Michael Abrouk

Research Scientists

Research Scientist



Research Interests

Michael Abrouk's research interest is focused on cereal genomics and evolution. Using different approaches such as comparative analysis and NGS technologies, he investigates the structural changes which occurred during the evolution of these complex plant genomes. He is also involved in the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) in order to produce and characterize the first reference sequence of hexaploid wheat genome.

At KAUST, he will work on the ’10 Wheat Genomes Project’ aiming to produce ten high-quality genomes for the characterization of the diversity among different wheat cultivars and to establish a ‘pan-genome’. 

Selected Publications

  • Precision phenotyping reveals novel loci for quantitative resistance to septoria tritici blotch, Yates, S., Mikaberidze, A., Krattinger, S.G., Abrouk, M., Hund, A., Yu, K., Studer, B., Fouche, S., Meile, L. and Pereira, D., Plant Phenomics, 2019, 3285904. 
  • Shifting the limits in wheat research and breeding using a fully annotated reference genome, International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (Subgenome comparative analyses group: Choulet, F., Spannagl, M., Lang, D., Abrouk, M., Haberer, G., Keeble-Gagnère, G., Mayer, K., Wicker T.), Science, 2018, 361. 
  • Optical and physical mapping with local finishing enables megabase-scale resolution of agronomically important regions in the wheat genome, Keeble-Gagnere, G., Rigault, P., Tibbits, J., Pasam, R., Hayden, M., Forrest, K., Frenkel, Z., Korol, A., Huang, B.E., Cavanagh, C., Taylor, J., Abrouk, M., Sharpe, A., Ru, Z. and Appels, R., et al., Genome Biology, 2018, 19, 112. 
  • Transcriptome reprogramming due to the introduction of a barley telosome into bread wheat affects more barley genes than wheat, Rey, E., Abrouk, M., Keeble-Gagnere, G., Karafiatova, M., Vrana, J., Balzergue, S., Endo, T.R., Bartos, J., Appels, R., and Dolezel, J., et al., Plant Biotechnol J., 2018. 
  • The in silico identification and characterization of a bread wheat/Triticum militinae introgression line, Abrouk, M., Balcárková, B., Dolezel, J., and Valarik, M. et al., Plant Biotechnol J., 2016.
  • Grass microRNA Gene Paleohistory Unveils New Insights into Gene Dosage Balance in Subgenome Partitioning after Whole Genome Duplication, Abrouk, M. Zhang, R., Murat, F. Salse, J.,et al., Plant Cell, 2012, 24(5):1776-92. 
  • Palaeogenomics of plants: synteny-based modelling of extinct ancestors, Abrouk, M. et al., Trends Plant Sci, 2010, 15, 479-487. 
  • Genome sequencing and analysis of the model grass Brachypodium distachyon, International Brachypodium Initiative (Salse J, Abrouk M, Murat F group referenced as the Comparative Genomics leader), Nature, 2010, 463(7282):763-768. 
  • The genome of Theobroma cacao, Argout, X., Salse, J., Aury, J.M., Guiltinan, M.J., Droc, G., Gouzy, J., Allegre, M., Chaparro, C., Legavre, T., Maximova, S.N., Abrouk, M., Lanaud, C. et al., Nature Genetics, 2010. 
  • Reconstruction of monocotelydoneous proto-chromosomes reveals faster evolution in plants than in animals, Salse, J., Abrouk, M., Waugh, R., Close, T.J., Messing, J. and Feuillet, C., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2009, 106, 14908-14913. 


  • PhD, Bioinformatics and Plant Genomics, Blaise Pascal University, Clermont-Ferrand, France, 2012
  • MSc, Bioinformatics. University of Montpellier II, Montpellier, France, 2008
  • BSc, Biological Sciences, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2006
  • Bioengineering in Agronomic Sciences, University Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Lyon, France, 2005

Professional Profile

  • 2017-present: Postdoctoral fellow, KAUST, Saudi Arabia
  • 2013-2017: Postdoctoral fellow, Institute of Experimental Botany, Olomouc, Czech Republic
  • 2008-2009: Engineer, INRA GDEC, Clermont-Ferrand, France 

Scientific and Professional Membership

  • 2015-present: Coordinating Member of International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium

Research Interests Keywords

bioinformatics plant genetics sequencing comparative analysis evolution