August 7, 2014

Great Eight

UMass Amherst scientists among the world’s most influential scientific minds

Early in July the multinational media and information firm Thomson Reuters released its “Highly Cited Researchers 2014” listing. More than 3,000 researchers in 21 fields earned inclusion “by writing the greatest numbers of reports officially designated by Essential Science Indicators as highly cited papers [and] ranking among the top 1 percent most cited for their subject field” for new publications during the past year. Among them were eight UMass Amherst faculty members, all from the College of Natural Sciences: chemist Vincent Rotello, polymer scientist Thomas Russell, soil chemist Baoshan Xing, microbiologist Derek Lovley, astronomer Mauro Giavalisco, and food scientists Eric Decker, David Julian McClements, and Yeonhwa Park.

“Science and innovation are strong drivers of the future,” said Basil Moftah, president of Thomson Reuters IP & Science, “and these people are making that future come to life. The global nature of our study highlights the countries, institutions, and researchers on the cutting edge of science.”

The subject fields covered by the UMass Amherst honorees are remarkably diverse. Rotello’s research on nanoparticles—tiny objects with an array of unique physical properties—is having a huge impact on disease diagnostics and treatment. Russell is a world leader in polymer science whose on-campus initiatives have included the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, the Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing, and the Energy Frontier Research Center. Xing’s work has in part dealt with exploring the use of biochar mechanisms to decrease nitrous oxide emissions from soil. Lovley is expanding on Geobacter, the electron-transporting bacteria he discovered, by introducing a groundbreaking energy-conversion process called microbial electrosynthesis. Giavalisco uses ground- and space-based facilities to study galaxy formation and evolution. Decker, an expert on lipid oxidation in foods, transforms scientific research to develop such food products as ice cream containing the beneficial omega-3 fatty acid. McClements uses natural ingredients—proteins and polysaccharides—to create foods that look and taste good but are healthier than their everyday counterparts. Park is uncovering secret properties of foods that prevent or treat major diseases.

“All eight of the campus researchers identified by Thomson Reuters are engaged in incredibly high quality science and are truly having significant impacts on their fields of study,” said Steve Goodwin, dean of the College of Natural Sciences. “The university is very proud of this most recent recognition for these notable researchers.”

Read more about:

Vincent Rotello
Thomas Russell
Baoshan Xing
Derek Lovley
Mauro Giavalisco
Eric Decker
David Julian McClements
Yeonhwa Park