Dr Hail Rihan

Dr Hail Rihan

Senior Research Fellow

School of Biological and Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)



Bsc-PhD-AHEA Post Doctoral Research Fellow  (University of Plymouth) - Visiting Professor (University of Jeddah).


Higher Education Academy




Plymouth University

(1st May 2013)


I am currently an associate member in the Higher Education Academy. I am also in process to meet the requirements of the fellowship in the HEA which should be achieved by the end of 2018 (I have already achieved most of the requirements).

PhD  in Plant Biotechnology

University of Damascus


 B.Sc. in Agriculture Engineering with an overall mean of 83.44 % (Ranked No 1 in over 600 students graduated from all Faculties of Agriculture in Syria, 2007)


University of Asyut


I completed two courses:

1. Experience certificate in Horticulture Practical techniques.

2. Experience certificate in Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering.

Professional membership

1.      Member of the external review panel for grantproposals of the International Corporation Program /Jeddah University/KSA(2018).

2.      Member in the Royal Society of Biology since (sinceMarch 2017 to current).

3.      Higher Education Academy (HEA) /UK (since 2010).

4.      Society for Experimental Biology (SEB) (2009 -2016).

5.      International Society for Horticulture Science (ISHS)(2011-2013).

6.      Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) (2010-2011).

7.      Postgraduate Society/University of Plymouth/ (from2010 -2014)/acted Chairman of the Society for the year 2012.

8.      Plymouth University Graduate Committee (2012-2013).

9.      School of Biomedical and Biological Sciences ResearchCommittee (2012-2013).

10.  School ofBiomedical and Biological Sciences Safety Committee (2012-2013).

11.  Editorialboard member in Anbar Journal of Agricultural Science (ISSN: 19927479 / EISSN:26176211).

12.  I am currentlya reviewer for several peer review journals:

·         Scientia Horticulturae

·         African Journal ofBiotechnology .

·         Journal of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry.

·         Journal of HortScience .





Teaching interests

University of Jeddah (KSA) 01-12-2018


Visiting Professor of Plant Molecular Biology and Vertical Farming

Plymouth University (UK) 10/04/2016 to current


Post-doctoral research Fellow/lecturer at the School of Biological sciences. I am conducting research on the use of different LED lighting systems on the growth, development and yield of high value crops. I  also teach in the following modules (BIOL 111 (Animal and plant physiology)- BIOL 301 (Plant Biotechnology) - Biol 217 (Environmental Plant Physiology), GEES001 (Study and Mathematical Skills for Science),  Molecular Biology Techniques Podule Leader in Biol 307 (Advanced Skills and Concepts) and Module Leader of Biol0014 (Issues in Biology)


Plant Factory Facility Manger and business consultant 15-08/2018 to Current


I manages the technical and research aspects of the Plant Factory facility. His work also entails acting as business consultant to the following commercial companies such as, Osram, Plessey Semiconductors Ltd, Tungsram, Antibio Technologies, Kernock Park Plants, Cornish Essential Oils Limited, Futurfarm Ltd, Sola Grow Ltd ,Intelligent Group Solutions (IGs), Hydrodaze, Cornish Hemp Ltd


Damascus University

11/10/2014 to 08/04/2016


Lecturer at the Department of Horticulture / Faculty of Agriculture. I was responsible for designing and delivering the following modules: Genetic improving of Plants - Seed Production- - Winter Vegetable Production (fourth year courses)- Plant Tissue Culture- Techniques of Vegetable Production (Master level)


Plymouth University

2012 to 2014



Associate Lecturer in the School of Biomedical and Biological Sciences/Faculty of Science and Technology. I was responsible for designing, delivering and assessing 150 students in Module Bio 005 Extended Science. I also conducted research on the molecular mechanism of cold tolerance in wheat.


Plymouth University

01/02 to 26/04/2014


Teaching Assistant in the School of Biological Sciences. My duty was to help in delivering lectures in various plant science and molecular biology modules, and in addition conducting research on plant micro-propagation and plant abiotic stress tolerance. 


Plymouth University


I worked as a Demonstrator, which required the supervision of undergraduate practical classes, with responsibility for groups of up to fifty.


University of Damascus 2008-2009

I worked as a Teaching Assistant, teaching practical aspects of several modules (Plant Genetic Improvement and Plant Protected Culture modules).


Arab Centre for Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD) 2007-2008

I worked as an expert in fruit tree production. As part of my duties in the centre I delivered lectures in courses at the Arabic centre designed for agricultural engineers from various Middle Eastern countries. I also delivered talks on open days, which the Arabic Centre arranged regularly.

