Genetics remains at top of academic research
Genetics is still the hottest area of scientific research, a decade since the mapping of the human genome, despite slow progress in translating discoveries into new medical treatments, according to a report in Reuters.
A Reuters Science Watch survey found seven of the top 13 researchers in 2010 worked in genetics, with Eric Lander of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT as the world's "hottest" researcher. Lander's work covered genetic mapping and human disease, including lung cancer.
The annual survey looks at research across different scientific disciplines and uses the Web of Science database to see which papers published in the last two years are cited the most by other scientists.
Ten years after the first full sequence of the human genome was published, early expectations of rapid breakthroughs in fighting disease have proved misplaced.
But academic interest has not slackened, and scientists remain hopeful that the tsunami of information unlocked by genomics, or the study of genetic sequences, will eventually yield big dividends.
One early success, in fact, is the FDA approval for Human Genome Sciences’ lupus drug Benlysta, the first drug derived from genomics to win marketing clearance.
Three of the hottest researchers in the latest Science Watch survey came from Iceland's Decode Genetics, which pioneered deeper understanding of the relationships between genes and common diseases but filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009 before re-emerging as a private business last year.
Outside the field of genetics, Andre Geim at the University of Manchester made a third consecutive appearance on the Science Watch hot list, this time in his capacity as a Nobel Laureate. Yang Yang of the University of California, Los Angeles, also made the hot list for research on polymer solar cells.