7 UC Davis Faculty Make List of World's Top Female Scientists

Exterior of a reddish modern two-story building lit by evening light.
Four of seven UC Davis faculty listed among the top 1000 female scientists in the world are affiliated with the UC Davis MIND Institute, which focuses on autism and neurodevelopmental disorders. (UC Davis photo)

Seven UC Davis faculty members have been recognized among the top female scientists around the globe, as assessed by Research.com in its first ranking of the “Best Female Scientists in the World,” comprising 1,000 scientists.

The online research portal recognized UC Davis faculty members in a variety of scientific fields. Four of the seven are faculty members at the MIND Institute.

  • Jacqueline N. Crawley, distinguished professor emeritus, MIND Institute and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, is an internationally recognized leader in behavioral neuroscience, mouse behavioral genetics and translational neuropharmacology. Her research program focuses on rodent models of neuropsychiatric disorders, with a current emphasis on understanding the genetic causes of autism spectrum disorders and discovering effective medical therapeutics for the core diagnostic symptoms of autism.
  • Robin Erbacher, professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, College of Letters and Science, studies the fundamental particles of the universe. She has worked at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, the Tevatron collider at Fermilab and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland. Her current research is dedicated to searches for new phenomena with the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment at the LHC, and to operating, maintaining and upgrading the CMS muon detectors.
  • Randi Jenssen Hagerman, distinguished professor, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, and the MIND Institute, where she is the medical director. She is a developmental and behavioral pediatrician whose areas of research include targeted treatment trials in Fragile X Syndrome (FXS), Rett Syndrome, Fragile X-associated Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome (FXTAS), and autism. She is credited with the discovery of FXTAS in the early 2000s.
  • Irva Hertz-Picciotto, chief of the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health and a MIND Institute faculty member, has led a pioneering program of research on the environmental factors that influence the risk or severity of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. She has published widely on prenatal exposures to air pollutants, pesticides, maternal metabolic conditions, infections, nutrition and endocrine disrupting chemicals.
  • Nancy E. Lane, distinguished professor of medicine and rheumatology, is an internationally recognized scientist in the fields of both osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Her translational research team has been instrumental in defining bone fragility, including the effects of glucocorticoids on vulnerable cell populations including osteocytes and in aging. In addition, Lane is an expert in the epidemiology, the biology and treatment of osteoarthritis and has performed many seminal trials of novel agents to treat this highly prevalent disease. 
  • Sally J. Rogers, distinguished professor emeritus, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, and the MIND Institute, is a developmental psychologist whose research focuses on young autistic children's developmental challenges, particularly involving cognition, language and communication, social interactions and behaviors. She is best known for her research in understanding early developmental trajectories of young children with autism and in developing and testing intervention strategies focused on the use of the Early Start Denver Model, a well-studied, naturalistic developmental-behavioral intervention for very young autistic children in use around the world.
  • Pamela Ronald, distinguished professor, Department of Plant Pathology, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is known for her research in the genetics of infectious disease biology and environmental stress tolerance in plants, especially rice. Her isolation of the rice Xa21 immune receptor in 1995 and of a novel microbial immunogen in 2015 revealed a new mechanism with which plants and animals detect and respond to infection. Ronald is also known for her leading role in isolation of the rice Submergence Tolerance 1 gene. Her research facilitated the development of high yielding Sub1 rice varieties grown by more than six million subsistence farmers in India and Bangladesh.

Research.com compiled the list to help provide more opportunities, visibility and equal chances for women in science.

For the inaugural 2022 edition of what is intended to be an annual ranking, Research.com examined more than 166,880 scientist profiles across 24 research disciplines on Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Graph, weighing several indicators and metrics. The full methodology of the company’s rankings can be found here.

Some observers have noted that rankings based on publications and citations do not tell the full story of academic achievement. In a 2021 paper, UC Davis Professor Tessa Hill, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and the Bodega Marine Laboratory, and postdoctoral researcher Alyssa Griffin argued that better metrics of success would include activities such as mentorship and public outreach. This would make science more innovative and inclusive, they said.

Liam Connolly is a senior public information officer at UC Davis Health. Andy Fell is a senior public information representative in UC Davis News and Media Relations.

Media Resources

Primary Category

Secondary Categories

Dateline University