Lab Fellow
Lab Fellow


Dr. Christer Jansson is a biologist, and PNNL Lab Fellow, with the Environmental Transformations and Interactions group within PNNL’s Environmental Molecular Sciences Division and the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) user program. He is the lead scientist in plant biology at EMSL and PNNL, where he develops the scientific vision for plant sciences for bioenergy and environmental applications. He has established a strong plant sciences program resulting in several programmatic and intramural projects. His research focuses on molecular plant phenotyping and genome-to-phenome mapping of biomass and stress-tolerance traits in grasses, with an emphasis on the role of metabolite profiles as internal molecular phenotypes. 

Jansson has successfully introduced Brachypodium and Setaria as grass model systems for C3 and C4 plants, respectively, and sorghum as a model bioenergy crop. These plants are being used in a wide array of projects through grants from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and the DOE Office of Science’s Biological and Environmental Research program. 

Before joining EMSL in 2014, Jansson was a senior staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). From 2008 – 2014, Jansson led two DOE-ARPA-E grants (Folium—aimed at engineering tobacco for foliar biofuel production and PEPMase—aimed to engineer a novel enzyme for methane conversion) at LBNL. As a professor in Sweden (1987 – 2007), first at Stockholm University, and then as the department head at the Swedish Agricultural University in Uppsala, Jansson’s research was divided between cyanobacterial photosynthesis and starch carbohydrate biotechnology in grasses. 

Research Interests

  • Research towards understanding photosynthetic metabolism, in particular photosynthesis and plant and microbial metabolism.  

  • Research focused on bioengineering of plant systems for enhanced photosynthesis and soil carbon storage. 


  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan State University, 1984 – 1987  

  • PhD in Biochemistry, Lund University, 1984 

  • BS in Biochemistry/Microbiology, Lund University, 1978 

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science 

  • American Society for Plant Biologists  

  • North American Plant Phenotyping Network 

  • Member, Editorial Board, Scientific Reports (2019 – Present) 

  • Board Member, Foundation Committee, Richland Lutheran Church (2019 – Present) 

  • Member, Editorial Board, Crop Breeding, Genetics and Genomics (2018 – 2019) 

  • Scientific Advisor, Kiverdi, Inc. (2009 – 2016)

  • Member, Editorial Board, Journal Bioscience and Medicine (2013 – 2015) 

  • Scientific Advisor, Algasol Renewables (2013 – 2015) 

  • Member, Institutional Biosafety Committee, LBNL (2012 – 2014) 

  • Member, Evaluation Committee for Organism Biology, Swedish Research Council (2001 – 2007) 

  • Invited Presenter and Debater, plant gene technology at public fora, including TV, radio, newspapers, and seminars in Sweden (1990 – 2007) 

  • Member, Committee for Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, The Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences (1999 – 2005) 

  • Head, Parent Teachers Association Board, Lovisedahl Junior High School (2004 – 2005) 

  • Member, Evaluation Committee for Energy, the Swedish Research Council (2003 – 2004) 

  • Scientific Advisor in the area of gene technology on plants and microbes, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (1999 – 2002)

Awards and Recognitions

  • Pathway to Excellence, Recognition for Patent Award, PNNL (2020) 

  • Pathway to Excellence, Recognition for Lab Fellow Promotion, PNNL (2020) 

  • Invited Presenter on Phenotyping of Energy Sorghum, Congressional Showcase, Senate Site of the Capitol Hill (2018) 

  • Discovery Team Member, Novel Gene-Regulatory Mechanism that Orchestrates Carbon Flux in Grasses, (published in Mol. Plant; featured in press conferences in Uppsala, Sweden and Hunan, China) (2017) 

  • Received international recognition for work on rice engineered for reduced methane emissions from rice paddies and associated increase of aboveground biomass, which was published in Nature, featured in Popular Science as the Top Biotechnology Invention of 2015, press conferences at Nature, radio interviews, and in several other news outlets in the U.S., Europe, China, and Australia (2015). 

