Victoria University researchers named among most influential in the world

Victoria University of Wellington researchers, Associate Professor Peter Northcote and Dr Rob Keyzers have been named among the top one percent of researchers cited in the field of Pharmacology and Toxicology.

Produced by Clarivate Analytics, the annual list recognises world-class researchers in the sciences, and considers only contemporary research—that published between 2006-2016—across 21 different categories.

Researchers recognised in these rankings have been selected for their exceptional work, demonstrated by production of multiple highly cited papers that rank in the top one percent by citations for field and year in Web of Science. Both Associate Professor Peter Northcote and Dr Rob Keyzers contributed to an annual review article, which summarised recent research in their field. This was the key piece that saw them make the 2018 list.

Associate Professor Northcote and Dr Keyzers specialise in natural products chemistry, part of Victoria University’s world-leading biotechnology and chemistry research. This area aims to identify previously undiscovered chemicals from natural sources.

Dr Keyzers, from the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, says he was always a water baby and the opportunity to work in marine environments and make discoveries are what drew him to his research specialisation.

“The chemical identification part of our research is heavily analytical and is a real detective process of finding bits of disparate data, linking them together and then building a bigger picture of what the structure is, so it’s real Sherlock Holmes type stuff.

It's been nearly a decade since Dr Keyzers began working at the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences and he’s grateful for the support he’s received from the University. “I’ve been provided with excellent research facilities, great students, and funding to go and collect sponges in Tonga.”

Similarly, Associate Professor Northcote, from the Ferrier Research Institute, has always been interested in science and sea creatures. When the chance to combine chemistry with the ocean arose, in the form of a PhD at the University of British Columbia in Canada, it was “a dream come true.”

He has been working at Victoria University of Wellington since 1994, firstly researching marine organisms and, more recently, looking for new chemicals in medicinal land plants from the Solomon Islands.

Both researchers say being recognised on the annual list is quite an achievement, and they’re focused on continuing to produce excellent research.