George Hajishengallis, Michel Koo Named Highly Cited Researchers


Philadelphia — Two Penn Dental Medicine faculty members — Dr. George Hajishengallis, Thomas W. Evans Centennial Professor in the Department of Basic & Translational Sciences, and Dr. Michel Koo, Professor in the Department of Orthodontics and Divisions of Community Oral Health and Pediatric Dentistry, have been recognized for the scope and depth of their research — named on the Highly Cited Researchers™ 2023 list from Clarivate.

The annual list identifies researchers who demonstrated significant influence in their chosen field or fields through the publication of multiple highly cited papers during the last decade. These papers rank in the top 1% by citations for field or fields and publication year in the Web of Science™ citation index. In 2023, 7,125, or about 0.1% of the world’s scientists, have earned the Highly Cited Researcher distinction.

Dr. Hajishengallis was recognized in the cross-field category. His laboratory uses diverse and complementary preclinical models and multidisciplinary research approaches to understand the mechanisms that regulate immunity and inflammation in the oral mucosa and how this in turn impacts systemic health and disease. The laboratory has made significant contributions that challenged earlier paradigms and provided implications and applications above and beyond the oral immunology field. His research has been published in preeminent journals, such as Cell, Nature Immunology, Science Translational Medicine, Cell Host & Microbe, Journal of Clinical Investigation, PNAS, Science Signaling, New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Reviews Immunology and Nature Reviews Microbiology. Combining basic scientific and translational research, his work has led to innovative approaches to clinical problems, including periodontal disease, where his preclinical work has led to a successful complement-targeted clinical trial in patients with periodontal inflammation. He is the recipient of the IADR Distinguished Scientist Award in Oral Biology and of the NIH/NIDCR MERIT Award.

Dr. Koo was recognized in the microbiology category. The Koo laboratory focusses on understanding how biofilms are formed and cause oral diseases as well as developing new therapeutic strategies by fostering cross-disciplinary collaborations. He is adapting cell and developmental biology principles to study biofilm assembly dynamics. Dr. Koo has employed engineering and computational approaches to investigate microbial interactions in biofilms and has applied nanotechnology to develop antibiofilm nanoparticles against dental caries. Using small-scale robotics, his group developed the first microrobots capable of automated biofilm removal. Dr. Koo publishes extensively in dental, biomedical, and multidisciplinary journals, including PNAS, Science, Science Robotics, Nature CommunicationsJDR, as well as in Nature Reviews and Cell Press Trends. He also holds several U.S. and international patents. He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the recipient of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) Distinguished Scientist and Innovation in Oral Care Awards. He is the co-founder and co-director of the Center for Innovation & Precision Dentistry (CiPD), a joint center with the School of Engineering that bridges clinicians/scientists and engineers to advance oral-craniofacial health through research, training, and entrepreneurship. He also co-directs an NIDCR T90R90 training program at the interface of dental medicine, engineering, and computational sciences to study disease mechanisms, develop affordable therapies and precision diagnostics for susceptible populations.

Drs. Koo and Hajishengallis are among the 63 researchers at the University of Pennsylvania included on the 2023 list with Penn ranking eighth in the number of Highly Cited Researchers by organization worldwide, up for the tenth spot last year.