Nature writing workshop at UQ

Dr. Michael Chao, associate editor at the prestigious Nature Microbiology, delivered a workshop on July 13th covering publishing in Nature journals focusing on “the black box that exists after manuscript submission” and how to write a good scientific abstract.

Dr. Chao was brought to Australia by the Australian Society for Microbiology, as a guest speaker for it’s national conference in Hobart.

After completing his PhD examining cell wall remodeling in the pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis, he commenced a post-doctoral position examining DNA methylation and gene regulation in Vibrio cholerae.

Nature Microbiology was established in 2016.

According to Dr. Chao, “Microbiology has changed, (it’s) not so old fashioned, we are in a renaissance of microbiology and the whole life sciences community is paying attention to the microbes.”

Thus, Nature Microbiology was founded as a high-impact journal for a wide variety of microbial fields, ranging from pathogenesis and vaccines through to ecology and industrial microbiology.

The workshop, hosted by UQ’s Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre (AID), was attended by over 100 early and mid career researchers in the microbiology field.

The workshop focused on how researchers can think about writing better abstracts for high impact journals.

The key to successful abstract writing, according to Dr. Chao, is to succinctly address four main components.

The first is outlining why the study was performed. Next, how the study was performed, followed by what was discovered, and lastly identifying what does this mean for the field.

Dr. Chao reiterated that an abstract should pitch a core message and consider the relevance to other fields, rather than recapitulating the protocol and results of the paper.

The workshop was sponsored by the Australian Society for Microbiology and AID.

By Andrew Turner