Salim Al-Babili

Principal Investigator

Chair, Plant Science Program
Associate Professor, Plant Science


B2/L3 - 3237

Research Interests

Professor Al Babili's research interests lie in the generation of crops with enhanced nutritional value, using Gene Technology. Employing combined enzymology-based and genetic approaches to identify novel plant signaling molecules related to abiotic stress and plant development and to shed light on the formation and biology of isoprenoid-derived plant hormones, particularly strigolactones. Elucidating of metabolic networks and identification of related traits that can be applied to breed or engineer high yield and stress tolerant plants.

Selected Publications

  • Rodrigo, M.J., Alquézar, B., Alós , E., Medina, V., Carmona, L., Bruno, M., Al-Babili, S. and Zacarias, L. (2013) A novel carotenoid cleavage activity responsible for the biosynthesis of Citrus fruit-specific apocarotenoid pigments. J. Exp. Bot. In press.
  • Díaz-Sánchez, V., Estrada, A.F., Limón, M.C., Al-Babili, S. and Avalos, J. (2013) The oxygenase CAO-1 of Neurospora is a resveratrol cleavage enzyme. Eukaryot. Cell 12, 1305-1314. 
  • Trautmann, Beyer, P. and Al-Babili, S. (2013) The ORF slr0091 of 
  • Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 encodes a high-light induced aldehyde dehydrogenase converting apocarotenals and alkanals. FEBS J. 280, 3685-96.
  • Trautmann, D., Voß, B., Wilde, A., Al-Babili, S. and Hess W.R. (2012) Microevolution in Cyanobacteria: Re-sequencing a motile substrain of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. DNA Res. 19, 435-448.  
  • Schaub, P., Yu, Q., Gemmecker, S., Poussin, P.,  Mailliot, J., McEwen, A., Ghisla, S.,  Al-Babili, S., Cavarelli, J. and Beyer, P. (2012) Phytoene desaturase CRTI from Pantoea ananatis is a membrane-peripheral FAD-dependent oxidase/isomerase:  Insights from structural and biochemical studies. PLoS ONE 7(6): e39550. 


  • Venia legendi in Cell Biology, University of Freiburg, Germany
  • Habilitation; Title: Carotinoid-Metabolismus: Synthese-Spaltung-Biotechnologie,University of Freiburg, Germany
  • Ph.D. in Cell Biology, University of Freiburg, Germany Supervision: Prof. Dr. Hans Kleinig
  • Diploma in Biology, University of Freiburg, Germany
  • “Studienkolleg” examination at the University of Heidelberg, for study at German universities
  • University-Entrance Diploma, Damascus, Syria, 1983

Professional Profile

  • Appointment as Associate Professor of Bioscience at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and as a Member of the Center ​of Desert Agriculture (Thuwal, Saudi Arabia) guided by Dr. Nina Fedoroff
  • "Akademischer Rat auf Zeit“, (Assistant Professor) Institute of Biology II, University of Freiburg
  • Hochschulassistent (C1; Assistant Professor), Institute of Biology II, University of Freiburg
  • Research Associate, Institute of Biology II, University of Freiburg 
  • Postdoctoral Fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation „Golden Rice“ project.​


  • 1996-1998  The Rockefeller Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship

  • 1984-1992  University of Damascus Scholarship to study Biology in Germany