  • Invited Presenter on Engineering Tobacco for Biofuel Production, Met with Congressional Staffers (2012) 

  • Reviewer, Phyto-Sequestration in BioScience, (received national recognition) (2010) 

  • Invited Presenter on Starch Biotechnology in Barley, Swedish Prime Minister, Göran Persson (Uppsala visit) (2005) 

  • Awardee Nominator (invited twice) Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2003, 2005) 

  • Scientific Advisor on Genetically Engineered Plants and Microorganisms, Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences (1999 – 2002) 

  • Invited Presenter on Plant Biology, HM King Carl XVI Gustaf (Uppsala visit) (2000) 


  • Jansson, C., Beliaev, A., McClure, R., Bernstein, H., Lindemann, S. 2018. “Microbial Consortia for Programmable Output Via Photoautotroph-Heterotroph Interactions.” U.S. Patent 10,125,348  

  • Jansson, C., Reed, J., Kurek, I., Dyson, L. 2016. “Biosynthesis of Limonene in cyanobacteria.” U.S. patent 9,506,086 B2 – (together with the company Kiverdi) 



  • 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.  

  • Balasubramanian, V.K., Jansson, C., Baker, S.E., Ahkami, A.H. (2020) Molecular Mechanisms of Plant–Microbe Interactions in the Rhizosphere as Targets for Improving Plant Productivity. In: Rhizosphere Biology: Interactions Between Microbes and Plants, Gupta, V.V.S.R., Sharma, A.K. (Eds.) Springer. 

  • Kamennaya, N. A., P. Hu, and C. Jansson. 2020. “Sedimentation of Ballasted Cells-Free EPS in Meromictic Fayetteville Green Lake.” Geobiology 18 (1): 80-92.  

  • Liu, W., L. Huang, R. Komorek, P. P. Handakumbura, Y. Zhou, D. Hu, M. H. Engelhard, H. Jiang, X. Y. Yu, C. Jansson, and Z. Zhu. 2020. “Correlative Surface Imaging Reveals Chemical Signatures for Bacterial Hotspots on Plant Roots.” Analyst 145 (2): 393-401.  


  • 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.  

  • Handakumbura, P. P., B. Stanfill, A. Rivas-Ubach, D. Fortin, J. P. Vogel, and C. Jansson. 2019. “Metabotyping as a Stopover in Genome-to-Phenome Mapping.” Scientific Reports 9 (1).  

  • Varoquaux, N., B. Cole, C. Gao, G. Pierroz, C. R. Baker, D. Patel, M. Madera, T. Jeffers, J. Hollingsworth, J. Sievert, Y. Yoshinaga, J. A. Owiti, V. R. Singan, S. DeGraaf, L. Xu, M. J. Blow, M. J. Harrison, A. Visel, C. Jansson, K. K. Niyogi, R. Hutmacher, D. Coleman-Derr, R. C. O'Malley, J. W. Taylor, J. Dahlberg, J. P. Vogel, P. G. Lemaux, and E. Purdom. 2019. “Transcriptomic Analysis of Field-Droughted Sorghum from Seedling to Maturity Reveals Biotic and Metabolic Responses.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 116 (52): 27124-27132.  

  • Zengler, K., K. Hofmockel, N. S. Baliga, S. W. Behie, H. C. Bernstein, J. B. Brown, J. R. Dinneny, S. A. Floge, S. P. Forry, M. Hess, S. A. Jackson, C. Jansson, S. R. Lindemann, J. Pett-Ridge, C. Maranas, O. S. Venturelli, M. D. Wallenstein, E. A. Shank, and T. R. Northen. 2019. “EcoFABs: Advancing Microbiome Science through Standardized Fabricated Ecosystems.” Nature Methods 16 (7): 567-571.  

  • Balasubramanian, V.K., Jansson, C., Baker, S.E., Ahkami, A.H. (2019) Rhizosphere Engineering for Enhanced Plant Production. In: Rhizosphere Biology: Interactions between microbes and plants; Gupta, V.S.R, Sharma, A.K. Eds., Springer Nature, Singapore. 

