Interviews with Outstanding Authors (2023)

Posted On 2023-02-10 11:20:37

In 2023, many CCO authors make outstanding contributions to our journal. Their articles published with us have received very well feedback in the field and stimulate a lot of discussions and new insights among the peers.

Hereby, we would like to highlight some of our outstanding authors who have been making immense efforts in their research fields, with a brief interview of their unique perspective and insightful view as authors.

Outstanding Authors (2023)

Kimberly Kopecky, Johns Hopkins Hospital, USA

Francisco Pimentel Cavalcante, Department of Breast Surgery, Hospital Geral de Fortaleza (HGF), Brazil

Davide Campobasso, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria of Parma, Italy

Raffaele Addeo, San Giovanni di Dio Hospital, Italy

Evelyn Yi Ting Wong, National Cancer Centre Singapore, Singapore

Jennifer Wu, NYU Grossman School of Medicine, USA

Michael D. Chuong, Baptist Health South Florida, USA

Tiffany Leung, the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Outstanding Authors

Kimberly Kopecky

Kimberly Kopecky, MD, MSCI, is a current second-year fellow in the Complex General Surgical Oncology Fellowship training program at the Johns Hopkins Hospital where she is the designated Hepatobiliary fellow. She graduated from Harvard Medical School in 2014 and completed her General Surgery training at Stanford Hospitals and Clinics in 2021. In addition, she spent two years in Madison, Wisconsin where she completed a Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowship, earned a master’s degree in Clinical Investigation, worked as a part-time Hospice Medical Director, and participated in the Clinical Medical Ethics Fellowship program at the MacLean Center at the University of Chicago. Kimberly is interested in the intersection of surgery and palliative care. For her thesis research, she used qualitative methods to characterize the experience of surgical patients in pain and she is currently helping with a survey study of providers who take care of patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. Connect with Kimberly on Twitter here.

Clarity of language and ideas, in Kimberly’s opinion, can be difficult in academic writing. It takes skill and practice for experts to effectively communicate their findings to readers who are often less knowledgeable on the topic at hand. It is also important for researchers to check their biases and ensure that their conclusions are supported by their findings. She explains, “We do research because we often have a presupposition regarding an anticipated outcome. Good research happens when we leave these notions at the door and let the data guide us to an unbiased conclusion.”

Science advances rapidly day by day. Kimberly believes that a thorough literature review is very important and will ensure that one’s writing is up-to-date. Insights come from thoughtful reflection and consideration of the subject matter. Asking interesting questions makes having insights easier. She elaborates “When I do projects that I don’t find intellectually stimulating or interesting, I’m less likely to put time and effort into thinking deeply about the results. If, however, I find the topic to be energizing and/or innovative, I am able to tap into curiosity and excitement as I explore and elucidate the results.”

Kimberly further highlights the significance to follow reporting guidelines (e.g. CONSORT, PRISMA and CARE) during preparation of manuscripts. These guidelines ensure a comprehensive and consistent approach to the design and preparation of studies and manuscripts. Just like surgeons do a time-out in the operating room before every case, use of a templated tool ensures that critical information is consistently reviewed/conveyed.

I always learn something when I do academic writing. Even if I feel I know the topic well, writing about it for others always pushes me to expand my knowledge base even further. As a trainee, an invitation to co-author manuscripts with senior authors and mentors is always welcome because I know I will come away from the writing experience with new expertise. That expertise then opens the door for new opportunities and professional growth/understanding,” says Kimberly.

(By Brad Li, Wei-En Fan)

Francisco Pimentel Cavalcante

Dr. Francisco Pimentel Cavalcante is a breast surgeon (mastologist) affiliated to Brazilian Society of Mastology (SBM), Brazilian Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FEBRASGO), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBrS), being currently the President of the Brazilian Commission that issues the title of specialist in Mastology. He has been President of SBM (Ceará), Director of International Relations at SBM, member of the Mastology Committee at FEBRASGO, of the Oncoplasty Committee at SBM, as well as co-editor of the journal Mastology. Dr. Pimentel focuses on the treatment of breast cancer, especially oncoplastic surgery, with scientific articles, editorials and book chapters published on this topic, and actively participates in the education of Brazilian mastologists. Currently, he is an investigator of a research on the knowledge of oncoplastic surgery in Brazil, performing the clinical-surgical activities at the General Hospital of Fortaleza (HGF) and in a private clinic. He is the co-founder of the “Cancer de Mama Brasil” initiative. Connect with Dr. Pimentel on LinkedIn.

