Inspiring people

Inspiring people

Eight Glasgow researchers have been ranked in the world’s top 1% for citations by the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list 2014. In the first of a series of profiles exploring the work of these inspirational researchers, Horizons meets biochemist Professor Alan Crozier.

The Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list identifies experts who have achieved exceptional impact in their field, based upon the number of individual papers published by each researcher, and the number of citations received by each paper.

Featured in the list from the University’s School of Medicine, Honorary Senior Research Fellow Professor Alan Crozier is a biochemist interested in the health benefits of plant products. Although he has published five times in Nature and once in the New England Journal of Medicine, he believes that the reason he has been ranked by Thomson Reuters is not due to these particular papers, but because of the overall impact of more than 100 publications on the absorption, metabolism, disposition and excretion of dietary flavonoids.

Beginning his Glasgow research career in 1973 studying plant hormones, and subsequently plant-derived purine alkaloids, over the last 20 years he has specialized in the bioavailability and protective effects of flavonoids and phenolic compounds found in common foodstuffs, including teas, coffee, cocoa, wine and berries.

Professor Crozier points to collaboration as an important contributing factor to his success. After a chance encounter at a meeting in 1995, he established the Plant Products & Human Nutrition group at Glasgow with nutritionist and physician Professor Mike Lean and considers himself lucky to have had a number of talented and dedicated researchers pass through his laboratory through the years, including Dr Bill Mullen, an expert analyst. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that both Professor Lean and Dr Mullen also feature in the Thomson Reuters list.

‘Collaborators outside Glasgow have also been important,’ Professor Crozier says. He names researchers as far and wide as Japan and Italy whose scientific input has been valuable. And in addition, his success has been fuelled by funding totalling almost £3 million from global food and drinks companies including Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Masterfoods, and Welch’s.

Fundamentally, however, Professor Crozier believes that his good intuition has enabled him to get ahead in science. ‘I think a lot of my success has been due to serendipity, seeing an opportunity when it presented itself, when others did not, and making use of it.’

While maintaining his honorary position at the University of Glasgow, Professor Crozier has recently taken up an appointment in the Department of Nutrition at the University of California, Davis.

View the staff profile of Professor Alan Crozier.