UWA celebrates 12 researchers on Highly Cited Researchers 2020 list

19 Nov 2020 | 6 mins

The University of Western Australia is proud to announce that 12 of our academics have been named on the annual Highly Cited Researchers™ 2020 list from Clarivate.

The researchers are: Professors Harvey Millar and Ryan Lister from the School of Molecular Sciences; Professor Davey Jones from the School of Agriculture and Environment; Professors David Edwards, Hans Lambers and Thomas Wernberg and Adjunct Associate Professor Etienne Laliberté from the School of Biological Sciences; Professor Enrico Valdinoci from the School of Mathematics and Statistics; Professor Gerald Watts from the Medical School; Professor Kadambot Siddique and Adjunct Professor Rajeev Varshney from The UWA Institute of Agriculture; and Adjunct Professor Shaun Wilson from the Oceans Graduate School.

The highly anticipated annual list identifies researchers who demonstrated significant influence in their chosen field or fields through the publication of multiple highly cited papers during the last decade. Their names are drawn from the publications that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and publication year in the Web of Science™ citation index. 

“This is a fitting acknowledgement of UWA’s dedicated, cutting-edge research addressing community and global challenges, and I congratulate them all."

UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Amit Chakma

The methodology that determines the “who’s who” of influential researchers draws on the data and analysis performed by bibliometric experts and data scientists at the Institute for Scientific Information™ at Clarivate. It also uses the tallies to identify the countries and research institutions where these scientific elite are based.

UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Amit Chakma said he was delighted so many of the University’s outstanding researchers had been recognised as among the world’s most influential.

“This is a fitting acknowledgement of UWA’s dedicated, cutting-edge research addressing community and global challenges, and I congratulate them all,” Professor Chakma said. 

UWA Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Tim Colmer said UWA’s highly cited researchers were working to find solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.

“Our researchers are recognised internationally as leaders in their field and great innovators, contributing to ground-breaking advancements,” Professor Colmer said.

Professor Millar’s research findings have offered insight into how energy in plant cells is made, and ways that this can be used to drive plant growth and protein content, and engineer crops of the future to benefit farmers and improve global nutrition.

Professor Lister’s research focuses on the epigenome; the molecular code superimposed on the genome that plays important roles in controlling how the information stored in the DNA is used by cells. His work has increased understanding of the epigenome in plants, humans, stem cells, development and the brain, and is driving advances that will provide benefits to agriculture, human health, and medicine.

Having published more than 480 scientific journal articles, Professor Jones’ research is focused on nutrients and human pathogen behaviour in soil-plant-microbial-water systems. 

Professor Edwards leads a team of researchers who work with industry to carry out bioinformatics research in genetics and genomics, with a focus on wheat, brassica and chickpea crops.

A biodiversity expert, Professor Lambers’ research has contributed significantly to our understanding of the mineral nutrition of Australian plants and particularly how they obtain phosphorus from the soil and use it efficiently.

Professor Wernberg’s research uncovers how temperate marine ecosystems, such as kelp forests, respond to climate change, marine heatwaves and other human pressures. In Australia he has worked extensively across the Great Southern Reef.

Although now based in Canada at Université de Montréal’s Biodiversity Centre, Associate Professor Laliberté maintains an active field-based research program in south-west studying dunes of increasing soil age as ‘natural experiments’ to test ecological hypotheses about how soil fertility influences plant biodiversity.

Professor Valdinoci’s research focuses on partial differential equations, non-local equations, calculus of variations and dynamical systems. He is the most quoted mathematician according to his graduation year in all subjects.

Professor Watts’ research focus is cardiometabolic medicine including the causes of cholesterol disorders, artery wall dysfunction and diabetic renal disease. He has produced key papers on the regression of coronary artery disease, endothelial dysfunction in dyslipidaemia and diabetes, use of stable isotopes in lipoprotein and obesity research, and the detection of early diabetic nephropathy.

Most recently, Professor Watts has employed implementation science methods to improve the clinical care of families with inherited metabolic causes of premature coronary artery disease.

Hackett Professor of Agriculture and Director of The UWA Institute of Agriculture, Professor Siddique’s major contribution to dryland agriculture has been crop yield improvements in grain legumes and wheat in the fields of crop physiology, production agronomy, germplasm development and breeding. His research is relevant to the farming community and aims to solve real problems through meticulous scientific research methodology and collaboration with a number of leading institutions in China, India and elsewhere.

Adjunct Professor Varshney’s research investigates molecular breeding and genome sequencing in crops. He collaborates extensively with UWA and is based at The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics.

Adjunct Professor Wilson’s work at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions focuses on the health of tropical coral reefs and he collaborates with The UWA Oceans Institute.

David Pendlebury, Senior Citation Analyst at the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate said: “In the race for knowledge, it is human capital that is fundamental and this list identifies and celebrates exceptional individual researchers at The University of Western Australia who are having a great impact on the research community as measured by the rate at which their work is being cited by others.”

The full 2020 Highly Cited Researchers list and executive summary can be found online here

Media references

Simone Hewett, UWA Media & PR Manager, 08 6488 3229 / 0432 637 716

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