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

- J. Moreno, J. Diaz-Gomeza, L. Fuentes-Font, E. Angulo, L. Gosalvez, G. Sandmann, M. Portero-Otin, T. Capell, C. Zhu, P. Christou, C. Nogareda 2020. 'Poultry diets containing keto/carotenoid-enriched maize improve egg yolk color and maintain quality'. AFST 260: 114334

- X. Jin, C. Baysal, L. Gao, V. Medina, M. Drapal, X. Ni, Y. Sheng, L. Shi, T. Capell, P.D. Fraser, P. Christou, Changfu Zhu 2020. 'The subcellular localization of two isopentenyl diphosphate isomerases in rice suggests a role for the endoplasmic reticulum in isoprenoid biosynthesis'. Plant Cell Reports 39: 119-133

- C. Baysal, A. Pérez-González, Á. Eseverri, X. Jiang, V. Medina, T. Capell, E. Caro, L. Rubio, P. Christou, C. Zhu 2020. 'Recognition motifs rather than phylogenetic origin determine the effectiveness of targeting peptides for the import of nuclear-encoded recombinant proteins into rice mitochondria' Transg Res 29:37–52

- P. Girón-Calva, R. Twyman, R. Albajes, A. Gatehouse, P. Christou 2020. 'The impact of environmental stress on Bt crop performance'. TIPS 25: 264-278.

- Capell, T; Twyman, R; Armario-Najera, V; Julian M; Schillberg, S; Christou, P 2020, 'Potential Applications of Plant Biotechnology against SARS-CoV-2.', Trends In Plant Sci 25, 7, 635 - 643.

- A. Canela-Xandri, M. Balcells, G. Villorbina, P. Christou and R. Canela-Garayoa 2020. 'Preparation and Uses of Chlorinated Glycerol Derivatives',  Molecules, 25, 2511.

- Á. Eseverri, C. Baysal, V. Medina, T. Capell, P. Christou, L. Rubio and E. Caro 2020. 'Transit peptides from photosynthesis-related 1 proteins mediate import of a marker protein into different plastid types and within different species'. FIPS 11: 560701

- C. Baysal, W. He, M. Drapal, G. Villorbina, V. Medina, T. Capell, G. Khush, C. Zhu, P. Fraser, P. Christou (2020). 'Inactivation of rice starch branching enzyme IIb triggers broad and unexpected changes in metabolism by transcriptional reprogramming', PNAS 117: 26503-12.