News Article

ACES researchers among 2018’s most influential scientists

By Lauren Quinn
Nov 29, 2018

URBANA, Ill. – Of the nine Illinois researchers recently recognized by Clarivate Analytics as Highly Cited Researchers, three are affiliated with the Department of Crop Sciences in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. They include Elizabeth (Lisa) Ainsworth, Stephen Long, and Donald Ort.

Clarivate Analytics analyzed journal article citations between 2006 and 2016 to develop the list, which recognizes the top 1 percent of highly cited researchers around the world and across 21 disciplines. Long and Ort were ranked in the plant and animal science category, while Ainsworth was recognized for her cross-field research.

Lisa Ainsworth, USDA ARS scientist, professor in plant biology, and adjunct professor in crop sciences, conducts research aimed at increasing crop production under changing climates. Her research uses physiological, biochemical, and genetic approaches to understand the mechanisms of plant responses to air pollution and climate change. A key goal of her work is to maximize crop production in the future.

“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 and Don Ort), graduate students, and post-docs. I am grateful to all of them for their collaboration and hard work,” Ainsworth says.

Stephen P. Long, Stanley O. Ikenberry Chair of Crop Sciences and Plant Biology, works to address the effects of climate change on crop yield, using computational and experimental approaches to improve photosynthetic efficiency. 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.

Don Ort, Robert Emerson Professor of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences, focuses on improving photosynthesis and addresses crop responses to global change factors, including increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature.

Adam Davis, head of the Department of Crop Sciences, says, “Drs. Ainsworth, Long, and Ort 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. Ainsworth, Long, and Ort 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.”