Blog 25

These 25 years represent a quarter of a century of successful publication.

Interview with Professor Maryam Tabrizian

Insight Faster

The Science of Everything

6 May 2021 | by Jasper Clow


Materials Science is the science of anything and everything. Its boundless scope means that MDPI’s Materials journal has a vast field to cover; if it has physical form of any kind, you can probably find it in Materials. To celebrate MDPI’s 25th Anniversary, we’re going to take a look at some of the amazing progress made by our journals and find out a little about those behind their work. To begin with, we sat down with Editor in Chief of Materials Professor Maryam Tabrizian to find out what it’s like to run a journal in a field that is infinitely large.

Professor Maryam Tabrizian received her PhD in Physical Sciences in Paris in 1990 and has been leading the field of Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering ever since. She is currently a Professor at the Department of Biomedical Engineering at McGill University in Montreal where she was awarded the Chercheure-Nationale from 2006 to 2011 and founded the FQNRT Centre for Biorecognition and Biosensors (CBB) that she directed from 2002 to 2011. She also became the Guggenheim fellow in 2010 and International Fellow of the Biomaterials Science & Engineering in 2011. In September 2017 she was named the Fellow of Royal Society of Canada—Academy of Science and in 2019, Fellow of Canadian Academy of Health Sciences for her contribution to the field of health sciences and engineering. She is the Canada Research Chair holder in Regenerative Medicine and Nanomedicine. Amongst all of this fantastic work she has found the time to work as Editor in Chief of Materials since 2011.

Professor Tabrizian has overseen Materials’ growth into a journal that has now published over 18,000 papers, including one by 2019 Nobel Prize winner Prof. John B. Goodenough. In that time, they’ve set up sections on everything from Advanced Composites to Smart Materials and Optics and Photonics. We wanted to know more about the journey that Materials has been on and what goes into publishing research from around the globe on all areas of Materials Science.

1. What have been the major advances in your field in the last 25 years (and how have MDPI papers contributed?)

Nanotechnology with or without 3-D printing has allowed the creation of more and more complex, multifunctional and modulable materials.

What is the significance of these nanomaterials?

It significantly increases the performance of materials compared to their bulk counterpart whenever it applies. Further, with our progress in developing nanomaterials, many new fields of applications have been exploited that one could never envision without.

These (figuratively) huge developments in the field of nanotechnology are reflected by a dramatic growth in the literature on nanomaterials. A Web of Science search returns 3518 publications on nanotechnology in 2017, 3747 in 2018, 4051 in 2019 and 4624 in 2020. It seems that the next ‘big things’ in the field of Materials Science are in fact some really really small things.

It’s difficult to choose just one paper from such a varied and extensive range of publications in Materials but, if you’re curious about the growing interest in nanotechnology, try Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles: Current and Prospective Medical Applications. It’s been cited an incredible 78 times since 2019 and sets out how nanoparticles are beginning to revolutionise modern medicine including magnetic resonance imaging and drug delivery.

2. What has your time as EiC of Materials taught you about your field and how have you begun to perceive your field differently?

Materials Science is amazing and borderless! Materials are everywhere, from in the air to stone and into the human body, in any shape from bulk to tiny entities!

What are the most amazing things you have learnt/seen in Materials Science?

Everything in universe can be linked to the field of Materials Science.

If people were to learn one thing from Materials Science, what should it be?

Even the sky is not the limit!

What motivated you to go into the area of Materials Science?

The multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary aspects of the field.

If you could say one thing to the Professor Tabrizian who began as Editor in Chief of Materials in 2011 what would it be?

You have picked up the most exciting field of research!

3. What do you perceive as the most important developments in your field in the near future/what current developments will have an impact on your field in the near future?

I believe the combination of Artificial intelligence with our knowledge gained so far about Materials will revolutionize the field of Materials.

How could Artificial Intelligence affect the area of Materials science?

One example could be the creation of a database for the millions of materials and their classification. Another example would be to use AI as a predicting tool for materials’ properties, considering the number of parameters involved in their development, which then enables us to tune the material properties for the desired applications.

Will these changes begin to affect our everyday lives?

Absolutely, in many ways. Just consider the application of nanomaterials for MRI imaging, for cancer or water treatment or air purification. We cannot see them, but they are there!

What are the next steps for the Materials journal in particular?

We work all together to make the journal more inclusive to reflect our belief that ‘materials are everywhere in any shape’. The aim is to reach out to as many researchers as possible and get them on board, to attract much broader readership to our journal which will then allow us to have a real impact on the field and on everybody’s daily life.

Thank you very much for taking the time to chat with us Professor Tabrizian; it seems that, with any and every surface to cover, Materials is tirelessly tackling a field that will never cease to amaze. The progress made since Professor Tabrizian took over as Editor in Chief has allowed the journal to remain at the cutting edge of Materials Science. Now Materials is doing better than ever, publishing almost 1500 more papers every year (5840 in 2020) and, with an impact factor of 3.057 in 2019 that will likely reach 3.38 in 2020, there’s nowhere to go but onwards and upwards.

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