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Nine Illinois scientists rank among world's most influential, four from IGB


Nine researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have been named to the 2022 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list, with four from the IGB. The list recognizes research scientists and social scientists who have demonstrated exceptional influence – reflected through their publication of multiple papers frequently cited by their peers during the last decade. This year’s list includes 6,938 individuals from around the world whose papers rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in the Web of Science.

The highly cited IGB researchers this year are: crop sciences and plant biology professor Elizabeth Ainsworth (CABBI/GEGC), natural resources and environmental sciences professor Kaiyu Guan (CABBI), plant biology professor Donald Ort (GEGC leader/BSD/CABBI), and psychology professor Brent Roberts (GNDP).

The remaining researchers are materials science and engineering professor Axel Hoffmann, atmospheric sciences professor Atul Jain, materials science and engineering professor emerita Jennifer A. Lewis, and mechanical science and engineering professor Arend van der Zande. Psychology professor emeritus Ed Diener, who is deceased, is also on this year’s list.

In addition to being a professor of crop sciences and of plant biology, Ainsworth is employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit. She is an affiliate of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the U. of I. Her work focuses on plant metabolism, photosynthesis and molecular variation within species and how those factors contribute to plant responses to global change. A key goal is to maximize crop production in the future. Ainsworth was awarded the National Academy of Sciences Prize in Food and Agricultural Sciences in 2019 and was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2020.

Guan works to ensure sustainable food production and find solutions to environmental challenges in agriculture, with a focus on agroecosystem modeling, crop remote sensing, environmental forecasting and agricultural adaptation to climate change. He uses satellite data, computational models, field work, supercomputing and machine-learning approaches to address how climate and human practices affect crop productivity, water resource availability and ecosystem functioning. He is an Office of Research Fellow in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, and a professor in computer science and in the NCSA with affiliations in the U. of I. Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment, and in geography and geographic information science. He is a recipient of faculty early career awards from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and received the American Geophysical Union’s Early Career Award in Global Environmental Change.

Ort is the Robert Emerson Professor of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences at Illinois. His research focuses on improving photosynthesis and addresses crop responses to global change including increases in atmospheric CO2 and temperature. He leads the Genomic Ecology of Global Change research theme at the IGB and was elected to the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service Science Hall of Fame in 2015 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2017.

Roberts is a professor of psychology in the field of personality psychology. He studies continuity and change in personality throughout adulthood, with an emphasis on understanding the factors that influence change. He is particularly interested in conscientiousness and its relationships to other key personality traits and to health and well-being. Roberts was named a Fellow of the American Psychological Association in 2009, a Fellow of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in 2009 and a Fellow of the Association of Psychological Science in 2013.

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