Writing a scientific paper is, at the end of the day, about telling a story,” says Dr. Pimentel. He explains, first, the author should define the purpose and scope of the paper (research question, for example). Before beginning to write, the author should consider the audience (level of technical details, style of the paper) and develop a clear thesis statement. The paper should be organized in a logical easy-to-follow manner and support arguments with evidence from reputable sources (one must be sure to critically evaluate the sources before writing a paper). The author should be careful to avoid plagiarism and finally revise and edit the paper, checking for grammar and spelling mistakes. And he/she must be open to make revisions based on feedback from peers or reviewers.

As a further elaboration, Dr. Pimentel points out that the writing should have a main argument well-supported by evidence and reasoning following reporting guidelines. He emphasizes that it is important to explore multiple perspectives and consider alternative viewpoints: this will make the writing more persuasive. And again: revise and edit to make it easier for the readers to follow the arguments.

Regarding following reporting guidelines in particular, Dr. Pimentel mentions many journals require authors to follow the guidelines and failure to do so can result in rejection of the manuscript. These guidelines were developed to improve the quality and transparency of research reporting. They provide a structured framework for authors to follow and that is particularly important to new writers. They help authors to report their research in a clear and accurate manner. Taking STROBE for example, there are several suggestions on how to minimize the impact of variables in observational studies, making the paper more subjective to bias, bringing more credibility to the manuscript.

Many of us started to read and write by looking for journals in physical libraires. Over the years, these libraires have become virtual, with numerous options of scientific databases available, facilitating the dissemination of knowledge. Today, we have virtually any scientific articles in the palm of our hands, we can manage to write or review scientific articles in a more practical and faster way. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought another chapter of this ‘online academic world’ and more recently, artificial intelligence (AI) brings a new challenge to the interpretation and analysis of research and scientific publications. We must learn how to use these tools as allies: some potential ways that AI could help us in the future including writing assistance (vocabulary and grammar), data analysis, formatting and editing. On the other hand, the machine cannot replace our critical reasoning and way of designing and writing an article,” says Dr. Pimentel.

(by Masaki Lo, Brad Li)

Davide Campobasso

Dr. Davide Campobasso, MD, is a Consultant Urologist at the Urology Unit of the University Hospital of Parma, Italy. His fields of interest include urologic oncology, endourology, urolithiasis, non-neurogenic male lower urinary tract symptoms, and laparoscopic and robotic surgery. He has conducted projects like the role of PET-PSMA in patients with prostate cancer candidates for radical prostatectomy and lymphadenectomy (ITA-PSMA study) and prognostic models for patients with upper tract urothelial carcinoma. Learn more about Dr. Campobasso through his ORCID.

Dr. Campobasso believes that a good-quality academic paper should try to investigate and clarify controversial topics or pose new questions with the intent of overcoming current limitations in knowledge and clinical practice. To avoid biases in one’s writing, the best method, he thinks, is to have a correct methodologic approach and to follow the scientific method.

Although academic writing takes a lot of time and energy, Dr. Campobasso still keeps studying and writing. He says, “My motivation comes from my interest in better understanding the diseases I deal with and the satisfaction of discovering something new.”

Data sharing has been prevalent in scientific writing in recent years. Dr. Campobasso believes that it is crucial for authors to share their research data. First, sharing knowledge is the best way to increase research interest and make progress. Second, an online platform dedicated to single diseases could be helpful, where researchers can upload their ideas and their progress without charge for other researchers. In his opinion, data sharing is just like a cornerstone that would let people and groups with different backgrounds and research interests meet and share ideas, to improve their skills and the innovation brought on by their projects. Collaboration and debate across different research groups are the best ways to encourage more people to join the research community.

