Archive for February 19th, 2013

February 19, 2013

Follow the Fellows: Cleaning Contaminated Soils with Plants

by Melissa Harding


The Botany in Action Fellowship program at Phipps fosters the development of the next generation of plant-based scientists who are committed to both excellent research and educational outreach. Open to PhD students enrolled at US graduate institutions and conducting plant-based scientific field research, the BIA program provides Fellows with funding for use towards field research in the US or abroad and a trip to Phipps, to engage in science outreach training and opportunities to share his or her research to public audiences.

Current BIA Fellows are engaged in local research in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland and research abroad in Nepal, Thailand, India, and Brazil. Their work covers topics ranging from the role of green roof plants in urban storm water management and the effects of plant invasion on a rare woodland butterfly to identification of plants used by healers for treatment of dementia.

February’s featured fellow is George Meindl. George is PhD student at the University of Pittsburgh and a California native.  He studies the movement of toxic heavy metals through ecosystems. George studies plants that are known to accumulate heavy metals and therefore can be used to clean polluted soils. Unfortunately, these metal-accumulating plants may negatively affect animals that eat them or their pollen. George’s research could be used to find a way to clean contaminated soils without negatively affecting wildlife.

Read an update on George’s research and life as a scientist at the Botany In Action website!

You can follow George and all of the BIA as they study plants across the US and across the world at the Follow the Fellows section of our Botany In Action website.

The following Botany In Action update was written by Amanda Joy, Botany in Action Fellowship coordinator.

The above image was provided by George Meindl.


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