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Sydney academics recognised in highly cited researchers list

17 November 2021
Number of highly cited researchers grows
Twenty-nine University of Sydney academics have been named as world-leading experts in their fields, featuring in the 2021 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers List.

This year’s list of Highly Cited Researchers from Clarivate Analytics includes 29 researchers from the University of Sydney. The number of Sydney researchers featured in the prestigious list continues to grow, increasing by 52 percent since last year.

The annual list identifies researchers who demonstrated significant influence in their chosen field or fields through the publication of multiple highly cited papers during the last decade. Their names are drawn from the publications that rank in the top 1 percent by citations for field and publication year in the Web of Science citation index.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Duncan Ivison, congratulated the researchers.

These researchers are at the very top of their fields, conducting important work ranging from understanding the emergence and spread of viruses, to developing new technology for renewable energy, and advancing artificial intelligence.
Professor Duncan Ivison

“We are proud of their achievements and grateful for their dedication to conducting world-leading research which makes our society better.”

This year the list includes 6,600 researchers from more than 70 countries. Australia has the fourth-largest number of highly cited researchers in the world, with 332 researchers making the 2021 list.

Our 2021 highly cited academics

For more than 30 years Professor Adrian Bauman has been a world leader in the study of chronic disease prevention and the development and assessment of prevention research methods. He has worked extensively in the fields of physical activity, obesity, smoking and cardiovascular disease prevention and is currently the co-director of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity. 

Associate Professor Matteo Carlino specialises in melanoma, complex non melanoma skin cancer and gastrointestinal cancers. He is a Medical Oncologist at Westmead and Blacktown Hospitals and a Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney. He has been a principal investigator in over 50 clinical trials.

Professor Macdonald (Mac) Christie is a neuropharmacologist, an internationally renowned electrophysiologist and expert in ion channel and synaptic physiology and pharmacology and the leading basic opioid pharmacologist in the nation. He leads a research team that studies cellular and molecular mechanisms in opioid receptor signaling in pain pathways, the biological basis of adaptations that produce chronic pain and drug dependence.

Professor PJ Cullen is a chemical and biomolecular engineer. He works with plasma and the ultimate goal of his research is the adoption of plasma technologies to move away from the current reliance on traditional chemicals towards more targeted and environmentally friendly solutions to a range of global social, environmental and industrial challenges including food, water and climate issues.

Professor Jacob George is a renowned hepatologist and liver research scientist who studies the causes of and mechanisms for the development of liver disease and liver cancer. Professor George’s work has made significant contributions to clinical practice. His team first identified the role of interferon lambda 3 gene polymorphisms for predicting treatment response in chronic hepatitis C, and a second gene polymorphism that interacts with interferon lambda 3. These discoveries are considered major advances in the field and the finest examples of ‘personalised medicine’.

Dr Arne Geschke is a researcher and lecturer at the University of Sydney with a focus on environmental-economic assessment, renewable energy systems, sustainability, and impacts on biodiversity. Previously, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Integrated Sustainability Analysis (ISA) team working on global environmental assessment, identification and quantification of the social impacts of international trade, and input-output analysis.

Professor Adam Guastella is the Michael Crouch Chair in Child and Youth Mental Health. He has an established track record in human translational neuroscience. His primary interest is in using neuroscience to inform and develop novel treatments for young patients with mental health problems. Professor Guastella is a clinical trials specialist and has evaluated the benefits of psychological and medical therapies. His team were the first in the world to show that a medication could be used as a treatment for social impairments in young children with autism.

Professor Glenda Halliday is one of the world’s leading experts on neurodegeneration, having dedicated her career to research critical to improving the lives of those with Parkinson’s, dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. Her research has directly influenced clinical practice by providing the evidence base for understanding the pathologies underlying neurodegenerative diseases, clarifying the trajectory of the diseases over time and exploring any potential variability. She was awarded the 2021 Robert A. Pritzker Prize for Leadership in Parkinson's Research by the Michael J Fox foundation, which recognises scientists who make an exceptional research contribution to improve treatments for Parkinson's patients.

