Molecular genetic and physiological characterization of the adaptation to Cd and Zn exposure by Gomphrena elegans

Gomphrena elegans is a tropical native species with the potential to accumulate as well as tolerate high levels of Zn and Cd. Therefore, this species may be used to re-vegetate and eventually fully decontaminate hazardous metal contaminated areas through phytoremediation.

I am focusing to understand the physiological and molecular genetic processes occurring in G. elegans in response to Zn/Cd exposure. To achieve this goal I am studying some physiological responses and trying to identified relevant genes involved in the absorption, translocation and accumulation of Cd and Zn during their exposure. Furthermore I will compare the mechanism found in G. elegans with that known for other hyperaccumulator species, such as Noccaea caerulescens, to learn more about plant metal adaptation and for future phytoremediation engineering applications


  • Prof. Dr. Maarten Koornneef
  • Dr. Mark Aarts


  • 2005–2009: Biologist (Bachelor’s degree) Federal University of Lavras, Brazil
  • 2009–2010: M.Sc. in Soil Science with emphasis on Environmental Resources and Land Use at Federal University of Lavras.


Master students interested in pursuing their research thesis work within this project are welcome to contact with me.