2009 Outstanding New Investigator: Regina Belz

Dr. Belz studied Agricultural Engineering with specialization in plant production at the University of Hohenheim (1992-1998), in Stuttgart, Germany. Her diploma thesis dealt with the release of phytotoxins from plant mulches and its use for practical weed control. This was the first time she encounted with dose-response studies and the phenomenon of hormesis caused by plant phytotoxins. Her diploma thesis was awarded with the ‘Wilhelm-Rimpau-Award’ of the German Agricultural Society (DLG) in 2000.

From 1999-2004 she worked on her doctoral thesis at the University of Hohenheim, Department of Weed Science, on biochemical plant interference mediated by crop produced phytotoxins against weeds and its use for weed control. This was the second time she got into contact with hormesis as some of the crop plant metabolites involved stimulated weed growth at low doses. Her doctoral research was awarded with the ‘Rice Award’ of the International Allelopathy Society (IAS) in 2002.

Since she finished her thesis in 2004 she has been a research scientist and lecturer at the University of Hohenheim, Department of Weed Science. Her research focus is still natural plant metabolites and their use for weed control, including biochemical interference of crops against weeds, biochemical interference of invasive weed species and its contribution to invasiveness, as well as mathematical modeling of the biological effects. As some of the plant metabolites involved in these interactions show hormesis, she started to work on hormesis in plants induced by natural phytotoxins or their mixtures and the modeling of such effects in 2005. Since that time, she has published several original papers on her research of hormesis in plant biology including hormetic effects in allelopathy research and in mixtures.

Her current research focus is the variability of hormetic effects depending on environmental conditions and the hormetic mode of action of a natural phytotoxin.