Three ACES scientists rank among world's most influential

L to R: Elizabeth Ainsworth, Kaiyu Guan, Donald Ort
L to R: Elizabeth Ainsworth, Kaiyu Guan, Donald Ort

URBANA, Ill. — Three researchers affiliated with the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have been named to the 2022 Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list. The list recognizes research scientists and social scientists who have demonstrated exceptional influence – reflected through their publication of multiple papers frequently cited by their peers during the last decade. This year’s list includes 6,938 individuals from around the world and nine from the UIUC campus.

In addition to being affiliate faculty in the Department of Crop Sciences, Elizabeth Ainsworth is employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit. She is an affiliate of the Department of Plant Biology, the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the U of I. Her work focuses on plant metabolism, photosynthesis, and molecular variation within species and how those factors contribute to plant responses to global change. A key goal is to maximize crop production in the future. Ainsworth was awarded the National Academy of Sciences Prize in Food and Agricultural Sciences in 2019 and was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2020.

Kaiyu Guan, an associate professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, works to ensure sustainable food production and find solutions to environmental challenges in agriculture, with a focus on agroecosystem modeling, crop remote sensing, environmental forecasting and agricultural adaptation to climate change. He uses satellite data, computational models, field work, supercomputing and machine learning approaches to address how climate and human practices affect crop productivity, water resource availability and ecosystem functioning. He is an Office of Research Fellow in the College of ACES, and a professor in computer science and in the NCSA with affiliations in the U. of I. Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment, and in geography and geographic information science. He is a recipient of faculty early career awards from the National Science Foundation and NASA and received the American Geophysical Union’s Early Career Award in Global Environmental Change.

Donald Ort, the Robert Emerson Professor of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences at Illinois. His research focuses on improving photosynthesis and addresses crop responses to global change including increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature. He leads the Genomic Ecology of Global Change research theme at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology and was elected to the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service Science Hall of Fame in 2015 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2017.

Read about the other campus winners at the Illinois News Bureau.