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Paul Christou

Paul Christou

Universitat de Lleida

Life & Medical Sciences

BS Chemistry & PhD Plant Biochemistry, University College London. Senior Scientist at Agracetus Inc., Madison, WI, USA, where he developed genetic transformation technology that lead his group to generate the first commercial crop sold by Monsanto (Roundup Ready Soybean). Subsequently Head of Molecular Biotechnology Unit, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK-led the Tropical Maize and Rice Biotechnology Laboratory sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation. Head Crop Genetics & Biotechnology Department, Fraunhofer Institute Molecular Biotechnology & Applied Ecology, Aachen, Germany. Currently at Universitat de Lleida as an ICREA Professor & Head of the Applied Plant Biotechnology Laboratory. Founding Director Agrotecnio CERCA Center, 2013-2015. Recipient of ERC Advanced Grant BIOFORCE and ERC PoC Grant Multinutrient Maize. Received 2 Bill & Melinda Gate's grants, one ongoing. PI in 12 EU projects over past 25 years 2 as coordinator and 2 as deputy coordinator

Research interests

Our programs rely on our unique multi-gene/multi-pathway engineering capabilities to generate plants with high value recombinant pharmaceuticals for human health and veterinary medicine; cereals with enhanced nutrition, and novel strategies of sustainable agriculture with emphasis on developing countries, poverty alleviation and food security.  A major focus is plant synthetic biology and genome editing. Our group is involved in training and capacity building in plant biotechnology focusing on developing countries. We also develop tools, methodology and a comprehensive understanding of the essential mechanisms underpinning the creation and performance of genome edited plants for the application of synthetic biology to major crops. During 2021 a major focus has been the use of plants to combat SARS-CoV-2

Selected publications

– X. Jin, C. Baysal, M. Drapal, Y. Sheng, X. Huang, W. He, L. Shi, T. Capell, P.D. Fraser, P. Christou and C. Zhu 2021. ‘The Coordinated Upregulated Expression of Genes Involved in MEP, Chlorophyll, ‘Carotenoid and Tocopherol Pathways, Mirrored the Corresponding Metabolite Contents in Rice Leaves during De-Etiolation’. Plants 10, 1456.

– He, Wenshu et al. 2021, ‘Contributions of the international plant science community to the fight against infectious diseases in humans-part 2: Affordable drugs in edible plants for endemic and re-emerging diseases‘, Plant Biotechnology Journal 19: 1921-1936.

– M. Lobato Gómez et al. 2021, ‘Contributions of the international plant science community to the fight against human infectious diseases – part 1: epidemic and pandemic diseases‘. Plant Biotechnol J. 19,10, 1901-1920.

– P.S. Giro´n-Calva, C. Lopez, A. Albacete, R. Albajes, P. Christou, M. Eizaguirre 2021, ‘β-Carotene and Bacillus thuringiensis insecticidal protein differentially modulate feeding behaviour, mortality and physiology of European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis)‘. PLoS ONE 16(2): e0246696.

– Huang, Xin; Hilscher, Julia; Stoger, Eva; Christou, Paul; Zhu, Changfu 2021, ‘Modification of cereal plant architecture by genome editing to improve yields‘, Plant Cell Reports, 40, 953–978.

– Giron-Calva, Patricia S.; Perez-Fons, Laura; Sandmann, Gerhard; Fraser, Paul D.; Christou, Paul 2021, ‘Nitrogen inputs influence vegetative metabolism in maize engineered with a seed-specific carotenoid pathway‘, Plant Cell Reports, 40, 899–911.

Selected research activities

Invited Keynote lecture Annual General Scientific Meeting. IPK, Gatersleben, Germany (Virtual) June 16, 2021.

Invited Keynote lecture Graduate Student Conference UCLM, Botanical Institute, Albacete, Spain. July 18, 2021.

Invited plenary lecture International Symposium on Rice Functional Genomics BCN November 2-4, 2021


ICREA Memoir 2021