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Twelve "highly cited researchers" at DKFZ again in 2020

No. 71 | 18/11/2020 | by Koh

In 2020, twelve scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) have again made it to the top: They are among the leading one percent of the world's highly cited researchers in their respective fields. This means that scientists whose work is cited particularly frequently by their peers are considered to be highly recognized and important in their field. The citation frequency is therefore one of the most important measurements for classifying the influence and performance of individual researchers.


Every year, the "Web of Science Group" of the U.S. company Clarivate publishes a ranking of the world's most cited scientists in 21 different fields, covering all natural sciences, medicine, and economics and social sciences.

In 2020, 6167 researchers from over 60 countries worldwide will be among the top one percent of the most cited experts in their respective fields. This year, twelve scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) are among the 345 winners from German institutions.

Michael Baumann, Chairman of the DKFZ's Board of Directors, comments on the result: "We are proud that so many of our colleagues are again among the most cited scientists in their field. Throughout Germany, a total of about 350 researchers from all disciplines make it onto the „Web of Science" list every year - including, once again, about ten DKFZ colleagues: This is impressive proof of the high standing of the DKFZ's work within the German research landscape.

These DKFZ researchers made it to the top positions:

  • Ralf Bartenschlager (DKFZ and Heidelberg University Hospital) paved the way with his groundbreaking research results on the hepatitis C virus to develop effective drugs against the dangerous pathogen (category microbiology).
  • Epidemiologist Hermann Brenner (DKFZ and NCT Heidelberg) is considered a leading expert in the evaluation of cancer prevention measures (Cat. Cross Fields).
  • Eran Elinav is an expert on the health effects of the intestinal microbiome. He works at the Weizmann Institute in Israel and heads a research department at the DKFZ that focuses on the influence of the microbiome on the development of cancer (Cat. Molecular Biology and Genetics).
  • Andreas von Deimling (DKFZ and Heidelberg University Hospital) is internationally renowned for the development of diagnostic antibodies that can be used to detect cancer-specific mutations and are used worldwide to better assess brain tumors (Cat. Neurosciences).
  • Nuclear medicine specialist Uwe Haberkorn (DKFZ and Heidelberg University Hospital) is developing methods for using PET-CT to monitor the response to and progress of therapy in various types of cancer (Cat. Cross Fields).
  • Mathias Heikenwälder researches how chronic inflammation causes cancer and how these processes can be stopped (Cat. Cross Fields).
  • David Jones, Andrey Korshunov and Stefan Pfister achieved their ranking through interdisciplinary research (Cross Fields cat.): The scientists, who also work at the Hopp Children's Tumor Center "KiTZ", are among the world's most renowned experts on the molecular genetics of childhood brain tumors. This means that they also have a considerable influence on the treatment of young patients and therefore also publish in specialist journals for clinical medicine.
  • The neurologist Michael Platten, DKFZ and Medical Faculty Mannheim of the University of Heidelberg, develops immunotherapies against brain tumors and investigates the role of the metabolism of the amino acid tryptophan in cancer (Cat. Cross Fields).
  • Oliver Stegle (DKFZ and EMBL) develops methods for the analysis of high-throughput data. One focus is on methods for studying genetic variations in individual cells (Cat. Cross Fields).
  • The neurologist Wolfgang Wick (DKFZ and Heidelberg University Hospital) is investigating the molecular mechanisms of possible targeted therapies against glioblastoma (Cat. Cross Fields).

For the current list, Clarivate took into account the authors of all scientific publications published between 2009 and 2019, which at the end of 2019 were among the one percent of the most cited papers ("highly cited papers").

Depending on the size of the subject area, a different number of citations is required to count towards the top percent. By far the largest number of "most cited researchers" come from U.S. institutions (2650), followed by China (770), Great Britain (514) and Germany (345).

With more than 3,000 employees, the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) is Germany’s largest biomedical research institute. DKFZ scientists identify cancer risk factors, investigate how cancer progresses and develop new cancer prevention strategies. They are also developing new methods to diagnose tumors more precisely and treat cancer patients more successfully. The DKFZ's Cancer Information Service (KID) provides patients, interested citizens and experts with individual answers to questions relating to cancer.

To transfer promising approaches from cancer research to the clinic and thus improve the prognosis of cancer patients, the DKFZ cooperates with excellent research institutions and university hospitals throughout Germany:

  • National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT, 6 sites)
  • German Cancer Consortium (DKTK, 8 sites)
  • Hopp Children's Cancer Center (KiTZ) Heidelberg
  • Helmholtz Institute for Translational Oncology (HI-TRON Mainz) - A Helmholtz Institute of the DKFZ
  • DKFZ-Hector Cancer Institute at the University Medical Center Mannheim
  • National Cancer Prevention Center (jointly with German Cancer Aid)
The DKFZ is 90 percent financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and 10 percent by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.


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