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UC San Diego Ranked 8th Globally for Most Influential Researchers

University researchers top international list of the most Highly Cited Researchers

Rob Knight stands in his laboratory as other researchers work behind him.
Rob Knight, PhD, a professor in the departments of Pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Bioengineering and Computer Science at UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, ranks in the top 1 percent of most Highly Cited Researchers in the world.

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Publishing works and contributing to the world of academic knowledge sharing remains a hallmark of the world’s best research talent. It speaks to influence and prestige among their peers and UC San Diego continues to claim distinction among the top 10 most cited institutions in the world.

The Highly Cited Researchers list identifies and celebrates exceptional researchers who are having a significant impact on the research community as evidenced by the rate at which their work is being cited by their peers.

UC San Diego ranks 8th in the world for 2022 and is the highest ranked University of California institution on the list.

"This well-deserved recognition spotlights the depth and breadth of UC San Diego’s widely regarded and influential academic research," said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. "Our faculty and researchers not only advance crucial knowledge in art, science, medicine and social science, but they also advance humanity by providing critical guidance on ethics, policy, management and leadership. Their prolific and widely cited contributions help set UC San Diego apart as one of the nation’s leading public assets."

Of the institutions in the United States, UC San Diego ranks 5th. In order the other U.S. institutions are Harvard University, Stanford University, National Institutes of Health, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Every year recognition for UC San Diego’s talented and robust research community grows in influence and value to our greater community of academic thought leaders and contributions to society-at-large,” said Vice Chancellor for Research Corinne Peek-Asa. “I extend my congratulations to the many members of our research community who made this listing but call special attention to the fact that so many are cited as noteworthy for multiple categories which is a direct result of the collaborative, interdisciplinary community fostered here at UC San Diego.”

The 2022 listing of Most Highly Cited Researchers in the World includes 66 individual distinctions from UC San Diego (up from 51 researchers last year). Created by Clarivate, a company that analyzes scientific and academic research, the listing has identified nearly 7,000 researchers across the globe who demonstrated significant influence in their chosen fields through the publication of highly cited papers during the last decade.

“This well-deserved recognition spotlights the depth and breadth of UC San Diego’s widely regarded and influential academic research.”
Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla

Of researcher listed with UC San Diego affiliations, half the list include noteworthy contributions to multiple disciplines. However, three UC San Diego researchers were identified as highly cited in more than one field. William Sandborn (toxicology and clinical medicine), Daniel McDonald (microbiology and biology/biochemistry), and Rob Knight.

Elite Influencers

Knight was among less than 1 percent of all Highly Cited Researchers worldwide, who appear in three or more fields. This is a select group of just 32 individuals globally.

Knight is the founding Director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation and a professor of pediatrics, bioengineering, computer science and engineering. He runs the Knight Lab at UC San Diego.

Last year Knight had the distinction of being the only person in the world to make the list in four different categories. This year, he had to settle for three: biochemistry, microbiology and the combined category of molecular biology and genetics.

“I can’t complain too much,” he said.

“It is wonderful to be recognized in three separate fields but even more exciting is the fact that eight of my lab members are also on the highly cited list, one of them (Daniel McDonald) in two categories,” Knight said. “This reflects the broad impact that microbiome research has across different areas of science, the key role of collaboration between medicine and engineering on the UC San Diego campus in driving interdisciplinary science forward, and the importance of graduate students, postdocs and research staff in making fundamental contributions to this work.”

Researchers on the 2022 list come from 70 countries and regions, but the vast majority of researchers are concentrated in just five areas. The United States claims nearly 40 percent of Highly Cited Researcher. China is second with 16 percent, then the United Kingdom, 8 percent; Germany and Australia, around 5 percent each.

“Research fuels the race for knowledge and it is important that nations and institutions celebrate the individuals who drive the wheel of innovation,” said David Pendlebury, head of research analysis at Clarivate.

