SAMRC Extramural Unit Directors among highly cited researchers globally

Distinguished HIV/ Aids scientists Professors Salim Abdool Karim and Lynn Morris have been named by Web of Science Group as highly cited researchers in the world.  This comes after the Group released the list of Highly Cited Researchers for 2019 early this week.

Abdool Karim is Director of the HIV-TB Pathogenesis and Treatment Research Unit, while Morris Heads the Antibody Immunity Research Unit. They are among the fifteen African scientists who featured on the list - ten of whom are from South Africa. The list includes global research scientists and social scientists who have demonstrated exceptional influence reflected through their publication of multiple papers that rank in the top 1% by citations.

Annually when curating the list, experts from the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) provide exclusive insight including the methodology; country and institutional breakdowns and using citation analysis to predict Nobel Laureates. According to David Pendlebury, Senior Citation Analyst at the ISI recognition, these exceptional researchers represent an important activity for a nation or an institution’s plans for efficient and accelerated advancement. He also adds that the list contributes to the identification of that small fraction of the researcher population that contributes disproportionately to extending the frontiers of knowledge.

Also Director and Co-Founder of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), a close associate-organisation of the SAMRC, Abdool Karim said he was pleased to see that the research produced by his team is being so highly cited. “It gives me great pleasure and reassurance to learn of the citation impact these articles have,” he said.

Morris, who first made her debut on the list in 2015 says she is humbled by the recognition of her hard work but emphasizes that successful science is a collaborative effort involving many others. “For me, being on this list is more about being able to co-ordinate teams and to inspire students and post-docs, and of course to identify the most impact research projects and drive them to completion,” she adds.

Abdool Karim says, a special gratitude goes to his CAPRISA team and the many collaborators for working with him on the studies that helped me get rank so highly. “I also want to thank the SAMRC for its support for our tuberculosis research through the extramural unit,” concluded Abdool Karim.

Hailed for her significant contributions to the understanding of how the HIV antibody response develops, Morris says there were many role players in her journey but would like to single out Prof Penny Moore who she says she worked closely with for the last 15 years.

“Prof Moore is an exceptionally smart and generous scientist and together we have built an internationally recognized research team and trained many bright young people,” she adds.

Lynn also said she is excited about her recent appointment as Director of one of the SAMRC Extramural Research Units, which she says will give her and the team an opportunity to start applying what they learned about HIV antibodies to other infectious diseases. “Hopefully this will contribute to new vaccines and antibody therapeutics for major infectious diseases in Africa,” added Morris.

SAMRC’s President and CEO, Prof Glenda Gray welcomed the news and congratulated both scientists saying that they have both earned their stripes. “As the SAMRC we are delighted to be associated with scientists of their caliber with credentials that speak for themselves. The two have made significant contributions to health research, particularly in the field of HIV/Aids,” said Gray.