Three professors on the Highly Cited Researchers 2023 list

  • Faculty of Science, Technology and Medicine (FSTM)
    Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB)
    17 November 2023
  • Category
    Awards & Rankings, Research
  • Topic
    Life Sciences & Medicine, Physics & Materials Science

Prof. Michael Heneka, Prof. Alexandre Tkatchenko and Prof. Paul Wilmes have been selected on the Highly Cited Researchers 2023 list by Clarivate, for “demonstrating significant and broad influence in their field(s) of research”. These highly cited papers rank in the top 1% by citations for their field(s) and publication year. Of the world’s population of scientists and social scientists, Highly Cited Researchers are 1 in 1,000.

Prof. Michael Heneka

Prof. Michael Heneka is a board-certified neurologist and clinician-scientist with extensive experience in studying neurodegenerative diseases at experimental, preclinical and clinical levels. He studied medicine in Tübingen, Lausanne and London and joined the Department of Neurology at the University of Bonn in 1999. After his clinical board examination and habilitation, he took the chair as professor of Molecular Neurology at the University of Münster in 2004. In 2008, he was appointed professor of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Bonn, heading the DFG Clinical Research Unit 177. Prof. Heneka established a neurodegenerative outpatient unit at the University of Münster and thereafter at the University of Bonn. The latter has been the basis for the foundation of the Department of Neurodegenerative Disease and Geriatric Psychiatry, which he headed from 2016 to 2021. Since January 2022, he is the director of the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) at the University of Luxembourg. At the LCSB, Prof. Heneka is also heading the Neuroinflammation group, which is involved in fundamental and translational research with a focus on neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation.

Dementia has been identified by the World Health Organization as a major and global health issue, with an expected increase from currently 55 million dementia cases to about 150 million in 2050. Approximately two-thirds of all dementia patients are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that leads to memory dysfunction, behavioural disturbances and loss of all higher cognitive functions. Prof. Michael Heneka’s research group explores the underlying molecular mechanisms of this disease and in particular the role of the immune system and its dysregulation, using novel preclinical mouse models and state-of-the-art techniques like two-photon imaging, transcriptome analysis and induced pluripotent stem cells. The team also studies the cellular interactions between microglia, neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes through tunnelling nanotubes. From a translational perspective, the goal is to develop new biomarkers and insights into medical interventions around various aspects of neuroinflammation involved in neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular diseases.

Prof. Alexandre Tkatchenko

Alexandre Tkatchenko is a Professor of Theoretical Chemical Physics at the University of Luxembourg and also Head of the Department of Physics and Materials Science (DPhyMS) at the Faculty of Science, Technology and Medicine (FSTM). Tkatchenko also holds a distinguished visiting professor position at the Technical University of Berlin. His group, composed of multidisciplinary scientists, develops accurate and efficient first-principles computational and artificial intelligence models to study a wide range of complex materials, aiming at qualitative understanding and quantitative prediction of their structural, cohesive, electronic, and optical properties at the atomic scale and beyond. He has delivered more than 400 invited talks, seminars, and colloquia worldwide, published 210 articles in prestigious journals (h-index of 82 with more than 38,000 citations; Top 1% ISI highly cited researcher since 2018 until now), and serves on the editorial boards of four society journals: Science Advances (AAAS), Physical Review Letters (APS), Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters (ACS), and Chemical Science (RSC). Tkatchenko has received a number of awards, including APS Fellow from the American Physical Society, Gerhard Ertl Young Investigator Award of the German Physical Society, Dirac Medal from the World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists (WATOC), van der Waals prize of the international conference on non-covalent interactions (ICNI), Feynman Prize for Nanotechnology from the Foresight Institute, and five flagship grants from the European Research Council (ERC): a Starting Grant in 2011, a Consolidator Grant in 2017, an Advanced Grant in 2022, and Proof-of-Concept Grants in 2020 and 2023. He is also a co-founder of Quastify GmbH – a start-up that combines quantum and statistical mechanics with machine learning for efficiently exploring chemical spaces.

The Theoretical Chemical Physics group at the University of Luxembourg develops novel methodologies and undertakes ambitious computational projects to address fundamental and challenging aspects of systems at the intersection of physics, chemistry, and biology. The key goal of this work is to bring quantum-mechanical level of accuracy and insight to large and complex systems. This can only be achieved by unifying physical theories at varying spatial and temporal scales, which is achieved by combining first-principles quantum methods, coarse-grained statistical approaches, as well as developing novel mathematical and computational techniques, some of them based on machine learning and intelligent data analysis. The group includes physicists, chemists, mathematicians, and computer scientists, and collaborates with many leading researchers across the world. The publication list highlights the breadth of approaches developed and the application of these techniques for achieving fundamental understanding of molecules and materials.

Prof. Paul Wilmes

Paul Wilmes is Full Professor of Systems Ecology and holds appointments at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) and in the Department of Life Sciences and Medicine within the Faculty of Science, Technology and Medicine of the University of Luxembourg. He heads the Systems Ecology Research group at the LCSB.

As a British Chevening Scholar, Paul Wilmes earned his PhD from the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia in Norwich (UK) in 2006. For part of his doctoral research, he spent time as a German Academic Exchange Service Visiting Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen (Germany). He subsequently carried out postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley (USA) from where he returned in 2010 to his native Luxembourg through the ATTRACT fellowship scheme of the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR). He initially established his research group at the Centre de Recherche Public – Gabriel Lippmann (now Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology) but later joined the LCSB. In 2019, Paul received an ERC Consolidator Grant for his project “ExpoBiome” which explores the interactions between microbial molecules and the human immune system in patients with Parkinson’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Paul is an elected executive board member of the Institut Grand-Ducal, Section des Sciences naturelles, physiques et mathématiques, and an elected member of the Académie Lorraine des Sciences. He has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications and has won several prizes for his scientific work. He is a frequently invited speaker at international scientific symposia and academic institutions.

Paul’s research group aims at developing and applying molecular systems biology approaches to acquire new knowledge of mixed microbial communities (e.g., gut microbiota), their interactions with their environment (e.g., the human host), and how certain microbial community compositions lead to certain outcomes (e.g., pathogenesis). His group has developed several proprietary wet- and dry-lab technologies that enable the systematic study of microbial community-driven processes in environmental systems and in humans. In the context of the latter, his group has developed a microfluidics-based in vitro model of the human-microbial gastrointestinal interface called HuMiX. The overall objective of Paul’s research is to use high-resolution molecular data from microbial consortia to construct multi-scale models which predict and allow control of key processes governing microbial community structure and function in natura and in vivo.