Biologist
Biologist

Biography

Dr. Amir Ahkami is a biologist with the Molecular Plant Phenotyping team in PNNL’s Environmental Molecular Sciences Division and the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) user program. Ahkami joined PNNL in 2015 to support the development of the plant science research program. Today he serves as the science lead for the Plant and Ecosystem Phenotyping Integrated Research Platform. He also holds the position of adjunct assistant professor at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. He is currently leading research projects as a principal investigator focusing on poplar (Populus spp.) and model grasses’ (Brachypodium and Setaria) responses to abiotic stresses, molecular physiology of root formation, and physiological phenotyping to narrow the genotype-to-phenotype knowledge gap for crop improvement. He employs state-of-the-art technologies, including single cell-type specific molecular profiling coupled with high-resolution cellular imaging to address plant biology research gaps on molecular and physiological mechanisms that control bioenergy crop productivity and fitness in relationship to microbial communities in the rhizosphere. He is also assisting EMSL collaborators and users in the development of creative new applications for plant sciences.  ​​​

 

Research Interest

  • Analysis of root system architecture and rhizosphere engineering for improved plant productivity  

  • Plant molecular physiology (primary carbohydrate metabolism and source-sink relationships) 

  • Regulation of gene expression in response to individual and combined abiotic stresses in plants 

  • Systems and synthetic biology for biofuel applications (in higher plants) 

  • Metabolic engineering of natural products in plants 

Education

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate in Plant Specialized Metabolism and Molecular Biology, Washington State University, 2014  

  • PhD in Life Sciences (Plant Biology), Martin-Luther-Universität of Halle-Wittenberg, 2010 

  • Research Assistant, Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, 2010 

  • MS in Plant Biotechnology, Tehran University, 2005 

  • BS in Plant Breeding, Shiraz University, 2002 

Publications

2021 

Balasubramanian V.K., Jansson C., Baker S.E., Ahkami A.H. (2021) Molecular Mechanisms of Plant–Microbe Interactions in the Rhizosphere as Targets for Improving Plant Productivity. In: Gupta V.V.S.R., Sharma A.K. (eds) Rhizosphere Biology: Interactions Between Microbes and Plants. Rhizosphere Biology. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-6125-2_14  

2020 

Varga T, Hixson KK, Ahkami AH, Sher AW, Barnes ME, Chu RK, Battu AK, Nicora CD, Winkler TE, Reno LR, Fakra SC, Antipova O, Parkinson DY, Hall JR and Doty SL (2020) Endophyte-Promoted Phosphorus Solubilization in Populus. Front. Plant Sci. 11:567918. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2020.567918.  

China, S., D. Veghte, A. H. Ahkami, J. Weis, C. Jansson, A. B. Guenther, M. K. Gilles, and A. Laskin. 2020. "Microanalysis of Primary Biological Particles from Model Grass over Its Life Cycle." ACS Earth and Space Chemistry 4 (10): 1895-1905. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsearthspacechem.0c00144

Ogden, A. J., T. W. Wietsma, T. Winkler, Y. Farris, G. L. Myers, and A. H. Ahkami. 2020. "Dynamics of Global Gene Expression and Regulatory Elements in Growing Brachypodium Root System." Scientific Reports 10 (1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-63224-z

Veličković, D., R. K. Chu, G. L. Myers, A. H. Ahkami, and C. R. Anderton. 2020. "An approach for visualizing the spatial metabolome of an entire plant root system inspired by the Swiss-rolling technique." Journal of Mass Spectrometry 55 (4). https://doi.org/10.1002/jms.4363.  

2019 

Ahkami, A. H., W. Wang, T. W. Wietsma, T. Winkler, I. Lange, C. Jansson, B. M. Lange, and N. G. McDowell. 2019. "Metabolic shifts associated with drought-induced senescence in Brachypodium." Plant Science 289. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.plantsci.2019.110278.  

