Chief Departmental Advisor
Rebecca S. Balish
Ph.D. in Nutrition and Health Science, Emory University, 1999
Development of Molecular Tools for Use in the Remediation of Toxic Environments
(Note: instructional faculty - not accepting graduate students)
My research and scientific interests have primarily focused on:
- how cells respond to environmental damage.
- the development of molecular tools for use in the remediation of toxic environments.
Microorganisms are an important natural resource in bioremediation because of their ability to metabolize a variety of chemicals that are toxic to plants and animals. My past research projects in the field of phytoremediation have led to the genetic transformation of plants with bacterial genes that enable the plants to remove mercury from soil and store this toxic metal in leaf tissue for recovery and recycling. This process removes the heavy metal from the environment, thereby allowing the soil to better support the growth of native plants and to promote recovery of damaged ecosystems.
My primary role in the Department of Microbiology is teaching undergraduate students about microbiology. I teach introductory courses for majors in the life sciences (MBI 115, MBI 116), Global Miami Plan Foundation courses for non-majors (MBI 121, MBI 123), and a course on molecular and cellular biology for majors in microbiology (MBI 365). I also serve as a faculty advisor for capstone projects in microbiology and as a University Studies advisor.