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, Fraunhofer Institute Molecular Biotechnology & Applied Ecology, Aachen, Germany. 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. PI in 14 EU projects over past 25 years 2 as coordinator and 2 as deputy coordinator. Recipient of Narcís Monturioll Medal 2020.

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

- Perez L, Alves R, Perez-Fons L, Albacete A, Farre G, Soto E, Vilaprinyo E, Martinez-Andujar C, Basallo O, Fraser PD, Medina V, Zhu C, Capell T & Christou P 2022, 'Multilevel interactions between native and ectopic isoprenoid pathways affect global metabolism in rice', Transgenic Research 31:249–268

- Baysal C, Burén S, He W, Jiang X, Capell T, Rubio LM & Christou P 2022, 'Functional expression of the nitrogenase Fe protein in transgenic rice'. Comm Biol, 5, 1006.

- He W, Burén S, Baysal C, Jiang X, Capell T, Christou P & Rubio LM 2022, 'The nitrogenase cofactor maturase NifB isolated from transgenic rice is active in FeMo-co synthesis'ACS Synthetic Biology 11, 3028−3036.

- Armario-Najera V, Blanco-Perera A, Shenoy SR, Sun Y, Marfil S, Muñoz-Basagoiti J, Perez-Zsolt D, Blanco J, Izquierdo-Useros N, Capell T, O’Keefe BR & Christou P 2022, 'Physicochemical characterization of the recombinant lectin scytovirin and microbicidal activity of the SD1 domain produced in rice against HIV-1', Plant Cell Rep, 41: 1013-1023.

- Ahrazem O, Zhu C, Huang X, Rubio-Moraga A, Capell T, Christou P & Gómez-Gómez L 2022. 'Metabolic Engineering of Crocin Biosynthesis in Nicotiana Species'. Frontiers in Plant Sci, 13: 861140.

- Huang X, Morote L, Zhu C, Ahrazem O, Capell T, Christou P & Gómez-Gómez L 2022, 'The Biosynthesis of Non-Endogenous Apocarotenoids in Transgenic Nicotiana glauca', Metabolites 12, 575.

- Schiermeyer A, Cerda-Bennasser P, Schmelter T, Huang X, Christou P & Schillberg S 2022, 'Rapid production of SaCas9 in plant-based cell-free lysate for activity testing' Biotechnol J, 17:2100564.