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Staff information


Christer Jansson

Environ Transform & Interact
Lab Fellow, Biologist
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
MSIN: K8-98
Richland, WA 99352


Dr. Jansson leads development of a vision and strategy for PNNL and EMSL in plant sciences for bioenergy and environmental applications. These efforts include establishing partnerships, coordinate grant proposals, identifying capability gaps, and outlining where PNNL and EMSL can deliver enhanced impact to DOE and greater missions.

Director of Plant Sciences, EMSL, 2014-present. Leads development of a vision and strategy for PNNL and EMSL in plant systems biology and bioenergy. As Director of Plant Sciences,Jansson has established a growing and vibrant Plant Sciences Program. He has introduced the model grasses Brachypodium and Setaria as experimental plant systems, and they are now used in a large number of projects at PNNL, within and outside of EMSL. He also has introduced biomass sorghum as an EMSL focus in programmatic bioenergy research via grants from ARPA-E and BER. Jansson's research at PNNL encompasses plant biochemistry, plant-microbe interactions and genome-to-phenome mapping. He has initiated two strategic hires, Amir Ahkami in Molecular Plant Biology and Venkat Srinivasan in Multiscale Plant Modeling.

Senior Staff Scientist, Earth Sciences Division (ESD), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Berkeley, 2008-2014; ESD Program Lead for Bioenergy 2011-2014. Research evolved around bioengineering of plants and cyanobacteria with emphasis on understanding and exploiting photosynthesis, lipid and carbohydrate metabolism and source-sink interactions. Lead-PI for two ARPA-E projects, "FOLIUM" aiming at using synthetic biology and metabolic engineering to establish tobacco as a platform for foliar production of advanced hydrocarbon biofuels, and "METHYLASE" with focus on using enzyme and metabolic engineering to design a novel enzyme and metabolic pathway for direct conversion of methane to liquid transportation fuels.

Professor/Chair, Mol. Biol., Dept. of Plant Biology & Forest Genetics, Swedish Univ. of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala BioCenter, Uppsala, Sweden, 2000-2007; Head of Department, SLU, 2005-2007. Research centered on photosynthesis in cyanobacteria and metabolic engineering of starch biosynthesis in cereals.

Scientific positions of increasing recognition, from Assistant Professor to Full Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Stockholm University, 1987-1999. Research on photosynthesis in cyanobacteria and starch biotechnology in cereals.

Research Interests

  • Published around 130 articles in journals and books relevant to his research around employing bioengineering approaches to understand and re-design photosynthetic metabolism. Particular areas of interest are photosynthesis and plant and microbial metabolism. More than 2,600 citations. H-index 38. See Google Scholar for list of publications.
  • Leads research focused on bioengineering of plant systems fro enhanced photosynthesis and soil carbon storage.

Education and Credentials

  • Postdoctoral research, Plant Research Laboratory (PRL), Michigan State University, 1984-1986
  • Ph.D., Biochemistry, Lund University, Sweden, 1984
  • B.S., Biochemistry/Microbiology, Lund University, 1978

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • Member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
  • Member of the American Society for Plant Biologists (ASPB).
  • Member of the North-American Plant Phenotyping Network (NAPPN).
  • Scientific Advisor for the company Algasol Renewables (2013-2015).
  • Member, Institutional Biosafety Committee, LBNL (2012-2014).
  • Scientific Advisor for the company Kiverdi, Inc. (2009-2016).
  • Member of the Evaluation Committee for Energy, the Swedish Research Council (2003-2004).
  • Member, Evaluation Committee for Organism Biology, the Swedish Research Council (2001-2007).
  • Member, Committee for Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences (1999-2005).
  • Invited to present and debate plant gene technology at public fora, including TV, radio, newspapers, and seminars in Sweden (1990-2007).

Awards and Recognitions

  • Invited to a Congressional Showcase on the Senate Site of the Capitol Hill to present and discuss our work on phenotyping of energy sorghum (2018).
  • Work on the discovery of a novel gene-regulatory mechanism that orchestrates carbon flux in grasses, which was published in Mol. Plant, was featured in press conferences in Uppsala, Sweden and Hunan, China (2017).
  • Publications on rhizosphere science in the journal Rhizosphere highlighted at PNNL (2017).
  • Work on rice engineered for reduced methane emissions from rice paddies, and associated increase of aboveground biomass, which was published in Nature, received world-wide attentions and was featured in the magazine 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 to the Capitol Hill to meet with Congressional Staffers to present and discuss work on engineering tobacco for biofuel production (2012).
  • Review on Phytosequestration in the journal BioScience in 2010 received national recognition.
  • Invited to present work on Starch Biotechnology in Barley to the Swedish Prime Minister, Göran Persson) during his visit to Uppsala (2005).
  • Twice asked to nominate awardees for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2003, 2005).
  • Scientific Advisor to the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences in the area Genetically Engineered Plants and Microorganisms (1999-2002).
  • Invited to present work on Plant Biology to HM King Carl XVI Gustaf during his visit to Uppsala (2000).

