Abdelali (Ali) Hannoufa, Ph.D.

Image Mathieu Rioux
Research Scientist, Adjunct Professor

Research Scientist and Adjunct Professor in Genomics and Biotechnology

Current research and/or projects

  1. Discovery Research towards crop Improvement 

  2. Abiotic stress response in plants 

  3. RNAi Trap Plants for Horticulture 

  4. Novel Biological for Mitigation of Abiotic Stresses in Forage Legumes and Reduced Methane Emissions by Ruminants

  5. Development of IPM tools using genomic and ecological approaches for the control of insect pests in greenhouses 

  6. Improving productivity and persistence of alfalfa under extreme weather events 

Education and awards

Ph.D.  in Plant Molecular Biology, York University, 1996

M.Sc. in Plant Biochemistry, Concordia University, 1991

Key publications

For a complete list of Publications: Abdelali Hannoufa on AAFC Online

  1. Feyissa BA, Arshad M, Gruber MY, Kohalmi SE, Hannoufa A. (2019) The interplay between miR156/SPL13 and DFR/WD40-1 regulate drought tolerance in alfalfa. BMC Plant Biol. 19:434 (doi: 10.1186/s12870-019-2059-5)

  2. Boukari N, Jelali N, Abdelly C, Renaud J, Hannoufa A, Ben Youssef R (2019) Salicylic acid seed priming improves tolerance to salinity, iron deficiency and their combined effect in two ecotypes of alfalfa.Env. Exp Bot (accepted, July 16, 2017)

  3. Lei Y, Hannoufa A, Wang Y, Christensen D, Yu P (2019) Effects of Silencing TT8 and HB12 on in vitro Nutrients Degradation and VFA Production in Relation to Molecular Structures of Alfalfa (Medicago sativa). J Sci Food Agri (Accepted, August 1, 2019)

  4. Lei Y., Hannoufa A., Louzada P.L., Christensen D, Wang Y., Yu P (2019) Silencing TT8 and HB12 Decreased Protein Degradation and Digestion, Microbial synthesis and Metabolic Protein in Relation to Molecular Structures of Alfalfa (Medicago sativa.).J Agr Food Chem67:7898-7907 (DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.9b02317)

  5. Matthew C, Arshad M, and Hannoufa A (2019) Alfalfa response to heat stress is modulated by microRNA156.  Physiologia Plantarum, 165: 830–842. 2019 DOI: 10.1111/ppl.12787

  6. Ben-Abdallah S., Cáceres LA, Wang Z, Renaud BJ, Lachâal M, Karray-Bouraoui N,Hannoufa A, and Scott IM (2019) Host plant defenses of black (Solanum nigrum L.) and red nightshade (Solanum villosum Mill.) against specialist Solanaceae herbivore Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say). Arch. Insect Biochem Physiol. DOI: 10.1002/arch.21550

  7. Amyot L, McDowell T; Martin S; Renaud J; Gruber M; Hannoufa A (2019) Assessment of anti-nutritional compounds and chemotaxonomic relationships between Camelina sativa and its wild relatives". J Agr Food Chem  DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b04724

  8. Ben-Abdellah S, Zorrig W, Amyot L, Renaud J, Hannoufa A, Lachaal M and Karray Bouraoui (2018) Potential production of polyphenols, carotenoids and glycoalkaloids in Solanum villosum Mill. under salt stress. Biologia, doi.org/10.2478/s11756-018-00166-y

  9. Wei S* ,Li X, Gruber MY, Feyissa BA, Amyot L and Hannoufa A (2018) COP9 signalosome subunit 5A affects phenylpropanoid metabolism, trichome formation and transcription of key genes of a regulatory tri-protein complex in Arabidopsis. BMC Plant Biology (2018) 18:134, https://doi.org/10.1186/s12870-018-1347-9

  10. Singer SD, Hannoufa A, Acharya S. (2018) Molecular improvement of alfalfa for enhanced productivity and adaptability in a changing environment. Plant Cell Environ. doi: Plant Cell Environ. 2018;41:1955–1971(Review)

  11. Arshad M., Gruber MY, and Hannoufa A (2018) Transcriptome analysis of microRNA156 overexpression alfalfa roots under drought stress.Scientific Reports DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-27088-8

