2007 Outstanding New Investigator: Nina Cedergreen, PhD

Nina Cedergreen was born in the western part of Denmark in 1969. In 1989 she began her Masters studies in biology at the University of Århus, Denmark, and completed her degree in 1997 with a M.Sc. in Ecological Plant Physiology. In January 2001, she defended her Ph.D. in plant adaptation to multiple stresses focussing on the physiological and morphological adaptation of aquatic plants to varying levels of nitrogen and light availability. Soon thereafter she was employed as an Assistant Professor at The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen, Denmark, working with the effect of pesticides on aquatic plants and algae. It was during this work that Dr. Cedergreen first observed the phenomenon of hormesis. As a stress physiologist it caught her curiosity and in 2005 she succeeded in getting a three-year research grant from the Danish Research Council to investigate the mechanisms behind hormesis in plants, together with the research’s leader Steve Duke from the Natural Products Utilization Research Unit, USDA, Oxford, Mississippi. Since then Nina Cedergreen has been involved in developing statistical models to test for the presence of hormesis and has conducted a large database study to investigate the size and frequency of hormesis among several herbicides. Currently, Dr. Cedergreen is looking at hormesis in different plant endpoints (root and shoot growth, leaf elongation, stalk production, etc.) as well as over time after spraying. Also, she is examining the photosynthetic response to hormetic doses of herbicides to explain hormetic growth increases. Finally, gene expression in response to hormetic doses of glyphosate is being explored, again with Steve Duke’s group at NPURU, USDA. Hopefully this important work of Dr. Cedergreen’s will give us a larger insight into the physiological mechanisms behind hormesis in plants.