(By Alisa Lu, Brad Li)

Raffaele Addeo

Dr. Raffaele Addeo is Head of the Division of Oncology at the Hospital “San Giovanni Di Dio” Frattamaggiore (NA), ASLNA2NORD, Italy. He graduated with an MD from the Second University of Naples. He did postgraduate oncology training at the Second University of Naples. He achieved with a PhD in Biochemical and Biotechnological Sciences from the Vanvitelly University of Naples. His clinical research interests are in the treatment of cancer, especially interest in brain cancer and head and neck cancer. He is involved in several multidisciplinary projects and study for treatment of head and neck cancer. Dr. Addeo has published more than 130 scientific papers in journals including translational cancer research, and clinical oncological research. Connect with Dr. Addeo on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Dr. Addeo thinks there are several qualities that an author should possess. First, be familiar with reading and understanding already published manuscripts. Second, be able to carry out effective bibliographic research. Third, have a clear understanding of the design and objectives of the study.

Academic writing often involves evidence synthesis. Dr. Addeo believes that authors must be clear in their manuscripts about the purpose of the research. It is important to develop the manuscript according to the questions that the research project one aims to answer.

Although academic writing takes a lot of time and effort, Dr. Addeo has always liked writing original papers. He believes it is important to have an opinion on clinical experience and practice. Academic writing offers the possibility for everyone to share scientific information that is useful for optimal patient care.

(by Alisa Lu, Brad Li)

Evelyn Yi Ting Wong

Dr. Wong, MBBS (S’pore), MRCP (Edinburgh), MMED (S’pore), FAMS, is a medical oncologist who practices at the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) and Sengkang General Hospital. Her subspecialty interests include upper gastrointestinal cancers, hepatobiliary cancers and lower gastrointestinal cancers. She has a keen interest in health economics and policy and works towards reducing disparities in cancer care worldwide. She is actively involved in global community activities and used to be a founding member and Director (2013-2017) of Seeds of Nations Pte Ltd, which focuses on global community projects. She is currently a Clinical Instructor, Oncology ACP, SingHealth Duke-NUS Global Health Institute. Follow Dr. Wong on LinkedIn and X.

According to Dr. Wong, the most commonly encountered difficulty in academic writing is crafting a clear and focused statement. It can be challenging to articulate a central argument that effectively guides the entire paper. More often, gathering relevant and up-to-date sources is a common hurdle as the field of cancer research is dynamic. Hence, keeping up with the latest literature and incorporating these findings into academic writing can be demanding.

Dr. Wong believes that perseverance and patience are the qualities an author should possess. Academic authors often juggle multiple responsibilities, including teaching, research, and administrative duties. She found perseverance and discipline to be crucial, consistently dedicating her time to research, writing, and revising. In her experience, she tends to batch similar tasks together to minimize context switching. She adds, “Personally, it is also important to negotiate time with others, and you can communicate your writing goals with colleagues, supervisors, and family members to seek their support.

Finally, Dr. Wong would like to say a few words to encourage other academic writers who have been devoting themselves to advancing scientific progress, “Celebrate your successes, no matter how small it is. Remember, the impact of your work extends far beyond the pages of journals and the walls of academia. Your research has the potential to inform policies, shape industries, and change the lives of countless patients.”

(by Alisa Lu, Brad Li)

Jennifer Wu

Dr. Wu is currently an Associate Professor of Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology in the GI Oncology Section of NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center. She has extensive experience in the epidemiology, diagnosis, and management of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma and pancreatic cancer. She is the Director of the Bellevue Cancer Center and the Chief of Hematology and Medical Oncology of Bellevue Hospital Center. Her main interests are immunotherapy and its role in gastrointestinal malignancies, particularly esophageal, pancreatic cancer, and hepatocellular carcinoma. She is the national principal investigator of 2 pancreatic cancer clinical trials involving immunotherapy and radiation therapy. Recently, she has been focusing on the role of immunotherapy combinations in hepatocellular carcinoma. She devotes herself to providing access to underserved patients, with a focus on establishing infrastructure for clinical trials and biomarker testing in Bellevue Hospital and across the New York City Health and Hospital Systems.

According to Dr. Wu, academic writing is one of the essential cores of summarizing important scientific findings, disseminating relevant information among the science community effectively, and stimulating scientific collaborations, which leads to progress in our understanding of biology, the pathogenesis of cancer, and ultimately, achieve ground-breaking therapeutic treatments for our patients.

To ensure one’s writing is critical, Dr. Wu thinks it is essential to focus on new and relevant topics, distill information concisely, summarize experimental findings accurately, develop scientific curiosity, and critique one’s scientific data from various aspects.

