Five of the world’s most impactful researchers are at Illinois


Five University researchers were acknowledged as World’s Most Influential for 2017.

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Five University faculty members have been recognized in the 2017 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list, which showcases leading scientific researchers from around the world. Ranking is based on the analysis of journal article publication and citation data, an objective measure of the researcher’s influence, from 2005 to 2015.

The University researchers featured on this year’s list include crop sciences and plant biology professors Lisa Ainsworth and Stephen Long; civil and environmental engineering professor Tami Bond; psychology professor Brent Roberts; and chemistry professor Yi Lu.

Ainsworth is being recognized for her research in plant metabolism, photosynthesis and molecular variation with species with the goal of increasing crop production. She was also recognized on the Highly Cited Researchers list in 2016.

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized for the citations to my research,” she said. “While I am appearing on the list, most of my highly cited publications have been written in collaboration with exceptional mentors, graduate students and postdoctoral students, and I am grateful to all of them for their guidance and hard work.”

Long has been recognized as a highly cited researcher for plant and animal science every year since 2005. His research in crop sciences and plant biology uses computational and experimental approaches to improve photosynthetic efficiency, working to address the effects of climate change on crop yield.

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“It is more than recognition. It is objective proof and reassurance that our work has a major influence on plant and animal biological research at the present time,” Long said.

For her work in civil and environmental engineering, Bond has also been recognized as a highly cited researcher in 2015 and 2016. She studies particle emissions and interventions used to reduce emissions around the world, as well as how they affect the climate.

Lu was on the list in 2015 and 2016 for his research in chemistry. His work focuses on the design, engineering and application of metalloenzymes as biocatalysts in alternative-energy applications. He also focuses on metalloenzymes use as sensors and imaging agents in environmental monitoring, food safety and medical diagnostics.

“(This honor) helps recruit outstanding students and postdoctoral researchers who would like their work having some impacts on ways research is conducted,” Lu said.

Roberts is being recognized for his research in personality psychology. He studies continuity and change, including the factors that influence changes in personality throughout adulthood. He was also on the list in 2016.

“I believe our work showing the basics of how personality develops across the life course — how stable it is and how and why it changes — plus our more recent work on the importance of personality to success in life are probably the works that result in the most citations,” he said.

Roberts also wished to acknowledge the “excellent graduate students, postdoctoral students and colleagues” who do not receive explicit recognition by the Highly Cited Researchers list.

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