News Release

Five Salk professors named among most highly cited researchers in the world

The Salk researchers have publications ranking in the top 1 percent by citations

Grant and Award Announcement

Salk Institute

LA JOLLA--(November 18, 2020) Salk Professors Joanne Chory, Joseph Ecker, Rusty Gage, Reuben Shaw and Kay Tye have been named to the Highly Cited Researchers list by Clarivate. The list identifies researchers who demonstrate "significant influence in their chosen field or fields through the publication of multiple highly cited papers." Professors Chory, Ecker and Gage have been named to this list every year since 2014, when the regular annual rankings began. This is Professor Tye's fourth consecutive time and Professor Shaw's second consecutive time receiving the designation. Joseph Nery, a research assistant II in the Ecker lab, was also included on the list.

"In the race for knowledge, it is human capital that is fundamental and this list identifies and celebrates exceptional individual researchers who are having a great impact on the research community as measured by the rate at which their work is being cited by others," says David Pendlebury, senior citation analyst at the Institute for Scientific Information, part of the Web of Science group at Clarivate.

Such consistent production of highly cited reports indicates that the work of these researchers has been repeatedly judged by their peers to be of notable significance and utility, as based on data from the Web of Science, the world's largest publisher-neutral citation index, with almost 1.9 billion cited references going back to 1900. This year's list, which includes 6,167 researchers from more than 60 countries, recognizes researchers across multiple fields whose citation records position them in the highest ranks of influence.

Joanne Chory

Chory is a professor in, and director of, Salk's Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and holder of the Howard H. and Maryam R. Newman Chair in Plant Biology. Chory has won numerous prestigious awards for her work including the Gruber Genetics Prize and the Breakthrough Prize. She also co-directs Salk's Harnessing Plants Initiative--a bold approach to address climate change by optimizing a plant's natural ability to capture and store carbon and adapt to diverse climate conditions.

Joseph Ecker

Ecker is a professor in Salk's Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory, director of the Genomic Analysis Laboratory and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. He is also the Salk International Council Chair in Genetics. He was the first to show that the epigenome is highly dynamic in brain cells during the transition from birth to adulthood. Ecker is the recipient of multiple recent National Institutes of Health BRAIN Initiative grants, and he is charting the epigenetic differences between brain cell types to better understand disorders such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease.

Rusty Gage

Gage, a professor in the Laboratory of Genetics and holder of the Vi and John Adler Chair for Research on Age-Related Neurodegenerative Disease, is the president of the Salk Institute. He discovered that the adult brain continues to produce new neurons throughout the life span in a process known as neurogenesis. Most recently, he, and a team of Salk researchers were awarded an American Heart Association-Allen Initiative in Brain Health grant to pursue a new collaborative approach to understanding, detecting and potentially treating Alzheimer's disease and age-related cognitive decline.

Reuben Shaw

Shaw, a professor in the Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory and holder of the William R. Brody Chair, is the director of the Salk Cancer Center, a recipient of the National Cancer Institute Outstanding Investigator Award, and leads Salk's Conquering Cancer Initiative. He discovered direct connections between cancer and metabolism and continues to work on how nutrient deprivation and cellular energy levels control cancer and other diseases.

Kay Tye Tye is a professor in Salk's Systems Neurobiology Laboratory and holder of the Wylie Vale Chair. She seeks to understand the neural-circuit basis of emotion that leads to motivated behaviors such as social interaction, reward-seeking and avoidance. Last year, she published a seminal paper describing her discovery of a brain circuit that controls alcohol drinking behavior in mice and can be used as a biomarker for predicting the development of compulsive drinking later on. This year, she published work furthering her investigation on the neural circuits associated with the experience of loneliness.


About the Salk Institute for Biological Studies:

Every cure has a starting point. The Salk Institute embodies Jonas Salk's mission to dare to make dreams into reality. Its internationally renowned and award-winning scientists explore the very foundations of life, seeking new understandings in neuroscience, genetics, immunology, plant biology and more. The Institute is an independent nonprofit organization and architectural landmark: small by choice, intimate by nature and fearless in the face of any challenge. Be it cancer or Alzheimer's, aging or diabetes, Salk is where cures begin. Learn more at:

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