Pablo Leivar

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Dr. Pablo Leivar

Associate Professor
Bioengineering Department, IQS.
Genetic and metabolic engineering, microalgae.


Dr. Pablo Leivar is Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and runs the Microalgae Synthetic Biology and Molecular Biotechnology Unit within the Laboratory of Biochemistry in the Bioengineering Department at the Institut Químic de Sarrià (IQS), Universitat Ramon Llull (URL) in Barcelona. 

Predoctoral Period (Universitat de Barcelona, 1998-2003). Following his interest in understanding the fundamental mechanisms that allow plants to adapt to changing environments, upon his Graduation in Biochemistry (Universitat de Barcelona, 1997) he was awarded with a competitive FPI Predoctoral Fellowship (Generalitat de Catalunya, 1998-2001) to pursue a PhD in Biochemistry focused on the role of the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase in the regulation of plant terpenoid metabolism, in the laboratory of Professors A. Boronat and N. Campos. 

Postdoctoral Period (University of California-Berkeley, 2004-2009). During his postdoctoral stay in the laboratory of Professor P.H. Quail at UC-Berkeley, he contributed to the understanding of the molecular mechanism of photoperception and response to light signals in plants mediated by phytochrome (phy) photoreceptors and phy-interacting transcription factors (PIFs). The position was funded in part by a competitive Postdoctoral Fellowship (Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia, 2005-2007).

Career Track Fellow (Center for Research on Agricultural Genomics (CRAG), 2010-14). In 2010, he was granted a European Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant (EC-FP7 program, 2010-2014) and a competitive Beatriu de Pinós Postdoctoral Fellowship (Generalitat de Catalunya, 2010-2011) to initiate a new research line in collaboration with Dr. E. Monte at CRAG, focused on the identification of novel plant growth regulators acting downstream of the PIFs. 

Professor (IQS/URL, 2014-on). In 2014, he was appointed at IQS-URL as Assistant Professor (2014-2020) and promoted to Associate Professor (2020-present). In 2015, he joined the Laboratory of Biochemistry/Grup de Química Biològica i Biotecnologia (GQBB) to initiate a new research line aimed at engineering photosynthetic microalgae for the biotechnological production of high-value bioproducts. He did a short research stay in the laboratory of Dr. G. Finazzi (CEA/BIG, Grenoble, 2016). 

Research impact. During his career, Dr. Leivar has participated in several national and international research projects, and his research has been published in top international journals (e.g. PNAS, Plant Cell, Current Biology, Nature Communications, TIPS, Molecular Plant, Plant Journal, Plant Physiology, and Physiologia Plantarum), in national and international research conferences, and in PhD and master thesis of students mentored by Dr. Leivar. 

Main Research areas:

  1. Genetic and metabolic engineering of microalgae for the sustainable production of added-value glycolipids
  2. Engineering chloroplast metabolism in the green microalgae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii for the production of rhamnolipid biosurfactants.
  3. Optogenetic control of gene expression as a tool for synthetic biology
  4. Plant photosensory systems involving phytochrome (phy) photoreceptors and phy-interacting transcription factors (PIFs) 

Publications (Google Scholar):