Thorp named editor-in-chief of Science

Former provost to lead globally renowned research publication


Holden Thorp, the Rita Levi-Montalcini Distinguished University Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, has been named editor-in-chief of the Science family of journals, widely recognized as being among the world’s most prestigious publications dedicated to research and science. He will assume his new role Oct. 28 and will remain on the Washington University faculty as the Rita Levi-Montalcini Distinguished University Professor. He will be on leave while serving as editor-in-chief.

“I am truly delighted we have been able to recruit Holden Thorp as the new editor-in-chief of the Science family of journals,” said Alan Leshner, interim chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and executive publisher of Science. “He is a distinguished scientist and administrator with a remarkable breadth of expertise.”

As editor-in-chief, Thorp will oversee a staff of PhD-level editors and award-winning writers for the family of journals including Science, which has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. Published by AAAS, Science reaches approximately 1 million readers weekly.

“While we all will certainly miss Holden’s regular presence here at Washington University, we are thrilled for him to have been selected for this distinguished position,” said Chancellor Andrew D. Martin. “Not only is it a terrific honor for him, it also is a wonderful choice for the scientific community, which will no doubt benefit greatly from his leadership and expertise. I wish him all the best.”

Thorp, who holds faculty appointments in both chemistry and medicine, served as Washington University’s provost from 2013 until concluding his term last month. During his tenure as provost, he led the university’s academic enterprise through a period of tremendous growth in several key areas, including efforts to increase socioeconomic diversity and changes to the undergraduate admissions process, all of which led to an academically stronger and more diverse student body. He also was instrumental in furthering the university’s prominence as an institution that drives innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly in the St. Louis region.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to serve the scientific community and advocate for the importance of science in Washington and throughout the world,” Thorp said. “Going from Washington University to Washington, D.C., will be a big change, but one thing that will remain a steady presence is the community of scientists and researchers who are working every day, all around the world, to make the discoveries that elucidate nature and change lives.”

Before coming to Washington University, Thorp served for three decades at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he served as the 10th chancellor from 2008 through 2013. He earned a doctorate in chemistry in 1989 at the California Institute of Technology and completed postdoctoral work at Yale University. An inventor and entrepreneur, he developed technology for electronic DNA chips, and is the co-founder of Viamet Pharmaceuticals, which developed oteseconazole, now in Phase 3 clinical trials for fungal disease.

“I am delighted that AAAS has chosen Holden Thorp as editor-in-chief of the Science family of journals,” said Barbara A. Schaal, dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences, the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor of Biology, and a former president of AAAS. “As editor-in-chief, he will be one of the most significant voices in the global conversation about research and scientific discovery. Championing the value of science has never been more important, and I look forward to following along as he takes on this vital work.”

AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publishes Science, as well as Science Translational Medicine; Science Signaling; a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances; Science Immunology; and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. The nonprofit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement and more.

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