Dr. Wu believes that the disclosure of Conflict of Interest (COI) is very important. Funding from any pharmaceutical or biomarker/device vendor can potentially lead to a favorable interpretation of scientific data rather than an objective interpretation, which can ultimately result in inaccurate conclusions in scientific manuscripts.

CCO is one of the most prominent rising stars in academic oncology journals, which has an exceptionally well-respected Editorial Board, offering an extremely efficient publishing process. It focuses on cutting-edge oncology issues and captivates a large number of diverse oncology providers. CCO establishes an important and user-friendly community for oncologists to showcase and to learn scientific findings from each other. I have published in CCO a few times, and it has been a great experience every single time. CCO remains one of my favorable journals for publication, and I hope to continue to engage with CCO in my future scientific writing,” says Dr. Wu.

(by Alisa Lu, Brad Li)

Michael D. Chuong

Michael Chuong, MD, FACRO, an internationally recognized expert in radiation therapy for gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, is vice chair and medical director of radiation oncology and leads the GI radiation service at Baptist Health South Florida. He earned his medical degree from the University of South Florida College of Medicine and completed his residency training in radiation oncology at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, where he served as the chief resident. Dr. Chuong is frequently invited to speak around the globe about his clinical expertise and research that is impacting the standard of care, especially related to proton therapy and MRI-guided radiation therapy. He has co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts. He is a principal investigator for national and international clinical trials exploring advanced radiation therapy strategies and unique combinations of radiation therapy with novel therapeutic agents for GI cancers. He serves as the GI Section Editor for the International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics. Connect with Dr. Chuong on Twitter/X: @MikeChuongMD.

When it comes to the importance of a good academic paper, Dr. Chuong stresses that clear, concise, and comprehensive tables and figures cannot be understated. These should be thoughtfully developed to convey the most important information from the study, and the reader should be able to understand the key points of the study just from the tables and figures without the text. High-quality tables and figures also will help keep the body of the manuscript within the word limit; the key study results can be referenced in the tables and figures.

Dr. Chuong lists the following things which he believes are what authors have to bear in mind when they prepare a paper. The authors should challenge themselves to write the manuscript with as few words as necessary because the reader will be much more engaged if the writing is concise and to the point. He adds, “Be brief yet comprehensive – it takes practice to master this.” It is important that the authors clearly state why their results are significant in the context of the previously published studies on the topic, and how their results should impact clinical practice and/or future studies. The discussion should be much more than rehashing the study results, but rather a critical assessment of the importance of the results that include an explanation for why the authors believe the results were achieved.

As is true with nearly all things, practice and experience will help you become a better writer. Pay attention to the style and approach taken by other authors of high-quality manuscripts in reputable journals and try to emulate aspects of them. If you are early in your academic career then consider partnering with more senior researchers who can help with study design, conduct, and writing and gradually over time attempt to have more of a leading role until you are comfortable being in a first author role,” says Dr. Chuong.

(by Sasa Zhu, Brad Li)

Tiffany Leung

Tiffany Leung currently is a research associate in a social enterprise focusing on aging issues. She obtained a master’s degree in Global Health Policy from the University of Edinburgh in 2018 and a PhD degree in Cancer Outcomes Research from the University of Hong Kong in 2023. Her research interests are mainly in disparities and cancer trial reproducibility. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.

Dr. Leung believes that avoiding research misconduct (fabrication, plagiarism, etc.) is, first and foremost, the most important element of a good academic paper. In addition, reproducibility, which can be improved by following reporting guidelines, is also critical. Last but not least, a thorough but easy-understanding description is also a key component of a good academic paper.

In Dr. Leung’s opinion, following reporting guidelines are important during the preparation of a paper. However, simply following the guidelines may not be sufficient because the guidelines are often designed just to cover general situations. However, the encouraging news is that authors can benefit from different guidelines and extensions available for various types of academic papers or study designs.

To encourage other academic writers who have been devoting themselves to advancing scientific progress, Dr. Leung says, “Research is never easy. We might encounter all kinds of issues from time to time, but we all know how exciting and encouraging it is when we overcome them. Although our findings might not have an immediate impact, please believe that they have the potential to change the world and make it an even better one.”

(by Sasa Zhu, Brad Li)