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Abdul Azeez

Assistant Research Professor

Ph.D. 2010, Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya, Indore, India


Research Interests

Crop improvement by gene editing and bioengineering

I am partaking in deciphering the regulatory mechanisms of fatty acid biosynthesis in Brassicaceae plants targeting not only the model plants (Arabidopsis) but also the promising industrial plants such as Camelina, Pennycress, and Physaria to increase total seed oil production. Unusual fatty acids (ex., hydroxy fatty acids) that accumulate in the seeds of various plant species, particularly Brassicaceae, are used as feedstocks in several industries, such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, plastics, biodegradable polyesters, and biofuels. Therefore, we are interested in improving seed oil fatty acid compositions (designer oil) through gene editing and bioengineering of oilseed crops as feedstocks for the oleochemical industry.

In addition, I am also interested in investigating the specific needs and development of specific molecular approaches to forest and fruit trees improvement for bioenergy and resilience to climate change.

Engineering self-compatibility in industrially valuable crops

Physaria fendleri is a burgeoning industrial oilseed crop for its unique oil composition. Nevertheless, a lack of knowledge on how these plants accumulate valuable hydroxy fatty acids and their genetic self-incompatibility limits the bioengineering of the novel hydroxy fatty acid compositions in P. fendleri. We are characterizing the regulators responsible for rejecting self-pollen in P. fendleri. Such information will help create self-compatible crops using gene editing approaches. We are sure that an optimized process will not only be beneficial for P. fendleri but it can also be applied to other industrially valuable self-incompatible crops.

Understanding membrane lipid remodeling during biotic and abiotic stresses

Being sessile, plants face changing environmental conditions and several biotic stresses and hence develop intricate mechanisms to survive in these harsh conditions. Fatty acids, especially unsaturated fatty acids, are known to play critical roles at various levels in dealing with biotic and abiotic stresses, but the regulatory mechanism is largely unknown. Here in our lab, we are interested in investigating the regulatory mechanism of membrane lipid remodeling during biotic and abiotic stresses.





Azeez, Abdul
Assistant Research Professor
(906) 275-8103
Institute of Biological Chemistry
Plant Sciences Building, 2nd Floor


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