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Nobel hopefuls by the numbers

The researcher who developed induced pluripotent stem cells, the biochemist who invented DNA microarrays, and the immunologist who discovered dendritic cells are just a few of the scientists whose citation records are robust enough to attract a Nobel Prize this year, according to Thomson Reuters, the company that manages the Web of Science citation indexing tool -- brainchild of __The Scientist__ founder Eugene Garfield. The company released their 2010 Nobel Prize linkurl:predictions;http://scie

By | September 21, 2010

The researcher who developed induced pluripotent stem cells, the biochemist who invented DNA microarrays, and the immunologist who discovered dendritic cells are just a few of the scientists whose citation records are robust enough to attract a Nobel Prize this year, according to Thomson Reuters, the company that manages the Web of Science citation indexing tool -- brainchild of __The Scientist__ founder Eugene Garfield. The company released their 2010 Nobel Prize linkurl:predictions;http://science.thomsonreuters.com/nobel/ today (21st September).
For the past 8 years, Thomson Reuters, has thrown its hat into the ring, publishing the names of "Citation Laureates" -- a list of researchers that are potential recipients of that year's Nobel Prizes, based on an analysis of 30 years of citation counts. Thomson Reuters citation analyst David Pendlebury performs these calculations, and is in charge of putting the list together every year. "I'm always hopeful, and yet I'm usually surprised if we get any right because of the statistical improbability of doing this," he said of the exercise. "Ultimately what were trying to do is show that there is a meaning to citations in the literature and they correspond to subjective measure of quality and esteem in science." Though Pendlebury admits that it's "almost miraculous that we ever get anybody right," his prediction formula -- which also considers factors, such as other prestigious prizes (Lasker, Kyoto, etc.) researchers have recently won, and whether a particular discovery is of the type typically recognized by the Nobel committees -- has struck gold in recently. Last year, Thomson Reuters correctly predicted that Elizabeth Blackburn, Carol Greider, and linkurl:Jack Szostak;http://genetics.mgh.harvard.edu/szostakweb/people.html would win the prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of the enzyme telomerase and how telomeres protect chromosomes. And in 2008, Thomson Reuters Citation Laureate linkurl:Roger Tsien;http://www.tsienlab.ucsd.edu/People.htm became a Nobel Laureate for the discovery and development of the ubiquitous green fluorescent protein (though Thomson Reuters failed to name Tsien's co-awardees linkurl:Osamu Shimomura;http://www.mbl.edu/news/features/shimomura.html and Martin Chalfie, who contributed to the discovery). Without further ado, here are the 2010 Thomson Reuters Citation Laureates whose accomplishments are pertinent to the life sciences, listed by field: Chemistry: - Patrick Brown, Stanford University biochemist, "for the invention and application of DNA microarrays, a revolutionary tool in the study of variations in gene expression." - Stephen Lippard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology chemist, "for pioneering research in bioinorganic chemistry, including the discovery of metallointercalators to disrupt DNA replication, an important contribution to improved cancer therapy." Physiology or Medicine: - Douglas Coleman, Jackson Laboratory senior staff scientist emeritus, and Jeffrey Friedman, Rockefeller University molecular geneticist, "for the discovery of leptin, a hormone regulating appetite and metabolism." - linkurl:Ernest McCulloch;http://www.cdnmedhall.org/dr-ernest-mcculloch and James Till, both senior scientists at the Ontario Cancer Institute, and Shinya Yamanaka, Kyoto University and University of California, San Francisco, stem cell researcher, "for the discovery of stem cells and the development of induced pluripotent stem cells." - Ralph Steinman, Rockefeller University immunologist, "for the discovery of dendritic cells, key regulators of immune response." Jeffrey Friedman, who Thomson Reuters tapped as a potential winner of this year's Physiology or Medicine Prize, told __The Scientist__ that it was "cool" that he was named in the company's predictions, but added that he doesn't really pay much attention to such hubbub. "I like what I do, and just try to keep my head down," he said. As the research community's gaze begins to shift towards Stockholm, where in two weeks a new class of Nobel Laureates will join the annals of science history, stay tuned to __The Scientist__. We'll be covering any more predictions that crop up, and we'll provide instant reports, reactions, and analysis when the science Nobels are announced in the first week of October. **__Related stories:__***linkurl:Opinion: A fishy Nobel Prize;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/56210/
[10th December 2009]*linkurl:Telomere researchers win Nobel;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/56039/
[5th October 2009]*linkurl:2009 Nobel predictions go public;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/56003/
[25th September 2009]

