Michael Persans, Ph.D.

Michael Persans, Ph.D.

Michael W Persans, Ph.D.
SCSI 2.316
Office: (956) 665-7323
Research Field

Office Hours


Plant Molecular Biology & Biochemistry (BIOL6420)
Molecular Genetics (BIOL6316)
Biotechnology (BIOL4420/5420)
Molecular Biology (BIOL3415)


Ph.D. Plant Biology. University of Illinois. 1998.
B.S. Biotechnology. Rochester Institute of Technology. 1991.

Areas of Interest

Toxic chemicals, herbicide metabolism, metal toxicity, phytoremediation.


The main topics of this research are: the isolation and characterization of genes involved in heavy metal tolerance in plants, the metabolism of herbicides by plants and the use of remote sensing to monitor environmental pollution caused by heavy metals using plants as a model indicator organism. These projects also relate to human health in that they are involved in the sensing and fate of toxic chemicals in the environment

The herbicide metabolism project involves the study of Cytochrome P450 enzymes in plants and how they detoxify herbicides. By studying these enzymes in plants we hope to learn more about the mechanisms of toxin metabolism and apply these results to further understand the mechanisms that plants may use to detoxify drugs.

The tolerance of plants to heavy metal toxicity is another project in the lab. By understanding the mechanisms by which heavy metals are tolerated, a possible scheme could be devised for the phytoremediation of heavy metals. In addition, plants genetically engineered to hyperaccumulate large amounts of heavy metals could be used for phytoremediation purposes to clean up toxic sites which may be health threats.

The remote sensing project seeks to study the effects that stress such as pathogen attack and heavy metal poisoning has on the spectral properties of plants. By observing the effects that stress has on plants early, plants may be used as early indicators of metal toxicity in the environment and/or indicators of pathogen attack.

Most Recent Publications

Curriculum Vitae