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Antibiotic sensitivity test done in a petri dish.

This method of detecting antimicrobial resistance is used by professors at the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences.

Rady Faculty profs named to global list of highly cited researchers

February 3, 2022 — 

Six Rady Faculty of Health Sciences professors have been named to the Highly Cited Researchers 2021 list.

Drs. Heather Adam, Philippe Lagacé-Wiens, Lindsay Nicolle, Frank Schweizer, Sheryl Zelenitsky and George Zhanel join 190 other Canadian scientists on the list of more than 6,600 researchers from around the globe. Of the world’s scientists, Highly Cited Researchers are one in 1,000.

The names of the researchers on the list are drawn from the publications that rank in the one per cent by citations for field and publication year in the Web of Science, a global citation database. The list is created by Clarivate, a company that specializes in analytics and owns the Web of Science.  

“Drs. Schweizer, Adam, Lagacé-Wiens, Nicolle, Zelenitsky and Zhanel, leaders in the field of anti-microbial resistance, are seeking solutions that will advance patient care in the battle against infectious disease,” said Dr. Peter Nickerson, vice-dean (research), Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, and a distinguished professor of internal medicine at the Max Rady College of Medicine.

Portrait of Dr. Heather Adam.

Dr. Heather Adam

Adam, an assistant professor of medical microbiology/infectious diseases at the Max Rady College of Medicine, focuses her research on documenting the common bacteria causing infections in primarily hospitalized patients, assessing the frequency these bacteria are resistant to commonly prescribed antimicrobial treatments and evaluating how the bacteria become resistant. The Canadian Antimicrobial Resistance Alliance (CARA) team, of which she is a member, also studies newly developed antimicrobials to find out which bacteria they will be most helpful in treating. 

“The recognition of being on the highly cited researchers list is a direct reflection of the remarkable opportunity I have had to work with our incredible research team, the Canadian Antimicrobial Resistance Alliance, for the past 20 years,” Adam said. “I believe the frequent citations of our work highlight the importance, and the increasing focus on antimicrobial resistance at both the national and international levels.”

Portrait of Dr. Philippe Legace-Wiens.

Dr. Philippe Legace-Wiens

Lagacé-Wiens, an assistant professor of medical microbiology/infectious diseases at the Max Rady College of Medicine, works to better understand the resistance to antibiotics in bacteria and evaluate new antibiotics against resistant bacteria to confirm that they might work to treat patients with similar infections in the future. He also conducts research to evaluate new diagnostic tools in the laboratory to help diagnose infectious disease and antibiotic resistance.

“I’m both surprised and elated to be on the list,” Lagacé-Wiens said. “Being recognized for the work one does is a sure way to breathe new energy into the sometimes challenging aspects of research.”

Portrait of Dr. Lindsay Nicolle.

Dr. Lindsay Nicolle

Nicolle, a professor emeritus of internal medicine at the Max Rady College of Medicine, is no longer active in research, but throughout her career, a major topic she addressed was clinical studies relevant to urinary tract infection. One question studied was the management of asymptomatic bacteriuria, which has become a topic of major interest in the last decade as antimicrobial stewardship initiatives have become essential in the management of infectious diseases.

“My research, and other activities relevant to it, such as guideline development, remains relevant and it is gratifying to know that work which was performed even decades ago is still contributing,” Nicolle said.  

Portrait of Dr. Frank Schweizer.

Dr. Frank Schweizer

Schweizer, a professor of medical microbiology/infectious diseases at the Max Rady College of Medicine, and a professor of chemistry at the Faculty of Science, focuses his research on therapeutic approaches to overcome bacterial resistance. He studies the development of helper molecules, which, when combined with antibiotics, rescue antibiotics from resistance.

“It’s a great feeling that our research can inspire other investigators,” Schweizer said. “It is great to see that some of our papers generate wide interest all over the world. It provides motivation and confirms that we are on the right track and have an impact on the research community.”

Portrait of Dr. Sheryl Zelenitsky.

Dr. Sheryl Zelenitsky

Zelenitsky, a professor at the College of Pharmacy, studies how best to use antibiotics while limiting the risk of harmful effects and antibiotic resistance. She focuses on vulnerable patients, such as people who are undergoing surgery, on dialysis or critically ill.

“I’m pleased that our work is being read,” Zelenitsky said. “I have always been interested in research that can improve patient care. My publications often stem from questions I have as to why something is or isn’t being done with the goal of advancing clinical practice.” 

Portrait of Dr. George Zhanel.

Dr. George Zhanel

Zhanel is a professor of medical microbiology/infectious diseases at the Max Rady College of Medicine. As director of CARA, he works with researchers and clinicians from across the country to study which patients get infected with resistant infections, how organisms develop resistance and how best to treat these patients with existing and new antibiotics.

“Our group has worked incredibly hard to produce high-quality, practice changing research with local, national and international relevance,” Zhanel said. “This recognition is a testament to the dedication and hard work of all of our research trainees, staff and collaborators.”

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