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Johnson Cancer Research Center

Dr. Lawrence Davis

Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics

We have developed numerous ways to use plants or microbes to “decontaminate” a wide range of known compounds that result from industrial activities and cause mutations and cancers, including dry cleaning fluid, waste oil, textile dyes and nitrated aromatics (munitions). Plant roots and associated microbes can sequester or degrade these compounds. We have done much field and pilot scale work in this area, showing that phytoremediation is more cost effective than older engineering approaches. Now our main focus is understanding exactly what the plants do to the mutagens and carcinogens, so that we can design more efficient and effective systems. This may include both classical and genetic engineering.