DURHAM — A University of New Hampshire professor who works with the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station “has been named one of the most highly cited researchers in the world,” UNH has announced.

The title is “earned by fewer than 0.1 percent of scientists globally,” according to the university.

Serita Frey teaches soil microbial ecology and studies how microorganisms “respond to environmental changes caused by human activities,” according to the school. “Her research team maintains five long-term global change experiments at the Harvard Forest Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) site and a statewide, distributed soil sensor network.”

Frey also serves as editor-in-chief of the publication “Issues in Ecology.”

It was the Web of Science Group, whose website describes it as a “global citation database,” that named Frey as one of “the world’s most influential researchers.”

Frey found out about the honor via email a few weeks ago, after the list was published.

Frey said she was surprised, and credits her lab manager, Melissa Knorr, and all the students who have been helping her conduct research over the past 20 years, for the achievement.

Frey said she was taking a medical microbiology course and an ecology class as a sophomore in college when she fell in love with the idea of using microbial ecology to raise awareness around environmental issues and to do the research necessary to find solutions to problems.

“I love the challenge of thinking about complex problems and designing experiments to answer questions that haven’t been answered yet,” Frey said.

Frey has some good advice for children who dream of impacting the scientific community one day.

“Don’t give up. Be persistent, work hard and follow your passion. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do it. Seek out scientists and see if you can work with them. I’ve had elementary, middle and high school students contact me about doing research projects. It’s never too early to start,” Frey said.

Jon Wraith is director of the Agricultural Experiment Station, and the dean of UNH’s College of Life Sciences and Agriculture. Frey’s “research influence reflects her intellectual caliber and dedication to her field. She is a leader within the university’s research community and within that of her professional community. I am thrilled that she has been recognized as being a member of this elite group of global scientists who are committed to solving the world’s most pressing ecological challenges,” Wraith said in a statement posted on UNH’s website.

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