Highly Cited Researchers

October 22, 2014

PMB professors in top one percent of citations in their fields

Top: Sheng Luan, Middle: Chris Somerville, Bottom: Shauna Somerville

By Karyn Houston
Plant & Microbial Biology

Three PMB professors have been chosen as being representatives as the world's "leading scientific minds" by Thomson Reuters, which ranked them among the top one percent "most cited for their subject field" earning them a mark of "exceptional impact".    

Thomson Reuters, a news and information service, recently generated the 2014 list of Highly Cited Researchers within the scientific field by using the following criteria:

  • Articles and reviews in science and social sciences journals indexed in the Web of Science Core Collection during the 11-year period 2002-2012 were surveyed.
  • Rather than using total citations as a measure of influence or ‘impact,’ only Highly Cited Papers were considered. Highly Cited Papers are defined as those that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year indexed in the Web of Science, which is generally but not always year of publication. These data derive from Essential Science Indicators℠ (ESI). The fields are also those employed in ESI – 21 broad fields, which are defined by sets of journals. In the case of multidisciplinary journals such as Nature and Science, these are defined as a paper-by-paper assignment to a field. Since papers are weighed against others in the same annual cohort, this percentile-based selection method removes the citation disadvantage of recently published papers relative to older ones. 

More than 3,000 researchers earned the distinction, and the list can be found at the link below. Luan, Chris Somerville and Shauna Somerville are considered to be among the “most influential scientific minds of 2014." 

All are professors at PMB.

Sheng Luan's research focus is "Plant Responses to the Environment". His lab studies how plants perceive and respond to extracellular signals by modifying their developmental and physiological programs. Luan's research has identified a new molecular network for calcium signal transduction in plants. Downstream of these early signaling events, plants respond to environmental signals by regulating the biochemical processes including those in the chloroplasts.

Chris Somerville is Philomathia Chair and a Professor of Alternative Energy and Director of the Energy Biosciences Institute, the largest public-private partnership in the world dedicated to apply advanced biological knowledge to the area of bioenergy development. The lab's research is largely directed toward understanding how plant cell wall polysaccharides are synthesized, how the structures relate to the functions of the cell wall and how the system is regulated. Chris Somerville envisions that knowledge of cell wall structure and function will facilitate the development of plants with improved utility as sources of renewable materials and as biofuel feedstocks. A major focus of work in the lab is to understand how cellulose is made.

Shauna Somerville focuses on plant-pathogen interactions, mechanisms of host defense and cell wall integrity sensing. The Lab studies plant-pathogen interactions, especially the host's active, if unwitting, role in disease development. The Shauna Somerville Lab works with powdery mildew disease on model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, using mutational analysis to identify host factors required for successful disease development. They also study a new area of plant-pathogen biology involving non-host resistance that protects all members of a plant species from all members of a pathogen species. Results from both these projects highlight the importance of both active and passive defenses operating in the host cell wall.

Important Links

Highly Cited Researchers- Highlycited.com

Sheng Luan- pmb.berkeley.edu/profile/sluan

Chris Somerville- pmb.berkeley.edu/profile/csomerville

Chris Somerville- vcresearch.berkeley.edu/philomathiacenter/chair

Shauna Somerville- pmb.berkeley.edu/profile/ssomerville