November 16, 2021

Six Salk professors named among most highly cited researchers in the world

The Salk researchers have publications ranking in the top 1 percent by citations

Salk News

Six Salk professors named among most highly cited researchers in the world

The Salk researchers have publications ranking in the top 1 percent by citations

LA JOLLA—Salk Professors Joanne Chory, Joseph Ecker, Rusty Gage, Satchidananda Panda, Reuben Shaw and Kay Tye have been named to the Highly Cited Researchers list by Clarivate. The list identifies researchers who demonstrate “significant influence in their chosen field or fields through the publication of multiple highly cited papers.” Chory, Ecker and Gage have been named to this list every year since 2014, when the regular annual rankings began. This is Tye’s fifth, Shaw’s third and Panda’s first time receiving the designation. Additionally, Ecker appeared in two separate categories: “plant and animal science” and “molecular biology and genetics” and is one of 3.4 percent of researchers selected in two fields. Joseph Nery, a research assistant II in the Ecker lab, was also included on the list.

“This list identifies and celebrates exceptional individual researchers at the Salk Institute who are having a significant impact on the research community as evidenced by the rate at which their work is being cited by their peers. The research they have contributed is fueling the innovation, sustainability, health and security that is key for our society’s future,” says David Pendlebury, senior citation analyst at the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate.

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 almost 2.1 billion cited references going back to 1900. This year’s list, which includes 6,602 researchers from more than 70 countries, recognizes researchers across multiple fields whose citation records position them in the highest ranks of influence.

Joanne Chory
Chory is a professor in, 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’s awards include the L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Award, the Gruber Genetics Prize, the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, the Princess of Asturias Award and the Pearl Meister Greengard Prize. She also co-directs Salk’s Harnessing Plants Initiative—a bold approach to address climate change by optimizing a plant’s natural ability to capture and store carbon and adapt to diverse climate conditions.

Joseph Ecker
Ecker is a professor in Salk’s Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory, director of the Genomic Analysis Laboratory and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. He is also the Salk International Council Chair in Genetics. He was the first to show that the epigenome is highly dynamic in brain cells during the transition from birth to adulthood. Ecker is the recipient of multiple recent 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.

Rusty Gage
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. Most recently, he and a team of Salk researchers were 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.

Satchidananda Panda  
Panda is a professor in the Regulatory Biology Laboratory and holder of the Rita and Richard Atkinson Chair. He seeks to uncover the links between our circadian clock and health. His lab discovered that confining caloric consumption to an 8-to12-hour period might stave off high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and liver disease. Panda was among the researchers who discovered the essential function of a blue-light-sensitive protein, melanopsin, in regulating our circadian clock, sleep and alertness and, more recently, his lab discovered that almost every gene in our genome turns on and off in different organs at specific times during the 24-hour day.

Reuben Shaw
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, a recipient of the National Cancer Institute Outstanding Investigator Award, and leads Salk’s Conquering Cancer Initiative. He discovered that a gene frequently mutated in cancer regulates an enzyme that is critical for the therapeutic benefit of metformin, which is currently the most widely used frontline type 2 diabetes medication. Shaw continues to work on how nutrient deprivation and cellular energy levels control cancer and other diseases.

Kay Tye
Tye is a professor in Salk’s Systems Neurobiology Laboratory, holder of the Wylie Vale Chair, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. She seeks to understand the neural-circuit basis of emotion that leads to motivated behaviors such as social interaction, reward-seeking and avoidance. She recently published a seminal paper describing her discovery of a brain circuit that controls alcohol drinking behavior in mice and can be used as a biomarker for predicting the development of compulsive drinking later on. This year, she published work furthering her investigation on the neural circuits associated with the experience of loneliness.

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