Happy centennial birthday to Herb Tabor, pillar of JBC

Open AccessPublished:November 30, 2018DOI:
      Herbert Tabor first began his relationship with the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) in 1943 when, at the age of 25, he published a first-author paper with A. Baird Hastings entitled: “The ionization constant of secondary magnesium phosphate.” For those who like numbers, this was 75 years ago, and the paper has received 59 citations. In 1961, having published several more papers in JBC, Tabor was asked to join the Editorial Board. His quiet, constructive, cut-to-the-chase style led him in seven short years to become an Associate Editor; he then moved remarkably quickly, due to the ill health of then Editor-in-Chief William Stein, to the role of Acting Editor and then Editor-in-Chief. Tabor held this position for more than 40 years. We doubt anyone would have been able to predict that he would stay in this role for so long, but the confidence-inspiring, insightful, and visionary leadership that he offered, combined with extremely effective people-management skills and scientific standards that are truly top-notch, garnered him such respect that he in essence became the soul of JBC. When, after more than four decades at the helm, Tabor decided to pass on the Editor-in-Chief duties, he was not ready to hang up his JBC spurs. So, Tabor has continued to the present as Co-Editor, assigning manuscripts to Associate Editors and providing sage advice on the journal.
      Tabor's amazing relationship with JBC has seen the journal through many chapters: From the days of more than 32,000 print pages per year containing a large share of all work published in the broad area of biological chemistry to a totally digital, fully electronically archived, smaller but nonetheless impactful journal that continues to publish high quality work from across the globe and to celebrate the synergy of biology and chemistry.
      And now we get to honor this wonderful champion of JBC as we see him through a chapter of his own: A momentous 100th birthday! We are marking the occasion in several ways, each a testament to his career-long involvement with JBC and ASBMB.
      • Tabor’s actual birthday (November 28) was formally celebrated by his home county in Maryland as Dr. Herbert Tabor Day.
      • We’re gathering testimonies to Tabor and birthday greetings at Please add your messages and photos before the end of the year!
      • A special collection of articles, assembled by Anthony Pegg, a longtime colleague of Herb Tabor’s, showcases Tabor’s own research field of polyamines—a topic he continues to pursue in his lab at the National Institutes of Health. This collection appears along with this editorial in the November 30 issue of JBC.
      • In early 2019, a second set of papers will be published in honor of Tabor. These papers describe scientific findings published in JBC under then Editor-in-Chief Tabor's leadership and how these manuscripts reported, catalyzed, and foreshadowed major scientific advances that continue to be the subject of intensive study and have proven to be of high impact. Only rarely do we have the exceptional longevity of an individual's influence on a journal to enable us to see the lineage of current scientific concepts and research areas, and to regale in the clarity and vision that person displayed by shepherding the early work through publication.
      We are so pleased to celebrate the centennial birthday of our friend and colleague Herb Tabor and to express our appreciation for his selfless and monumental contribution to JBC over these many decades!
      HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO HERB TABOR!!!!! We stand in awe, in so many ways!