26/10/22 |   Research, Development and Innovation

21 Embrapa researchers are among the most influential in the world

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Photo: Collage by Larissa Morais

Collage by Larissa Morais -

Presence in list by the University of Stanford grew from 17 in the previous survey to 21

Twenty-one researchers from 13 Embrapa research centers are among the most influential in the world, according to a study carried out by the University of Sandford, United States, and published on the website for the Dutch publishing house Elsevier BV on October 10. The study also showed that the figure grew in comparison with the year 2019, when 17 Embrapa researchers featured in the same list. The study used citations from the Scopus database to assess the impact of researchers throughout their careers (from 1996 to the end of 2021) and during the entire last year. Another highlight is that nine researchers from the company joined the list of the most cited scientists in 2021, four more than in the survey of 2019 published in 2020.

The database generated by the study contains standardized information on citations, h-index (metric widely used worldwide to quantify the productivity and impact of scientists based on their most cited articles), co-authorship adjusted hm-index, citations to papers in different authorship positions and a composite indicator (c-score). The scientists are classified into 22 scientific fields and 176 sub-fields. The study ranks scientists that are among the 200,000 most influential according to a composite citation index.

Check here the news piece on the results of the survey performed in 2019 and published in 2020.

Check a summary of the history of each of the researchers per the study's classification groups:

The top 12 most cited for their careers and in 2021

Henriette Azeredo (Embrapa Instrumentation)

Azeredo works on research focused on films and coatings made from renewable and biodegradable compounds (preferentially made from food by-products, following the biorefinery concept). These materials can have different applications, but the researcher has focused on those related to food stability (e.g., active packaging and edible films/coatings). She has also worked with the application of bacterial cellulose on foods. According to the researcher, making science in Brazil is like an obstacle course race. The difficulties in fundraising and the bureaucracy take time and focus away from the main goals to meet unproductive demands.


Jayme Barbedo (Embrapa Digital Agriculture)

Barbedo has dedicated himself to the application of image processing and machine learning technologies in the development of solutions for the agricultural sector. His lines of research include the automated recognition of plant diseases through digital imaging, the development of an equipment to identify crop diseases at early stages by reading neural signals, and detection and count of head of cattle in fields using images captured by drones. “It is a great satisfaction to see the result of our work gain prominence and influence other researchers around the world”, he celebrates.


Robert Boddey (Embrapa Agrobiology)

Robert Boddey, an Englishman who has been living in Brazil since the late 1970s, came to work at Embrapa after being invited by the researcher Johanna Döbereiner. With a degree in Agricultural Chemistry, a PhD in Agriculture, and  extensive experience in the areas of soil science and microbiology, he works in the areas of nutrient cycling in agroecosystems, analysis of the impact of agriculture and livestock on the production of greenhouse gases, intercropping of forages and legumes to increase soil carbon sequestration, and studies for the quantification of nitrogen biological fixation (BNF) in grasses and legumes.


George Brown (Embrapa Forestry)

George Brown works with several aspects of the relationship between edaphic fauna (specially worms) and soil. In addition, the researcher studies the effects of environmental contaminants on these animals and is also involved in the identification of different species. His publications on worms are well known internationally by those who work in the same field. The researcher has already published articles in Science and Scientific Reports (Nature), showing the importance of worms as bioindicators of environmental quality and for plant productivity due to their beneficial effects on soil physical, chemical, and biological properties.


Johanna Döbereiner (Embrapa Agrobiology in memoriam)

She was a pioneer in the development of biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) through bacteria that can perform this process. Her studies progressed so well that they contributed to the advancement of the Pró-Álcool program and also to placing Brazil as the second largest soybean producer in the world, only behind the United States. BNF offers a replacement of nitrogen-based chemical fertilizers, which poses economic, social, and environmental advantages. It is estimated that BNF annually contributes with around 258 million tons of nitrogen (N) in different ecosystems around the globe, out of which approximately 60 million tons are in agriculture.