  • Jansson, C., Mockler, T., Brutnell, T., Vogel, J., De Paoli, H., Hazen, S., Srinivasan, V., Cousins, A., Lemaux, P., Dahlberg, J. (2019) A perspective on a paradigm shift in plant photosynthesis: Designing a novel type of photosynthesis in sorghum by combining C3 and C4metabolism. In: Bioenergetics: Oxygen Production and Reduction; Barber, J., Ruban, A., Eds.  


  • Jansson, C., J. Vogel, S. Hazen, T. Brutnell, and T. Mockler. 2018. “Climate-Smart Crops with Enhanced Photosynthesis.” Journal of Experimental Botany 69 (16): 3801-3809.  

  • Kamennaya, N. A., M. Zemla, L. Mahoney, L. Chen, E. Holman, H. Y. Holman, M. Auer, C. M. Ajo-Franklin, and C. Jansson. 2018. “High pCO2-Induced Exopolysaccharide-Rich Ballasted Aggregates of Planktonic Cyanobacteria Could Explain Paleoproterozoic Carbon Burial.” Nature Communications 9 (1).  

  • Rivas-Ubach, A., Y. Liu, T. S. Bianchi, N. Tolić, C. Jansson, and L. Paša-Tolić. 2018. “Moving Beyond the Van Krevelen Diagram: A New Stoichiometric Approach for Compound Classification in Organisms.” Analytical Chemistry 90 (10): 6152-6160.  

  • Spindel, J. E., J. Dahlberg, M. Colgan, J. Hollingsworth, J. Sievert, S. H. Staggenborg, R. Hutmacher, C. Jansson, and J. P. Vogel. 2018. “Association Mapping by Aerial Drone Reveals 213 Genetic Associations for Sorghum Bicolor Biomass Traits under Drought.” BMC Genomics 19 (1).  


  • 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.  

  • Allen White, R., M. I. Borkum, A. Rivas-Ubach, A. Bilbao, J. P. Wendler, S. M. Colby, M. Köberl, and C. Jansson. 2017. “From Data to Knowledge: The Future of Multi-Omics Data Analysis for the Rhizosphere.” Rhizosphere 3: 222-229.  

  • Handakumbura, P. P., K. K. Hixson, S. O. Purvine, C. Jansson, and L. Paša-Tolić. 2017. “Plant iTRAQ-Based Proteomics.” Current Protocols in Plant Biology 2 (2): 158-172.  

  • Jin, Y., M. Fei, S. Rosenquist, L. Jin, S. Gohil, C. Sandström, H. Olsson, C. Persson, A. S. Höglund, G. Fransson, Y. Ruan, P. Åman, C. Jansson, C. Liu, R. Andersson, and C. Sun. 2017. “A Dual-Promoter Gene Orchestrates the Sucrose-Coordinated Synthesis of Starch and Fructan in Barley.” Molecular Plant 10 (12): 1556-1570.  

  • White, R. A., III, A. Rivas-Ubach, M. I. Borkum, M. Köberl, A. Bilbao, S. M. Colby, D. W. Hoyt, K. Bingol, Y. M. Kim, J. P. Wendler, K. K. Hixson, and C. Jansson. 2017. “The State of Rhizospheric Science in the Era of Multi-Omics: A Practical Guide to Omics Technologies.” Rhizosphere 3: 212-221.  


  • Su, J., C. Hu, X. Yan, Y. Jin, Z. Chen, Q. Guan, Y. Wang, D. Zhong, C. Jansson, F. Wang, A. Schnürer, and C. Sun. 2015. “Expression of Barley SUSIBA2 Transcription Factor Yields High-Starch Low-Methane Rice.” Nature 523 (7562): 602-606.  

