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Nine Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influential

BY Lois Yoksoulian

Nine faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been named to the 2018 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list, including four from the IGB.

The list recognizes “leading researchers in the sciences and social sciences from around the world,” according to Clarivate Analytics.  It is based on an analysis of journal article publication and citation data, an objective measure of a researcher’s influence, from 2005-17.

The highly cited IGB researchers this year are: crop sciences and plant biology professor Lisa Ainsworth (highly cited in plant and animal science), crop sciences and plant biology professor Stephen P. Long (plant and animal science), chemistry professor Yi Lu (chemistry), and plant biology professor Donald Ort (plant and animal science).

Civil and environmental engineering professor Tami Bond (geosciences), electrical and computer engineering professor Thomas Huang (engineering), chemistry professor Prashant Jain (cross-field), chemistry professor Catherine Murphy (cross-field), and bioengineering professor Shuming Nie were also named.

Lisa Ainsworth is a U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service scientist and member of the Genomic Ecology of Global Change theme and a member of CABBI. Her research uses physiological, biochemical and genetic approaches to understand the mechanisms of plant responses to air pollution and climate change. A key goal of her work is to maximize crop production in the future. She is a University Scholar and a 2018 recipient of the Presidential Award from the Crop Sciences Society of America. She was on the Highly Cited Researchers list in 2016 and 2017.

Stephen Long is the Stanley O. Ikenberry Chair of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology and a member of the Genomic Ecology of Global Change and Biosystems Design themes, as well as a member of CABBI. He uses computational and experimental approaches to improve photosynthetic efficiency, and works to address the effects of climate change on crop yield. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 2013, and has been recognized as a highly cited researcher in the field of plant and animal science every year since 2005.  He directs Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency (RIPE), a multinational project supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research and the U.K. Department for International Development.

Yi Lu, the Jay and Ann Schenck Professor of Chemistry at Illinois, a member of the Biosystems Design and Omics Nanotechnology for Cancer Precision Medicine themes as well as CABBI, focuses on the design and engineering of metalloenzymes and functional DNA nanomaterials. Specifically, he studies their applications as biocatalysts in alternative-energy applications and as sensors and imaging agents for use in environmental monitoring, food safety and medical diagnostics. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a recipient of a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professors Award. He has appeared on the Highly Cited Researchers list every year since 2015.

Donald Ort is the Robert Emerson Professor of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences at Illinois, the leader of the Genomic Ecology of Global Change theme and a member of Biosystems Design and CABBI. His research focuses on improving photosynthesis and addresses crop responses to global change factors including increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2017.

Tami Bond is the Nathan M. Newmark Distinguished Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering. She studies particle emissions, their color and how they affect the climate, as well as interventions to reduce emissions around the world. Among other honors, she is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER grant and a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. She has appeared on the Highly Cited Researchers list every year since 2015.

Thomas Huang is the Maybelle Leland Swanlund Endowed Chair Emeritus in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He studies many fields related to computer engineering and artificial intelligence, including human computer interaction, multimedia signal processing, computer vision, big data and machine learning. He retired from teaching in 2014, but continues to be active as a researcher.

Prashant Jain is the associate head of major projects in the department of chemistry. He investigates light-matter interactions in nanoscale materials. He also is a Richard and Margaret Romano Professorial Scholar and an I.C. Gunsalus Scholar. He has affiliations with the department of physics, the Materials Research Laboratory and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois.

Catherine Murphy is the Larry Faulkner Endowed Chair in Chemistry at Illinois. Her research focuses on developing diverse nanomaterials for applications in biology and biotechnology for imaging cells, chemical sensing and photothermal therapy. She also studies the environmental impact of nanoparticles and how their chemical properties influence their behavior. She is the associate director of the Materials Research Laboratory and is affiliated with the Micro and Nano Technology Laboratory and with the Beckman Institute at Illinois. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the AAAS, the American Chemical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Shuming Nie is the Grainger Distinguished Chair in Bioengineering and a professor of bioengineering, chemistry, electrical and computer engineering.  He joined the faculty at Illinois in 2017 after more than 10 years as a professor of biomedical engineering at Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. He studies nanomedicine, molecular engineering, and image-guided minimally invasive robotic surgery. He is as Fellow of the AAAS and International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering.

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