Texas Tech University

Davis College researchers among ‘most highly cited’ in the world for 2023

Norman Martin

November 20, 2023

Two prominent scientists from Texas Tech's Department of Plant & Soil Science this week joined a small fraction of highly cited global researchers who've demonstrated significant and broad influence in their field of research.

For Professor Lam-Son Phan Tran and the President's Distinguished Professor of Plant Genomics, Luis Rafael Herrera-Estrella, selection to the highly anticipated listing was based on publications that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and publication year in Clarivate's Web of Science citation index, according to the MDPI website. 

“This is what excellence looks like,” said Davis College Dean Clint Krehbiel. “We're very proud of Dr. Tran and Dr. Herrera-Estrella and the contributions they are making toward advancing our understanding of plant genomics and abiotic stress tolerance. Their scholarly activities are essential for sustaining agriculture for future generations of producers and consumers.”

It's not the duos first topflight ranking, though. Tran has been tapped for the list for six consecutive years between 2023-2018 and in 2016, while Herrera-Estrella has been recognized this year and in 2022, said Leeann Slaughter, Project Manager for Strategic Research Intelligence in Texas Tech's Office of Research & Innovation. 

“We're especially proud of them because they're the only two researchers to receive this honor at Texas Tech, and both are in the Davis College,” added Darren Hudson, Davis College Interim associate Dean for Research and the Larry Combest Endowed Chair for Agricultural Competitiveness. “It's a testament to the quality of their research that it is being identified and utilized by other researchers around the world.” 

Both Tran and Herrera-Estrella are based in Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources' Institute of Genomics for Crop Abiotic Stress Tolerance (IGCAST), a high-profile research group the examines how plants adapt to thrive in the presence of environmental stresses, such as extreme heat and cold, drought and in the presence of brackish water sources.

“Texas Tech University is privileged to have two faculty members recognized with this honor, which recognizes the most impactful scientists in their fields.,” said Glen Ritchie, chair of Tech's Department of Plant & Soil Science. “They are colleagues in the Davis College, a result of significant investment by the college and university in our research success.” 

An expert in biological sciences and biotechnology, Tran obtained his M.Sc. in Biotechnology (1994) and Ph.D in biological sciences (1997) from Hungary's Szent Istvan University. His research programs broadly focus on regulatory networks and crosstalk among signaling molecules in plant responses to environmental stresses, as well as translational genomics for improvement of crop productivity in the era of global climate change. 

Herrera-Estrella serves as director of IGCAST and is one of the foremost plant molecular biologists in the world and is Texas Tech's first National Academy of Sciences member. A pioneer in the development of plant genetic engineering, he came to Texas Tech in 2018 thanks to a $5 million grant from the Governor's University Research Initiative. He earned his doctoral and postdoctoral degrees in genetics from the State University of Ghent, Belgium.

His research centers on the molecular mechanisms that allow plants to cope with a continuously changing environment. In particular, he has studied the two fundamental processes of molecular responses to light as a source of energy and a developmental signal, and nutrient availability.


This story was first published in the Davis College NewsCenter. See the original article here.