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Department of Biology

Faculty Renuka Sankaran

Faculty Renuka SankaranE-mail address:
Phone Number: 718-960-8983
Office: Science Hall 2408 (Lab: Science Hall 2401)
Rank: Associate Professor
Degrees and Sources of Degrees: B.Sc, M.Sc., Univ. of Madras, India; M.S., Southern Illinois Univ. Edwardsville; Ph.D, Southern Illinois Univ. Carbondale
Lab Website


My research interests include whole plant mineral nutrition and homeostasis,interaction of metal contaminants such as Cd with mineral nutrients in terms of ion transport, and the transfer of these minerals through the food chain. Research in the lab focuses on studying the underlying rate limiting steps involved in the distribution of these different metals and final concentrations of these different essential and non essential metals in edible tissues. Current research incorporates different physiological and molecular tools in trying to gain mechanistic understanding of how and at what stage of the life cycle, cadmium moves into the edible portions such as the seeds, and the genes involved in the regulation of these processes. By studying Cd and its interactions with other micronutrients it would not only help us in teasing out the processes involved in moving the metals to seeds, but also provide information that could enhance efforts to mitigate Cd accumulation in foods.

Recent Publications:

  • Naomi S. Ramesar, Michael Tavarez, Stephen D. Ebbs, and Renuka P. Sankaran. 2013. Transport and accumulation of lead in Indian mustard (Brassica juncea) and wheat (Triticum aestivum). Bioremediation Journal (In press).
  • Brian M. Waters and Renuka P. Sankaran. 2011.Moving micronutrients from the soil to the seeds: genes and physiological processes from a biofortification perspective. Plant Science. 180: 562-574.
  • Renuka P. Sankaran,Thierry Huguet and Michael A. Grusak. 2009. Identification of loci affecting seed mineral concentrations in the model legumeMedicago truncatula.Theroretical and Applied Genetics 19(2):241-253.
  • Renuka P. Sankaran, Thierry Huguet and Michael A. Grusak. 2008. "Identification of loci affecting seed mineral concentrations in the model legume Medicago truncatula." Theroretical and Applied Genetics (In Press).
  • Renuka P. Sankaran and Stephen D. Ebbs. 2007. "Transport of Cd and Zn to seeds of Indian mustard (Brassica juncea L. Czern.) during specific stages of plant growth and development," Physiologia Plantarum, 132 (1). 69-78.
  • Stephen Ebbs, Jonathon Talbott, and Renuka Sankaran. 2006. "Cultivation of garden vegetables in Peoria pool sediments from Illinois river: A case study in trace element accumulation and dietary exposures," Environment International 32 (6), 766-774.
  • Renuka Sankaran, and Stephen Ebbs. 2007. "Cadmium accumulation in deertongue grass (Panicum clandestinum L.) and potential for trophic transfer to microtine rodents," Environmental Pollution, 148. 580-589.

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