Fang, Y., S. B. Yabusaki, A. H. Ahkami, X. Chen, and T. D. Scheibe. 2019. "An efficient three-dimensional rhizosphere modeling capability to study the effect of root system architecture on soil water and reactive transport." Plant and Soil 441 (1-2): 33-48. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-019-04068-z.  

Zhou, M., N. Malhan, A. H. Ahkami, K. Engbrecht, G. Myers, J. Dahlberg, J. Hollingsworth, J. A. Sievert, R. Hutmacher, M. Madera, P. G. Lemaux, K. K. Hixson, C. Jansson, and L. Paša-Tolić. 2019. "Top-down mass spectrometry of histone modifications in sorghum reveals potential epigenetic markers for drought acclimation." Methods. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymeth.2019.10.007.  

2017 

Ahkami, A. H., R. Allen White, III, P. P. Handakumbura, and C. Jansson. 2017. "Rhizosphere engineering: Enhancing sustainable plant ecosystem productivity." Rhizosphere 3: 233-243. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rhisph.2017.04.012.  

Vining, K. J., S. R. Johnson, A. Ahkami, I. Lange, A. N. Parrish, S. C. Trapp, R. B. Croteau, S. C. K. Straub, I. Pandelova, and B. M. Lange. 2017. "Draft Genome Sequence of Mentha longifolia and Development of Resources for Mint Cultivar Improvement." Molecular Plant 10 (2): 323-339. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molp.2016.10.018.  

2015 

Ahkami, A., S. R. Johnson, N. Srividya, and B. M. Lange. 2015. "Multiple levels of regulation determine monoterpenoid essential oil compositional variation in the mint family." Molecular Plant 8 (1): 188-191. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molp.2014.11.009.  

2014 

Ahkami, A., U. Scholz, B. Steuernagel, M. Strickert, K. T. Haensch, U. Druege, D. Reinhardt, E. Nouri, N. Von Wirén, P. Franken, and M. R. Hajirezaei. 2014. "Comprehensive transcriptome analysis unravels the existence of crucial genes regulating primary metabolism during adventitious root formation in Petunia hybrida." PLoS ONE 9 (6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0100997.  

Druege, U., P. Franken, S. Lischewski, A. H. Ahkami, S. Zerche, B. Hause, and M. R. Hajirezaei. 2014. "Transcriptomic analysis reveals ethylene as stimulator and auxin as regulator of adventitious root formation in petunia cuttings." Frontiers in Plant Science 5 (SEP). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2014.00494

2013 

Ahkami, A. H., M. Melzer, M. R. Ghaffari, S. Pollmann, M. Ghorbani Javid, F. Shahinnia, M. R. Hajirezaei, and U. Druege. 2013. "Distribution of indole-3-acetic acid in Petunia hybrida shoot tip cuttings and relationship between auxin transport, carbohydrate metabolism and adventitious root formation." Planta 238 (3): 499-517. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00425-013-1907-z.  

Markus Lange, B., and A. Ahkami. 2013. "Metabolic engineering of plant monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and diterpenes-current status and future opportunities." Plant Biotechnology Journal 11 (2): 169-196. https://doi.org/10.1111/pbi.12022

2010 

Breuillin, F., J. Schramm, M. Hajirezaei, A. Ahkami, P. Favre, U. Druege, B. Hause, M. Bucher, T. Kretzschmar, E. Bossolini, C. Kuhlemeier, E. Martinoia, P. Franken, U. Scholz, and D. Reinhardt. 2010. "Phosphate systemically inhibits development of arbuscular mycorrhiza in Petunia hybrida and represses genes involved in mycorrhizal functioning." Plant Journal 64 (6): 1002-1017. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-313X.2010.04385.x.  

2009 

Ahkami, A. H., S. Lischewski, K. T. Haensch, S. Porfirova, J. Hofmann, H. Rolletschek, M. Melzer, P. Franken, B. Hause, U. Druege, and M. R. Hajirezaei. 2009. "Molecular physiology of adventitious root formation in Petunia hybrida cuttings: Involvement of wound response and primary metabolism." New Phytologist 181 (3): 613-625. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2008.02704.x