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Illinois IGB

Eight Illinois scientists rank among world's most influential, five from IGB

November 16, 2023

Eight researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have been named to the 2023 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list, with five 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. 

The highly cited Illinois researchers from the IGB this year are crop sciences and plant biology professor Elizabeth Ainsworth, plant biology professor Li-Qing Chennatural resources and environmental sciences professor Kaiyu Guan, crop sciences and plant biology professor Stephen Long, and psychology professor Brent Roberts

The remaining researchers are materials science and engineering professor Axel Hoffmannatmospheric sciences professor Atul Jain, and psychology professor emeritus Ed Diener, who is deceased.

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 Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, the Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment and the Center for Digital Agriculture. She directs the Soybean Free Air Concentration Enrichment facility, the longest running field experiment for adapting crops to atmospheric change, where she studies how crops respond to rising carbon dioxide concentrations, ozone pollution, increased temperatures and intensifying drought stress. A key goal of her research 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 National Academy of Sciences member in 2020.

Chen aims to employ bioengineering solutions to contribute to global food security and reduce global dependency on fossil fuels and raw materials. Her core interests center around understanding the mechanism of sugar allocation in plants, which serves as a basis for engineering using a combination of in vivo biochemistry, cell biology, molecular genetics and systems, and synthetic biology. Chen also is affiliated with IGB and is a professor at the Center for Digital Agriculture and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. She is a recipient of the New Phytologist Tansley Medal for Early Career Scientists and an I. C. Gunsalus Scholar from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Illinois.

Guan works to ensure sustainable food production and develop solutions to environmental challenges in agriculture, focusing on agroecosystem modeling, remote sensing, environmental forecasting and agricultural adaptation to climate change. He uses satellite data, computational models, fieldwork, supercomputing and machine-learning approaches to address how climate and human practices affect crop productivity, water resource availability and ecosystem functioning. Guan is the founding director of the Agroecosystem Sustainability Center at iSEE, a professor in computer science and a Blue Waters professor at NCSA. He is an American Geophysical Union Fellow, an AGU James B. Macelwane Medal recipient, and was recently awarded the Foodshot Global Groundbreaker Prize. 

Long is the Stanley O. Ikenberry Chair of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology. He uses computational and bioengineering approaches to improve photosynthetic efficiency and works to address the effects of climate change on crop yields. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 2013 and a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2019. He directs Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency, a multinational project. He is an affiliate of the IGB, NCSA and the Center for Advanced Study

Roberts specializes in the field of personality psychology and studies continuity and change in personality throughout adulthood, with an emphasis on understanding the factors that influence change. His recent research focuses on assessing and building social, emotional and behavioral skills. 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. He holds the Gutsgell Endowed Professorship and is a Health Innovation Professor in the Carle Illinois College of Medicine.

November 16, 2023
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