PNNL Publications


  • Liu W., L. Huang, R.E. Komorek, P. Handakumbura, Y. Zhou, D. Hu, and M.H. Engelhard, et al. 2020. "Correlative Surface Imaging Reveals Chemical Signatures for Bacterial Hotspots on Plant Roots." Analyst 145, no. 2:393-401. PNNL-SA-149225. doi:10.1039/C9AN01954E


  • Handakumbura P., B.A. Stanfill, A. Rivas-Ubach, D.C. Fortin, J.P. Vogel, and G.C. Jansson. 2019. "Metabotyping as a Stopover in Genome-to-Phenome Mapping." Scientific Reports 9, no. 1:Article Number 1858. PNNL-SA-135368. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-38483-0
  • Varoquaux N., B. Cole, C. Gao, G. Pierroz, C. Baker, D. Patel, and M. Madera, et al. 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, no. 52:27124-27132. PNNL-SA-140530. doi:10.1073/pnas.1907500116
  • Zengler K., K.S. Hofmockel, N.S. Baliga, S.W. Behie, H. Bernstein, J.B. Brown, and J.R. Dinneny, et al. 2019. "EcoFAB: Advancing microbiome science through standardized fabricated ecosystems." Nature Methods 16, no. 7:567-571. PNNL-SA-138240. doi:10.1038/s41592-019-0465-0


  • Jansson G.C., J.P. Vogel, S. Hazen, T. Brutnell, and T.J. Mockler. 2018. "Climate-smart crops with enhanced photosynthesis." Journal of Experimental Botany 69, no. 16:3801-3809. PNNL-SA-131288. doi:10.1093/jxb/ery213
  • Kamennaya N.A., M. Zemla, L. Mahoney, L. Chen, E. Holman, H. Holman, and M. Auer, et al. 2018. "High pCO2-Induced Exopolysaccharide-Rich Ballasted Aggregates of Planktonic Cyanobacteria Could Explain Paleoproterozoic Carbon Burial." Nature Communications 9, no. 1:Article No. 2116. PNNL-SA-131327. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-04588-9
  • Rivas-Ubach A., Y. Liu, T.S. Bianchi, N. Tolic, G.C. Jansson, and L. Pasa Tolic. 2018. "Moving beyond the van Krevelen diagram: A new stoichiometric approach for compound classification in organisms." Analytical Chemistry 90, no. 10:6152-6160. PNNL-SA-134250. doi:10.1021/acs.analchem.8b00529
  • Spindel J., J.A. Dahlberg, M. Colgan, J. Hollingsworth, J. Sievert, S. Staggenborg, and B. Hutmacher, et al. 2018. "Association mapping by aerial drone reveals 213 genetic associations for Sorghum bicolor biomass traits under drought." BMC Genomics 19. PNNL-SA-131382. doi:10.1186/s12864-018-5055-5
  • Xu L., D. Naylor, Z. Dong, T. Simmons, G. Pierroz, K.K. Hixson, and Y. Kim, et al. 2018. "Drought delays development of the sorghum root microbiome and enriches for monoderm bacteria." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 115, no. 8:E4284-E4293. PNNL-SA-131119. doi:10.1073/pnas.1717308115


  • Ahkami A., R.A. White, P. Handakumbura, and G.C. Jansson. 2017. "Rhizosphere Engineering: Enhancing Sustainable Plant Ecosystem Productivity in a Challenging Climate." Rhizosphere 3, no. 2:233-243. PNNL-SA-124740. doi:10.1016/j.rhisph.2017.04.012
  • Handakumbura P., K.K. Hixson, S.O. Purvine, G.C. Jansson, and L. Pasa Tolic. 2017. "Plant iTRAQ-based proteomics." Current Protocols in Plant Biology 2, no. 2:158-172. PNNL-SA-123355. doi:10.1002/cppb.20052
  • Jin Y., M. Fei, S. Rosenquist, L. Jin, S. Gohil, C. Sandstrom, and H. Olsson, et al. 2017. "A Dual-Promoter Gene Orchestrates the Sucrose-Coordinated Synthesis of Starch and Fructan in Barley." Molecular Plant 10, no. 12:1556-1570. PNNL-SA-130518. doi:10.1016/j.molp.2017.10.013
  • White R.A., A. Rivas-Ubach, M.I. Borkum, M. Koberl, A. Bilbao Pena, S.M. Colby, and D.W. Hoyt, et al. 2017. "The state of rhizospheric science in the era of multi-omics: A practical guide to omics technologies." Rhizosphere 3, no. 2:212-221. PNNL-SA-124859. doi:10.1016/j.rhisph.2017.05.003
  • White R.A., A.R. Panyala, K.A. Glass, S.M. Colby, K.R. Glaesemann, G.C. Jansson, and J.K. Jansson. 2017. "MerCat: a versatile k-mer counter and diversity estimator for database-independent property analysis obtained from metagenomic and/or metatranscriptomic sequencing data." PeerJ Preprints 5. PNNL-SA-124860. doi:10.7287/peerj.preprints.2825v1
  • White R.A., J.M. Brown, S.M. Colby, C.C. Overall, J. Lee, J.D. Zucker, and K.R. Glaesemann, et al. 2017. "ATLAS (Automatic Tool for Local Assembly Structures) - A Comprehensive Infrastructure for Assembly, Annotation, and Genomic Binning of Metagenomic and Metaranscripomic Data." PeerJ Preprints 5. PNNL-SA-124317. doi:10.7287/peerj.preprints.2843v1


  • Su J., C. Hu, X. Yan, Y. Jin, Z. Chen, Q. Guan, and Y. Wang, et al. 2015. "Expression of barley SUSIBA2 transcription factor yields high-starch low-methane rice." Nature 523, no. 7562:602-606. PNNL-SA-112598. doi:10.1038/nature14673

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