Ali Mahjoub

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests

My research combines different biotechnological tools aiming to improve the plant viability and productivity in arid regions.
I first worked on date palm biotechnology and pest management under the supervision of Professor Noureddine DRIRA at the National School of Engineers of Sfax (Tunisia).
During my PhD work supervised by both Professor Mohamed MARS in Tunisia and Professor Said HAMDI in France, I generated a “grape tomato” transgenic plant from “cherry tomato” by biotechnological tools and studied the involvement of MYB transcription factors in elaborating the organoleptic quality of grape berries as well as the structure-function relationship of MYB transcription factors. The PhD work was been done in collaboration between the Institute of Plant Molecular Biology (IBPM) of Bordeaux (Pr. Michel HERNOULD's team) & the Institute of Wine and Grapevine Sciences (ISVV) of Bordeaux (Pr. Serge DELROT's team) - France.
The aim of my current research at the Center of Desert Agriculture (CDA) is to understand and modulate the mechanisms of plant responses to adverse environmental conditions such as high soil salinity and drought stress, as well as to improve the crop yield and quality by biotechnological tools.

Selected Publications

  • Li, Lixin; Atef, Ahmed; Piatek, Agnieszka; Ali, Zahir; Piatek, Marek; Aouida, Mustapha; Sharakou, Altan; Mahjoub, Ali; Wang, Guangchao; Khan, Suhail; Fedoroff, Nina; Mahfouz, Magdy. Characterization and DNA Binding Specificities of Ralstonia TAL-like Effectors. Mol Plant. 2013 Jan 8.
  • Imène Hichri, Laurent Deluc, Francois Barrieu, Jochen Bogs, Ali Mahjoub, Farid Regad, Bernard Gallois, Thierry Granier, Claudine Trossat-Magnin, Eric Gomès and Virginie Lauvergeat (2011) A single amino acid change within the R2 domain of the VvMYB5b transcription factor modulates affinity for protein partners and target promoters selectivity”. BMC Plant Biology, 11:117.
  • L. Fki, R. Masmoudi, W. Kriaâ, A. Mahjoub, B. Sghaier, R. Mzid, A. Mliki, A. Rival, and N. Drira (2011) Date Palm Micro-propagation via Somatic Embryogenesis. In Date Palm Biotechnology, S.M. Jain et al. (eds.), Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011, pp: 47-68.
  • Ali Mahjoub, Michel Hernould, Jérôme Joubès, Alain Decendit, Mohamed Mars, Saïd Hamdi and Serge Delrot (2009) Overexpression of a grapevine R2R3-MYB factor in tomato affects vegetative development, flower morphology and flavonoid and terpenoid metabolism. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 47, 551–561.
  • Amira Bidani, Oumema Nouri-Ellouz, Lilia Lakhoua, Darasinh Sihachakr, Catherine Cheniclet, Ali Mahjoub, Noureddine Drira, Radhia Gargouri-Bouzid (2007) Interspecific potato somatic hybrids between Solanum berthaultii and Solanum tuberosum L. showed recombining plastome and improved tolerance to salinity. Cell Tiss Organ Cult 91, 179-189.


  • 2009 PhD, Biological Sciences: Molecular Biology, Biochemistry & Plant Biotechnology, University of Bordeaux II (France) & University of Sfax (Tunisia). (Franco-Tunisian co-directed PhD Thesis).
  • 2004 M.S., Biology Engineering, (French system, 2 years). National School of Engineers of Sfax (ENIS) – Tunisia.
  • 2001 B.S., (French system, 4 years), Life Sciences, Faculty of Sciences of Gabès (Tunisia).


  • 2007 Master Degree ès Human Sciences: Languages and Civilizations in arabe and islamic world, Université Michel De Montaigne Bordeaux 3 (FRANCE).

Professional Profile

  • September 2012-date :Postdoctoral fellowship, Center for Desert Agriculture, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

  • March 2012 - September 2012:Consultant Researcher, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Division of Chemical Life Sciences, DARI: Desert Agriculture Research Initiative, CDA: Center for Desert Agriculture, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

  • Teaching Assistant, University of Gabes, Department of Biology, Tunisia. 2004-2007.