Staff serving as external examiners

Member of the external review panel for grant proposals of the International Corporation Program /Jeddah University/KSA (2018).



Research interests

Ø  I am interested in micro-propagation and artificialseed production research. I also conducted research on cauliflower and ornamentalplant tissue culture.

Ø   I am alsointerested in the instigation the molecular mechanism of plant abiotic stresstolerance (e.g. monitoring gene expression profiles/ patterns and generegulatory networks for understanding genetic control for crop improvement). Ihave processed research on the breeding of wheat and cauliflower using biomoleculartechniques in order to improve its resistance to abiotic stresses (drought,cold and salinity).

Ø  Recently, I have been conducting research on thedevelopment of the commercial use of new generation LED technologies forintensive hydroponic culture production of high value crops (Plant factory).

Ø  I was the winner of the Vice Chancellor award for the EarlyCareer Researcher in the Expert Category for 2012 at Plymouth University.

Other research

Ø  My BSc/University of Damascus/Graduate Projectinvestigated the ability of improvements to the germination of Pistaciaatlantica as drought tolerant stock of Pistaciavulgaris using various types of Plant Growth Regulators.

Ø   I haveexperience in research at the Arabic Centre for the Study of Arid Zones and DryLands, League of Arab States. The research focused on the breeding of olives inorder to obtain drought tolerant varieties suitable for cultivation in poorquality land.

Ø  My PhD project consisted of two main areas. The firstwas to develop micro-propagation techniques for cauliflower artificial seedproduction, and the second part focused on the instigation of the molecularmechanism of plant abiotic stress tolerance (e.g. monitoring gene expressionprofiles/ patterns and gene regulatory networks for understanding geneticcontrol for crop improvement). 

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

1.     I have supervised a number of undergraduate studentswith their Honours Projects at both Damascus and Plymouth Universities. I havealso co-supervised 2 visiting Postdoctoral Fellows from Egypt and Iraq atPlymouth University.

2.     I also supervised PhD student at PlymouthUniversity/UK. Her thesis was under the title of “The influence of exogenouslyapplied “anti-stress” agents in the upregulation of the drought response inIraqi wheat varieties “. She defended her thesis successfully.

3.     I am currently supervising a ResM student and 5 taughtmaster students. The work of these students focuses on the optimization andautomation of the plant facuty agricultural systems. Moreover, they aim at investigatingthe effect of supplementary LED lighting to improve the growth and quality ofpharmaceutical plant species.

4.     An internal examiner in the recent ResM examination atPlymouth University (2018).

Grants & contracts

1.      Principle investigator in a successful research grant(£12400) from the Seale-Hyane Educational Trust to conduct research under thetitle ” The optimisation of the production of cleanpharmaceutical plant species with a stable, consistent concentration ofimportant secondary metabolic products through a Plant Factory system”. (GrantNumber: RR204307-101).

2.      Co- principle Investigatorin a successful research grant from theUK Government’s Gulf Science Innovation and Knowledge Economy (GSIKE) Programmeto conduct a research under the title “ Indoor vertical farming using a plantfactory system with artificial lighting powered by pv solar panels forefficient year around production of food crops in Saudi Arabia” (GrantReference: 372577372- £57000).

3.       NamedInvestigating researcher in successful research grant (Cornwall Agri-Techproject- PlantFactory, Cornwall) (£280000) form European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)(2017) (Grant number: TT203426-105).

4.      Named Investigating researcher in a research grant (£7,814)from the Seale-Hyane Educational Trust to conduct research under the title “Towardsthe development of Plant Factories: development of the commercial use of newgeneration LED technologies for intensive production of high value crops”(2016).

5.      NamedInvestigating researcher in a research grant (£6000) from the Seale-HyaneEducational Trust to conduct research under the title “The effects ofmolybdenum on cauliflower cold tolerance and the molecular mechanism of these effects” (2013) .

Other Grants and Awards

1.     I was successful in obtaining a travel grant from the Societyof Experimental Biology in order to present my research at the SEB annualmeeting held at Manchester University, July 2014 3.

2.     I was successful in obtaining a travel grant fromBiosciences KTN (Knowledge Transfer Manager) to present my research at the BiosciencesKTN Early Career Researchers Event on the 23rd May, 2013 in London.

3.     I was successful in obtaining a travel grant from theCompany of Biologists via the Society of Experimental Biology in order topresent my research at the VIII International Symposium on In Vitro Culture& Horticulture Breeding - Portugal June 2013.

