Plant Ecophysiology: Interactions between plants and the environment, Salinity tolerance, Heavy metal accumulation, Interactions with nanoparticles
My laboratory examines salt and heavy metal stress in algae. We address questions of mechanisms of transport of relevant ions, including isotopic fluxes, chemical, biochemical, molecular and electrical analyses. We explore mechanisms of resistance, especially with regard to heavy metals, both in ionic form and as nanoparticles. We are also interested in the possibility of utilizing plants to clean up contaminated environments (phytoremediation). Our work has primarily been with Chara, an alga closely related to the line that gave rise to land plants, and which shows wide variability in salt tolerance. This species may be a useful source of information and genes to generate salt-tolerant crops, and is also currently used to clean up contaminated environments. We also do comparative studies on a distantly related green alga, Valonia, primarily in the field of salt tolerance and turgor regulation. Work on nanoparticles is primarily with Arabidopsis, in collaboration with the Chemistry Department.