  12. Lei Y., Hannoufa A. , Prates L.L., Shi H., Wang Y.,Biligetu B. Christensen D., and Yu P. (2018) Effects of TT8 and HB12 Silencing on the Relations between the Molecular Structures of Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) Plants and Their Nutritional Profiles and In Vitro Gas Production.J. Agr. Food Chem. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b01573

  13. Hossain Z, Pillai BV-S, Gruber MY, Yu M, Amyot L, Hannoufa A (2018) Transcriptome profiling of Brassica napus stem sections in relation to differences in lignin content. BMC Genomics. 19:255, https://doi.org/10.1186/s12864-018-4645-6

  14. Hegedus D; Gruber M; Alahakoon U; Taheri A; Nagubushana N; Zhou R; Aung B; Sharpe A; Hannoufa A; Bonham-Smith P (2018) The biochemical composition and transcriptome of cotyledons from Brassica napus lines expressing the AtGL3 transcription factor and exhibiting reduced flea beetle feeding. BMC Plant Biology 18(1):64. doi: 10.1186/s12870-018-1277-6.

  15. Lei Y, Hannoufa A, Christensen D, Prates LL, Shi H, Yu P (2018) Molecular structural changes detected by ATR-FTIR spectroscopy in response to silencing of TT8 and HB12 genes. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 19,1046; doi:10.3390/ijms19041046

  16. Gao R, Feyissa BA, Croft M, Hannoufa A (2018) Gene editing by CRISPR/Cas9 in the obligatory outcrossing Medicago sativa.Planta, 247, 1043-1050; DOI: 10.1007/s00425-018-2866-1

  17. Liu, W.T., Aung, B., Hannoufa, A., Xing, T. and Tian, L.N. (2018) Recent Progress of Transgenic Technology Development for Alfalfa. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 9, 467-482. DOI: 10.4236/ajps.2018.93035

  18. Gao R, Wang Y, Gruber MY, Hannoufa A (2018) miR156/SPL10 modulates lateral root development, branching and leaf morphology in Arabidopsis by silencing AGAMOUS-LIKE 79. Front Plant Sci, section Plant Cell Biology (https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2017.02226).

  19. Gao R, Gruber MY, Amyot L and Hannoufa A. (2017) SPL13 regulates shoot branching and flowering time in Medicago sativaPlant Mol Biol. (doi: 10.1007/s11103-017-0683-8)

  20. Chen C, Li C, Wang Y, Renaud J, Tian G, Kambhampati S, Saatian B, Nguyen V, Hannoufa A, Marsolais F, Yuan ZC, Yu K, Austin RS, Liu J, Kohalmi SE, Wu K, Huang S, Cui Y. (2017) Cytosolic acetyl-CoA promotes histone acetylation predominantly at H3K27 in Arabidopsis. Nat Plants. 3:814-824.

  21. Aung B, Gao R, Gruber MY, Yuan Z-C, Sumarah M, Hannoufa A (2017) MsmiR156 affects global gene expression and promotes root regenerative capacity and nitrogen fixation activity in alfalfa. Transgenic Res.26:541-557

  22. Laur, W., Hughes, S., Caceres, L., Challa, S., Hannoufa, A., & Scott, I (2017). “Modifying the expression of plant volatiles to affect the behaviour of greenhouse insect pests.”, International Organization for Biological Control and Integrated Control West Palaearctic Regional Section Bulletin 124: 31-36.

  23. Arshad M., Feyissa B.A., Amyot L., Aung B., and Hannoufa A. (2017) MicroRNA156 improves drought resistance in alfalfa. Plant Sci. 258:122-136

  24. Arshad M, Gruber MY, Wall K, Hannoufa A. (2017) An Insight into microRNA156 Role in Salinity Stress Responses of Alfalfa. Front Plant Sci. 8:356.

  25. Lei Y., Hannoufa A. and Yu P. (2017) The Use of Gene Modification and Advanced Molecular Structure Analyses towards Improving Alfalfa Forage.  Int J Mol Sci. 18, 298


Adjunct Professor – University of Western Ontario

Member – University of Saskatchewan, College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Vice President – Canadian Association for Plant Biotechnology

Member, Canadian Society of Plant Biologists