Defining Novel Determinants of Research Productivity in Life Sciences

The laboratory of Andrew Balas wants to understand how groundbreaking discoveries arise from the most productive biomedical research laboratories and how more discoveries can benefit public health. At a time when more than half of published research turns out to be either uninformative or non-reproducible, there is a great societal need to gain insight into the origins of reproducible scientific discoveries that transform public health. Current data science and meta studies include, among others, identifying best research practices of Nobel Laureates and other high impact scientists; developing methods to prevent research errors and ineffectiveness in the laboratory, and designing evidence-based organizational strategies to increase practically impactful innovation. Through a variety of research projects, his Biomedical Research Innovation Laboratory promotes the scientific method, research quality and productivity improvement, evidence-based decisions, critical thinking, and constructive dialogue.

We study best practices, like Nobel Laureates and rapidly expanding research universities and we study research defects and the ways we can avoid them.

The Wiley book titled Innovative Research in Life Sciences: Pathways to Scientific Impact, Public Health Improvement, and Economic Progress explores the creative processes from vague research ideas to valuable innovation. By drawing on lessons from hundreds of Nobel Laureates, award-winning scientists, serial innovators, and leading research universities, 12 transformative competencies of successful researchers are highlighted. Available at Amazon, Wiley, The Telegraph UK.

Our publication titled Prevalence and Prevention of Reproducibility Deficiencies in Life Sciences Research: Large-Scale Meta-Analyses (Medical Science Monitor, 2020, 26, e922016-1) provides a general reference when consistently measurable sources of laboratory experiment deficiencies need to be identified for research quality improvement.

Our laboratory has several emerging projects that represent excellent opportunities not only for learning, but also for making a difference. Using big data and meta research methodologies, we identify and explore best practices of scientific productivity. Our research has the track record of publishing many peer-reviewed reports that generate international impact and thousands of citations.

Science has never been more exciting than it is today. Please contact us if you are interested in visiting or collaborative opportunities in conducting 'research on research'.


Authors: E Andrew Balas and Wendy Burnett

Meet Dr. Balas

Dr. E. Andrew Balas

E. Andrew Balas, MD, PhD


Dr. Balas is a tenured public health professor at Augusta University. His area of specialization is management, policy-making, health informatics and research methods development. He served as college Dean at three major research universities. Additionally, he spent a year working for the Public Health and Safety Subcommittee of the US Senate in Washington, D.C., organizing hearings and writing bills. His research has generated over 100 peer-reviewed articles and has been cited more than 11,000 times by researchers, many practitioners, and also by President Obama in his Chicago speech. 


  • Supporting minority talent development in research and entrepreneurship overseas
  • Reading about history and watching documentaries (original sources, not interpretations)

What people should know about Dr. Balas:

  • He loves running, jogging and finishing the Marine Corps Marathon every year since 2005!

Fun Fact:

  • His favorite movies: Indiana Jones (all of them, no exceptions); Avatar 1 and 2

Lab Members

photo of Clément Aubert, PhD

Clément Aubert, PhD

  • Assistant Professor
Dr. Clément Aubert is an Assistant Professor in the School of Computer and Cyber Sciences and an associate faculty member of the Graduate School at Augusta University. He obtained his B.S. in Philosophy from the University of Paris 1, his M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Paris 7, and his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Paris 13.
Research Interests:
  • Formal methods for concurrent systems
  • Type systems for the study of complexity
  • Reversible concurrent systems
  • Matching algorithms for database


  • Loves reading graphic novels of all genres.

What people should know about Dr. Aubert:

  • He is very approachable. 

Fun Fact:

  • He uses a keyboard that is blank in his office to force himself to not look at his fingers when he types.
photo of Yara Abdelgawad, MD, MPH

Yara Abdelgawad, MD, MPH

  • Research Associate

Dr. Yara Hossam Eldin Ragaa Abdelgawad is a Research Associate in the Institute of Public and Preventive Health at Augusta University. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Medicine and Surgery from Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt. She has also obtained her Masters and Doctorate degrees in Public Health and Community Medicine from Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt.


Research Interests:
    • Medical Biostatistics
    • Macro-algorithms for database
    • Health service management
    • Health system research
    • Health economics
    • Public health nutrition
    • Clinical nutrition


    • She loves writing poetry, singing, playing musical instruments and loves to cook.

Fun Fact:

    • Drinks her morning coffee in a very small cup.
photo of Wendy Burnett, PhD

Wendy Burnett, PhD

  • Research Associate
Dr. Wendy Burnett is currently a post-doctoral researcher in the Biomedical Research Innovation Laboratory, analyzing best practices for researchers. Dr. Burnett has just completed a PhD at Augusta University in May 2023. Previously she obtained a Master's in Biology from East Carolina University in 1999 and her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Erskine College in 1990. She aims to teach best practice methodologies and ethics at an undergraduate or graduate level.
Research Interests:
  • Ethics in Research
  • Quantitative analysis of research methodologies to understand best practices
  • Quantitative analysis of Nobel Laureates
  • I love to travel!

