“The Highly Cited Researchers list contributes to the identification of that small fraction of the researcher population that significantly extends the frontiers of knowledge,” says David Pendlebury, senior citation analyst at the Institute for Scientific Information. “These researchers create gains for society, innovation and knowledge that make the world healthier, richer, more sustainable and more secure."
Such consistent production of highly cited reports indicates that the work of these researchers has been repeatedly judged by their peers to be of notable significance and utility, as based on data from the Web of Science, the world’s largest publisher-neutral citation index, with over 1.4 billion cited references going back to 1900. This year’s list, which includes 6,216 researchers, recognizes researchers across multiple fields whose citation records position them in the highest ranks of influence.
Salk professors Joanne Chory, Joseph Ecker and Rusty Gage have been named to this list every year since 2014, when the regular annual rankings began. Joining their ranks this year are professors Ronald Evans, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, Terrence Sejnowski from Pacific Beach, and Reuben Shaw.
The Salk faculty are all listed in the category of molecular biology and genetics, while Ecker is also listed in plant and animal science and Gage is also listed in neuroscience and behavior.
Sejnowski is a professor in and laboratory head of the Computational Neurobiology Laboratory, and holds the Francis Crick Chair. He is a recipient of a National Science Foundation grant for neuroscience research and has made a number of discoveries about the brain, including that its memory capacity is 10 times greater than previously thought.
Chory is a professor and director of Salk’s Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and holder of the Howard H. and Maryam R. Newman Chair in Plant Biology. Chory has won numerous awards for her work in — and is currently spearheading Salk’s Harnessing Plants Initiative — a bold effort to use plants to absorb increased amounts of carbon to help stem global warming.
Ecker is a professor in Salk’s Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory and director of the Genomic Analysis Laboratory. He was the first to show that the epigenome is highly dynamic in brain cells during the transition from birth to adulthood. Currently, Ecker is the recipient of multiple National Institutes of Health BRAIN Initiative grants, and he is charting the epigenetic differences between brain cell types to better understand disorders such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Evans, a professor and director of the Gene Expression Laboratory, is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and holds the March of Dimes Chair in Molecular and Developmental Biology. He is a participant in Salk’s Conquering Cancer Initiative, which seeks new strategies against the deadliest cancers. Evans’ groundbreaking development of a synthetic vitamin D therapy for pancreatic cancer is currently in clinical trials. He was also cited as a top researcher in a recent report from the journal PLOS Biology.
Gage, a professor in the Laboratory of Genetics and holder of the Vi and John Adler Chair for Research on Age-Related Neurodegenerative Disease, is the president of the Salk Institute. He discovered that the adult brain continues to produce new neurons throughout the life span in a process known as neurogenesis, and was also cited as a top researcher by PLOS Biology. Most recently he, along with several Salk researchers, was awarded an American Heart Association-Allen Initiative in Brain Health grant to pursue a new collaborative approach to understanding, detecting and potentially treating Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline.
Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte
Izpisua Belmonte, a professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory and holder of the Roger Guillemin Chair, is an authority on stem-cell biology and regenerative medicine. Named one of TIME magazine’s “50 Most Influential People in Health Care” for 2018, Izpisua Belmonte has pioneered cutting-edge gene-editing technologies, epigenetic editing methods, and stem-cell techniques.
Shaw, a professor in the Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory and holder of the William R. Brody Chair, is the director of the Salk Cancer Center and a recipient of the National Cancer Institute Outstanding Investigator Award. He is leading Salk’s Conquering Cancer Initiative, and recently discovered two therapeutic targets for a deadly cancer known as non-small-cell lung cancer.
About the Salk Institute for Biological Studies:
Every cure has a starting point. The Salk Institute embodies Jonas Salk’s mission to dare to make dreams into reality. Its internationally renowned and award-winning scientists explore the very foundations of life, seeking new understandings in neuroscience, genetics, immunology, plant biology and more. The Institute is an independent nonprofit organization and architectural landmark: small by choice, intimate by nature and fearless in the face of any challenge. Be it cancer or Alzheimer’s, aging or diabetes, Salk is where cures begin. Learn more at: salk.edu.