Four LAS faculty rank among the world's most influential researchers

Professors have produced some of the decade's most cited papers
From left: Lisa Ainsworth, Mei-Po Kwan, Stephen Long, and Donald Ort
From left: Lisa Ainsworth, Mei-Po Kwan, Stephen Long, and Donald Ort have been named among the world's most influential researchers.

Four faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences have been named to the 2019 Highly Cited Researchers list, a global listing of scientists who produced the past decade’s most influential papers, compiled by the Web of Science group, a Clarivate Analytics company.

The list recognizes researchers “who produced multiple papers ranking in the top 1 percent by citations for their field and year of publication, demonstrating significant research influence among their peers,” according to Web of Science. It selected 6,216 researchers for their performance in 21 fields and for cross-field influence in scholarly publications from 2008 to 2018.

The Illinois faculty include plant biology and crop sciences professor Elizabeth “Lisa” Ainsworth (highly cited for cross-field impact), geography and geographic information science professor Mei-Po Kwan (cross-field), plant biology and crop sciences  professor Stephen P. Long (cross-field), and plant biology professor Donald Ort (plant and animal science).

Ainsworth leads the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service’s Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit. Her research examines genetic variation in crop responses to air pollution and climate change. She received the 2019 Prize in Food and Agricultural Research from the National Academy of Sciences and is an affiliate of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) at Illinois.

Kwan investigates health, transportation and urban issues using innovative geographic information system methods. Her work encompasses environmental health, human mobility, access to health care, neighborhood effects, sustainable travel and cities, and the application of GIS methods in geographic research. Kwan is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the U.K. Academy of Social Sciences. Among other honors, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2016 and Distinguished Scholarship Honors from the American Association of Geographers in 2011.

Long is the Stanley O. Ikenberry Chair of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology. 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, 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. He is a member of the IGB.

Ort is the Robert Emerson Professor of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences. His research focuses on improving photosynthesis and addresses crop responses to global change factors including increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature. He leads the Genomic Ecology of Global Change theme in the IGB and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2017. 

Four other U of I faculty members outside of LAS were also included on the list. They include materials science and engineering professor Axel Hoffmann (cross-field), electrical and computer engineering professor Thomas Huang (engineering), bioengineering professor Shuming Nie (cross-field), and mechanical science and engineering professor Arend van der Zande (cross-field).

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