Professor Ian Hickie is co-director of the University's multidisciplinary initiative, the Brain and Mind Centre. He is an internationally renowned researcher in clinical psychiatry, with particular reference to medical aspects of common mood disorders, depression and bipolar disorder in young people, early intervention, use of new and emerging technologies and suicide prevention. He is a dual winner of the 2021 Australian Mental Health Prize, recognising his contributions to the mental health sector.

Professor Anita Ho-Baillie is the John Hooke Chair of Nanoscience at the University of Sydney. Her research interest is to engineer materials and devices at nanoscale for integrating solar cells onto all kinds of surfaces generating clean energy. She has been identified as one of the leaders in advancing perovskite solar cells. Her achievements in setting solar cell energy efficiency world records in various categories have placed her research at the forefront internationally.

Professor Eddie Holmes is a recognised leader in the study of viral evolution. He was awarded the prestigious Prime Minister’s Prize for Science for his transformative role in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with international collaborators at Fudan University in Shanghai, Professor Holmes was the first person to publicly share the entire genome of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans. As well as his work on coronaviruses, he has pioneered the study of how viruses evolve and jump between species, including to humans, to spread and cause disease. His work has laid the foundations for the study of virus evolution, ecology and emergence.

Professor Manfred Lenzen is a physicist and renewable energies expert. He has contributed major methodological advances and applications in the areas of embodied energy, greenhouse gas emissions, input-output analysis and life-cycle assessment. Professor Lenzen is an international leader in economic Input-Output Analysis and Life-Cycle Assessment, is Associate Editor for the Journal of Industrial Ecology, and is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Economic Systems Research.

Professor Qing Li’s recent research is focused on computational design and multidisciplinary optimisation of nonlinear and time-dependent multifunctional and lightweight structures and materials with applications in aerospace, automotive, mechanical, manufacturing and biomedical engineering. His research expertise covers the areas of data science, computational mechanics, structural crashworthiness, additive manufacturing, biomechanics, scaffold tissue engineering and biofabrication. Professor Li has collaborated with domestic and global industry including Cochlear, Stryker, Allegra, SDI, Sirona, 360 Med Care, Optimize Ortho and Corin.

Professor Georgina Long is co-director of Melanoma Institute Australia. She leads an extensive clinical trials team and laboratory, with a focus on targeted therapies and immuno-oncology in melanoma. Professor Long was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (2020) and has received several awards, including the Research Australia, GSK Research Excellence Award (2018) and prestigious Sir Zelman Cowen Universities Fund Prize for Discovery in Medical Research (2016). In October 2020 she was ranked the world’s 5th, and Australia’s 1st melanoma expert in all fields and discipline.

Professor Chris Maher is a physiotherapist, recognised internationally for his clinical research in the low back pain field. He is Professor in Sydney School of Public Health, founding Director of the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health and Co-Director of Sydney Musculoskeletal Health. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Physiotherapy and Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.

Director of the Sydney Institute of AgricultureProfessor Alex McBratney is a world-leading soil scientist. He has made major contributions to soil science and agriculture through the development of the concepts of Pedometrics, Digital Soil Mapping and Precision Agriculture. He was awarded the VV Dokuchaev medal by the International Union of Soil Sciences, the highest honour in the soil science discipline.      

Professor Alexander Menzies is a Medical Oncologist. He has a subspecialty interest in melanoma and breast cancer. His main research interests are clinical trials of new systemic therapies for melanoma and breast cancer, biomarkers of response and resistance to systemic therapy, and immunotherapy-related toxicity. Since 2009 he has been an investigator on over 100 sponsored and investigator-led Phase I to III clinical trials of systemic therapies in melanoma and breast cancer.

