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11 ASU academics recognized as world’s most influential researchers over the past decade

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November 26, 2019

Arizona State University is at the forefront of research and innovation and is recognized as one of the fastest-growing research universities in the country. In fiscal year 2018, ASU hit a record $617.7 million in research expenditures, rising to seventh in national research rankings. And over the past decade, ASU researchers have been busy publishing papers and pioneering contributions in their respective fields, and their peers have taken notice.

About 6,200 academics from around the world, including 11 researchers (one retired) from ASU, have been named Highly Cited Researchers by the Web of Science Group. In order to receive this prestigious title, the researchers’ published papers had to rank in the top 1% of most cited works over the last decade. These researchers were cited the most by their peers in order to advance the work in their areas of expertise.

“We’re very proud of the researchers who have been recognized for their exceptional work,” said Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan, executive vice president of ASU’s Knowledge Enterprise and ASU’s chief research and innovation officer. “Being cited by ones’ peers is a hallmark of highly respected work, and is demonstrative of the caliber of professionals dedicated to advancing impactful, cutting-edge research here at ASU.”

Below are the ASU academics recognized as Highly Cited Researchers in 2019.

The Biodesign Institute

Hao Yan is the Milton D. Glick Distinguished Professor in Chemistry and Biochemistry in the School of Molecular Sciences and director of the Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics in the Biodesign Institute. Yan has made great strides in his research of structural DNA nanotechnology and DNA-directed self-assembly. One of his most recent achievements involves the use of nanobots — and a process dubbed “DNA origami” — to kill cancerous tumors. The DNA origami, which is folded into 3D shapes — much like the folded works of art — chokes off cancerous tumors’ blood supply.

Wei Liu is a faculty member of the Center for Applied Structural Discovery at the Biodesign Institute and an assistant professor in the School of Molecular Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who has been honored as a highly cited researcher for three years in a row. Professor Liu has spent over a decade developing new tools for studying the structure and function of membrane proteins with a focus on G protein-coupled receptors involved in the development of cancer.

Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

Paul Westerhoff is an ASU Regents Professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Westerhoff has earned wide recognition for his focus on the treatment and occurrence of emerging contaminants in various bodies of water, and the risks nanomaterials can create. His research team is now examining how artificial intelligence can help alleviate global water issues.

Sefaattin Tongay is an assistant professor in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Tongay’s work is focused on next-generation quantum materials and understanding their optical, electrical, mechanical and magnetic properties. Tongay argues that classic 3D materials won’t be able to meet demands in future technological advancements. His research involves 2D materials and utilizing these materials’ properties in new applications.

W. P. Carey School of Business

Kevin G. Corley is the chair of the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship and a professor in the W. P. Carey School of Business. Corley’s field research examines the process by which managers and employees establish their roles in an organization, and how they process change around them. Corley’s research has helped analyze organizational change and how it affects identity, image and learning.

Luis R. Gomez-Mejia is an ASU Regents Professor in the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship in the W. P. Carey School of Business. Gomez-Mejia researches the relationships of international management, strategic management, executive compensation and family business. One of his most highly-cited papers focuses on family business and whether any unique attributes help family firms make business decisions based on financial rather than socioemotional criteria.

Thomas Y. Choi is a professor in the Department of Supply Chain Management in the W. P. Carey School of Business. Choi has led the study of the upstream side of supply chains for decades and is currently looking at ways purchase managers play a lead role in various areas, including cyberdefense. In one of his groundbreaking studies, Choi analyzed social networks among suppliers, rather than traditionally looking at buyer-supplier relationships.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Jianguo Wu is the Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Sustainability Science in the School of Life Sciences in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and has been focused on landscape ecology for 25 years. His research analyzes urban planning and ways we can improve the landscapes where we live. In one of his most recent published papers, Wu argues for contextualizing global, regional and local analysis to tackle landscape ecology problems. By researching both the bigger and smaller pictures, Wu believes we better position ourselves to handle complex sustainability concerns.

Uwe Weierstall is a research professor in the Department of Physics in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and is credited with important research in the area of allergic disease. Weierstall collaborated with a team from the MIPT Center for Molecular Mechanisms of Aging and Age-Related Diseases to investigate the structure of a G protein-coupled receptor responsible for inflammation in asthma and other allergic diseases. By looking at the 3D structure, researchers can understand how drugs control these receptors, potentially paving the way to design drugs with fewer side effects.

Marc Messerschmidt is an associate research professor in the School of Molecular Sciences in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. His areas of expertise include materials analysis, X-ray crystallography and chemistry. 

Michael O’Keeffe is an emeritus Regents Professor in the School of Molecular Sciences in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and has led groundbreaking work on the fundamental structure and properties of molecules and materials over the decades. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded him the 2019 Gregori Aminoff Prize in crystallography for his contributions to the development of reticular chemistry. 

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