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Molecular geneticist at AU among the most frequently cited researchers in the world

Jens Stougaard is the only researcher from a Danish university among the 1% of the most frequently cited researchers in the field of Plant and Animal Science. He is a professor at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University (AU), and is also director of the Centre for Carbohydrate Recognition and Signalling (CARB), a Centre of Excellence supported by the Danish National Research Foundation.

2014.08.11 | Lisbeth Heilesen

Professor Jens Stougaard laid the foundation for his numerous significant publications when he established the birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus japonicus) legume as a model organism, and large amounts are now cultivated in the research group’s greenhouses (Photo: Lisbeth Heilesen)

This prominent standing is based on citation data from the Web of Science citation index during the past eleven years. The analysis was prepared by ScienceWatch and scores the most influential researchers in the world by identifying ‘hot publications’ that are cited so frequently that the total number of citations rank in the top 1% of citations in a broadly defined research field. This information is then used to draw up an overall list of the most frequently cited researchers in the world.

In addition to Professor Stougaard (in the field of Plant and Animal Science), Aarhus University is represented by Karl Anker Jørgensen, Department of Chemistry (in the field of Chemistry), and Asger Lunde, Department of Economics and Business (in the field of Economics and Business).

Professor Stougaard’s research focuses on finding and investigating the function of plant genes that control the interaction of plants with microorganisms. Plants in the environment are surrounded by a plethora of different bacteria and fungi, and they have developed different genetic programmes to recognise and distinguish between pathogenic fungi and beneficial bacteria, for example.

Professor Stougaard laid the foundation for his numerous significant publications when he established the birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus japonicus) legume as a model organism. This work led to the formation of a strong international research environment that uses the model system to study plant responses to symbiotic microorganisms such as nitrogen-fixing rhizobium bacteria, and fungi that form mycorrhizae on the roots of plants, thereby increasing phosphate uptake.

Future prospects for this symbiosis research include the ability to develop sustainable agriculture with reduced use of fertilisers, thus contributing to sustainable food production, which is necessary to feed the growing global population.

In his research activities, Professor Stougaard found the receptors that control infection with beneficial bacteria in legumes and regulate the formation of the root organs where rhizobium bacteria convert atmospheric nitrogen to ammonium, which is subsequently absorbed by the plants. This discovery forms the basis for an international collaboration supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study how the mechanism can be transferred to maize.

According to the Web of Science, researchers with many citations are broadly recognised and have considerable influence on developments within their field of research. In a broader context, the citations that form the basis for the Web of Science report also play a significant role in university positions in the leading rankings. In the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities, for example, citations account for 20% of the assessment.


News articles about Jens Stougaard’s research


Background information about the ScienceWatch survey


More information

Professor Jens Stougaard
Centre for Carbohydrate Recognition and Signalling
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics
Aarhus University, Denmark
stougaard@mb.au.dk – mobile +45 6020 2649

Research