Ahner Lab research in environmental biotechnology explores how organisms adapt to trace metal stress in the environment and how they in turn influence the form of metals in the environment –  for example how plants solubilize, take up, detoxify and sequester metals. Her laboratory group focuses on research questions involving intracellular detoxification mechanisms and how biological processes affect the biogeochemical cycling of metals in the natural environment and in engineered systems. One application of this research is to phytoremediation, the use of plants to remove metals from contaminated soils.