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APC Microbiome Ireland is delighted to announce that 13 of our 19 Principal Investigators have been included in the Highly Cited Researchers 2020 list (Web of Science Group) released today. This prestigious list recognises pioneers in their field whose citation records position them in the very highest strata of research influence and impact and includes 26 Nobel laureates.

APC researchers have secured recognition in fields such as food, therapeutics, microbiome and health. Seven of the 2020 APC researchers are in the cross-field category which identifies researchers with significant impact across several research fields over the last decade. This year’s success represents an increase from 2019 when nine APC researchers made the list.

APC Microbiome Ireland is a leading Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre based in University College Cork, Teagasc Food Research Centre and NUI Galway and is the largest and oldest microbiome research institute in the world. The APC Microbiome Ireland affiliated researchers named on the Highly Cited List are (in reverse alphabetical order):

Prof Jens Walter, Professor in Ecology, Food and the Microbiome, School of Microbiology, and Department of Medicine, UCC and Principal Investigator at APC Microbiome Ireland, University College Cork.  His research focuses on the evolutionary and ecological processes that have shaped the host-microbiome interrelationship and the translation of basic microbiome science into therapeutic and nutritional strategies.

Prof Douwe van Sinderen, Professor in Molecular Microbiology, School of Microbiology, UCC and Principal Investigator at APC Microbiome Ireland. His research interests include the comparative genomics and molecular biology of bacteriophages infecting lactic acid bacteria, in particular Lactococcus lactis, Streptococcus thermophilus and certain Lactobacillus species. He also researches the comparative and functional genomics of bifidobacteria, which represent common gut commensals of mammals, including humans, with many reported health benefits.

Prof Ines Thiele, Professor at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and Principal Investigator at APC Microbiome Ireland. Ines builds comprehensive models of how human cells and human-associated microbes interact and employs them together with experimental data to investigate how nutrition and genetic predisposition can affect one’s health. Her research has a particular emphasis on the diet-gut-brain-axis in Parkinson’s disease.

Prof Catherine Stanton, Senior Principal Research Officer, Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority (Teagasc) and Dept. of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioural Science, UCC and Principal Investigator at APC Microbiome Ireland. Her research includes nutritional aspects of dairy and functional foods, probiotic cultures, bioactive metabolite production, infant gut microbiota, and healthy proteins and fats (including conjugated linoleic acid, short chain fatty acids) that are produced by gut bacteria. She is also interested in the microbiome during pregnancy and in infancy, and how it influences future health.

Prof Fergus Shanahan, Emeritus Professor, Dept of Medicine, UCC. Principal Investigator and former Director, APC Microbiome Ireland. His research is in the area of mucosal immunology, inflammatory bowel diseases, the microbiome in health and disease and the medical humanities, including the language of illness.

Prof Paul Ross, Professor of Microbiology, UCC and Director of APC Microbiome Ireland. His research in food and health includes the development of new antibiotics and anti-infectives, bacteriophage, human and animal pathogens, and how the gut microbiota influences health.

Prof Paul O’Toole, Professor of Microbial Genomics, School of Microbiology, UCC and Principal Investigator at APC Microbiome Ireland. Paul works on the genomics of gastrointestinal bacteria in humans with emphasis on commensal species and host interaction. He focuses on the relationships between the composition and function of the gut microbiota, its interaction with habitual diet, and its relationship to health, functional gastrointestinal disorders, and ageing.

Prof Colin Hill, Professor of Microbial Food Safety, School of Microbiology, UCC and Principal Investigator at APC Microbiome Ireland. His research interests lie in understanding the role of the microbiome in disease. He is particularly focussed on studying individual microbes, bacteriophages (bacterial viruses) and bacteriocins (anti-microbial peptides) to understand the forces shaping microbiome composition and to use that information to prevent and limit diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.

Prof Ger Fitzgerald, Emeritus Professor of Food Microbiology, UCC and Principal Investigator at APC Microbiome Ireland. His research interests span fundamental and applied aspects of the industrially important Lactic Acid Bacteria, which are used in the production of fermented foods and probiotics.

Prof Ted Dinan, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioural Science, UCC and Principal Investigator at APC Microbiome Ireland. His research interests include the neurobiological basis of stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety and drug dependence. His main research interest is on the role of the gut microbiota in influencing brain function where he has focusses on depression and irritable bowel syndrome. He has made significant contributions to the literature on the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in situations of stress.

Prof John Cryan, Head of Dept. of Anatomy & Neuroscience, UCC and Principal Investigator at APC Microbiome Ireland where his group works on understanding the interaction between brain, gut and the gut microbiome and how it applies to stress and immune-related disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome, obesity and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder.

Prof Paul Cotter, Head of Department of Food Biosciences (Teagasc Food Research Centre) and Principal Investigator (APC Microbiome Ireland). Paul’s research focuses on the microbiology and microbiomes of food (especially fermented and dairy foods), food processing and production environments. He also has a focus on the gastrointestinal tract with an emphasis on establishing and maintaining a healthy gut microbiota through dietary interventions, including in athletes.

Dr Gerard Clarke, Lecturer in Psychiatry and Neurobehavioural Science, UCC and Principal Investigator at APC Microbiome Ireland. His research focuses on stress and cognition in disorders such as depression and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the impact of the gut microbiome on brain and behaviour across the life span and microbial regulation of tryptophan metabolism.

APC also performed strongly in the Scopus listings[1] released last week. Scopus assesses scientists for their career-long citation impact, or for their citation impact in 2019. UCC had 77 highly cited researchers in the top 100,000 authors out of 6 million researchers. These researchers include up and coming bright minds from APC – Dr Siobhain O’Mahony, Dr Orla O’Sullivan, Dr Emanuele Zannini, Dr Pauline Scanlan and Prof Patricia Kearney. Over 27 APC researchers made the Scopus highly cited list.

It is tremendous to see the global impact, in terms of citation metrics, of the long standing culture of research excellence in APC, drawing effectively on the strengths of an interdisciplinary team of researchers, each competing at the highest level in their own discipline, while also working together collaboratively on challenges which require interdisciplinary perspectives. Sincere congratulations to each of the outstanding PIs” said Professor Anita R. Maguire , Vice President for Research & Innovation

APC has established itself as a leading global centre in gut microbiota research and is currently working on research projects with many multinational food and nutrition corporations, as well as Irish SMEs. APC has also produced four spinouts, SeqBiome, Artugen, 4D pharma (Cork) and Atlantia Food Clinical Trials Ltd, in areas ranging from drug discovery and functional foods through to human clinical trials. The APC has made several landmark discoveries and has published over 3,000 research articles in peer-reviewed journals, generating many journal covers and associated editorials. Key APC research areas include the development of new diagnostics or biomarkers of health or risk of disease based on analysis of the microbiota; exploring the mechanisms by which the microbiota may be favourably mobilised or manipulated (e.g. by prebiotic food ingredients and bacteriophage) to promote health, and ‘mining’ the microbiota for new drugs (e.g. smart antibiotics) and functional food ingredients.

In total 32 researchers based in Ireland feature on the 2020 Highly Cited list. The full 2020 Highly Cited Researchers list and executive summary can be found here

Follow the conversation online at #HighlyCited2020