Erin Connolly, Ph.D., professor and department head of plant sciences at Penn State University, will discuss “Molecular Mechanisms of Iron Uptake and Compartmentalization in Plants.”
Current estimates indicate that ~3 billion people suffer from iron deficiency and plant foods serve as the principal source of iron for most people. In addition, ~30 percent of the world's soils are considered iron-limiting for plant growth. Improving iron uptake and partitioning in plants could therefore have dramatic effects on plant and human health. Research in the Connolly Lab focuses on the molecular mechanisms of micronutrient uptake and trafficking in plants. We are particularly interested in the mechanisms that underlie the delivery of iron to mitochondria and chloroplasts. In addition, we have a long-term goal of elucidating the mechanisms that function to maintain iron homeostasis in plants.