4.     I was the winner of the Early Career ResearcherAward inthe Expert category of the Vice-Chancellor’s Enterprise Awards 2012 at Plymouth University.

5.     I was judged to be the winner of the best oralpresentation at the Annual Postgraduate Conference, University of Plymouth,2011.

6.      I wassuccessful in obtaining a travel grant from Plymouth award scheme to present myresearch at the (Researchers-Teachers-Learners, “We are all in this together”) InternationalSymposium, 2011.

7.     I was successful in obtaining a travel grant from the Societyof Experimental Biology to present my research at the society annual meeting inGlasgow, 2011.



Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Naidoo Y, Rikisahedew JJ, Dewir YH, Ali AA & Rihan HZ (2021) 'Foliar micromorphology, ultrastructure and histochemical analyses of Tagetes minuta L. leaves' Micron 150, 103125-103125 , DOI
Lamani S, Anu-Appaiah KA, Murthy HN, Dewir YH & Rihan HZ (2021) 'Fatty Acid Profile, Tocopherol Content of Seed Oil, and Nutritional Analysis of Seed Cake of Wood Apple (Limonia acidissima L.), an Underutilized Fruit-Yielding Tree Species' Horticulturae 7, (9) 275-275 , DOI
Naidoo Y, Dladla T, Dewir YH, Gangaram S, Naidoo CM & Rihan HZ (2021) 'The micromorphology and histochemistry of foliar mixed indumentum of leucas lavandulaefolia (Lamiaceae)' Plants 10, (9) , DOI Open access
Hayyawi NJH, Al-Issawi MH, Alrajhi AA, Al-Shmgani H & Rihan H (2020) 'Molybdenum Induces Growth, Yield, and Defence System Mechanisms of the Mung Bean (Vigna radiata L.) under Water Stress Conditions' International Journal of Agronomy 2020, 1-10 , DOI
Aldarkazali, Rihan, Carne & Fuller (2019) 'The Growth and Development of Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum) and Bush Basil (Ocimum minimum) Grown under Three Light Regimes in a Controlled Environment' Agronomy 9, (11) 743-743 , DOI Open access
Kareem F, Rihan H & Fuller MP (2019) 'The Effect of Exogenous Applications of Salicylic Acid on Drought Tolerance and Up-Regulation of the Drought Response Regulon of Iraqi Wheat' Journal of Crop Science and Biotechnology 22, (1) 37-45 , DOI Open access
Rihan H & Fuller M (2018) 'An Effective Protocol for the Production of Primary and Secondary Somatic Embryos in Cauliflower (Brassica Oleraceae Var. Botrytis)' Agricultural Research & Technology: Open Access Journal (ARTOAJ) , DOI Open access
Rihan H & Abdullah A (2018) 'The Relationship between Yield Parameters and Morphological Characters for Barley: Evaluating linear and Non-linear models' Agricultural Research & Technology: Open Access Journal , DOI Open access
Al-Zahrani HSM, Almaghrabi OA, El-Malky MM, Metwali EMR & Rihan HZ (2018) 'Development of nutrient-rich and blast resistant rice cultivars through tissue culture and monogenic lines' International Journal of Agriculture and Biology 20, (11) 2508-2520 , DOI
Rihan H, Mahmood B, Foulkes M & Burchett S (2017) 'The Effect of Drought on Phytochemical active Compounds Content in Chamomile and Yarrow' Agricultural Research & Technology: Open Access Journal (ARTOAJ) , DOI Open access
Rihan H, Kareem F, El-Mahrouk M & Fuller M (2017) 'Artificial Seeds (Principle, Aspects and Applications)' Agronomy 7, (4) 71-71 , DOI Open access
Kareem, F, Rihan H & Fuller M (2017) 'The Effect of Exogenous Applications of Salicylic Acid and Molybdenum on the Tolerance of Drought in Wheat' Agricultural Research & Technology: Open Access Journal (ARTOAJ) , DOI Open access
Fuller MP, Rihan H & Al-Issawi M (2017) 'Upregulation of CBF/DREB1 and cold tolerance in artificial seeds of cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis)' Scientia Horticulturae , DOI Open access
Rihan HZ, Al-Issawi M & Fuller MP (2017) 'An analysis of the development of cauliflower seed as a model to improve the molecular mechanism of abiotic stress tolerance in cauliflower artificial seeds' Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 116, 91-105 , DOI Open access
Rihan HZ, Al-Issawi M & Fuller MP (2017) 'Advances in physiological and molecular aspects of plant cold tolerance' Journal of Plant Interactions 12, (1) 143-157 , DOI Open access
Al-Issawi M, Rihan HZ, Al-Shmgani H & Fuller MP (2016) 'Molybdenum application enhances antioxidant enzyme activity and COR15a protein expression under cold stress in wheat' Journal of Plant Interactions 11, (1) 5-10 , DOI Open access
Dewir YH, El Mahrouk ME, Rihan HZ, Sáez CA & FULLER MP (2015) 'Antioxidative capacity and electrolyte leakage in healthy versus phytoplasma infected tissues of Euphorbia coerulescens and Orbea gigantean' Journal of Plant Physiology and Pathology 3 (1), Open access
El-Mahrouk ME, Dewir YH, Murthy HN, Rihan HZ, Al-Shmgani HS & Fuller MP (2015) 'Effect of photosynthetic photon flux density on growth, photosynthetic competence and antioxidant enzymes activity during ex vitro acclimatization of Dieffenbachia cultivars' Plant Growth Regulation 79, (1) 29-37 , DOI Open access
