Haroon Butt

Research Scientists

Research Scientist

Location:

B2/R3231-WS24

Research Interests

My research interests are focused on developing novel genome-engineering technologies. Advances in genome engineering technologies are helpful to study the function of genes and modify plant traits for high-quality, disease resistance, and stress tolerance in crop species. We developed a targeted directed evolution platform where we produce new traits by programming the CRISPR/Cas9 system to generate sequence diversification at the target site under selective pressure. Further, we are focusing on the role of RNA alternative splicing in the regulation of gene expression. These technologies could be used to engineer crop plants for improved agricultural traits. 

Selected Publications

  • Overlapping roles of spliceosomal components SF3B1 and PHF5A in rice splicing regulation. Butt H, Bazin J, Alshareef S, Eid A, Benhamed M, Reddy ASN, Crespi M, Mahfouz MM. Communications Biology 4(1):529. doi: 10.1038/s42003-021-02051-y. (2021)
  • Engineering herbicide resistance via prime editing in rice. Butt H, Rao GS, Sedeek K, Aman R, Kamel R, Mahfouz M. Plant Biotechnol J. 18(12):2370-2372. doi: 10.1111/pbi.13399. (2020)
  • CRISPR-based directed evolution for crop improvement. H Butt, SSA Zaidi, N Hassan, M Mahfouz. Trends in biotechnology 38 (3), 236-240 1 (2020)
  • Multiplex CRISPR mutagenesis of the serine/arginine-rich (SR) gene family in rice. H Butt, A Piatek, L Li, A SN Reddy, M M Mahfouz. Genes 10 (8), 596 (2019)
  • CRISPR directed evolution of the spliceosome for resistance to splicing inhibitors. H Butt, A Eid, AA Momin, J Bazin, M Crespi, ST Arold, MM Mahfou. Genome biology 20 (1), 73 (2019)
  • Engineering plant architecture via CRISPR/Cas9-mediated alteration of strigolactone biosynthesis. H Butt, M Jamil, JY Wang, S Al-Babili, M Mahfouz. BMC plant biology 18 (1), 1-9 (2018)
  • RNA virus interference via CRISPR/Cas13a system in plants. R Aman, Z Ali, H Butt, A Mahas, F Aljedaani, MZ Khan, S Ding, M Mahfouz. Genome biology 19 (1), 1 (2018)
  • Efficient CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing using a chimeric single-guide RNA molecule. H Butt, A Eid, Z Ali, MAM Atia, MM Mokhtar, N Hassan, CM Lee, G Bao, ...Frontiers in plant science 8, 1441 (2017)

Education

  • 2012 Doctor rerum naturalium technicarum (PhD). Department of Applied Genetics and Cell Biology . University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria.
  • 2006 M.Sc. (Hons.) Plant Breeding and Genetics. Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics. University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.
  • 2004 B.Sc. (Hons.) Agriculture. Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics. University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.

Professional Profile

  • Jan 2021-present: Research Scientist. Center for Desert Agriculture, Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Thuwal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 
  • Jan 2016-Jan 2021: Post-doc fellow. Center for Desert Agriculture, Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Thuwal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 
  • Sep 2014-Dec 2015: Research Consultant. Center for Desert Agriculture, Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Thuwal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 
  • Oct 2012-Sep 2014: Assistant Professor. Department of Biological Sciences, Forman Christian College (A Chartered University), Lahore, Pakistan 
  • July-Sep 2012: Assistant Professor. Agricultural Biotechnology Division, National Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, Faisalabad, Pakistan 

Awards

• 2012 Ph.D. Passed with distinction
• 2008 Overseas Ph.D. Scholarship Phase II Batch I HEC Pakistan
• 2004 B.Sc. (Hons.): University merit scholarship

KAUST Affiliations

Prof. Magdy Mahfouz's Group

CDA - Center for Desert Agriculture

BESE - Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division

Research Interests Keywords

Genome engineering Directed evolution RNA splicing