UW Today

January 15, 2016

Twenty-seven UW faculty listed among ‘world’s most influential scientific minds’ by Thomson Reuters

The University of Washington is home to 27 researchers included on Thomson Reuters’ list of “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” for 2015, which was released Jan. 14. The distinction, based on an analysis of over a decade of research paper citations among 21 general scientific fields, is meant to recognize scientists who are most cited by their peers.

“The awe-inspiring research being done every day at the University of Washington aims to create change and make the world a better place,” UW President Ana Mari Cauce said. “This recognition of so many of our faculty members as being among the world’s most influential minds is not surprising, but does serve as a reminder of the global impact of their innovative research and scholarship.”

The report also includes three UW scientists from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and the Department of Global Health — Christopher Murray, Mohsen Naghavi and Theo Vos — among 2015’s “hottest researchers,” scientists who had each produced over a dozen highly cited papers since 2012. Only the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard had more researchers on this list.

“This recognition is an honor. It is also a testament to our dedicated team here at IHME and to our collaborators around the world involved in the global burden of disease,” said IHME director Murray, who also co-founded the Global Burden of Disease approach to public health to evaluate and quantify health losses due to disease, injury and risk factors. “Their hard work is advancing our mission to improve health through better evidence.”

Thompson Reuters chose to focus on these authors of “hot papers” because, the report noted, “authors who are prolific in ‘hot papers’ are clearly producing work that is influential and useful,” as judged by their peers. Most of the 19 scientists with this high distinction work in emerging fields such as cancer genomics, renewable energy and materials science.

“Hopefully, this is just the beginning of a new advancement in health. As our work continues to influence health policy and strategy across the world, we hope to continue to see improvements,” said Vos, who has worked to improve Global Burden of Disease methodology, modeling, data acquisition and analysis. “With this recognition of IHME’s scientific work and the impact of our global expertise on this matter, it is highly encouraging to see health metrics rise in prominence as a field.”

Murray had 22 highly cited papers between 2012 and 2014, while Vos had 16 and Naghavi had 15.

“Each year, millions of lives are cut short by preventable disease and unnecessary burden, and we aim to lower those numbers through better health evidence. This ranking reflects the impact of the Global Burden of Disease network, which has grown to more than 1,500 researchers in 120 countries,” said Naghavi, who heads the IHME’s efforts to analyze cause of death, cancer and tropical diseases globally. “We look forward to the network’s continued expansion, specialization and achievement.”

In addition to this top list of “hottest researchers,” the report includes over 3,000 scientists from institutions around the world who published papers between 2003 and 2013 that were highly cited by their peers in fields, ranging from physical and social sciences to medicine and economics. The analysis, produced by the intellectual property and science wing of Thomson Reuters, made use of data sets tracking research paper citations, such as Web of Science.

UW faculty members who made this list of highly cited researchers includes Wayne Katon, who died in 2015. Here is the full list of the 27 UW faculty members, as well as their general research fields as classified by Thomson Reuters:

Scott Anderson, for space science: Department of Astronomy
David Baker, for biology and biochemistry: Department of Biochemistry
Guozhong Cao, for materials science: Department of Materials Science & Engineering
John Crowley, for clinical medicine: Department of Biostatistics
Evan Eichler, for molecular biology and genetics: Department of Genome Sciences
Michael Gale, for microbiology: Department of Immunology
Allan Hoffman, for pharmacology and toxicology: Department of Bioengineering
Željko Ivezić, for space science: Department of Astronomy
Alex Jen, for materials science: Department of Materials Science & Engineering
Samson Jenekhe, for materials science: Department of Chemical Engineering, Department of Chemistry
Ian Joughin, for geoscience: Applied Physics Laboratory
Wayne Katon, for psychiatry and psychology: Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Michael Katze, for microbiology: Department of Microbiology
Thomas Montine, for neuroscience and behavior: Department of Pathology
Christopher Murray, for clinical medicine and global health: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Department of Global Health
Mohsen Naghavi, for global health: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Department of Global Health
Graham Nichol, for clinical medicine: Department of Medicine
Deborah Nickerson, for molecular biology and genetics: Department of Genome Sciences
William Noble, for computer science: Department of Genome Sciences, Department of Computer Science & Engineering
Mohamed Oukka, for immunology: Department of Pediatrics
Ross Prentice, for clinical medicine and general social sciences: Department of Biostatistics
Bruce Psaty, for clinical medicine: Department of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology
Thomas Quinn, for space science: Department of Astronomy
Brian Saelens, for general social sciences: Department of Pediatrics, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Judit Villen, for biology and biochemistry: Department of Genome Sciences
Theo Vos, for global health: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Department of Global Health
Miqin Zhang, for materials science, pharmacology and toxicology: Department of Materials Science & Engineering

Oukka has a joint appointment with the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, while Prentice is also on faculty at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. In addition, Thomson Reuters recognized two affiliate UW faculty members, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Garnet Anderson for clinical medicine and the University of Melbourne’s Alan Lopez for global health.

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