Al-Issawi M, Rihan HZ, Mahdi UH & Fuller MP (2015) 'Frost Hardiness of Iraqi Wheat genotypes' Diyalal Agricultural Sciences Journal 7 (1), Open access
Rihan HZ, Al-Issawi M, Al-Shamari M, Elmahrouk M & Fuller MP (2015) 'PLANT ABIOTIC STRESS TOLERANCE ANALYSIS IN CAULIFLOWER USING A CURD MICROPROPAGATION SYSTEM' Acta Horticulturae (1083) 43-52 , DOI Open access
Dewir YH, El-Mahrouk ME, Al-Shmgani HS, Rihan HZ, da Silva JAT & Fuller MP (2015) 'Photosynthetic and biochemical characterization of in vitro-derived African violet (Saintpaulia ionantha H. Wendl) plants to ex vitro conditions' Journal of Plant Interactions 10:1, 101-108 , DOI Open access
Rihan HZ, Al-Issawi M, Woldie WA, Kiernan M & Fuller MP (2014) 'The effect of molybdenum on the molecular control of cold tolerance in cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis) artificial seeds' Plant, Cell, Tissue, Organ Culture (PCTOC) Journal of Plant Biotechnology 118 (2), (2) 215-228 Publisher Site , DOI Open access
Al-Issawi M, Rihan HZ, Woldie WA, Burchett S & Fuller MP (2013) 'Exogenous application of molybdenum affects the expression of CBF14 and the development of frost tolerance in wheat' Plant Physiol Biochem 63, 77-81 Author Site , DOI Open access
Al-Issawi M, Rihan, H Z, El-Sarkassy, N, Fuller & MP (2013) 'Frost hardiness expression and characterisation in wheat at ear emergence' Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science. 199, (1) 66-74 , DOI Open access
Fuller MP, Hamza JH, Rihan HZ & Al Issawi M (2012) 'Germination of primed seed under NaCl stress in wheat' ISRN Journal of Botany 1-5 , DOI Open access
Rihan HZ, Fuller MP, Al-Issawi M & Burchett S (2012) 'Artificial Seed Production from Encapsulated Microshoots of Cauliflower (Brassica oleraceae var botrytis)' Acta Horticulturae 961, 419-425 Open access
Rihan HZ, Al-Shamari M & Fuller MP (2012) 'The Production of Cauliflower Microshoots using Curd Meristematic Tissues and Hypocotyl–derived Callus' Acta Horticulturae 961, 427-434 Open access
Rihan HZ, Al-Issawi M, Al-swedi F & Fuller MP (2012) 'The effect of using PPM (plant preservative mixture) on the development of cauliflower microshoots and the quality of artificial seed produced' SCIENTIA HORTICULTURAE 141, 47-52 Author Site , DOI
Rihan HZ, Al-Issawi M, Burchett S & Fuller MP (2011) 'Encapsulation of cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var botrytis) microshoots as artificial seeds and their conversion and growth in commercial substrates' PLANT CELL TISSUE AND ORGAN CULTURE 107, (2) 243-250 Author Site , DOI Open access
Conference Papers
Klein FB, Wilmot A, de Tejada VF, Rodriguez BL, Requena I, Busch S, Rondepierre A, Auzeeri T, Sauerwald T & Andrews WFP (2019) 'Proof-of-concept modular robot platform for cauliflower harvesting' 12th European Conference on Precision Agriculture Wageningen Academic Publishers , DOI Open access
Rihan H 'An effective system for a better understanding of plant cold tolerance' International Conference on Synthetic Biology Houston, USA 9-/-0/20159-/-0/2015
Rihan H 'Cold tolerance analysis of cauliflower (Brassica oleraceae var botrytis) using an effective micropropagation system' SEB annual meeting Manchester University. United Kingdom 7-/-0/20147-/-0/2014
Rihan H 'Plant Abiotic Stress Tolerance Analysis in Cauliflower Using a Curd Micropropagation System' UK Brassica Research Community Annual Meeting Warwick Universities. United Kingdom 5-/-0/20145-/-0/2014
Rihan H 'Plant abiotic stress tolerance “Mystery unresolved"' The CARS (Centre for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability) Annual Conference Duchy College, UK 6-/-0/20136-/-0/2013
Rihan H 'Plant Abiotic Stress Tolerance Analysis in Cauliflower Using a Curd Micropropagation System' VIII International Symposium on In Vitro Culture & Horticulture Breeding Portugal 6-/-0/20136-/-0/2013
Rihan H 'The effect of molybdenum on artificial seed production, cold tolerance and up-regulation of CBF/DREB1 of Brassica oleraceae var. botrytis' The Biosciences KTN Early Career Researchers Event London, UK 5-/-0/20135-/-0/2013
Rihan H 'Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea) transformed by using agrobacterium tumefaciens as a vector' The postgraduate society annual conference, Plymouth University, UK 6-/-0/20126-/-0/2012
Rihan H 'The effect of Molybdenum on frost tolerance to wheat genotypes' The Postgraduate Society annual conference Plymouth University, UK 6-/-0/20126-/-0/2012
Rihan H 'Cold tolerance and CBF/DREB1 up-regulation of both cauliflower mature plants and microshoots' Center for Agriculture and Rural Sustainability Postgraduate Symposium 4-/-0/20124-/-0/2012
Rihan H 'Primary and secondary somatic embryos in cauliflower (Brassica oleraceae var. botrytis)' Center for Agriculture and Rural Sustainability Postgraduate Symposium The New Continental Hotel, Plymouth, UK 4-/-0/2012


