Eight UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Members Named Highly Cited Researchers

Clarivate™ has named their list of Highly Cited Researchers for 2023 — an elite group that demonstrates significant and broad influence in their field of research. Each researcher selected has authored multiple Highly Cited Papers™, which rank in the top 1% by citations in their field and publication year in the Web of Science™ over the past decade.

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center has eight members on the list including Greg Delgoffe, Robert Ferris, Valerian Kagan, John Kirkwood, Jeremy Rich, Yulia Tyurina, Dario Vignali, and Simon Watkins. Learn more about their work.

Greg Delgoffe, PhD

Dr. Delgoffe studies the intersection of metabolism and immunity in cancer. He works to understand how tumor cells deplete their local microenvironment of nutrients, effectively starving tumor-infiltrating T cells and preventing their function — destroying harmful pathogens and sending signals to control the immune system’s response to threats. 

Robert Ferris, MD, PhD

In addition to being director of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Dr. Ferris is a surgical oncologist, internationally renowned expert in head and neck cancer, and pioneering cancer immunotherapist. He studies how immune cells in the tumor microenvironment can be harnessed to combat cancer and how tumor cells evade the body’s immunologic defenses. He is also one of the principal investigators for the Head and Neck Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE).

Valerian Kagan, PhD, DSc

Dr. Kagan is one of the world’s recognized leaders and one of the most prominent authorities in the field of Free Radical Biology and Medicine. He has pioneered the field of redox lipidomics. His work uncovers specific pathways through which enzymes of oxidative metabolism participate in the production of specific oxygenated lipid molecules that act as signals triggering cell death as well as mechanisms involved in clearing damaged or dead cells. At Pitt, he is the director of the Center for Free Radical and Antioxidant Health.

John Kirkwood, MD

Dr. Kirkwood’s research focuses on melanoma immunobiology, therapy and prevention. His translational studies established the first effective adjuvant therapy of melanoma, identified the immunological basis of this therapy, and are now probing the role of molecularly targeted agents that may improve the efficacy of anti-PD1 immunotherapy.

Jeremy Rich, MD

Dr. Rich aims to identify novel therapeutic paradigms in the treatment of advanced cancers, primarily malignant brain tumors, through the prism of stem cell biology to identify core regulatory pathways amenable to pharmacologic targeting. His research has made contributions to the understanding of therapeutic resistance, circadian rhythm, cancer epigenetics, tumor microenvironment, epitranscriptomics, tumor organoids/bioprinting, cancer metabolism, and cancer metabolism.

Yulia Tyurina, PhD

Dr. Tyurina aims to understand the fundamental role of phospholipids and their oxygenated species in cell death pathways. Her studies discovered that the generation of cardiolipin oxygenated species is essential for the execution of the apoptotic cell death pathway and provided insight into the role of reactive oxygen species in triggering cell death pathways.

Dario Vignali, PhD

Dr. Vignali’s research focuses on gaining a better understanding of the inhibitory mechanisms, including inhibitory receptors and regulatory T cells, that limit anti-tumor immunity in cancer patients. He oversees discovery-based programs aimed at identifying novel targets for therapeutic intervention and facilitating the translation of novel therapeutic modalities.

Simon Watkins, PhD

Dr. Watkins focuses on developing, building, and applying computer aided microscopes and analysis tools for imaging subcellular events at all levels of resolution within fixed and living systems. At the University of Pittsburgh, he oversees the Center for Biology Imaging — one of the largest optical imaging centers in the country.

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