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Salim Al-Babili

Chair, Plant Science Program
Associate Professor, Plant Science

Research Interests

Professor Al Babili's research interests lie in the generation of crops with enhanced nutritional value, using Gene Technology. Employing combined enzymology-based and genetic approaches to identify novel plant signaling molecules related to abiotic stress and plant development and to shed light on the formation and biology of isoprenoid-derived plant hormones, particularly strigolactones. Elucidating of metabolic networks and identification of related traits that can be applied to breed or engineer high yield and stress tolerant plants.

Selected Publications

  • Rodrigo, M.J., Alquézar, B., Alós , E., Medina, V., Carmona, L., Bruno, M., Al-Babili, S. and Zacarias, L. (2013) A novel carotenoid cleavage activity responsible for the biosynthesis of Citrus fruit-specific apocarotenoid pigments. J. Exp. Bot. In press.

  • Díaz-Sánchez, V., Estrada, A.F., Limón, M.C., Al-Babili, S. and Avalos, J. (2013) The oxygenase CAO-1 of Neurospora is a resveratrol cleavage enzyme. Eukaryot. Cell 12, 1305-1314.

  • Trautmann, Beyer, P. and Al-Babili, S. (2013) The ORF slr0091 of Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 encodes a high-light induced aldehyde dehydrogenase converting apocarotenals and alkanals. FEBS J. 280, 3685-96.

  • Trautmann, D., Voß, B., Wilde, A., Al-Babili, S. and Hess W.R. (2012) Microevolution in Cyanobacteria: Re-sequencing a motile substrain of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. DNA Res. 19, 435-448.  

  • Schaub, P., Yu, Q., Gemmecker, S., Poussin, P.,  Mailliot, J., McEwen, A., Ghisla, S.,  Al-Babili, S., Cavarelli, J. and Beyer, P. (2012) Phytoene desaturase CRTI from Pantoea ananatis is a membrane-peripheral FAD-dependent oxidase/isomerase:  Insights from structural and biochemical studies. PLoS ONE 7(6): e39550.  


  • 01.11.2011  International Patent: NOVEL STRIGOLACTONE ANALOGUES AND THEIR USE, WO 2012/146374A2. Inventors: Adrian Alder and Salim Al-Babili

Education Profile

  • Venia legendi in Cell Biology, University of Freiburg, Germany
  • Habilitation; Title: Carotinoid-Metabolismus: Synthese-Spaltung-Biotechnologie,University of Freiburg, Germany
  • Ph.D. in Cell Biology, University of Freiburg, Germany Supervision: Prof. Dr. Hans Kleinig
  • Diploma in Biology, University of Freiburg, Germany
  • “Studienkolleg” examination at the University of Heidelberg, for study at German universities
  • University-Entrance Diploma, Damascus, Syria, 1983

Professional Profile

  • Appointment as Associate Professor of Bioscience at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and as a Member of the Center   of Desert Agriculture (Thuwal, Saudi Arabia) guided by Dr. Nina Fedoroff
  • „Akademischer Rat auf Zeit“, (Assistant Professor) Institute of Biology II, University of Freiburg
  • Hochschulassistent (C1; Assistant Professor), Institute of Biology II, University of Freiburg
  • Research Associate, Institute of Biology II, University of Freiburg 
  • Postdoctoral Fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation „Golden Rice“ project.


  • 1996-1998  The Rockefeller Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship

  • 1984-1992  University of Damascus Scholarship to study Biology in Germany