Erik Nielsen
Erik Nielsen
e-mail:
affiliation: Università di Pavia
research area(s): Cell Biology, Chemical Biology
Course: Genetics, Molecular and Cellular Biology
University/Istitution: Università di Pavia
Born in Pavia (12-12-49), Erik Nielsen graduates in Biological Sciences at Pavia University in January 1973. From 1973 to75, as holder of a fellowship at the Institute of Microbiology, carries out researches on the mode of action of nitroheterocyclic chemiotherapic drugs.
In 1975, as holder of a research contract at Pavia University, starts to work in the field of Plant Biochemistry, Physiology and Genetics using mainly plant cell and tissue cultures as experimental material. In 1981 is engaged as confirmed researcher of Pavia University.
From 1982 to 84, as holder of a CEE fellowship, and then as auxiliary member of DGXII, works at the Euratom Centre of Ispra (Varese) investigating on the mutagenic effect of ionizing radiations on plant cells. Back to Pavia, in 1984 becomes responsable of the Plant Biochemistry laboratory of the Dept. of Genetics and Microbiology of Pavia University, and from that moment forward starts a number of researches (funded by C.N.R., Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Ministry of Instruction and Scientific research) mainly concerning the study of structure and regulation of plant biosynthetic pathways of some aminoacids, and the characterization of plant resistances to non-selective herbicides inhibiting such pathways.
In 1991 he wins a competition for a chair, becomes associate professor in plant biochemistry at Pavia University. In 2007 wins a competition for a chair, and in 2011 becomes full professor in plant biochemistry at Pavia University.

Among his recent research interests are the metabolism and catabolism of proline in plants and its role in plant response to water stress and most of all the study of the role and the biosynthetic pathway of phytic acid accumulating in plant seeds, mainly by means of isolation and characterization of mutants defective in its synthesis.

E. Nielsen is author of more than one hundred scientific pubblications about half of which on peer reviewed international scientific journals.
· Improvement of microelements bioavailability in maize and common bean grains: selection of mutants defective in the synthesis of phytic acid, biochemical molecular and genetic characterization of the isolated mutations and of their connotations under both physiological and nutritional aspects in relation to the use of cereal and legume grains with higher bioavailability of phosphate and mineral elements for animal feeding and human nutrition.
· Research and characterization of antioxidant and other nutraceutical molecules in grains of crop plants.
· Set up of microalgae culturing systems for bioremediation of wastewaters and accumulation of biomass usable for biodiesel and/or biogas production.
· Set up and biochemical characterization of an innovative system for degrading lignocellulosic material using biological pretreatment with suitable lignolitic fungi and/or hydrolitic enzymes produced by fungi or by transplanstomic tobacco plants.
Materials and Methods used in the plant biochemistry lab: in vitro culture of plant cells; assays of a number of enzymatic activities as well as various biological activities extracted from cultured plant cells or plant tissues and organs; protein purification techniques (liquid chromathography, FPLC, electrophoresis); extraction, analysis and purification of small organic molecules by HPLC.
Pilu R, Panzeri D, Gavazzi G, Rasmussen SK, Consonni G and E. Nielsen. (Phenotypic, genetic and molecular characterization of a maize low phytic acid mutant lpa241). Theoretical and Applied Genetics. (2003) 107: 980-897. IF 2009 3.36

Pilu R., Landoni, M., Cassani E., Doria E. and E. Nielsen. The Maize lpa241 mutation causes a remarkable variability of expression and some pleiotropic effects. Crop Science (2005) 45: 2096-2105. IF 2009 1.74

Panzeri D., Cassani E., Cerino Badone F., Mesiti F., Landoni M., Nielsen E. and R. Pilu. A Paramutation phenomenon is involved in the genetics of maize low phytic acid1-241 (lpa1-241) trait. Heredity (2008) 102: 236-245 IF 2009 5.50

Doria E, Galleschi L, Calucci L, Pinzino C, Pilu R, Cassani E, Nielsen E. Phytic acid prevents oxidative stress in seeds: evidence from 5 a maize (Zea mays L.) low phytic acid mutant. J. Exp Bot (2009) 60: 967-978 IF 2009 4.27

Campion B, Sparvoli F, Doria E, Tagliabue G, Galasso I, Fileppi M, Bollini R, Nielsen E. Isolation and Characterisation of an lpa (low phytic 1 acid) Mutant in Common Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Theor Appl Gen. (2009) 118: 1211-1221 IF 2009 3.36

Cerino Badone F, Cassani E, Lago C, Landoni M, Doria E, Panzeri D, Nielsen E, Pilu R. The Low phytic acid1-241 (lpa1-241) maize mutation alters the accumulation of anthocyanin pigment in the kernel. Planta (2010) 231:1189–1199 IF 2009 3.37

Panzeri D., Cassani E., Doria E., Tagliabue G., Forti L., Campion B., Bollini R., Brearley C.A., Pilu R., Nielsen E. Sparvoli F. A defective ABC transporter of the MRP family, responsible for the bean lpa1 mutation, affects the regulation of the phytic acid pathway, reduces seed myo-inositol and alters ABA sensitivity. New Phytologist (2011) 191: 70-83.. IF 2009 6.03

Doria E, Longoni P, Scibilia L, Iazzi N, Cella R, Nielsen E. Isolation and characterization of a Scenedesmus acutus strain to be used for bioremediation of urban wastewater. J. Applied Phycology (2012) 24: 375-383

Doria E, Campion B, Sparvoli F, Tava A, Nielsen E. Anti-nutrient components and metabolites with health implications in seeds of 10 common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L. and Phaseolus lunatus L.) landraces cultivated in southern Italy. J. Food Composition & Analysis (2012) 26: 72-80
Project Title:
Improvement of iron and zinc bioavailability in common bean grains.


Project Title:
Set up of innovative systems for degrading lignocellulosic material to produce bioethanol.