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Arnold School of Public Health


Five Arnold School researchers named in Clarivate Analytics’ Highly Cited Researchers List

January 9, 2019 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu

Clarivate Analytics (known as Reuters until 2016) has announced their 2018 Highly Cited Researchers List, which includes five Arnold School faculty members. Only scientists whose articles produce citations in the top one percent by field and year in the Web of Science® (2006-2016) are included in this list, making it a rare honor. The University of South Carolina is well represented among the seven South Carolina-based researchers included in the list (Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina each had one researcher on the list).

Four of the Arnold School researchers named on the list are members of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics: Distinguished Professor Emeritus Steven Blair (also affiliated with the exercise science department), Health Sciences Distinguished Professor James Hébert, professor Angela Liese, and adjunct assistant professor Nitin Shivappa. The other faculty member named on the list is Jamie Lead, a professor in the department of environmental health sciences and the Endowed Chair and director of the SmartState Center for Environmental Nanoscience and Risk (CENR).

Blair’s work focuses on physical activity with an emphasis on its relationship to cardiovascular disease. Liese researches nutritional epidemiology, diabetes epidemiology and public health nutrition. Hébert and Shivappa drive work on diet and health based in the Cancer Prevention and Control Program, which has developed the dietary inflammatory index (DII®) for ranking the inflammatory properties of food and food components to better understand the relationship between inflammation and chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Lead is an international authority on nanotechnology, which he studies in order to harness the benefits and reduce the risks of manufactured nanoparticles to the environment.

The common theme among these highly cited researchers? Teamwork. In addition to Blair, Hébert, Liese, and Shivappa’s shared department affiliation, these researchers have collaborated on numerous studies and publications to bring each of their areas of expertise to their overlapping interests—particularly related to the DII.

“We invented the DII in 2004, but it wasn’t until we developed Generation 2, which was published in 2014, that it really caught on,” says Hébert. “Teamwork, which we amplified after 2010, is an essential ingredient in our success. Underlining that major developments in biomedicine require the ingenuity and concerted commitment of many people, the DII now forms the basis for over 200 articles that have been published since August of 2014. These papers have involved 15 USC faculty from three departments in the Arnold School (including Drs. Shivappa, Liese, and Blair) and from three other schools and colleges in USC; 21 current or former Arnold School students; and over 500 individuals from over 100 research institutes in 39 countries around the world.”

Lead’s focus on environmental nanoscience has resulted in 100 peer-reviewed articles since 2012, along with several patents and books. Between 2014 and 2016, he appointed a team of five faculty members, whose work is independent and collaborative, both within CENR and USC and with external partners. Foci include soil, sediment, water and atmospheric nanoscience, along with social sciences--all focused on the nano-domain. Since establishing the CENR in 2012, Lead has grown this core of nanotechnology and nanoscience expertise and the CENR has jointly published more than 150 papers together.  

“The CENR has two aims: to understand the fate and impacts of manufactured nanomaterials and to investigate the potential uses of nanotechnology in an ‘environmentally friendly’ manner,” explains Lead. “These efforts are focused on the nanoscale but not exclusively. Although some strategic guidelines are in place, the most effective approach has been simply to try to address the most interesting science and research, and this has resulted in the most productive outputs and solutions. An example is my work trying to understand the fundamental physico-chemical transformations of nanoparticles in the environment, which formed the basis of a novel oil and metal remediation technology that we are starting to commercialize.”

Compiled annually, the Highly Cited Researchers list recognizes leading researchers in the sciences and social sciences. The 2018 list includes approximately 6,000 highly cited researchers in 21 fields from more than 60 nations around the world.

This year, Clarivate Analytics introduced a new category, cross-field, to identify researchers with substantial influence across several fields. Hébert, Liese and Shivappa were all selected for their cross-field contributions. Blair was selected for clinical medicine and social sciences, general categories. Lead, who has been named on this list every year since it was created in 2012, was recognized for his publications in environment/ecology.  

Biometrics experts from Clarivate Analytics use Essential Science Indicators to analyze science performance metrics and trend data of scholarly research literature from over 33,000 journals. Using these parameters, the Highly Cited Researchers list reflects researchers who have produced work of particular significance and utility as judged by their peers. [More information from Clarivate Analytics].

Formerly the Intellectual Property of and Science business of Thomson Reuters until 2016, Clarivate Analytics is now an independent company. The organization provides insights and analytics to accelerate the pace of innovation.


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Jamie Lead included in Highly Cited Researchers list by Clarivate Analytics fourth year in a row