  • Kamennaya, N.A., Ahn, S., Park, H., Bartal, R., Sasaki, K.A., Holman, H.-Y., Jansson, C. (2015) Installing extra bicarbonate transporters in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 enhances biomass production. Metabol. Eng. 11, 76-85. 10.1016/j.ymben.2015.03.002 


  • Xie, Z., Sundström, J., Jansson, C., Sun, C. A novel selection strategy in plant transformation based on antisense oligodeoxynucleotide inhibition. (2014) Plant J. 77, 954-961. 10.1111/tpj.12433 


  • Hu, P., Borglin, S., Kamennaya, N.A., Chen, L., Park, H., Mahoney, L., Kijac, A., Shan, G., Chavarría, K.L., Zhang, C., Quinn, N.W.T., Wemmer, D., Holman, H.-Y., and Jansson, C. (2013) Metabolic phenotyping of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis 6803 engineered for production of alkanes and free fatty acids. Applied Energy 102, 850-859. 10.1016/j.apenergy.2012.08.047   


  • Kamennaya, N. A., Ajo-Fanklin, C., Northen, T., and Jansson, C. (2012) Cyanobacteria as biocatalysts for carbonate mineralization. Minerals 2, 338-364. 10.3390/min2040338 

  • Jansson, C. (2012) Employing cyanobacteria for biofuel synthesis and CCS. In: Solar Energy (Radu, R. ed.), InTech, pp 367-378. 10.5772/28851 

  • Jansson, C. (2012) Metabolic engineering of cyanobacteria for direct conversion of CO2 to hydrocarbon biofuels. Progress in Botany73, 81-93. 10.1007/978-3-642-22746-2_3   

  • Nalawade, S., Nalawade, S., Liu, C., Jansson, C., and Sun, C. (2012). Development of an efficient tissue culture after crosing (TCC) system for transgenic improvement of barley as a bioenergy crop. Applied Energy, 91, 405-411. 10.1016/j.apenergy.2011.09.042 


  • Mangelsen, E., Kilian, J., Harter, K., Jansson, C., Wanke, D., and Sundberg, E. (2011) Transcriptome analysis of high-temperature stress in developing barley caryopses: Early stress responses and effects on storage compound biosynthesis. Mol. Plant 4, 97-115.10.1093/mp/ssq058 


  • Jansson, C., and Northen, T. (2010) Calcifying cyanobacteria -  the potential of biomineralization for carbon capture and storage. Curr. Opin. Biotechnol. 21, 365-371. 10.1016/j.copbio.2010.03.017 

  • Mangelsen, E., Wanke, D., Kilian. J., Sundberg, E., Harter, K., and Jansson, C. (2010) Significance of light, sugar, and amino acid supply for diurnal gene regulation in developing barley caryopses. Plant Physiol. 153, 14-33.  10.1104/pp.110.154856 

  • Beyene, D., Baguma, Y., Mukasa, S.B., Sun, C., and Jansson, C. (2010) Characterization and role of isoamylase1 (Meisa1) gene in cassava. African Crop Sci. J. 18, 1-8. 10.4314/acsj.v18i1.54187 


  • Mutisya, J., Sun, C., and Jansson, C. (2009) Circadian oscillation of starch branching enzyme gene expression on the sorghum endosperm. Plant Sign. Behavior 4, 871-872. 10.1016/j. 

  • Jansson, C. Westerbergh, A., Zhang, J., Hu, A., and Sun, C. (2009) Cassava, a potential biofuel crop in China. Applied Energy 86, S95-S99. 10.1016/j.apenergy.2009.05.011 

  • Mutisya, J., Sun, C., Rosenquist, S., and Jansson, C. (2009) Diurnal oscillation of SBE expression in sorghum endosperm. J. Plant Physiol. 166, 428-434. 10.1016/j.jplph.2008.06.017 


  • Mangelsen, E., Kilian, J., Berendzen, K.W., Kolukisaoglu, Ü., Harter, K., Jansson, C., and Wanke, D. (2008) Phylogenetic and comparative gene expression analysis of barley (Hordeum vulgare) WRKY transcription factor family reveals putatively retained functions between monocots and dicots. BMC Genomics 9. 10.1186/1471-2164-9-194 

