Elizabeth Pilon-Smits Professor

Office: Biology 446

Phone: (970) 491-4991

Website: https://wp.natsci.colostate.edu/pilonsmitslab


  • Ph.D., Utrecht University, The Netherlands


In the Pilon-Smits lab we do multidisciplinary research that ranges from cells to whole plants to ecosystems. An important common denominator is selenium (Se): an essential element with anticarcinogenic and antiviral properties, but also a toxin and environmental pollutant. We study plant Se tolerance and accumulation using genetic/genomic tools and biotechnology and biochemistry. At the same time, we are very interested in ecological and evolutionary aspects of Se hyperaccumulation: the capacity of certain species to accumulate Se up to 1% of dry weight. Our findings indicate that Se hyperaccumulation has evolved as a protection from biotic stresses. A better understanding of plant Se metabolism and hyperaccumulation may ultimately lead to the development of pathogen- and pest-resistant, anticarcinogenic, Se-fortified crops, and plants with superior properties for the phytoremediation of Se-polluted soils and waters. Plant species we use in our research are the hyperaccumulator Stanleya pinnata, non-hyperaccumulator relatives Stanleya elata, Brassica juncea and Arabidopsis thaliana, and, recently, Cannabis sativa (hemp).


Selenium Biofortification Differentially Affects Sulfur Metabolism and Accumulation of Phytochemicals in Two Rocket Species (Eruca Sativa Mill. and Diplotaxis Tenuifolia) Grown in HydroponicsStefano Dall'Acqua, Andrea Ertani, Pilon-Smits, Elizabeth A. H., Marta Fabrega-Prats, Michela Schiavon PLANTS-BASEL, 3, 2019.
Understanding selenium metabolism in plants and its role as a beneficial elementReshu Chauhan, Surabhi Awasthi, Sudhakar Srivastava, Sanjay Dwivedi, Pilon-Smits, Elizabeth A. H., Om P. Dhankher, Rudra D. Tripathi CRITICAL REVIEWS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, 2019.
MisunderstoodElizabeth AHPilon-Smits Patagonia film 15 min online, 2019.
Comparison of ATP sulfurylase 2 from selenium hyperaccumulator Stanleya pinnata and non-accumulator Stanleya elata reveals differential intracellular localization and enzyme activity levelsYing Jiang, Michela Schiavon, Leonardo W. Lima, Tripti, Rachel R. Jones, El Mehdawi, Ali F., Suzanne Royer, Zhaohai Zeng, Yuegao Hu, Pilon-Smits, Elizabeth A. H., Marinus Pilon BIOCHIMICA ET BIOPHYSICA ACTA-GENERAL SUBJECTS, 11, 2018.
Fungal Endophyte Alternaria tenuissima Can Affect Growth and Selenium Accumulation in Its Hyperaccumulator Host Astragalus bisulcatusStormy D. Lindblom, Ami L. Wangeline, Barillas, Jose R. Valdez, Berthal Devilbiss, Sirine C. Fakra, Pilon-Smits, Elizabeth A. H. FRONTIERS IN PLANT SCIENCE, 2018.
Influence of sulfate supply on selenium uptake dynamics and expression of sulfate/selenate transporters in selenium hyperaccumulator and nonhyperaccumulator Brassicaceae El Mehdawi, Ali F., Ying Jiang, Zack S. Guignardi, Ahmad Esmat, Marinus Pilon, Pilon-Smits, Elizabeth A. H., Michela Schiavon NEW PHYTOLOGIST, 1, 2018.
Mechanisms of selenium hyperaccumulation in plants: A survey of molecular, biochemical and ecological cuesLeonardo Warzea Lima, Pilon-Smits, Elizabeth A. H., Michela Schiavon BIOCHIMICA ET BIOPHYSICA ACTA-GENERAL SUBJECTS, 11, 2018.
Plant selenium hyperaccumulation-Ecological effects and potential implications for selenium cycling and community structureR. Jason, Jason Jason Bixler Reynolds, Pilon-Smits, Elizabeth A. H. BIOCHIMICA ET BIOPHYSICA ACTA-GENERAL SUBJECTS, 11, 2018.
Transcriptome-wide comparison of selenium hyperaccumulator and nonaccumulator Stanleya species provides new insight into key processes mediating the hyperaccumulation syndromeJiameng Wang, Jennifer Jocarole Cappa, Jonathan P. Harris, Patrick P. Edger, Wen Zhou, J. Chris Pires, Michael Adair, Sarah A. Unruh, Mark Simmons, Michela Schiavon, Pilon-Smits, Elizabeth A. H. PLANT BIOTECHNOLOGY JOURNAL, 9, 2018.
Selenium species influence Se uptake, translocation and biofortification in common buckwheat and tartary buckwheatYing Jiang, Elizabeth AH Pilon-Smits, Ali Farag Mehdawi, Michela Schiavon, Frontiers in Plant Science, 2018.
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