Conferences organised

1.      Plant factory launch event- 15/08/2018- SkardonGarden, University of Plymouth, UK.

2.      Hands-On Proteomics and Data Analysis Workshop(Protein Structure, Extraction and Quantification, Western Blot, ELISA, 2D GelElectrophoresis, Mass Spectrometry and Data Analysis), Plymouth University-14th– 17th July 2014. (108 credits from the society of biology, 32 credits from theinstitution of biomedical sciences).

3.      Hands-on Genomics Techniques (PCR, qPCR, Digital PCR,Bioinformatics and Data Analysis) workshop, Plymouth University 23th – 26th June2014. (108 credits from the Society of Biology, 32 credits from the Institutionof Biomedical Sciences).

4.      “AgriScience into Practice" 4th CARS PostgraduateSymposium, 6th June, 2014  BBSRC North Wyke ExperimentalStation - Rothamstead Research Centre, UK

5.      The CARS (Centre for Agricultural and RuralSustainability) Annual Conference, 19th June 2013, Duchy College,UK.

6.      Hands-On Proteomics Workshop (Protein Structure,Extraction and Quantification, Western Blot, ELISA, 2D Gel Electrophoresis,Mass Spectrometry and Data Analysis. 1st-3rd July 2013.Plymouth University, UK.  

7.    Hands-onMolecular Biology Techniques (PCR, qPCR, Bioinformatics and Data Analysis). 26th-28th June 2013. Plymouth University..  

8.    Hands-onMolecular Biology Techniques (PCR, qPCR, Bioinformatics and Data Analysis). 26th-28th June 2013. Plymouth University..  

9.      Practical Techniques in Molecular Biology workshop, 16th-19thJuly, 2012. Plymouth University, United Kingdom.

10.  The PostgraduateSociety annual conference. Plymouth University, June 26, 2012.

Additional information

·         I haveundertaken, Health and Safety, Unconscious Bias, and Equality and Diversitycourses at the University of Plymouth.

·         IT skills :2008 - ICDL (international computer driving licence) certificate, competent useof Microsoft packages including Word, Access, and Excel. I have also goodexperience working with statistical programmes including Minitab and SPSS.

·         Languages and communication skills : Advanced level, I am fluent inEnglish (speaking, reading, listening, and writing).

·         Project management : Since I regularly supervise students and farmers, Ihave learned to manage my time and to use project resources efficiently. I usedalso to attend plant management meetings at ACSAD and themeetings of the Horticulture Department (University of Damascus). I also attendregular meeting at the School of Bioilogical and Marin Sciences (University ofPlymouth) which improved my negotiation proficiency and my ability to planfuture work strategies.