Comments

Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

September 21, 2010

It is hard to imagine and understand how after nearly fifty years Ernest McCulloch and James Till have not yet been awarded the Nobel Prize for discovering stem cells. Their work ultimately led to a revolution in scientific and clinical study. Leukemia became treatable for the first time through the knowledge they provided. Their pioneering contributions ultimately led to the cancer stem cell hypothesis. I wish them the very best and hope that their significance is recognized by other laureates.
Avatar of: Jim Clark

Jim Clark

Posts: 14

September 21, 2010

Hi\n\nProperly, the predictions should be kept secret until the Nobel announcements are made since making predictions public could influence the results. Also, wouldn't post-dictions do just as well to test out meaningfulness of citation indices?\n\nTake care\nJim\n
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 85

September 21, 2010

\n\nThe only intelligent statement in this entire article is the quote from Jeffrey Friedman.\n\nDr. Friedman sounds like a mensch.
Avatar of: Mike Waldrep

Mike Waldrep

Posts: 155

September 21, 2010

Interesting!
Avatar of: Joseph Hiddink

Joseph Hiddink

Posts: 12

September 21, 2010

In 1967, I disovered Gravity Control, when I found the technology of the Flying Saucer.\nAfter I got the Patent, I suggested to Nasa to use it for the Shuttles. A copy of the patent was sent to the John Glenn site in Cleveland, Ohio, withd the advice to contact me about the settings, as some might be dangerous.\n"Not interested, thank you for the copy of your Patent!"\nAfter the Space Disasters, they decided to experiment with the circuitry, did not contact me, used the exaggerated setting of the E-Bomb, caused the big black-out of 2003 and informed Nasa that it was not suitable for Space Travel.\nThe Hudson Institute had evaluated the invention at $600 Billion, if the USA would have it before Russia.\nMy Patent Lawyer, Mr. Farkas, predicted the Nobel prize. Nasa refused to pay my fee of only $50 Million after that disaster.\nThe Industrial Revolution that Edgar Cayce \npredicted for the invention, should probably go to another country. I found over 1000 applications.\nSome country needs the work.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 107

September 22, 2010

Nice to know that citation analysis is being used to pick Nobel winners anymore....
Avatar of: Paul Browne

Paul Browne

Posts: 38

September 23, 2010

Stem cells are one area where it's difficult to decide who should get the award.\n\nErnest McCulloch and James Till certainly deserve to win the nobel, but how about Gail Martin, the first scientist to grow embryonic stem cells in vitro http://speakingofresearch.com/2010/06/21/faseb-excellence-in-science-award-for-stem-cell-pioneer/\n\nThere's also James Thompson, who derived the first human embryonic stem cells, and who also published the first derivation of human iPS cells in a back to back publication with Shinya Yamanaka.\n\nIf it was up to me I'd give the prize to McCulloch and Till one year (discovery of stem cells), and to Martin, Thompson and Yamanaka (development and application of stem cell technologies?)on another.\n\nOn the other hand maybe two awards in quick successon for stem cells might be too much, and perhaps the Nobel committee will consider that the inclusion of Martin Evans among the 2007 Laureates "for their discoveries of principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells" has embrionic stem cells covered.\n\nIn that case McCulloch, Till and Yamanaka are worthy candidates.
Avatar of: susannah gold

susannah gold

Posts: 1

September 29, 2010

Hello Bob Grant,\nI read your post about potential Nobel Prize winners. Shinya Yamanaka from Kyoto, part of one of the teams slated to perhaps win the Nobel Prize was recently granted another honor, the 2010 Balzan Prize for one million Swiss Francs. The award was announced in Milan on September 6. Balzan, like the Lassiter Prize is often awarded to future Nobel Prize winners.\n\nI would be much obliged if you mention the Balzan Prize should he win on Monday.\nKind regards,\nSusannah Gold

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