News Release

Jacobs School researchers named most highly cited in the world

November 17, 2023-- Yet again, 16 faculty and researchers at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering were named among the world’s most influential in their fields in this year’s Clarivate listing of Most Highly Cited Researchers in the World. These scientists rank in the top 1% by citations for their field, highlighting their significant level of influence. 

Citation activity alone is not enough to make the list; the top 1% of researchers based on citations is then whittled down by bibliometric experts and data scientists at the Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate, to reflect scientists who truly have a disproportionate level of impact in their fields.

The 2023 Most Highly Cited Researchers in the World from the Jacobs School of Engineering are:

Ludmil Alexandrov, professor of bioengineering. Alexandrov maps the mutational processes in cancer and devises better strategies for cancer prevention and treatment.

Most cited paper: “Signatures of mutational processes in human cancer,” published in Nature in 2013.

Weiwei Gao, research scientist in the Department of Nanoengineering, works in the lab of Professor Liangfang Zhang, developing nanomaterials and nanoparticles for more effective drug delivery and vaccines. 

Most highly cited paper:  “Nanoparticle biointerfacing by platelet membrane cloaking,” published in Nature in 2015.

Trey Ideker, professor of genetics and bioengineering. Ideker seeks to comprehensively map connections between the many genes and proteins in a cell and how these connections trigger or prevent disease. His current work focuses on DNA mutations that cause cancer.

A recent paper: “Interpretation of cancer mutations using a multiscale map of protein synthesis,” published in Science, 2021.

Rob Knight, professor of pediatrics, bioengineering, computer science and engineering, and director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation. Knight studies microbiomes in a range of settings, including but not limited to the human body, and how they can be manipulated to benefit health and the environment. Recently, Knight has been involved in campus programs performing COVID-19 clinical testing and wastewater detection of SARS-CoV-2.

Most cited paper: “QIIME allows analysis of high-throughput community sequencing data,” published in Nature Methods, 2010.

Nathan Lewis, professor of bioengineering and pediatrics, and co-director of the CHO Systems Biology Center. Lewis develops computational systems biology tools, A.I. and machine learning models, and experimental technologies to study cellular communication, cell-cell interactions, and the molecular processes regulating them, shedding light on disease and guiding efforts to engineer cells for therapeutics.

A recent paper: Deciphering cell-cell interaction and communication from gene expression, Nature Reviews Genetics, 2021

Haodong Liu, a former graduate student and postdoctoral scholar in the Department of NanoEngineering at UCSD, is now the CTO at Tyfast, a UC San Diego battery technology spinoff company. Liu's research primarily focuses on developing innovative materials for energy storage, with a special emphasis on batteries. His significant contributions include the design and characterization of novel electrode and anode materials for lithium-ion batteries, which aim to enhance charging efficiency and battery life.

 A recent paper: “A disordered rock salt anode for fast-charging lithium-ion batteries,” Nature, 2020.

Prashant Mali, professor of bioengineering. Mali’s expertise lies in the fields of genome engineering and regenerative medicine. He has helped develop CRISPRs and ADARs as powerful tools for DNA and RNA editing, with wide applications in both basic biology and human therapeutics.

A recent paper: “Efficient in vitro and in vivo RNA editing via recruitment of endogenous ADARs using circular guide RNAs,” published in Nature Biotechnology, 2022.

Siavash Mirarab, professor of electrical and computer engineering. Mirarab’s research focuses on accurate and scalable analysis of large-scale biological datasets. His work particularly focuses on evolutionary biology and computational methods that use genomic data to reconstruct the evolutionary past.

A highly cited paper, “ASTRAL-III: polynomial time species tree reconstruction from partially resolved gene trees,” published in BMC Bioinformatics, 2018.

Shyue Ping Ong, professor of nanoengineering. Ong focuses on the intersection between materials science, computer science and data science. By building sophisticated automation software frameworks, Ong generates materials data at unprecedented scales to discover and design new materials for batteries, LEDs and aerospace applications. Ong also develops cutting edge machine learning methods to maximize the return on materials data. Ong is a firm advocate for open data and software to enable reproducible innovation in the materials research community.

