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Genomics -- So Hot Right Now

Genomics researchers are 'hotter' than those working in any other field, according to an analysis by Thomson Reuters ScienceWatch that gauges how 'hot' a researcher was during the last year by how many times their recent papers were cited.

Genomics investigators accounted for a sizable section of the hottest boffins in 2012, and the most scorching of these was Richard Wilson at Washington University School of Medicine, who was part of the team behind the Nature report "A Map of Human Genome Variation from Population-scale Sequencing" that detailed findings from the 1,000 Genomes Project. Wilson had 15 total papers from 2010 to 2012 that were cited last year.

Some familiar faces are strewn among the fieriest of the researchers working in genomics during the last year, but some new names crept into the list of the scientists with the most oft-cited papers.

Broad Institute Director and President Eric Lander is still on fire, Thomson found, as he contributed to that Nature paper as well, and he had an additional 12 other highly cited reports, which included genomics research into cancers of the ovaries, blood, and brain, and a report on missing heritability that was among the year's hottest papers. Lander was the hottest on the list during the two previous years.

Decode Genetics President Kari Stefansson made a comeback, jumping to the top of the genomics pyre after missing it last year. He had 13 reports on genomic aspects of Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's cited last year.

Three of Wilson's fellow Washington University in St. Louis investigators joined him on the hot list, including Elaine Mardis, Li Ding, and Robert Fulton. They contributed to the same 1,000 Genomes paper and authored two other reports that landed in the top papers of the year. University of Michigan biostatistician Goncalo Abecasis, another author on the Nature paper, landed on the list for a dozen recent papers on GWAS studies of diabetes, body-mass index, and cardiovascular disease risk.

Jun Wang from BGI also made the list with 14 hot papers.

The University of Birmingham's Gregory Lip popped up in the survey for the first time, due to his reports on various aspects of atrial fibrillation.

Another newcomer, Rob Knight, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of Colorado, made the hot list for 14 papers that examined the human microbiome.