Most readers of Cerebral Cortex know that the journal recently lost one of our founders and Editors-in-Chief, as well as one of the most enthusiastic explorers and supporters of research on the cerebral cortex: Patricia Goldman-Rakic. Pat died last July after being struck by a car near our home in New Haven, CT. A number of eulogies have appeared since in major journals (e.g. Nat Neurosci 2003;6:1115; Nature 2003;432:471; Neuron 2003;40:1–20; Neuropsychopharmacology 2003;28:2218–2220; PloS Biol 2003;1:152; Neuroscientist 2003;6:508–509). It is impressive that each eulogy expressed a different aspect of her contributions and a different facet of her personality. I have refrained from making any statement about Pat except for the short paragraph printed in the program for the Memorial Service that was held in New Haven on October 19, 2003:
Pat was strong and decisive as well as gentle and feminine. She was particularly struck by an observation about the challenges of studying the brain made by a fellow scientist, Rita Levi-Montalcini, who commented if she had known how difficult understanding the brain was, she would never have attempted it. Pat knew how difficult it was and still pursued it. She was both brilliant and brave.
Many of our contributors and readers are also engaged in the difficult task of understanding the evolution, development, organization, function and pathology of the cerebral cortex. They knew Pat as an excellent editor with high standards. The nature of journal publishing today requires that at least two-thirds of the manuscripts submitted to Cerebral Cortex must be rejected. Pat was able to make these tough decisions. However, our authors saw more than Pat’s discriminating side. She spent enormous amounts of time providing constructive feedback to enable authors to improve both the science and the sense of their manuscripts.
From the inception of Cerebral Cortex, Pat and I worked in synergy as the journal’s Editors. Her burden was greater than mine because more manuscripts were submitted in her area of expertise. As Pat’s workload continued to grow, we added Steve Peterson as a Reviewing Editor to handle the increasing number of manuscripts submitted in the area of human neuroimaging. After Pat’s death, we developed a new model for the journal with three Reviewing Editors. I will continue to handle manuscripts related to genetics, molecular, developmental and evolutionary issues, Steve Peterson will continue to deal with the area of human behavioral studies (cognitive/neuroimaging) and a new Reviewing Editor, Peter Strick, has been added to review manuscripts in the area of systems neurobiology of the cerebral cortex and related structures (i.e. neuroanatomy, cellular and behavioral neurophysiology).
Dr Strick is Professor of Neurobiology and Co-Director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition at the University of Pittsburgh. He is a leading authority on brain circuits involved in voluntary motor behavior and his research has led to major modifications in traditional views about the cortical motor areas. He proposed a model about the organization of the neural networks that link the basal ganglia with the cerebral cortex and developed novel tracing methods to define multi-synaptic circuits in the primate central nervous system. Peter was a Reviewing Editor and then Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Neurophysiology for 15 years. He currently serves as Chairman of the Publications Committee of the Society for Neuroscience.
We are fortunate to be able to recruit someone of Peter Strick’s caliber, expertise, and experience. I am certain that Pat would be very pleased with this choice.