Waikato academic ranked in top one per cent in the world for research citations

26 November 2019

Michèle Prinsep
Associate Professor Michèle Prinsep has been ranked in the top one per cent in the world for research citations in her field, by the Institute for Scientific Information, at the Web of Science Group.

A University of Waikato researcher who identifies compounds in marine species which could be used for pharmaceuticals has had her work ranked among the top one per cent of research cited in the world.

Associate Professor of organic chemistry, Michèle Prinsep, specialises in an area known as natural product research. She spends her days searching for compounds or chemicals made by living things that could have pharmaceutical applications.

“Natural products are something made by living things, but they’re not directly necessary for life. We try to isolate and structurally elucidate new novel and bioactive natural products from these marine species.”

Her work focusses on natural products created by cyanobacteria, the photosynthesising bacteria responsible for brightly coloured algal blooms and bryozoans, marine invertebrates.

“We want to identify antibacterial, antiviral or antifungal compounds that can be used as lead compounds in pharmaceuticals.”

This month she was ranked in the top one per cent in the world for research citations in her field, by the Institute for Scientific Information, at the Web of Science Group. She has also received similar accolades from Thompson-Reuters for the past three years.

“It’s nice to be recognised. It shows that what you do is being read and is worthwhile and that’s pleasing.”

Her current research has her working for Zespri, investigating whether there are compounds in marine organisms that could combat the costly kiwifruit disease Psa. Another project is working for the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment investigating invasive marine organisms and what it is that makes them thrive over indigenous species.

“If we can understand what makes them successful and understand their chemistry then we can also better manage them.”

While her research is dedicated towards finding lead compounds for pharmaceuticals, she says she is yet to have one of her finds make it to the pharmaceutical stage, although she has had compounds that have made it to testing.

“There is a very low hit rate of success to get to the pharmaceutical stage. It’s a very long process and of course pharmaceutical companies aren’t really interested or don’t want to invest until you’re very near the final stages.”

David Pendlebury, Senior Citation Analyst at the Institute for Scientific Information said the highly cited list recognised exceptional researchers who were extending the frontiers of knowledge.

“These researchers create gains for society, innovation and knowledge that make the world healthier, richer, more sustainable and more secure.”

The list identifies scientists and social scientists who produced multiple papers ranking in the top one per cent by citations for their field and year of publication, demonstrating significant research influence among their peers.

This year the list includes 6,217 Highly Cited Researchers in various fields from nearly 60 countries around the world. Among them were 23 Nobel laureates.

Latest stories

Related stories


Māori astronomer receives Prime Minister's award

University of Waikato Professor Rangi Matamua (Tūhoe), has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Science Communications…

Rare giant squid caught in the Bay of Plenty will assist MPI research

A giant squid caught off Whakaari/White Island, will be used by University of Waikato marine…


University of Waikato offers fast-track to engineering

Engineering hopefuls, and those looking for a career change, may get an early foot in…

Waikato students engineer the perfect flatting set up and study bubble

When almost the entire first-year engineering cohort from the University of Waikato Tauranga campus moved…

University of Waikato Masters student wins international chemistry scholarship

University of Waikato Masters student Nyssa Hewitt has been awarded the 2020 Harvey W. Wiley…

University of Waikato collaborates on global project to secure Antarctica’s future

The University of Waikato, along with other New Zealand universities, has been named as a…

Robbie Maris

Waikato student’s scholarship leads to seaweed opportunity

Valuable workplace skills and real-life experience of theory learned in the classroom were the benefits…

Graduate combines accounting and chemistry to be first in his family to gain bachelors degree

Andrew Napier has become the first in his family to graduate from university

Research investigating how invasive predator control impacts insects

A University of Waikato researcher says New Zealand’s successful predator control measures which are helping…

Polluted, drained, and drying out: new warnings on New Zealand’s rivers and lakes

The latest environmental report on New Zealand’s lakes and rivers reiterates bleak news about the…

Long-tailed bats found in north Hamilton

A summer research student from the University of Waikato has found evidence of long-tailed bats,…

Researchers focussed on tackling the difficult environmental decisions

A team of University of Waikato researchers, led by Professor Iain White, have received $625,000…