Nand Kumar Fageria (Embrapa Rice and Beans in memoriam)

The researcher graduated in Agronomy at the University of Udaipur (1965), with a master’s degree in Agronomy from the Agriculture University of Udaipar, Rajasthan (1967), a PhD in Agronomy from Universite Catholique of Louvain (1973), and a post-doctoral degree at USDA-ARS, Beckley/Beltsville. Fageria worked as a researcher at Embrapa in the area of Agronomy, with emphasis on soil fertility and fertilization. The main lines of his research were: upland rice, Brazilian Cerrado soils, soil acidity, irrigated rice, and beans. He authored more than 320 publications, including 14 books. He also gave lectures in the United States, Canada, Japan, China, India, Portugal, Australia, Sri Lanka, and Belgium.


Dario Grattapaglia (Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology)

Grattapaglia is responsible for sequencing the genome of eucalyptus, a scientific production result with a large impact on society, and also for other studies with national and international recognition. At Embrapa Genetic Resources & Biotechnology since 1994, he works in the fields of genetics, genomics, and plant breeding, with emphasis on perennial forest and fruit species. In addition, the researcher works on the development and applications of genomic technologies to solve problems related to the breeding and conservation of plant and animal genetic resources.


Cristiane Farinas (Embrapa Instrumentation)

At Embrapa Instrumentation for 14 years, the chemical engineer studies biochemical processes, with emphasis on bioprocesses, bioenergy, biorefineries, enzymes, nanocellulose, and biofertilizers. Recently, she has been working on projects with the team from the Research Network of Nanotechnology Applied to Agribusiness (AgroNano). Farinas is also part of the permanent staff of the Postgraduate Program in Chemical Engineering of Universidade Federal de São Carlos (PPG-EQ/UFSCar) and of the Postgraduate Program in Biotechnology of the same university (PPG-Biotec/UFSCar), where she completed her undergraduate studies; her master’s and doctoral degrees were earned at Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp).


Mariangela Hungria (Embrapa Soybean)

Mariangela Hungria's trajectory is marked by research on microbial biodiversity, soil microbiology and biological nitrogen fixation (BNF). Her contribution for the advance soybean cropping is noteworthy, especially for the development of BNF-related technologies. Hungria also coordinated research that culminated with the launch of other technologies: authorization/recommendation of bacteria (rhizobia) for bean cropping; Azospirillum for corn, wheat and pastures with Brachiaria grasses; and coinoculation of rhizobia and Azospirillum for soybeans, beans and pastures. “Composing the list certainly reflects researchers' major personal efforts, considering the difficulties of funding for Brazilian public research”, she states.


Luiz Henrique Mattoso (Embrapa Instrumentation)

A pioneer in nanotechnology at Embrapa, Mattoso works in the areas of conductive polymers, biopolymers, bionanocomposites, sensors, biomaterials, nanofibers, nanocellulose, natural rubber, and polymeric materials from renewable sources. The legacy of his work at Labex from 2005 to 2007 can be currently seen in the results obtained by the Nanotechnology Network, with over 150 researchers in 53 public and private partner institutions,  and at the National Laboratory of Nanotechnology for Agribusiness (LNNA) – for multiple users –, located in São Carlos, in the state of São Paulo. “It is the teamwork that makes a difference and can lead to new results and to impacting technological solutions.  Sharing scientific knowledge is fundamental for the emergence of new generations of professionals dedicated to nanotechnology and agribusiness”, he comments.


Antônio Panizzi (Embrapa Wheat)

Panizzi has developed research in bioecology, damage to different crops, and integrated pest management for 49 years at Embrapa. He has authored 622 publications, including papers, scientific notes, books, book chapters, proceedings, and technical texts. In a pioneer study, he evaluated the action of stink bugs in a sequence of cultivated and non-cultivated host plants, anticipating the issue of biodiversity and conservation as early as the 1980s, which led him to be invited to be part of the select group of authors of the Annual Review of Entomology in 1997, the entomology journal with the highest impact factor.


