VCU gastroenterology research papers ranked No. 1 in most-cited research papers by U.S. universities

Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Medicine has been ranked No. 1 among federally funded U.S. universities based on the average number of citations per research paper published in indexed journals of gastroenterology and hepatology between 2003 and 2007.

VCU published 132 gastroenterology and hepatology-related papers during the period reviewed by, a resource produced by Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators that enables researchers to conduct ongoing, quantitative analyses of research performance and to track trends in science. VCU’s papers received an average of 17.31 citations each.

Researchers in VCU’s Division of Gastroenterology in the Department of Internal Medicine focus their research efforts on understanding the function and disorders of the digestive system, including the liver. 

“It is exciting and gratifying to play a part in advancing the knowledge of gastrointestinal and liver diseases through the research that we do,” said Arun J. Sanyal, M.D., chair of VCU’s Division of Gastroenterology.

“For our patients, this translates into the availability of expertise locally that is setting the standard of care for the world. In other words, our research and clinical trials are making treatment options available here which are not available elsewhere. We are indeed practicing tomorrow’s medicine today,” said Sanyal.

The No.2-ranked university was the University of California, San Diego, with 16.82 citations per paper, followed by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center with 15.37 citations per paper and Johns Hopkins University with 14.52 citations per paper. The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, was the No. 5-ranked university with 14.45 citations per paper. 

Along with Sanyal, some of VCU’s most cited investigators include Mitchell Shiffman, M.D., Richard K. Sterling, M.D., and Richard T. Stravitz, M.D.

Sanyal is the chair of a national consortium for the study of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition that affects a third of the U.S. population and can not only progress to cirrhosis but also contributes in a major way to death from cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Sanyal has also contributed to the development of a life saving treatment of gastrointestinal bleeding and renal failure, two complications of cirrhosis which previously frequently lead to death.

Shiffman is an internationally known authority on viral hepatitis including hepatitis C. Sterling’s research focuses on patients infected with HIV or other viruses that affect the liver and intestine. Stravitz is a national authority on acute liver failure, a relatively uncommon, but frequently fatal disease. His work has contributed substantially to improved outcomes. Also, in concert with an active liver transplant program, several VCU gastrointestinal experts have helped pioneer living donor transplantation of the liver. 

The VCU Medical Center has a well-respected expertise in all aspects of liver disease and intestinal smooth muscle biology. Twenty adult and pediatric gastroenterologists work in collaboration with specialists in gastrointestinal pathology, radiology, oncology and surgery to provide comprehensive, state-of-the-art medical care to patients with digestive disorders.

Thomson Reuters, a unit of the Thomson Corp., provides information for researchers and scholars. Its Essential Science Indicators is an in-depth analytical database that indexes 11,000 journals from around the world on various topics and ranks authors, institutions, countries and journals.