Professor Vladimir Parpura, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and an honorary professor of the University of Rijeka, was listed as the second highest cited expert in the world on astrocytes – one of four types of glial cells found throughout the entire central nervous system – based on his research in the subdiscipline over the past ten years and from an analysis of the PubMed database.
“Numerically, this means to be placed better than more than 70,000 peers and be the second in the world as the runner-up to Dr. Alex Verkhratsky, and to be on the “podium” with Dr. Robert Zorec in the third place,” Parpura said. “Both of them are my closest collaborators, so it means we are doing something right. It also means that even with a modest level of funding that I have had, I made it to the top of my field of endeavor.”
Parpura’s work studying astrocytes began nearly three decades ago. With a major interest in astrocytes’ importance in brain signaling, he discovered the astrocyte-neuron glutamate-mediated signaling pathway, or gliotransmission, which laid the foundational groundwork for future research on astrocytes and neighboring neurons and glia.
The implications of Parpura’s work are critical for understanding nervous system disorders, but also for human health as a whole. Research on the CNS’s role in overall wellness is gaining momentum in funding and attention—in both clinical practice and academic research.
In his 15 years at UAB, Parpura has published over 150 scholarly publications, co-written two books, and co-edited five additional books on astrocytes.