Cauê Ribeiro (Embrapa Instrumentation)

The materials engineer and PhD in Chemistry is the coordinator of the Network of Nanotechnology for Agribusiness (AgroNano), of the National Laboratory of Nanotechnology for Agribusiness (LNNA) and of the Embrapa's Portfolio of Nanotechnology Projects. Since 2007, he has worked at Embrapa Instrumentation in research in the areas of synthesis of nanomateriais, studies of crystal growth in nanoparticle colloids, catalytic activity of nanoparticles, and nanostructured systems of slow and controlled release of agricultural inputs. “I was impressed with the news. I feel very thankful to Embrapa, as I know that this recognition is not only mine, but for the institution where I built practically my entire scientific career after my PhD. The challenges and opportunities provided by Embrapa are recognized there”.




The four most cited in 2021


Jurandir Magalhães (Embrapa Maize and Sorghum)

A geneticist whose work comprises physiological, epigenetic, genetic-molecular and genomic aspects, applied to the identification of mechanisms that allow crops to adapt to abiotic stress conditions, which is fundamental in a climate change scenario. A landmark in his career was the cloning of the first gene of tolerance to aluminum in sorghum. The work of Jurandir Magalhães has a translational perspective, associating basic research with plant breeding. The research program is marked by several international collaborations and participation in international committees. “Scientific research needs rigorous scrutiny and acceptance by the scientific community, a process that is mediated by scientific publications. This recognition, as it indicates the concretion of this cycle, is received with great joy and increasing belief in the humanist role of high-level science”, Magalhães states.


José Ivo Baldani (Embrapa Agrobiology)

An agronomic engineer with a master’s degree in Agronomy and a doctoral degree in Soil Science, Baldani has experience in the area of genetics, with emphasis on molecular and microorganism genetics, working with themes related to biological nitrogen fixation (BNF), diazotrophic bacteria, grasses, and sugarcane. Currently, he is involved in studies aiming to reduce nitrogen fertilizer use in agriculture, without losses in crop productivity. Baldani says it is an honor to be part of the team of influential researchers from so many different areas of scientific knowledge. "Without a doubt, this represents the collective effort of all of Embrapa's employees and shows that, even with limited funds, it is possible to generate impacting research”, he says.


Daniel Sosa-Gómez (Embrapa Soybean)

With a degree in Agricultural Zooloogy with a PhD in Biological Sciences and two post-doctoral degrees, Sosa-Gómez has experience in agricultural entomology, mostly working in themes related to microbial control, biological control, entomopathogenic fungi, entomopathogenic viruses, and soybean pests.  The researcher positively assesses the citation in the list and considers the recognition important, because “it shows that the research lines that we follow are relevant”, he underscores.


Daniel Corrêa (Embrapa Instrumentation)

The materials engineer and postdoctoral scholar in the area of Materials Science and Engineering and Nanotechnology states that it was a surprise and joy to have his name included in the prestigious list published by Elsevier. The ranking shows that the results obtained by scientists at Embrapa Instrumentation and partners are being used and cited by researchers of other RD&I institutions in Brazil and the world. “Embrapa provides an environment that is inducive to teamwork and interdisciplinary work, which favors deliveries of impacting results for agribusiness with sustainability, to the benefit of all of society”, he says.


Rodrigo Mendes (Embrapa Environment)

Since his first undergraduate research experiences, Mendes has been interested in understanding the interaction between soil and plant microbial communities. He compares the development of mass genome sequencing techniques in the 2000s to a reinvention of the microscope, as it enabled the understanding of the interaction between plants and microorganisms and opened pathways for more sustainable food production. "It allowed the description of mechanisms that show how the microorganisms that compose the system defend the plant against pathogen infections. We also investigated how plant domestication can impact interactions with microorganisms, paving the way for a more sustainable food production”, he explains.


