Muhammad Jamil

Research Scientists

Research Scientist



Research Interests

My broad research interests include plant development and physiology, plant hormones and growth regulators, parasitic weeds and cereal production. My research areas include the development and characterization of new carotenoid-derived signaling molecules and biostimulants that can be used to enhance crop performance worldwide. Moreover, my research focuses in developing technologies to combat the spread of parasitic weeds particularly Striga hermonthica (or witchweed) that infests cereals in African agriculture. Several hormone-based novel chemistries have been developed which have appeared extremely effective against this parasite as 'suicidal agents. 

Selected Publications

  • Alder, A., Jamil, M., Marzorati, M., Bruno, M., Vermathen, M., Bigler, P., Ghisla, S., Bouwmeester, H., Beyer, P., and Al-Babili, S. (2012). The path from beta-carotene to carlactone, a strigolactone-like plant hormone. Science 335, 1348-1351.
  • Hameed, U.S., Haider, I., Jamil, M., Kountche, B.A., Guo, X.R., Zarban, R.A., Kim, D., Al-Babili, S., and Arold, S.T. (2018). Structural basis for specific inhibition of the highly sensitive ShHTL7 receptor. Embo Reports 19.
  • Jamil, M., Kountche, B.A., Haider, I., Guo, X., Ntui, V.O., Jia, K.-P., Ali, S., Hameed, U.S., Nakamura, H., Lyu, Y., Jiang, K., Hirabayashi, K., Tanokura, M., Arold, S.T., Asami, T., and Al-Babili, S. (2018). Methyl phenlactonoates are efficient strigolactone analogs with simple structure. Journal of Experimental Botany 69, 62319-62331.
  • Jamil, M., Kountche, B.A., Haider, I., Wang, J.Y., Aldossary, F., Zarban, R.A., Jia, K.-P., Yonli, D., Hameed, U.F.S., and Takahashi, I. (2019). Methylation at the C-3′ in D-Ring of Strigolactone Analogs Reduces Biological Activity in Root Parasitic Plants and Rice. Frontiers in plant science 10, 1-14.
  • Kountche, B.A., Jamil, M., Yonli, D., Nikiema, M.P., Blanco‐Ania, D., Asami, T., Zwanenburg, B., and Al‐Babili, S. (2019). Suicidal germination as a control strategy for Striga hermonthica (Benth.) in smallholder farms of sub‐Saharan Africa. Plants, People, Planet 1, 107-118.
  • Wang, J.Y., Haider, I., Jamil, M., Fiorilli, V., Saito, Y., Mi, J., Baz, L., Kountche, B.A., Jia, K.-P., and Guo, X. (2019). The apocarotenoid metabolite zaxinone regulates growth and strigolactone biosynthesis in rice. Nature communications 10, 810-819.


  • 2012: PhD Plant physiology, lab. of Plant Physiology, Wageningen University and Research Centre, The Netherlands
  • 2006: PhD Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan
  • 1999 M.Sc. Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan
  • 1997 B.Sc. (Hons.) Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan 

Professional Profile

  • 2020-present: Research Scientist, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
  • 2015-2019: Postdoctoral fellow, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
  • 2014-2015: Post-Doc, SILS, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 2012-2014: Assistant Professor, COMSATS, Islamabad, Pakistan
  • 2012-2012: Senior Scientific Officer, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council
  • 2001-2007: Scientific Officer, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council 

Scientific and Professional Membership

  • International Parasitic Plant Society (IPPS)
  • Pakistan Allelopathy Society (PAS)
  • Pakistan Society of Agronomy (PSA)
  • Weed Science Society of Pakistan (WSSP) 


  • National Award “Sanad -e- Imtiaz”
  • National Award “Silver Medalist”
  • National Award “Quaid -e- Azam Scholarship”
  • Ph. D. Scholarship “Higher Education Commission, Pakistan”
  • President Rover Scouts Award
  • Merit Scholarship winner (throughout Primary school to University level) 

KAUST Affiliations

Prof. Salim Al-Babili's Group

CDA - Center for Desert Agriculture

BESE - Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division

Research Interests Keywords

Plant physiology, Agronomy, Weed biology and Ecology, Plant signaling and parasite-interactions, Phytohormoes and Biostimulants