Ben Babst has seen things that no one else has ever seen before. A plant biologist in Brookhaven Lab’s Biosciences Department, Babst is among a group of pioneering researchers studying plants using a technique called positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, which is more commonly used to diagnose cancer and study brain activity. With this innovative use of PET imaging technologies, Babst has actually watched plants shift nutrients from their leaves down to their roots while under attack by gypsy moth caterpillars — effectively safeguarding energy from the furry, leaf-chomping assailants. This research, along with Babst’s other investigations of transport and metabolism in plants, shows much promise toward enhancing plants’ abilities to make substances for biofuels that could someday power vehicles, homes, and industry.
2012-3544 INT/EXT | Media & Communications Office
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