Paul Christou

Universitat de Lleida (UdL)

Life & Medical Sciences

Received BS degree in Chemistry and PhD in plant biochemistry from University College London. Worked as senior scientist at Agracetus Inc., Madison, WI, USA. Subsequently head of Molecular Biotechnology Unit, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK, and then head of Crop Genetics and Biotechnology Department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biotechnology and Applied Ecology, Aachen/Schmallenberg, Germany. Currently at Universitat de Lleida as an ICREA Research Professor and head of the Applied Plant Biotechnology Laboratory. Director Agrotecnio CERCA Center, Lleida 2013-2015.

Research interests

For the past several years we have been investigating the organization of foreign genes in important crops such as maize, rice and wheat and its impact on transgene expression levels and stability. Applied aspects of our research include production of high value recombinant pharmaceuticals (vaccines and antibodies) in plants for use in human health and veterinary medicine; engineering crop plants for enhanced nutrition and novel strategies of sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture using transgenic approaches, all with emphasis on developing countries, poverty alleviation and food security. A recent major focus in the laboratory is plant synthetic biology and genome editing. Our group is heavily involved in training and capacity building in the area of plant biotechnology focusing on developing countries. More recently we have been focusing on multigene, multipathway engineering in plants and the development of tools and methodology for the application of synthetic biology to major crop plants.

Selected publications

– Nogareda C, Moreno JA, Angulo E, Sandmann G, Portero M, Capell T, Zhu C & Christou P 2016, ‘Carotenoid-enriched transgenic corn delivers bioavailable carotenoids to poultry and protects them against coccidiosis’, Plant Biotechnol J., 14: 160-168.

– Vamvaka E, Twyman RM, Murad AM, Melnik S, Teh AYH, Arcalis E, Altmann F, Stoger E, Rech E, Ma JKC, Christou P & Capell T 2016, ‘A recombinant HIV-neutralizing antibody produced in rice endosperm accumulates predominantly as an aglycosylated derivative with enhanced neutralizing activity’, Plant Biotechnol J., 14: 97-108.

– Zanga D, Capell T, Zhu C, Christou P & Thangaraj H 2016, ‘Freedom-to-operate analysis of a transgenic multivitamin corn variety’, Plant Biotechnol J., 14:1225-1240.

– Eritja N, Arjo G, Santacana M, Gatius S, Ramírez-Núnez O, Arcal L, Serrano CE, Pamplona R, Dolcet X, Piñol C, Christou P, Matias-Guiu X & Portero-Otín M 2016, ‘Oral intake of genetically engineered high-carotenoid corn ameliorates hepatomegaly and hepatic steatosis in PTEN haploinsufficient mice’, BBA – Molecular Basis of Disease,1862: 526-535.

– Vamvaka E, Ramessar K, Evans A, O’Keefe BR, Shattock RJ, Christou P & Capell T 2016, ‘Rice endosperm is cost-effective for the production of recombinant griffithsin with potent activity against HIV’, Plant Biotechnol. J., 14:1427-1437.

– Moreno JA, Díaz-Gómez J, Nogareda C, Angulo E, Sandmann G, Portero-Otin M, Serrano JCE, Twyman RM, Capell T, Zhu C & Christou P 2016, ‘The distribution of carotenoids in hens fed on biofortified maize is influenced by feed composition, absorption, resource allocation and storage’, Sci. Rep., 6:35346.

– Bortesi L, Zhu C, Zischewski J, Perez L, Bassié L, Nadi R, Forni G, Boyd Lade S, Soto E, Jin X, Medina V, Villorbina G, Muñoz P, Farré G, Fischer R, Twyman RM, Capell T, Christou P & Schillberg S 2016, ‘Patterns of CRISPR/Cas9 activity in plants, animals and microbes’, Plant Biotechnol J., 14: 2203–2216.