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 recent 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.

Selected publications

– Pérez L, Soto E, Farré G, Juanos J, Villorbina G, Bassie L, Medina V, Serrato AJ, Sahrawy M, Rojas JA, Romagosa I, Muñoz P, Zhu C & Christou P 2019, ‘CRISPR/Cas9 mutations in the rice Waxy/GBSSI gene induce allele-specific and zygosity‑dependent feedback effects on endosperm starch biosynthesis’, Plant Cell Rep, 8:417–433

– Armario Najera V, Twyman RM, Christou P, Zhu C 2019, ‘Applications of multiplex genome editing in higher plants.’, Current Opinion In Biotechnology, 59, 93 – 102.

– Jin X, Bai C, Bassie L, Nogareda C, Romagosa I, Twyman RM, Christou P & Zhu C 2019, ‘ZmPBF and ZmGAMYB transcription factors independently transactivate the promoter of the maize (Zea mays) beta-carotene hydroxylase 2 gene’, New Phytologist, 222, 2, 793 – 804.

– Mir-Artigues P, Twyman RM, Alvarez D, Bennasser PC, Balcells M, Christou P & Capell T 2019, ‘A simplified techno-economic model for the molecular pharming of antibodies’, Biotechnology And Bioengineering, 116, 10, 2526-2539.

– Banakar R, Fernandez A, Zhu C, Abadia J, Capell T & Christou P 2019, ‘The ratio of phytosiderophores nicotianamine to deoxymugenic acid controls metal homeostasis in rice’, Planta, 250:1339–1354.

Selected research activities

Third generation plant biotechnology products to address the Food-Feed-Nutrition-Health nexus. Cost Action EUROCAROTEN, Limassol, Cyprus. Keynote opening lecture

Redirection of terpenoid metabolism in rice through targeted interventions: Plant Biotechnology – Genomics and Genome Editing” Tel Aviv University. In memory of Prof. Zahir Eyal. Invited lecture