’ lab. For a postdoc Alejandra moved south to the University of Cambridge to work on the role of miRNAs in Eric Miska’s lab at the Gurdon Institute. Before joining PLOS in 2013, she worked as an editor for EMBO Reports in Heidelberg.

Tessa de Roo

Associate Editor

Tessa graduated with a degree in Archaeology and English Literature from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and continued on to complete an MPhil and PhD in Archaeological Science at the University of Cambridge. Most of Tessa’s work has involved coastal societies and maritime archaeology. Her research has focused on isotopic analysis of fish bones to study trade routes and computer simulation of Viking ships on the open ocean to understand Viking Age navigation. She has taken part in fieldwork in diverse locations ranging from the Jotunheimen mountains in Norway to the pyramids in Giza. Tessa became interested in academic publishing during her PhD and has since worked with the Parliamentary of Science and Technology in London, Cambridge University Press, and Elsevier in various editorial roles. She joined PLOS ONE in 2016.

Sara Fuentes Pérez

Associate Editor

Sara grew up in the Basque Country in Spain. She graduated with a degree in Environmental Sciences from Salamanca University. After a brief work placement at an environmental NGO in Greece, she moved to the UK where she obtained a MSc in Plant Breeding and Biotechnology at University of East Anglia. Inspired by lectures on the genetics of plant breeding, Sara then joined Lars Ostergaard’s lab to complete a PhD in the genetic and hormonal regulation of parthenocarpic fruit development. During her postdoctoral research work on sexual antagonism in fruit flies at University College London, Sara became interested in scientific publishing which led her to work as a freelance scientific copy editor. Before joining PLOS in November 2015, Sara worked as an Editorial Project Manager at a medical communications company.

Rachel Hertog

Associate Editor

Rachel holds a BS and MS from San Francisco State University where she studied marine biology and paleoecology. From there, she attended the University of California Davis where she studied the fossil record of parasites and the evolution of symbiotic relationships. Rachel has extensive experience in both formal and informal education in environments ranging from university classrooms to the public floor of museums.

Renee Hoch

Associate Editor

Renee received a BS in Biological Sciences from Stanford University, and then devoted nearly 20 years to basic science research before joining PLOS ONE as an Associate Editor in 2014. After doing pre-doctoral research in developmental biology, cancer biology, and microbiology, Renee focused her graduate and postdoctoral work in the areas of developmental biology, mouse genetics, cell-cell signaling, and neuroscience. She received a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Washington for her work at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center where she used mouse genetics to study mechanisms of Fgf signaling during embryogenesis. Subsequently, she moved to San Francisco to conduct postdoctoral work at University of California San Francisco (UCSF), studying the roles of Fgfs and Otx2 in mammalian forebrain development and the effects of developmental disruption on postnatal mouse behavior.

Helen Howard

Associate Editor

Helen first developed an interest in publishing and science communication whilst working towards her PhD on the chemistry of graphene oxide at the University of Warwick, UK. During this time she began writing science articles for the University newspaper, The Boar, and preparing life science summaries for Biomedical Picture of the Day. After graduating in 2015, Helen joined the Royal Society of Chemistry where she worked as a Publishing Editor on a number of Physical and Materials Science journals. Being keen to get involved in the Open Access movement, Helen then took up her current position as an Associate Editor at PLOS ONE in November 2016.

Adya Misra

Associate Editor

Adya comes from a family of doctors, so it was natural for her to be interested in human biology and disease. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Human Genetics followed by a master’s in Medical Genetics at Newcastle University, to pursue her interest in genetic disorders. Inspired by rare genetic disease and complex clinical situations, she completed her PhD in mitochondrial DNA disease at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research, Newcastle Upon Tyne which was followed by a postdoctoral position at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden focusing on mouse models of mitochondrial dysfunction. Since she was working with a rare group of genetic diseases, Adya became involved in various aspects of scientific communication, specifically engaging with the public to increase awareness of mitochondrial genetics. Before joining PLOS ONE, she briefly worked at the Institute for Cancer Research within cancer genetics. Adya became progressively more interested in publishing ethics, policy, and the open access movement during her research training which led to her position at PLOS. 

Carla Pegoraro

Associate Editor

Carla grew up in Pisa, Italy, where she obtained B.Eng. and M.Eng. degrees in Biomedical Engineering working on molecularly imprinted membranes for the recognition of specific biomolecules. She then earned a doctorate from the University of Sheffield, UK, with a project focused on transdermal needle free drug delivery under the supervision of Prof. Sheila MacNeil and Prof. Giuseppe Battaglia. During her PhD and research fellowship working on polymersome vaccine delivery, she became intrigued by the other side of scientific research, communication, and publishing. This led her to the Royal Society of Chemistry in Cambridge, UK. There she worked for four years as a Publishing Editor on a variety of journals covering all aspects of chemistry. She was also strongly involved in cover commissioning and writing for Chemistry World. She joined PLOS ONE in November 2016.

Anna Simonin

Associate Editor

Anna received her undergraduate degree in Biology from Northern Arizona University and then earned a PhD from the University of California Berkeley in Microbial Biology. Her main focus was understanding the influences of hyphal fusion on nuclear and nutrient translocation in filamentous fungi, using molecular and cell biology techniques to answer ecological questions. After graduate school she became a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Western Sydney where she studied ericoid and ectomycorrhizal fungal communities in Australian bushlands. Her interest in scientific communications led her to freelance medical writing and then to PLOS ONE.

Nicola Stead

Associate Editor

Nicola received her undergraduate master’s degree in Biology from the University of Bath, UK, with a research project at Dartmouth College, USA, investigating cell cycle regulation in budding yeast. After a brief period as a research assistant working on sweet taste receptors and artificial sweeteners, she moved to the Babraham Institute to work on chromatin biology, receiving her PhD from the University of Cambridge, UK, in 2012. Having always been interested in science communication and publishing, she then undertook an internship with the Journal of Experimental Biology before joining PLOS ONE in 2013. 

Dannielle Whittaker

Associate Editor

Dannielle graduated from University College London, UK, with a BSc in Chemistry, and then went on to her MSc in Advanced Materials at Cranfield University, UK, where she carried out a project in collaboration with TATA Steel. During her MSc project, she began to appreciate the importance of scientific publishing in advancing research, so she went on to pursue a career in publishing at the Royal Society of Chemistry in Cambridge, UK. She worked there for three years as a Publishing Editor on the physical chemistry journal portfolio, where she gained experience in journal and cover coordination, as well as writing for Chemistry World. Dannielle then went on to work at the ICE in London, where she became a Journals Development Editor for a variety of engineering journals including an Open Access title.

Jenna Wilson

Associate Editor

Jenna grew up in Oregon and received an undergraduate degree in bioengineering from Oregon State University. She completed her PhD in bioengineering at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and spent the last year of her graduate research working at The Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco. Jenna has scientific expertise in stem cell biology, regenerative medicine, and bioprocess engineering. She has always had a strong interest in communication and worked as a graduate reviewer for Georgia Tech’s (Georgia Institute of Technology’s) undergraduate research journal The Tower. Jenna joined PLOS ONE in 2016. She is excited to merge her engineering background with the field of scholarly publishing to advocate for scientists and the open communication of research.