Professor Johannes van Staden.

Award-Winning University of KwaZulu-Natal scientist, Professor Johannes van Staden, is in top position on the latest Thomson Reuters world list of highly cited researchers in the fields of pharmacology and toxicology.

New York-based Thomson Reuters is one of the world’s leading sources of reliable information for businesses and professionals and regularly publishes lists of leading researchers in a variety of spheres.

Van Staden is in first position on the organisation’s latest list of leading researchers in the areas of pharmacology and toxicology.  In second and third place are scientists from the University of Florence.  There are more than 100 names on the list.

Thomson Reuters said in a statement that a further finalised list of the world’s highly cited researchers would be published on March 31.  This would be submitted to the Shanghai Jiao Tong University for use in its 2013 Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Van Staden, who is the director of the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development attached to the School of Life Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science on UKZN’s Pietermaritzburg Campus, was the university’s most published researcher in 2010 and 2011.

He is the author or co-author of 1 110 (2011) papers which have been published in ISI-rated journals and since 2002 has fallen within the top 0,5% of the internationally most cited authors. In his area he has worked in many areas of Plant Sciences/Botany, but specifically in the fields of plant hormones, seed germination, senescence, stress physiology, post-harvest physiology, biotechnology and plant tissue culture, ethnobotany and ethnomedicine.

Van Staden is the recipient of numerous awards in his fields and is the Editor-in-Chief of the South African Journal of Botany and Plant Growth Regulation. He serves on the editorial board of six other journals.

UKZNs Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Professor Nelson Ijumba, congratulated van Staden on his recognition describing it as a truly extraordinary achievement that has also brought honour to UKZN. 

Van Staden said he was very pleased with the ranking which had come as a complete surprise to him.