Personal profile

Research interests

Short profile
Since the completion of my PhD in 2014, I was employed as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Queensland and the University of Lorraine. I was subsequently granted an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (2016–2018) to undertake research on the ecophysiology of tropical (nickel) hyperaccumulator plants. Following on, I received a University of Queensland Amplify Fellowship (2019–2020), was then a Senior Research Fellow and moved to The Netherlands in 2022 to join Wageningen University & Research.

Research interests
My research concentrates on trace element hyperaccumulator plants (especially those occurring in tropical regions), and the use of advanced analytical techniques based on X-rays for characterising the in situ metallome of plants. With my research, I aim to support the development of novel phytotechnologies that make use of the unique properties of hyperaccumulator plants, including phytoremediation, agromining and biofortification.

Research focus at Wageningen University
My NWO Vidi research project is entitled “Living on the edge: unravelling the secrets of selenium hyperaccumulator plants". The project focusses on rare plants that are capable of accumulating exceptionally high tissue concentrations of selenium. The aim of this project is to develop a mechanistic understanding of selenium hyperaccumulation through resolving the ecology, physiology, and molecular biology of the selenium metabolism in Neptunia amplexicaulis. These insights are relevant to understanding and predicting plant adaptation to extreme selective pressures imposed by environmental conditions.

(Inter)national collaborations
After 12 years at the University of Queensland, I continue as an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Sustainable Minerals Institute of the University of Queensland. I also have a long-standing affiliation with the University of Lorraine at the Laboratory for Soil and Environment where I am a Visiting Researcher. Key collaborations are with Prof Peter Erskine and Dr CX Chan (University of Queensland, Australia), Prof Guillaume Echevarria (Econick, France), Prof Hugh Harris (University of Adelaide, Australia), Dr Sandrine Isnard (IRD, France), Dr Kathryn Spiers (German Synchrotron Germany), Dr Jason Kirby (CSIRO, Australia), Dr Damien Blaudez (CNRS, France), Dr Mirko Salinitro (University of Bologna, Italy) and Prof Michela Schiavon (Turin University, Italy). I am actively expanding my network in The Netherlands and Europe, so please contact me if you are interested in exploring opportunities for collaboration.

Communication of my research
My work on hyperaccumulator plans and agromining has been widely covered by the international media, including features in The New York Times, The Guardian, New Scientist, BBC World News, etc. ARTE filmed a documentary entitled ‘Superplants’ about my research that was broadcast in 2017.

Prospective students
We are always looking for motivated students to join our research on hyperaccumulator plants! If you are keen to do an internship (MBO/HBO), undertake a BSc/MSc research project, or pursue a PhD programme, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email.

External positions

Honorary Senior Research Fellow, University of Queensland

1 Jan 2023 → …

Visiting Researcher, Université de Lorraine

1 Jan 2023 → …


  • QK Botany
  • QD Chemistry
  • QH301 Biology
  • QP Physiology


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