Salk Institute professors named highly cited researchers of 2019
by Samantha Webster
Published - 01/06/20 - 01:16 PM | 15908 views | 80 80 comments | 158 158 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Salk Institute’s courtyard after a rainstorm.
The Salk Institute’s courtyard after a rainstorm.

Salk Institute professors and La Jolla residents — Rusty Gage, Ron Evans, and Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte — were on the list of the Highly Cited Researchers of 2019. With the help of the global citation database, Web of Science Group, and Clarivate Analytics, this annual list recognizes the world’s most influential science and social science researchers whose papers rank in the top 1% by citations in their field of study.

Rusty Gage, the Salk Institute’s president, professor in the Laboratory of Genetics, and Vi and John Adler Chair on Age-Related Neurodegenerative Disease, is among those recognized. Gage, who has been at Salk since 1995, studies the adaptability of mammals to their environment. 

“It is very meaningful to me to be listed alongside so many colleagues whose work I respect and admire,” says Gage. “We are all scientists because we love the process by which science seeks to understand the world. We are fortunate not only to do something we love, but also to be rewarded for it.” 

Ron Evans, professor and director of Salk’s Gene Expression Laboratory and the March of Dimes Chair in Molecular and Developmental Biology was also recognized. He has been with the Salk Institute just over 40 years, and his lab studies the role of hormones and nuclear hormone receptors, one of his lab’s discoveries, which are a family of molecules that respond to hormones.

“It’s an honor to be on a list that includes so many scientific luminaries,” says Evans. “At Salk, we are ‘seekers’ tackling some of the toughest problems in biology and medicine. We get to turn dreams into reality.” 

The third La Jolla resident and Salk Institute professor to be recognized is professor in Salk’s Gene Expression Laboratory and the Roger Guillemin Chair, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte. His lab studies the origins of cells, tissues, and organs by conducting experiments with stem cells. Izpisua Belmonte has been at Salk since 1993.

“I feel very honored to be named to this list with so many of my Salk colleagues and many scientists who are working hard for the better of humanity,” says Izpisua Belmonte.

In 2020, all three researchers hope to make great advances in their labs. Izpisua Belmonte is looking forward to making new discoveries in the areas of mammalian development and regenerative medicine and aging. Evans’s lab hopes to open new frontiers in pancreatic cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and Type 1 diabetes. As Salk’s president, Gage is excited for Salk scientists to continue collaborating to find ways to tackle an array of health and environmental challenges. 

Additionally, 2020 marks the Salk Institute's 60th anniversary. “We look forward to celebrating this landmark with the San Diego community, such as through events like our Explore Salk open house coming up in the spring,” says Gage.

Congratulations to the La Jolla residents and Salk Institute professors recognized on the list of Highly Cited Researchers of 2019. To learn more about the Salk Institute, visit

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