Most of the time when Peter Goldsbrough talks about heavy metal he’s not referring to the music genre. As a professor of botany and plant pathology, Goldsbrough’s research centers on monitoring how plants respond to environmental stressors, including heavy metals like zinc, copper, lead and calcium. Goldsbrough examines stressors introduced by the environment and from man. Many of the chemicals and compounds plants absorb are harmful to their health or the health of surrounding organisms. By monitoring a plant’s genetic response to these materials Goldsbrough and his team work to create more resilient crops through the process of genetic modification.
Because of his work with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Goldsbrough can speak to the pros and cons of the technology, drawing on examples and experience from his own work. He is also able to outline the way environmental changes, for example from pollution, can impact certain species. Goldsbrough’s work also focuses on how crops can be enhanced to resist certain herbicides, which are used to combat weeds and invasive species in agricultural landscapes.