Walker wins $870,000 NSF grant for biomechanics research

Elsbeth Walker, Biology, has been awarded a three-year, $870,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Physiological Mechanisms and Biomechanics program to learn how plants firmly control iron in their systems. A decade or so ago, scientists discovered genes they thought could be turned on to make plants take up more iron from the soil, enriching cereals, grains and other staple foods that feed millions of people around the world an iron-poor diet leading to iron deficiency anemia, says the molecular biologist. “But it didn’t work,” she adds. “Somehow the plants downregulated our efforts, and we don’t understand how.” Her project will investigate how plants thwarted those past efforts. They have good reason for this, she says, because iron is a highly reactive metal that can damage their tissues. Seedquest, Phys.org