What people should know about Dr. Burnett:

  • Her favorite quote is from Theodore Roosevelt, "Do what you can, with what you've got, where you are."

Fun Fact:

  • Between 2018 and 2023, she gutted and rebuilt a 1978 31-foot airstream travel trailer while earning her PhD, working two part-time jobs, and raising her four children. Nothing is impossible.
photo of Chesney Hooks

Chesney Hooks

  • Student
  • Research Assistant

Chesney Hooks is currently a sophomore at Augusta University studying information technology with a marketing business concentration. She loves bringing creativity to any and everything she does. She is very well versed in graphic design platforms, such as Canva and even has some commissioned work, with experience in non-profit organization's leadership. This leadership includes, but is not limited to the Ronald McDonald House of Augusta and theater marketing consulting with the Beverly J Barnhart Theatre. 

Research Interests:
  • Project based research


  • Bringing creativity to everything she does

What people should know about Chesney:

  • She has a huge family with four older brothers and two younger sisters
  • Trained in vocal performance for 7 years & learned how to play numerous instruments during this time

Fun Fact:

  • She is very dedicated to her ceramic art.


Scopus abstract, citation, academic journal rankings, author profiles, h-index calculator database 90.6 Limited free preview, full access by institutional subscription only Elsevier
Web of Science researcher profile 100 institutional subscription only Clarivate (formerly Thomson Reuters)
PubMed abstracts, bibliographic details 35 Free NIH PubMed (
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DOAJ open access academic database 8 Free DOAJ
JSTOR research papers 12 Free ITHAKA
Semantic Scholar academic papers, authors, publications, h-index, citations, influence, coauthors 200 Free
OpenCitations publications, bibliographic metrics, citations 1300 Free
ORCID researchers profile, affiliations, contributions Free multiple publishers
ROR open persistent identifiers for research organizations 102 thousand organizations Free California Digital Library, Crossref, and DataCite
Unpaywall scholarly articles 47 Free OurResearch
PubMed Central scholarly literature 9.2 Free National Library of Medicine
The ISSN International Center database of ISSN bibliographic records 2.3 Free/Subscription network of 93 National Centers throughout the world
OpenAlex describes scholarly entities and how those entities are connected to each other. Types of entities include works, authors, sources, institutions, concepts, publishers, and funders.   Free
The Lens scholarly works, patents, biological sequences disclosed in patent literature , A management tool to track, monitor, and analyze a collection of works or a collection of patents dynamically or statically. Citation analysis, user profiles, measuring influence hundreds of millions Free for non commercial use Cambia
World Wide Science global science gateway—accelerating scientific discovery and progress through a multilateral partnership to enable federated searching of national and international scientific databases and portals. 100 databases in 70 countries, in 10 languages Free US Dept of Energy
The Academic Family Tree academic genealogy of current and historical researchers across all fields of academia  843,800 people and 813,500 connections Free nonprofit, user content-driven web database
Crossref Crossref is the world’s largest database of Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) 150 Free/Subscription nonprofit



Balas, E. A. (2018). Innovative Research in Life Sciences: Pathways to Scientific Impact, Public Health Improvement, and Economic Progress. John Wiley and Sons.

Vernon, M. M., Balas, E. A., & Momani, S. (2018). Are university rankings useful to improve research? A systematic review. PloS one, 13(3), e0193762.

Balas, E. A., & Ellis, L. M. (2017). Preclinical data: Three-point plan for reproducibility. Nature, 543(7643), 40.

Balas, E. A., & Chapman, W. W. (2018). Road map for diffusion of innovation in health care. Health Affairs, 37(2), 198-204.

E. Andrew Balas, Marlo Vernon, Farah Magrabi, Lynne Thomas Gordon, Joanne Sexton. Big Data Clinical Research: Validity, Ethics, and Regulation. Medinfo 2015. Volume 216

Balas EA, Elkin PL. Technology transfer from biomedical research to clinical practice: measuring innovation performance. Evaluations & the Health Professions. 2013 Dec;36(4):505-17. Epub 2013 Oct 18.

Kawamoto, K., Houlihan, C. A., Balas, E. A., & Lobach, D. F. (2005). Improving clinical practice using clinical decision support systems: a systematic review of trials to identify features critical to success. BMJ, 330(7494), 765.

Balas, EA, Boren, S.A. Managing clinical knowledge for health care improvement. Yearbook of Medical Informatics. 2000;65-70.

Quality Improvement in Research

Dr. Andrew Balas presents at the NIH NLM FNLM Conference