Soil scientist Professor Baudiman Minasny is passionate about the role of soil in managing climate change, food, water, energy security and maintaining biodiversity. He is the theme leader of Soil, Carbon, and Water at Sydney Institute of Agriculture. He has won numerous awards and is recognised as the leader in digital soil mapping and modelling. He is also a member of three of the University's multidisciplinary initiatives, the Sydney South East Asia Centre and the China Studies Centre.

A geophysicist, Professor Dietmar Muller leads the University's EarthByte research group. He has received numerous awards, including an NSW Premier’s Prize, for his lifelong dedication to, and innovations in, building a deep time travel machine, a virtual laboratory to see deep into the Earth in four dimensions, through space and time. By modelling the Earth's history we are better able to predict its future - for example, how it will respond to climate change. 

Dr Zengxia Pei's research interests include elecrocatalysis, aqueous batteries, and hydrogel electrolytes. He was recognized as one of the Australian Research Top 40 Rising Stars in 2019 and 2020, and as a Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher in 2020. Currently he works on functional materials for sustainable energy conversion and storage.

Co-director of Melanoma Institute Australia, Professor Richard Scolyer is a world-leading expert in melanoma diagnosis and research. He consults on more than 2000 cases annually which are difficult to diagnose. According to Thomson Reuters ISI Web of Knowledge, he is the highest-ever published scientist in the world in the field of melanoma pathology and he also has the highest H index in this field. In September 2019, he was ranked as the leading Australian Pathologist in the entire field of pathology by League of Scholars. He is a member of the University's multidisciplinary initiative, the Charles Perkins Centre.

Dr Nicholas Scott is a University of Sydney Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Sydney Institute for Astronomy. His research interests include various aspects of extra-galactic astrophysics including: galaxy dynamics, stellar populations and the role of supermassive black holes.

Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis leads a program of research examining the health effects of physical activity and other lifestyle health behaviours using cohort studies and international data consortia. He established and leads the Prospective Physical Activity, Sitting and Sleep consortium (ProPASS), a British Heart Foundation funded international collaboration involving a number of cohorts using wearable sensors data. He has published over 290 peer reviewed papers and is a member of the University's multidisciplinary initiative, the Charles Perkins Centre.

Prfoessor Dacheng Tao has made ground-breaking contributions in artificial intelligence, computer vision image processing and machine learning. In 2017 he was awarded an ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship and in 2018 he was named a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. He has won many prizes for his research contributions including a prestigious Eureka Prize. He is a member of the University's multidisciplinary initiative, the Brain and Mind Centre, and is among a select few academics to be named in the highly cited list in two fields – computer science and engineering.

Professor Dong Xu is Chair in Computer Engineering and ARC Future Fellow at the School of Electrical and Information Engineering. His current research interests include computer vision, multimedia and machine learning. His group has developed new machine learning methods and intelligent systems for a broad range of vision and big data analytics related applications such as large-scale image/video retrieval, video surveillance, biometrics (i.e., face and human gait recognition) as well as medical image analysis.

Dr Shenlong Zhao's research focuses on porous carbon nanomaterials and their sustainable energy and catalysis applications, including photo/electrocatalysts and biofuel cells, and batteries. His research aims at providing a solution to the global energy challenge by transforming innovative ideas/materials into practical technology through high-quality research and development.

Associate Professor Hidde van der Ploeg was affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine and Health. His main research expertise is in physical activity and sedentary behaviours in relation to public and occupational health. He was recognised in the cross-field category of the Clarivate Highly Cited Researchers List. 


Dr Ying-Chang Liang was affiliated with the Faculty of Engineering. His research interests are in the general area of wireless networking and communications, with current focus on applying artificial intelligence, big data analytics and machine learning techniques to the design and optimisation of wireless networking and communications. He was recognised in the cross-field category of the Clarivate Highly Cited Researchers List.

Dr Raghava Reddy Kakarla was affiliated with the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering. He was recognised in the cross-field category of the Clarivate Highly Cited Researchers List.

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