Abdugaffor Ablazov

PhD Students

​PhD Student


B2/L3 – 3255-WS19

Research Interests

My project is about exploring the biological role of the zaxinone, a novel carotenoid-derived signaling molecule, in different plant species. I am characterizing the rice Zaxinone Synthase (ZAS) homologues, a member of plant Carotenoid Cleavage Dioxygenase (CCD) subfamily, required for zaxinone production. To achieve my goals, I apply a combination of different approaches, including genome editing using a CRISPR/Cas9 toolbox, next-generation sequencing, metabolomics and integrative-omics​.

Selected Publications

  • Ablazov, A., Votta, C., Fiorilli, V., Wang, J. Y., Aljedaani, F., Jamil, M., ... & Al-Babili, S. (2022). ZAXINONE SYNTHASE 2 regulates growth and arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis in rice. Plant physiology, kiac472.
  • Ablazov, A., Mi, J., Jamil, M., Jia, K. P., Wang, J. Y., Feng, Q., & Al-Babili, S. (2020). The apocarotenoid zaxinone is a positive regulator of strigolactone and abscisic acid biosynthesis in Arabidopsis roots. Frontiers in plant science, 11, 578.
  • Ablazov, A., & Tombuloglu, H. (2016). Genome-wide identification of the mildew resistance locus O (MLO) gene family in novel cereal model species Brachypodium distachyon. European journal of plant pathology, 145(2), 239-253.
  • Jia, K. P., Mi, J., Ablazov, A., Ali, S., Yang, Y., Balakrishna, A., ... & Al‐Babili, S. (2021). Iso‐anchorene is an endogenous metabolite that inhibits primary root growth in Arabidopsis. The Plant Journal, 107(1), 54-66.
  • Jia, K. P., Mi, J., Ali, S., Ohyanagi, H., Moreno, J. C., Ablazov, A., ... & Al-Babili, S. (2022). An alternative, zeaxanthin epoxidase-independent abscisic acid biosynthetic pathway in plants. Molecular Plant, 15(1), 151-166.
  • Zheng, X., Mi, J., Balakrishna, A., Liew, K. X., Ablazov, A., Sougrat, R., & Al‐Babili, S. (2022). Gardenia carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase 4a is an efficient tool for biotechnological production of crocins in green and non‐green plant tissues. Plant biotechnology journal.


  • ​Ph.D., Plant science, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia, 2017
  • M.Sc., Genetics and Bioengineering, IBU, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2015​

Professional Profile

  • 2017 -current: Ph.D. Student, KAUST, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
  • 2016-2017: Research Intern, Plant Genomics Center, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
  • 2014-2016: Researcher, Fatih University, Istanbul, Turkey 
  • 2013-2014: Research assistant, IBU, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • 2012: Research Internship, Life science, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK​


  • Australian Research Council (ARC) Wheat HUB Scholarship
  • Turkish research council (TÜBİTAK) scholarship
  • Erasmus Program scholarship (European Union)​​
  • Proposal Progression Award