LTU researchers top 1% in the world

Three La Trobe University researchers have been recognised among the world's top one percent of researchers in Biology & Biochemistry and Agricultural Sciences.

La Trobe's researchers have been featured in the new Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher list, released in 2015. Professor Richard Simpson, Associate Professor Ben Hayes and Associate Professor Phil Bowman are among fewer than 100 Australian-based researchers recognised as 'Highly Cited' by Thomson Reuters.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Keith Nugent, congratulated the researchers on their exceptional achievement.

"The achievement demonstrates the outstanding quality of research being done here at La Trobe," said Professor Nugent.

Richard Simpson leads the research team working on colorectal cancer secretome and exosome biology at La Trobe. Cell-cell communication is a fundamental physiological process that relies on the sending and receiving of signals. This process may involve direct contact between adjoining cells, or the release of secreted molecules. Recently, extracellular vesicles (EVs) emanating from cells have been recognized to play a key role in cell-cell communication at both the paracrine and systemic levels.

"The focus of our research is to utilize an integrated proteomic/genomic strategy directed towards understanding the role of the extracellular environment (specifically, EVs) in cancer progression," he said.

Ben Hayes and Phil Bowman are part of a team working on the genetic variation and genome selection of dairy cattle. Their recent work addressed the challenges of optimal breeding program design and improved feed conversion efficiency of dairy cattle.

"Sequence genomes gathered from our research will allow cattle producers to make better predictions of the breeding merit of young bulls or heifers and the impact that genetics have on milk production, fertility, and other traits that affect farm profitability," the leader of CRC's dairy cattle genetics program, Associate Professor Hayes said.

The analysis had already exposed genetic defects known to reduce fertility and cause severe dwarfism in cattle. "This information will be immediately deployed in breeding programs to reduce or eliminate such disorders and improve the efficiency of milk and beef production."

"It has been a privilege for me to participate in exciting areas of research that are delivering important benefits for Australian rural industries. The facilities at AgriBio and the partnership between the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources and La Trobe University have been very important in acting as a catalyst for this success," Dr Bowman said.

Highly Cited Researchers, encompassing approximately 3,000 researchers from 21 broad subject field, represents some of the world's most influential minds in their fields. The list is established based on highly cited papers from the Essential Science Indicators (ESI), which evaluates articles and reviews indexed by the Science Citation Index Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index of the Web of Science. Each paper is ranked in the top 1% by total citations in their field and publication year.

The Highly Cited Researchers by Thomson Reuters is one of the six research performance indicators used by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) to rank research intensive universities globally.

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