HomeGulnara Shammad Balakishiyeva sa sa


                                                    Gulnara Shammad Balakishiyeva                                        


Place of birth

Baku, Azerbaijan

Date of birth



Baku State University

Scientific degree

PhD in biology



Speciality code and title for PhD thesis



Molecular biology


“Molecular study of the distribution and diversity of phytoplasma diseases in fruit trees and vegetable crops in Azerbaijan”

Total number of printed scientific publications


Number of scientific publications printed abroad


Number of papers published in journals indexed and abstracted in international databases


Number of patents and certificates of authorship


Staff training:

-          number of  PhDs


Basic scientific achievements

For the first time phytoplasmas were detected on fruit trees and vegetable crops in Azerbaijan and the molecular taxonomic identification of the detected phytoplasmas performed by sequence analysis showed that ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma solani’, ‘Ca. P. pyri’, ‘Ca. P. prunorum’ were present in Azerbaijan.


First detection of ‘Ca. P. brasiliense’ in Eurasia has been reported. For the first time was performed detection of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma brasiliense’ in a new geographic region and existence of two genetically distinct populations. This phytoplasma, new for the Old World, was detected in a peach tree in the Guba region of Azerbaijan.


A Nested PCR test for the detection of ‘Ca.P.brasiliense’ was developed and was based on the amplification of the non-ribosomal dnaK gene, which had been cloned upon comparative RAPD. This new detection assay should help surveying for ‘Ca.P.brasiliense’ in the Euro Mediterranean area.


Complete Genome Sequence of citS gene was performed and a new marker based on this non-ribosomal gene encoding the malate/citrate symporter was developed.

The genetic diversity of ‘Ca. P. prunorum’, ‘Ca. P. mali’ and ‘Ca. P. pyri’ has been established by multilocus sequence analysis. For multilocus sequence analysis of phytoplasmas of the group 16SrX, four genes were targeted: two genes- pnp and aceF involved in carbon and nucleotide metabolism, as well as two genes encoding the immunodominant surface protein IMP and SecY, a component of the protein secretion machinery. Among four genetic loci the genes imp and aceF showed the highest variability.


For the first time to our knowledge, a recombination between two species of phytoplasmas has been evidenced. Genotyping of Azerbaijanese 'Ca. P. pyri' isolates showed that they shared some alleles with 'Ca. P. prunorum', supporting the existence of inter-species recombination between these two species.


For the first time have been reported the detection of ‘Ca. P. solani’ associated with ‘Bois noir’ grapevine yellows in Azerbaijan. It was the first report of grapevine phytoplasma diseases in Azerbaijan.


Multi-locus sequence analysis have revealed important genetic diversity of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma solani’ related strains associated with Bois Noir grapevine yellows and planthoppers in Azerbaijan. Genotypes were determined for two non-ribosomal house-keeping genes, namely tuf and secY, as well as two variable markers namely Stamp and mleP1 genes, that respectively encode the antigenic membrane protein AMP and a 2-Hydroxycarboxylate transporter.


In result of barcoding based on mtCOI mitochondrial marker “Hyalestes obsoletus” and “Reptalus noahi” were identified as insect vectors of the 'Candidatus Phytoplasma solani' in Azerbaijan.  This is first report of “Reptalus noahi” as insect vector spreading "Candidatus Phytoplasma solani".

Names of scientific works

1.      Fialova R., Valova P., Balakishiyeva G., Danet J. L., Šafarova D., Foissac X. & Navratil M.  Genetic variability of stolbur phytoplasma in annual crop and wild plant species in south Moravia (Czech Republic) // Journal of Plant Pathology, 2009, v. 91, p. 411-416.

2.      Balakishiyeva G., Danet J.L., Qurbanov M., