There's always the worry that receiving too much recognition too early in life will mess with a person's head. Just look at Drew Barrymore and Lindsay Lohan as cautionary tales. Barrymore wowed Hollywood in E.T. before spiraling into tabloid fodder as an adolescent, and Lohan fared similarly after starring in the remake of The Parent Trap and in Mean Girls. But I'm not that worried about the fate of the young investigators we've profiled here; they'll likely continue on with their work without such drama. Instead, we can only wonder — in a good way — what they will come up with next. Already, these young scientists have caught the attention of their established colleagues for taking on metabolic disorders, the epigenome, algorithms to parse sequencing data, and more. They will still face some challenges, though likely not à la Lohan — many of the early-career scientists we've included in this issue cited the influx of sequencing data and funding woes as obstacles to their work, though they seem up to the task.
It wasn't without help that we came up with this list of young investigators doing impressive work. We turned to you, our readers, for recommendations of the brightest up-and-coming researchers. And we would like to thank you for your excellent choices, which made this issue possible.
Also in this end-of-one-year, beginning-of-another issue, GT looks into the world of chromatography. Matthew Dublin reports on technological advances that have allowed for increased sensitivity — and, consequently, given proteomics and metabolomics researchers the boost in detection they have craved. In addition, Tracy Vence recounts the rise of microRNAs and how they can affect gene expression. She says the work to analyze their effect has only just begun.
Finally, this month's collaborative research article focuses on an international consortium's progress toward sequencing the sugarcane genome, work that could have implications both for food and energy production.