Renata Tonon (Embrapa Food Technology)

Tonon works in the area of food processing, with a focus on the processes for the extraction and microencapsulation of bioactive compounds, aiming to aggregate value to plant raw materials and agroindustrial waste.  The researcher has been working in this line since her doctoral degree, when she obtained a powdered açaí pulp that is rich in antioxidant compounds. After that, during her post-doctoral studies, she worked in projects to microencapsulate plant oils, such as those of linseed and roasted coffee, in order to protect them against oxidation. Such studies resulted in her most repercussive papers.


Morsyleide Rosa (Embrapa Tropical Agroindustry)

Rosa works with the development of products and processes focused on the sustainable and whole use of Brazilian biomass, with emphasis on bionanocomposites. Regarding her recognition, Rosa believes that it reflects the level of interest in the work performed by Embrapa. "After all, the number of citations is an indicator of the relevance of a scientific study. To have this type of reach, it is fundamental to build partnerships, in order to establish scientific and technological collaboration both with academia and with the production sector”. She also observes that this result is a consequence of a new mosaic of investments in the country, where the Brazilian Northeast has been gaining more and more room in the national scientific scenario.


Marcos Dias (Embrapa Amapá)

Dias' research focuses on Amazon fish health and parasitology, especially the sanitary problems related to fish production and disease treatment. He also carries out studies on the ecology of native fish populations that are important for the fishing industry and for fish production. These are broad themes, but the researcher has narrowed his focus on sanitary problems in fish farming in Amapá state and on chemical antiparasitic treatments, especially against monogeneans, a parasite that attacks cultivated fish, as well as the use of phytotherapeutic essential and fixed oils obtained from the Amazon rainforest and cultivated in Brazil. He has also worked in the description of new species that parasite Amazon fish with master’s and doctoral students.


Rosires Deliza (Embrapa Food Technology)

Deliza works in the area of sensory analysis and consumer studies, with the aim of contributing to improving the health of the population. In this sense, she investigates two strategies: the reformulation of foods by reducing the amounts of sodium and sugar, and nutritional labeling. "I was very happy to hear the news!  It is always a great joy to see our work be recognized by our peers.   My contribution to Brazilian science began after I came back from my PhD studies in England, where I researched a very innovative theme: the effect of consumer expectations on the acceptance of a product and on the product’s sensory characteristics, more specifically on the role of packaging in the way a product is perceived. At Embrapa Food Technology, I would like to highlight research focused on consumer perception of new technologies, which is essential for the success of technological innovation”, Deliza reports.

Fernanda Diniz (MtB/DF 4685/89)
Superintendency of Communications (Sucom)

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Phone number: +55 61 3448-4364

Joana Silva (MTb 19.554/SP)
Embrapa Instrumentation

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Phone number: +55 16 2107-2901 / 99994-6160

Lebna Landgraf (MTb 2.903/PR)
Embrapa Soybeans

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Graziella Galinari (MTb 3.863/PR)
Embrapa Digital Agriculture

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Phone number: +55 19 3211-5806

Joseani Antunes (MTb 9396/RS)
Embrapa Wheat

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Dulcivânia Freitas (MTb 1.063/96/PB)
Embrapa Amapá

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Maria Devanir Heberlê (Deva) (MTb/RS 5297)
Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology

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Liliane Bello (MTb 01766/GO)
Embrapa Agrobiology

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Cristina Tordin (MTB 28499)
Embrapa Environment

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Sandra Brito (MTb 06.230/MG)
Embrapa Maize and Sorghum

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Phone number: +55 31 3027-1223

Manuela Bergamim (MTb 1951/ES)
Embrapa Forestry

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Phone number: +55 41 3675-5638

Verônica Freire (MTb 01125/CE)
Embrapa Tropical Agroindustry

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Aline Bastos (MTb 31.779/RJ)
Embrapa Food Technology

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Translation: Mariana Medeiros (13044/DF)
Superintendency of Communications (Sucom)

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