Magdy M. Mahfouz


Associate Professor of Bioengineering, Bioscience, and Plant Science | Principal Investigator of the Laboratory for Genome Engineering and Synthetic Biology




Magdy M. Mahfouz received his PhD in Molecular Genetics from Ohio State University (USA) and did an industry-funded postdoctoral training in Microbiology at University of Illinois (USA). His research group focuses on developing genome engineering and synthetic biology technologies and applications for crop bioengineering, biomanufacturing, and diagnostics. He developed key technologies for plant genome engineering, engineering plant immunity, and the synthetic directed evolution of plant traits, as well as novel approaches for pathogen diagnostics. Mahfouz holds several patents in his name and has given invited talks and lectures at leading genome engineering and synthetic biology conferences.

Research Interests

Bioengineering is a multidisciplinary field that depends on the cross-fertilization of knowledge and advances in the diverse fields of biology, molecular biology, computational biology, engineering, and chemistry. It empowers us to harness these advances, translate ideas into products, and address grand challenges facing humanity. Mahfouz’s research group focuses on biomanufacturing, using plants as chassis for bioproduction of select compounds of value, including therapeutics and biopharmaceutical, crop bioengineering using CRISPR systems, and molecular diagnostics of pathogens. The motto of his laboratory, “bioengineering for the future”, encapsulates his ideas, beliefs, and goals.

Selected Publications

  • Recognition of methylated DNA by TAL effectors, Dong Deng, Ping Yin, Chuangye Yan, Xiaojing Pan, Shiqian Qi, Tian Xie, Xinqi Gong, Magdy Mahfouz, Jian‐Kang Zhu, Nieng Yan and Yigong Shi, Cell Research, 2012, 10:1502-4.
  • Rapid and Highly Efficient Construction of TALE‐based Transcriptional Regulators and Nucleases for Genome Modification, Lixin Li, Ahmed Atef, Aga Piatek, Jamal Bin Saber, Jian‐Kang Zhu and Magdy M. Mahfouz, Plant Molecular Biology, 2012, 78: 407-16.
  • Structural basis for sequence specific recognition of DNA by TAL effectors, Dong Deng, Chuangye Yan, Xiaojing Pan, Magdy Mahfouz, Jiawei Wang, Jian‐Kang Zhu, Yigong Shi, and Nieng Yan, Science, 2012, 335: 720-3.
  • Targeted Transcriptional Repression Using a Chimeric TALE‐SRDX repressor protein, Magdy M. Mahfouz, Lixin Li, Marek Piateck, Xiaoyun Fang, Hicham Mansour, Dhinoth K. Bangarusamy and Jian‐Kang Zhu, Plant Molecular Biology, 2012, 78: 311-321.
  • De novo‐engineered transcription activator‐like effector (TALE) hybrid nuclease with novel DNA binding specificity creates double‐strand breaks, Magdy M. Mahfouz, Lixin Li, Md. Shamimuzzaman, Anjar Wibowo, Xiaoyun Fang, and Jian‐Kang Zhu, Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences USA, 2011, 108:2623‐2628.


  • ​​​​​​PhD, Molecular Genetics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA, 2004
  • MSc, Microbial Genetics, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt, 1997