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‘Highly Cited Researchers’ Recognized for Important Contributions to their Fields

Even though they hail from diverse departments across the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine – including neurology, human genetics and cell biology – they have something in common: Their research ranks among the most commonly cited work in their respective disciplines.

Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S.
Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S.

Making the “Highly Cited Researchers” list means scientific peers frequently reference the investigator’s work. And it’s a select group – the Web of Science Group, which compiles the annual list, identified 6,300 such investigators in 2019, representing only 0.1% of the world’s researchers.

“I am delighted and humbled to be on this list now for the third year in a row,” said Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., professor and Olemberg Chair of Neurology and senior associate dean for clinical and translational science at the Miller School. “It is gratifying to know that your work is cited by others and is having an impact on the field. It is also gratifying to know that translational team science is being recognized.

“I share this recognition with the many dedicated co-authors who I have had the pleasure of working with over the years,” Dr. Sacco added.

Dr. Sacco is the founding principal investigator of the 26-year NINDS-funded Northern Manhattan Study, the Florida Puerto Rico Collaboration to Reduce Stroke Disparities, and the Family Study of Stroke Risk and Carotid Atherosclerosis. He is also a co-investigator of multiple other NIH grants and has been the co-chair of international stroke treatment and prevention trials. Dr. Sacco has published extensively in the areas of stroke prevention, treatment, epidemiology, risk factors, vascular cognitive impairment, brain health, human genetics and stroke recurrence.

Maria “Ken” Figueroa, M.D., was also recognized as among the world’s most influential researchers. “I felt extremely honored by the recognition,” she said.

“Citation by our peers is the highest form of validation in our field, and the fact that our work has been recognized this way is incredibly meaningful to us,” said Dr. Figueroa, associate professor of human genetics, co-leader of the cancer epigenetics program, and assistant director for translational research at the NCI-designated Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

“The field of epigenetics, in which we work, is one of the fastest growing fields in cancer biology. Moreover, a lot of the work we do has translational implications for the treatment and care of cancer patients,” she added. “I believe that this combination of factors has given our work high visibility and resulted in high citations, which is ultimately the metric being recognized by this mention.”

Glen N. Barber, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Cell Biology at the Miller School, said of his ranking, “It was obviously gratifying to see that out of approximately 300,000 published authors in immunology over the last 10 years, I was in the top 0.053%,” he said. “This is a testament to all the hard work done by my team, which I would naturally like to acknowledge.”

When asked why he was selected for this recognition, Dr. Barber said, “We discovered the cytosolic DNA-activated innate immune pathway, which turned out to be quite important in infectious disease, inflammation and cancer. These areas are quite active sites of research by numerous groups including biotech worldwide.”

Drs. Sacco, Figueroa and Barber were not the only University of Miami investigators to make the Highly Cited Researchers list this year. Others recognized include:


  • Lucina Q. Uddin, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Division.
  • Mauro Galetti, Ph.D., a new faculty member in the Department of Biology at the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Parasuraman, professor and the James W. McLamore Chair in Marketing.
  • Jizhou Song, professor of engineering.
  • Yadong Luo, Ph.D., the Emery M. Findley Distinguished Chair and professor of management.

More information on the Highly Cited Researchers program is available online.

Tags: Dr. Glen N. Barber, Dr. Maria Figueroa, Dr. Ralph L. Sacco, Highly Cited Researchers