Editor's Note

Good fellows

Comfort Dorn
May 18, 2022

As a magazine, we at ASBMB Today put our work in print and online for all the world to see. So, when we get something wrong, someone tells us — usually fast. We do our best to get everything right, and we’re quick to correct our mistakes. Sometimes we even learn something in the process of correction.

That was the case after we posted the names of the 2022 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology fellows on our website in early February. The introduction referred to the fellows as “our most distinguished members,” and that elicited a gentle — and educational — correction from Judith Bond, who developed the ASBMB fellows program with the society’s Membership Committee, chaired by Ed Eisenstein.

“Ed and I were very careful to say ‘designation as a fellow recognizes outstanding commitment to the ASBMB through participation in the Society in addition to (other) accomplishments,’” Bond wrote. “Our ‘most distinguished members’ would include Nobel laureates and other highly respected biochemists and molecular biologists, but if they have not participated in the Society in a meaningful way (through committees, leadership, organization of activities), they were not chosen as a fellow.”

This made me stop and think. With all the logistical challenges of collecting biographies and photos for the magazine and the website, I’m not sure I’d ever considered the criteria for being a fellow. I think it blurred in my mind with being an award winner. But this focus on commitment to the society makes a wonderful kind of sense. To be a fellow, a member must be generous with time and talent — not just someone whose CV includes pages of individual BMB achievements.

And reading the essays we've linked to below, written by four members of the inaugural class of fellows named in 2021, I was struck by the joy in their generosity. Fred Guengerich, Adele Wolfson, Dan Raben and Kerry-Anne Rye have given countless hours to the ASBMB and its journals as committee members and editors and so much more. Yet they make it seem like they’re doing the receiving rather than the giving. They stress the rewards of spending time with other members of the society and of seeing all it can do (with their help – but they mostly don’t say that).

This is probably the strongest argument we can make for getting involved — actively involved — with the ASBMB. Sure, you’ll need to give some time and talent. But think of all the good you get in return.

Essays by 2021 ASBMB fellows

Bonding over biochemistry
Fred Guengerich

Connecting by committee
Adele Wolfson

A journey with scientists
Dan Raben

Making a bigger footprint
Kelly-Anne Rye

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Comfort Dorn

Comfort Dorn is the managing editor of ASBMB Today.

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