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Ikram Blilou

​Associate Professor, Plant Science​

Research Interests

Professor Blilou’s research focuses on how cells communicate with each other to transfer positional information and instruct specific fate during pattern formation. A process that involves studying regulatory networks controlling protein movement and asymmetric cell division in plant roots by mapping protein complexes in vivo at the cellular resolution and unraveling how the distinct spatial distribution of these complexes leads to specific cell type gene expression and proper cell fate acquisition. 
The group also aims to understand molecular mechanisms of growth/defense trade-offs in plants by unraveling how the same set of developmental genes can regulate defense response under stress conditions. In addition, the team intends to understand adaptive strategies used by desert plants (using date palm as a model) to survive in hostile conditions.

Selected Publications

  • ​In vivo FRET-FLIM reveals cell type-specific protein interactions in Arabidopsis roots. Y.Long, Y. Stahl, S. Weidtkamp-Peters, M. Postma, W. Zhou, J. Goedhart, TWG Jr. Gadella, R. Simon, B. Scheres & I. Blilou. Nature, issue, 548, 97–102, (2017)
  • The zinc finger BIRD proteins jointly stabilize tissue boundaries by confining the cell fate regulator SHORT-ROOT and contributing to fate specification in Arabidopsis. Y. Long, W, Smet, A. Cruz-Ramírez, B. Castelijns, W. de Jonge, AP. Mähönen, BP. Bouchet, G. Sanchez Perez, A. Akhmanova, B. Scheres, I. Blilou. Plant Cell, issue, 27, 1185–1199, (2015).
  • SCARECROW-LIKE23 and SCARECROW jointly specify endodermal cell fate but distinctly control SHORT-ROOT movement. Y. Long, J. Goedhart, J. M. Schneijderberg, I. Tepstra, A. Shimotohno, B.. Bouchet, A. Akhmanova, TWJ. Gadella, R. Heidstra, B. Scheres, I. Blilou.  Plant Journal, issue 4,773–784, (2015). 
  • Transcriptional control of tissue formation throughout root development. M. Moreno-Risueno, R. Rosangela Sozzani, G. Gürkan Yardimici, J. Petricka, T. Vernoux, I. Blilou, J. Alonso, C. Winter, O. Ohle, B. Scheres, P. Benfey. Science, issue, 350, 426-430, (2015)
  • A bistable circuit involving SCARECROW-RETINOBLASTOMA integrates cues to inform asymmetric stem cell division. A. Cruz-Ramírez, S. Díaz-Triviño, I. Blilou, VA. Grieneisen, R. Sozzani, C. Zamioudis, P. Miskolczi, J Nieuwland, et al. Cell, issue, 150, 1002–1015,(2012)
  • JACKDAW controls epidermal patterning in the Arabidopsis root meristem through a non-cell-autonomous mechanism. H. Hassan, B. Scheres, I. Blilou. Development, issue, .137: 1523-9, (2010).
  • Polar PIN localization directs auxin flow in plants. J. Wiśniewska, J. Xu, D. Seifertová, P. Brewer, K. Růžička, I. Blilou, D. Roquie, E. Benková, B., Scheres, J. Friml. Science, Issue, 312: 883, (2006).

Education Profile

  • PhD, plant biology, Granada University, CSIC, 1998
  • BSc, Biology, University Abdelmlek Essadi, Faculty of Biology, Tetouan, Morocco, 1994

Professional Profile

  • 1998-1999 Postdoctoral fellowship from the SON. Department of Molecular Genetics, Faculty of Biology, Utrecht University.
  • 1999-2003 Post doctoral fellow funded NWO PIONIER Grant Department of Molecular Genetics, Faculty of Biology, Utrecht University.
  • 2003-2007 Assistant Professor in the department of Molecular Genetics, Faculty of Biology, Utrecht University. Tenured term. 
  • 2007- 2012 Associate Professor in the department of Molecular Genetics, Faculty Biology, Utrecht University. Tenured term. 
  • 2012-2017. Associate Professor in the department of plant developmental Biology, Plant science group, Wageningen University. Tenured term.

Scientific and Professional Memberships

  • EPS, experimental plant science school at Wageningen University.
  • ASBP, American society plant biologist​


  • ​Nominated in 2016 as talented women role models at Wageningen University illustrated in the book entitled: Inspiring Women at WUR. Aspasia award 2007.
  • VIDI award 2006 
  • Predoctoral fellowship awarded from the Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional (AECI), Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperación. 1994-1998: Scholarship awarded from the Moroccan Ministry of education. 1990-1994:
  • Inventor in the plant development regulating gene” HOBBIT” patent number WO 2002038599 A2.
  • The publication: Blilou, et al., 2005. “The PIN auxin efflux facilitator network controls growth and patterning” as published in the journal “NATURE” on January 6th, 2005 has been recently determined by Essential Science IndicatorsSM to be one of the most cited recent papers in the field of PLANT & ANIMAL SCIENCE.'​