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Top scholar

Memorial's most cited researcher recognized for 'unsurpassed' contributions


By Kelly Foss

One of Memorial University’s most prolific and best-known researchers is being recognized at home and internationally for his work.

Dr. Fereidoon Shahidi is a University Research Professor with the Department of Biochemistry in the Faculty of Science who specializes in food science, nutrition and agriculture.

In February he was named the 2020 Dean of Science Distinguished Scholar Medal recipient; this month, he received the 2021 Award of Merit from the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS).

He has also been named the American Chemical Society’s United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service 2021 Sterling Hendricks Memorial Lectureship Award Recipient.

“I am very happy to have the opportunity to be a part of the way Memorial, and the Department of Biochemistry, specifically, is recognized,” said Dr. Shahidi.

Distinguished scholar

The Distinguished Scholar Medal recognizes outstanding and sustained contributions that demonstrate a balanced approach to scholarly activities in both teaching and research.

“This nomination is long overdue,” wrote his colleagues in their nomination letter. “Dr. Shahidi’s research achievements are unsurpassed at Memorial University and speak for themselves. His work has also been recognized by many scientific organizations with lifetime achievement and scientific excellence awards.”

Routinely ranked in the top 10 most highly cited scientists worldwide in the field of food science, nutrition and agriculture, Dr. Shahidi has an h-index of 144, authored 78 books and more than 1,000 research papers and book chapters, and holds 12 patents. Since joining Memorial, he has secured more than $11 million in research funding.

“I’ve been very blessed to have students that have helped make this happen.” — Dr. Fereidoon Shahidi

He’s the editor-in-chief of two journals and is on the editorial board of numerous others, editor-in-chief of two book series, chair of the Scientific Council of the International Union of Food Science and Technology and chairs several award committees. He is also a fellow of nine societies.

At the graduate level, Dr. Shahidi has supervised 35 PhD theses, 46 master of science theses and more than 30 visiting scientists and post-doctoral fellows at Memorial and other joint graduate students elsewhere.

“There have been years when he has single-handedly been responsible for 25-30 per cent of the graduate students in the department, many of whom have gone on to become leaders in academia and industry across the globe,” reads the nomination letter. “It is no exaggeration to state that a large number of graduate and post-doctoral applicants to the department do so solely because of Dr. Shahidi and his reputation.”

Award of Merit

The AOCS Award of Merit is presented to society members who have actively demonstrated outstanding leadership and service to the society through committee participation or contributed exceptional quality of service that has advanced the society’s prestige, standing or interests.

A man with glasses and a goatee and wearing a suit stands in front of a bookshelf.
Dr. Fereidoon Shahidi says he is “very humbled” to be recognized with the awards, and says he could not have done it without the graduate students he supervises at Memorial.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Dr. Shahidi has been a fellow member of AOCS since 1992 and previously received their Stephen S. Chang Award, the Alton E. Bailey Award, and their most prestigious award, the Supelco AOCS Research Award.

Sterling Hendricks Memorial Lecturer

The Sterling Hendricks Memorial Lecture is a forum for a presentation on a scientific topic, trend, issue or policy related to the chemical science of agriculture.

The 2021 award will be presented on Aug. 21 at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in Atlanta, Ga.

“I am humbled looking at the list of people who received this award before me,” said Dr. Shahidi. “Since it began in 1981 there have been a number of Nobel Prize winners and other high achievers.”

Memorial’s most-cited

This past fall, Dr. Shahidi also made Stanford University’s World’s Top 2% Scientists list and was the highest ranked of Memorial’s 64 included researchers, coming in at 814 out of nearly 160,000 people.

By comparison, Memorial’s next highest individual placed at 7,666. The list represents the top two per cent of the most-cited scientists in the world across various disciplines.

Google Scholar, which also ranks research literature and how often and recently it has been cited, reports Dr. Shahidi has had over 93,000 citations since the platform launched in 2004. It also places him at the top for Memorial, with his closest competitor coming in at just over 26,000 citations.

Both lists place him at the top, or near the top, of the fields of nutrition, food science, agricultural science, nutraceuticals, functional foods and antioxidants.

“I did not expect this, but I’ve been very blessed to have students that have helped make this happen,” said Dr. Shahidi.

“I get the credit, but much of the work stems from their contributions. I would never have been able to do any of this without them. It’s been quite a journey, but the pleasure I get when I see I can still benefit others with what I know, gives me the energy to continue doing it.”

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