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ACES researchers among the most influential scientists

URBANA, IL – Of the five Illinois researchers recently recognized by Clarivate Analytics as Highly Cited Researchers, two – or 40 percent – are affiliated with the Department of Crop Sciences in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

Clarivate Analytics analyzed journal article citations between 2005 and 2015 to develop the list, which recognizes the top 1 percent of highly cited researchers around the world and across disciplines. 

The company says the researchers are “leading the way in solving the world’s biggest challenges.” Both Highly Cited Researchers from the College of ACES, Stephen P. Long and Lisa Ainsworth, were ranked in the plant and animal science category.

Stephen P. Long, Gutgsell Endowed Professor in the Departments of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology, works to boost crop yield to provide food and fuel to a growing population under changing climate scenarios. His groundbreaking work has landed him on the list of highly cited researchers each year since 2005.

“Although these awards are attributed to individuals, it is important to recognize that it is the facilities and environment provided by the university, ACES, and crop sciences, along with colleagues and exceptionally able graduate students and post-doctoral fellows that have made this possible,” Long says.

Lisa Ainsworth, USDA ARS scientist and professor in plant biology and adjunct professor in crop sciences, also conducts research aimed at increasing crop production under changing climates. 

Her focus is on the photosynthetic and metabolic changes plants undergo in enriched carbon dioxide and ozone environments.

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized for the citations to my research. Although I appear on the list, most of my highly cited publications have been written in collaboration with exceptional mentors (including Steve Long), graduate students, and post-docs. 

I am grateful to all of them for their collaboration and hard work,” Ainsworth says.

Germán Bollero, head of the Department of Crop Sciences, says, “Drs. Ainsworth and Long continue a long tradition of excellence in photosynthesis research at U of I. 

They have provided tremendous contributions to growing crops in a changing environment. This recognition goes beyond the citations to include the education of many graduate students that have been part of their labs.”

Dean of the College of ACES, Kimberlee Kidwell says, “The work of Drs. Long and Ainsworth demonstrates how research conducted at Illinois supports the scientific community by addressing the world’s greatest challenges. 

The concentration of talented faculty and staff at this university continues to amaze me. The passion and commitment these two individuals have for making a difference through their work is truly inspiring, and we are honored that they are members of the ACES family.”