  • Baguma, Y., Sun, C., Borén, M., Olsson, H., Rosenquist, S., Mutisya, J., Rubaihayo, P., and Jansson, C. (2008) Sugar-mediated semidian oscilation of gene expression in the cassava storage root regulates starch synthesis. Plant Sign. Bahvior 3, 439-445.PMC2634422 

  • Sun, C., Ghebramedhin, H., Höglund, A.-S., and Jansson, C. (2008) Antisense oligodeoxynucleotide inhibition as a potent diagnostic tool for gene function in plant biology. Plant Sign. Behavior 3, 328-330. PMC2634273 

  • Hammargren, J., Rosenquist, S., Jansson, C., and Knorpp, C. (2008) A novel connection between nucleotide and carbohydrate metabolism in mitochondria: The Arabidopsis Nucleoside Diphosphate Kinase 3a gene is regulated by sugars. Plant Cell Rep. 27, 529-534. 10.1007/s00299-007-0486-5 

  • Borén, M., Glaring, M.A., Ghebremedhin, H., Olsson, H., Blennow, A. and Jansson, C. (2008) Molecular and physicochemical characterization of the high-amylose barley mutant Amo1. J. Cereal Sci. 47, 79-89. 10.1016/j.jcs.2007.01.009 


  • Sun, C., Ridderstråle, K., Larsson, L.-G., Jansson, C. (2007) Sweet delivery – Sugar translocators as ports of entry for antisense ODNs in plant cells. Plant J. 52, 1192-1198. 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2007.03287.x 

  • Bozhkov, P. and Jansson, C. (2007) Autophagy and cell-death proteases in plants: two wheels of a funeral cart. Autophagy 3, 136-138. 10.4161/auto.3600 

  • Jansson, C., Sun, C., Ganeshan, S. and Chibbar, R. (2007) Antisense ODN inhibition in in vitro spike cultures as a powerful diagnostic tool in studies on cereal grain development. Progress in Botany, 68, 179-190. 10.1007/978-3-540-36832-8_8 


  • Borén, M., Höglund, A.-S., Bozhkov, P. and Jansson, C. (2006) Developmental regulation of a VEIDase caspase-like proteolytic activity in barley caryopsis. J. Exp. Bot. 57, 3747-3753. 10.1093/jxb/erl136 

  • Mutisya, J., Sun, C., Rosenquist, S., Baguma,  Y., Odhiambo, B., and Jansson, C. (2006) Transcriptional regulation of the sbeIIb genes in sorgum (Sorghum bicolor) and barley (Hordeum vulgare): importance of the barley sbeIIb second intron. J. Plant Physiol. 163, 770-780. 10.1016/j.jplph.2005.04.038 


  • Sun, C., Olsson, H., Höglund, A.-S., Mangelsen, E. and Jansson, C. (2005) Antisense oligodeoxynucleotide inhibition as a potent strategy in plant biology: identification of SUSIBA2 as a transcriptional activator in plant sugar signaling. Plant J. 44, 128-138. (Selected for Cover Image). 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2005.02515.x 

  • Bresell, A., Weinander, R., Lundqvist, G., Haider, R., Shimoji, M., Sun, T.-H., Balk, L., Wiklund, R., Eriksson, J., Jansson, C., Persson, B., Jakobsson, P.-J. and Morgenstern, R. (2005) Bioinformatic and enzymatic characterization of the MAPRG superfamily. FEBS J. 272, 1688-1703. 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2005.04596.x 

  • Jansson, C. (2005) Sugar signaling mutants in Arabidopsis. Progress in Botany 66, 51-67. 10.1007/3-540-27043-4_3 


  • Sicora, C., Wiklund, R., Jansson, C., and Vass, I. (2004) Charge stabilization and recombination inPhotosystem II containing the D1’ protein product of the psbAI gene in Synechocystis 6803. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 6, 4832-4837. 10.1039/B406695B 

  • Borén, M., Larsson, H., Falk, A. and Jansson, C. (2004) The barley starch granule proteome – internalized granule polypeptides of the mature endosperm. Plant Sci. 166, 617-626. 10.1016/j.plantsci.2003.10.028