Juan Camilo Moreno Beltran

Research Scientists

Research Scientist



Research Interests

Carotenoids are important isoprenoids produced in the plastids of photosynthetic organisms that play key roles in photosynthesis, photoprotection, pollination, and antioxidative processes. In addition, they are precursors of plant hormones and apocarotenoids. Apocarotenoids are small molecules with regulatory functions, including cellular signaling, growth regulation, and communication with surrounding organisms. Due to these functions, apocarotenoids can influence plant physiology, development, and plant-plant/plant-microorganism’s interactions, making them a major focus of study in agriculture and fundamental research. Juan C. Moreno is moving towards the discovery of receptors and protein partners of growth-promoting apocarotenoids.

Selected Publications

  • A multi-OMICs approach sheds light on the higher yield phenotype and enhanced abiotic stress tolerance in tobacco lines expressing the carrot lycopene β-cyclase1 gene, Juan C. Moreno*, Silvia Martinez-Jaime, Monika Kosmacz, Ewelina M. Sokolowska, Philipp Schulz, Axel Fischer, Urszula Luzarowska, Michel Havaux, and Aleksandra Skirycz*, Frontiers in Plant Science, 2021, 12:624365.
  • Lycopene β-cyclase expression influences plant physiology, development, and metabolism in tobacco plants, Stella Kössler, Tegan Armarego-Marriott, Danuše Tarkowská, Veronika Turečková, Shreya Agrawal, Leonardo Perez da Sousa, Mark Aurel Schöttler, Anne Schadach, Anja Fröhlich, Ralph Bock, Stephanie Ruf, Arun Sampathkumar, and Juan C. Moreno*, Journal of Experimental Botany, 2021, https://doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erab029.
  • Plant Apocarotenoids: From Retrograde Signaling to Interspecific Communication, Juan C. Moreno, Jianing Mi, Yagiz Alagoz and Salim Al-Babili, The Plant Journal, 2020, doi.org/10.1111/tpj.15102.
  • Expression of a carotenogenic gene allows bigger plant yield by redesigning plant architecture and improving photosynthetic efficiency in tobacco, Juan C. Moreno*, Jianing Mi, Shreya Agrawal, Stella Koessler, Veronika Turečková, Dana Tarkowska, Wolfram Thiele, Salim Al-Babili, Ralph Bock and Mark Aurel Schoettler, The Plant Journal, 2020, 103:1967-1984.
  • Temporal Proteomics of Inducible RNAi Lines of Clp Protease Subunits Identifies Putative Protease Substrates, Juan C. Moreno, Silvia Martínez-Jaime, Joram Schwartzmann, Daniel Karcher, Michael Tillich, Alexander Graf, and Ralph Bock, Plant Physiology, 2018, 176: 1485-1508.

* Corresponding author.


  • PhD, Molecular Plant Physiology, Chloroplast Biology and Biotechnology lab, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Germany, 2016
  • MSc, Molecular and Cellular Biology and Neuroscience/main topic Plant Molecular Biology, Molecular Plant Biology lab, Universidad de Chile, Chile, 2012
  • BSc, Molecular Biotechnology Engineering, Molecular Plant Biology lab, Universidad de Chile, Chile, 2010

Professional Profile

  • 2021-present: Research Scientist, KAUST, Saudi Arabia
  • 2016-2020: Postdoctoral fellow, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Potsdam, Germany

Scientific and Professional Membership

  • The International Carotenoid Society (ICS)


  • 2020 Cover page (from Moreno et al., 2020) of the issue 103:6 of The Plant Journal
  • 2020 Article selected (Moreno et al., 2020; doi: 10.1111/tpj.14909) for a Research Highlight: “The colour of crop improvement”. The Plant Journal doi: 10.1111/tpj.14971
  • 2019 Best poster award, Gordon Research Conference on Chloroplast Biotechnology Ventura, USA
  • 2018 PROMIS, global analysis of PROtein-Metabolite Interactions using Size separation in Arabidopsis thaliana Journal of Biological Chemistry 293 (32): 12440-12453. Paper of the year in JBC 2018 in the topic “Methods and resources”
  • 2012-2016 Association to the IMPRS PhD program in the Max Planck Institute
  • 2012-2016 DAAD scholarship for PhD studies in Germany
  • 2011-2012 CONICYT scholarship for Master studies in Chile. Excellence grant given by CONICYT, Chilean government
  • 2011 American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) travel grant for ASPB meeting in Minneapolis, USA
  • 2010 ASPB travel grant for ASPB meeting in Montreal, Canada
  • 2010 Latin-American Association of Botany (ALB) travel grant, La Serena, Chile

Research Interests Keywords

carotenoids apocarotenoids plant hormones photosynthesis receptors signaling molecules beta carotene