A recent paper: “Learning properties of ordered and disordered materials from multi-fidelity data,” published in Nature Computational Science, 2021.

Bernhard O. Palsson, Galletti Professor of Bioengineering, professor of pediatrics and Director of the Center for Biosustainability. Palsson’s research focuses on developing experimental and computational models of the red blood cell, E. coli, CHO cells, and several human pathogens to establish their systems biology. His Systems Biology Research Group leverages high-power computing to build interactive databases of biological information and is increasingly focused on Genome Design and Engineering.

A highly cited paper: “BiGG models: A platform for integrating, standardizing and sharing genome-scale models,” published in Nucleic Acids Research in 2016.

Pavel Pevzner, who holds the Ronald R. Taylor Chair in Computer Science, is a leading authority on using computer science to decipher and analyze genomes. He has written three bioinformatics textbooks, and developed a new approach to analyzing genome rearrangements. 

Most highly cited paper: “SPAdes: a new genome assembly algorithm and its applications to single-cell sequencing,” published in the Journal of Computational Biology in 2012.

Press release: A new method for sequencing dark matter of life from a single cell

Joseph Wang, SAIC Endowed Chair, distinguished professor of nanoengineering, co-director of the UC San Diego Center for Wearable Sensors and co-director of the UC San Diego Institute of Engineering in Medicine Center for Mobile-Health Systems and Applications. Wang’s research focuses on developing micro- and nanomotors and wearable sensors for medical, military, security and environmental applications.

A highly cited paper: “Wearable Biosensors for Healthcare Monitoring” published in  Nature Biotechnology in 2019.

Sheng Xu, professor of nanoengineering. Xu engineers soft, flexible and stretchable electronics that can be  worn comfortably on the human body and perform just as well as conventional (hard) electronic devices. His contributions to novel materials and microfabrication strategies earned him the biennial Materials Research Prize for Young Investigators from ETH Zurich in 2021. Xu’s innovative work on wearable ultrasound technology has allowed noninvasive monitoring of tissue far below the skin surface. He also developed new growth methods for perovskite materials used in flexible high-performance electronics.

A recent paper: “Materials and structures towards soft electronics,” published in Advanced Materials in 2018.

Liangfang Zhang holds a Joan and Irwin Jacobs Chancellor's Endowed Chair Professor at UC San Diego where he is a professor and chair of the Department of Nanoengineering. He is co-director of the Center for Nano-Immuno Engineering and faculty member of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine. Zhang’s revolutionary work in the field of nanomedicine focuses on developing nanoparticles that perform therapeutic tasks in the body without being rejected by the immune system. He invented a technology to disguise synthetic nanoparticles in the skins of natural cells (i.e. red blood cells, platelets, white blood cells, cancer cells and others). These cell-mimicking nanoparticles have shown promise in fighting drug-resistant bacterial infections and viral infections; training the immune system to fight cancer; and treating rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases.

A highly cited paper: “Erythrocyte membrane-camouflaged polymeric nanoparticles as a biomimetic delivery platform,” published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2011.

Ying Shirley Meng, an adjunct professor of nanoengineering and director of the Laboratory for Energy Storage and Conversion, who focuses on functional nano- and micro-scale materials for energy storage and conversion—especially for batteries of all shapes and sizes. Meng is on faculty at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering. She is Chief Scientist for Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science (ACCESS) at Argonne National Laboratory.

Recent highly cited paper: “Pathways for practical high-energy long-cycling lithium metal batteries,” published in Nature Energy in 2019.

Yoshiki Vázquez-Baeza, a former bioinformatics postdoctoral researcher and computer science Ph.D. student at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. He served as Associate Director of Bioinformatics at the UC San Diego Center for Microbiome Innovation where he analyzed high dimensional and large datasets, mostly focused on data linking the human microbiome to health outcomes. Vázquez-Baeza is now the bioinformatics lead at BiomeSense.

Most highly cited paper:  “Reproducible, interactive, scalable and extensible microbiome data science using QIIME 2,” published in Nature Biotechnology in 2019.


Media Contacts

Katherine Connor
Jacobs School of Engineering