Influential scientists from Kiel University

The pain researcher Ralf Baron and the power electronics specialist Marco Liserre are once again among the most cited researchers in the world in 2019.

The data company Clarivate Analytics publishes the annual list of "Highly Cited Researchers", featuring the world's most influential researchers. In 2019, there were 6,216 names on this list. These are people whose scientific publications are cited in other works exceptionally often. The more often a researcher is quoted, the more ground-breaking and important is their influence in the respective field of research. This applied to four professors at Kiel University (CAU) in 2019: Ralf Baron, Marco Liserre, Axel Hauschild and Stefan Schreiber (see also the German article Drei PMI-Clustermitglieder als „Highly Cited Researcher“ ausgezeichnet).


Ralf Baron: standardised diagnostic tools and personalised treatment for neuropathic pain

After featuring in 2018, Professor Ralf Baron is on the list of Highly Cited Researchers for the second time. He attributes this success primarily to collaborative efforts: "On the one hand, this is due to our team here in Kiel. I have a fantastic, dedicated research team, and we have earned this success together. And on the other hand, I have also always prioritised working in networks," explained the Kiel expert for nerve pain.

In the early 2000s, Baron founded the "German Research Network on Neuropathic Pain" (DFNS e.V.), which was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. "Within this Germany-wide network, we have built up large databases, and precisely characterised patients on the basis of their symptoms." He expanded this network to cover the whole of Europe, and collaborates with all research groups in Europe that are active in the field of nerve pain. The result of this collaboration: "We can now identify sub-groups of patients with nerve pain who can probably be treated specifically. This is a step towards personalised medicine in the field of treating pain."

Special techniques have been developed - sensory tests - which help to identify the different origin mechanisms of pain. The results of these tests help to select the appropriate treatment for patients suffering from pain.  The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has now adopted these techniques in their guidelines for clinical studies. This means that these diagnostic techniques should be applied during clinical testing of new drugs for treating nerve pain. "This is a huge success," emphasised Baron, who investigated the processes of the nervous system during his doctoral research at the Institute of Physiology at Kiel University.

About the person
Ralf Baron is Professor of Neurology at the CAU, and heads the Section for Neurological Ache Research and Therapy at the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH), Campus Kiel. For around 30 years, he has been exploring the mechanisms behind the formation and chronification of nerve pain, as well as the treatment of neuropathic pain syndromes. Baron was awarded a Feodor Lynen Research Fellowship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for research at the University of California, is a co-publisher of and reviewer for numerous medical journals, has received multiple awards and prizes, and together with his research team has published over 330 original papers, review articles and book contributions. He is co-publisher of the book "Praktische Schmerztherapie" (Practical Pain Therapy), the fourth edition of which appeared in 2019. Since 2001, Baron has been spokesperson of the "German Research Network on Neuropathic Pain", which was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research until 2012, and now operates as a registered non-profit association, which aims to fundamentally improve medical treatment for people with nerve pain.

About Highly Cited Researchers

The list is based on analysis of the "Web of Science Core Collection" database. The database records scientific publications from around 21,000 specialist journals. The period from 2008 to 2018 was analysed for this year's list of Highly Cited Researchers. The ranking is an important indicator of the influence of scientific publications, which are among the top 1% of the most cited in their respective field. In 2019, the list featured 6,216 scientists or around 0.1 percent of the world's researchers in the 21 main research categories.


Portrait of Ralf Baron

Highly Cited Researcher in the category “Neuroscience and Behavior”: Prof. Dr Ralf Baron heads the Section for Neurological Ache Research and Therapy at the UKSH Campus Kiel.

Marco Liserre: pioneering research for the efficient use of renewable energies

For many years, Marco Liserre has been a Highly Cited Researcher in the field of engineering. "Of course, this is a confirmation of our own research, and highly pleasing, but that alone is not enough," said the Professor of Power Electronics at Kiel University (CAU). To explain the frequent citation of his work, he said: "I started very early with research in the field of regenerative energies, and other research groups have used my work as a basis for their own research."

Around 20 years ago, the electrical engineer was already interested in converters linked to the power grid, which enable the introduction of regenerative energy sources into the grid, and thus completed pioneering work in this field. These systems are necessary in order to use energy from photovoltaic and wind power plants, and efficiently convert this into electrical energy for our daily needs.

The increasing importance of renewable sources for our energy supply has also increased the interest in his field of research. As part of the expansion of renewable energy, the number of decentralised energy producers and consumers is increasing, e.g. wind turbines and charging stations. "Our conventional infrastructure is not designed for bi-directional power flows," said Liserre. Together with his working group, he has developed a power transformer which (thanks to silicon carbide (SiC) technology) converts medium voltage into low voltage without high energy losses, and thereby also enables DC power input and power flow control. The new components from power electronics could help to distribute the electricity according to demand, and thus better manage the power grid as well as counteract overloading and outages. In addition, Liserre’s working group also conducts research into the promising field of electrical drives for industrial automation and mobility.

About the person

Marco Liserre was a professor in Italy and Denmark before accepting the Chair of Power Electronics at the CAU in September 2013. He has been working in the field of regenerative energies for around 20 years. Liserre is the author of over 450 technical publications, and is co-author of the book "Grid Converters for Photovoltaic and Wind Power Systems", which has also been translated into Chinese. Liserre is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and has already received numerous awards. The Institute for Scientific Information (formerly Thomson ISI) included him in the list of the world's 150 most influential engineers. In 2014, Liserre received two million euros from the European Research Council (ERC) for the HEART (Highly Efficient And Reliable smart Transformer) project, for research towards an intelligent and flexible electricity network. In 2018 he received ERC funding to make key developments from the project ready for the market.

Portrait of Marco Liserre
© Claudia Eulitz, Kiel University

Highly Cited Researcher in the category “Engineering”: Prof. Dr Marco Liserre is a Professor of Power Electronics and director at Kiel University’s Institute of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology.


Prof. Dr Ralf Baron
Department of Neurology, UKSH, Campus Kiel
Section for Neurological Ache Research and Therapy
+49 431/500-23805


Prof. Dr Marco Liserre
Institute of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology
Power Electronics
+49 431/880-6100



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