Screening for Carotenoid-Derived Signaling Molecules


Project Description

The project focuses on novel signaling molecules involved in plant development and response to environmental stress. It includes studies on the activity of selected carotenoid-metabolizing enzymes and the identification of their enzymatic products. Biological activity of products will be investigated by developmental assays using Arabidopsis and rice and by determining the effect of these compounds on the transcript levels of selected genes including strigolactone biosynthesis genes. These studies will be complemented by geno- and phenotyping of mutants disrupted in the corresponding genes. ​
Program - BioScience
Division - Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Center Affiliation - Center for Desert Agriculture
Field of Study - ​Plant Biochemistry and Development

About the

Salim Al-Babili

Professor of Plant Science and Bioengineering<br/>Associate Dean of the Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division (BESE)

Salim Al-Babili
Al-Babili has longstanding expertise in genetic engineering of biofortified crops and elucidating metabolic pathways. His BioActives Lab is currently working on basic and translational aspects of plant metabolism and hormone research, focused on strigolactones and on identifying novel small molecules regulating crop resilience and performance. In addition, he is developing hormone-based chemistries to combat the root parasitic plant Striga, and is establishing the molecular toolkit required for improving the resistance and performance of pearl millet, a nutritious and important cereal for arid and hot climates.

Desired Project Deliverables

​Identification of new bioactive compounds/Better understanding of the regulation of strigolactone biosynthesis. Significant contribution to a publication