The 2022 HCR list is limited to the years 2011 to 2021. As the eleven-year window of citation evaluation moves along each year, it is normal that many new researchers enter the list, and some (but not all) researchers return for consecutive years. University affiliation is generally determined by their latest citation, but it is common that some researchers on any institution's list may have moved to another position since the list was generated.

Full list of UC San Diego Highly Cited Researchers

Note: Some individuals are highly-cited in a specific scientific area meaning they have demonstrated significant research influence in that field. Those with a "Cross Field" designation, qualify based on the sum of their highly cited papers and citations in multiple fields but did not pass the threshold for an outright designation in a particular field.

Ludmil Alexandrov, Molecular Biology and Genetics

Amnon Amir, Cross-Field

David Brenner, Cross-Field

Don Cleveland, Neuroscience and Behavior

Justine Debelius, Cross-Field

Mark Ellisman, Cross-Field

Jack Gilbert, Microbiology

Christopher Glass, Molecular Biology and Genetics

Uri Gneezy, Economics and Business

Antonio González, Microbiology

Kun-Liang Guan, Molecular Biology and Genetics

Dr. Jacqueline Kerr is a mom, behavior scientist and burnout survivor. She is on a mission to dismantle the causes of working mom burnout and gender bias with individual, organizational and cultural change through behavior change science.

Trey Ideker, Cross-Field

Dusan Keres, Space Science

Jacqueline Kerr, Social Sciences

Rob Knight (3), Biology and Biochemistry, Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Genetics

Razelle Kuzrock, Clinical Medicine

Lisa A. Levin, Cross-Field

Irene Litvan, Neuroscience and Behavior

"It is wonderful to be recognized in three separate fields but even more exciting is the fact that eight of my lab members are also on the highly cited list."
Rob Knight, PhD

Rohit Loomba, Clinical Medicine

Prashant Mali, Biology and Biochemistry

Eliezer Masliah, Cross-Field

Daniel McDonald (2), Microbiology, Biology and Biochemistry

Ying Shirley Meng, Cross-Field

Jerrold Olefsky, Cross-Field

Shyue Ping Ong, Cross-Field

Allen Pe, Cross-Field

Bing Ren, Molecular Biology and Genetics

William Sandborn (2), Pharmacology and Toxicology, Clinical Medicine

Jon Sanders, Cross-Field

Bernd Schnabl, Cross-Field

Julian Schroeder, Plant and Animal Science

Claude Sirlin, Clinical Medicine

Se Jin Song, Cross-Field

Joseph Witztum, Cross-Field

Shang-Ping Xie, Cross-Field

Sheng Xu, Cross-Field

Gene Yeo, Cross-Field

Liangfang Zhang, Pharmacology and Toxicology

Yunde Zhao, Plant and Animal Science

Pieter Dorrestein, Biology and Biochemistry

Bjoern Peters, Biology and Biochemistry

Pavel Pevzner, Biology and Biochemistry

Joseph Wang, Chemistry

Gail Ackermann, Cross-Field

Lars Bode, Cross-Field

Mark   Estelle, Cross-Field

Ronnie Fang, Cross-Field

Weiwei Gao, Cross-Field

Catherine Hedrick, Cross-Field

Nathan Lewis, Cross-Field

Christian Metallo, Cross-Field

Victor Nizet, Cross-Field

Bernhard Palsson, Cross-Field

Davey Smith, Cross-Field

Ming Tsuang, Cross-Field

Yoshiki Vazquez-Baeza, Cross-Field

Karsten Zengler, Cross-Field

Kun Zhang, Cross-Field

Gordon Hanson, Economics and Business

Michael Karin, Immunology

M. M. Fogler, Physics

Lucila Ohno-Machado, Social Sciences

Researchers at UCSD– secondary affiliation

James Sallis, Social Sciences - Australian Catholic University, Australia

Shane Crotty, Immunology - La Jolla Institute for Immunology, United States

Rob Knight is a pioneer in studying human microbes, the community of tiny single-cell organisms living inside our bodies that have a huge — and largely unexplored — role in our health. “The three pounds of microbes that you carry around with you might be more important than every single gene you carry around in your genome,” he says. Find out why.

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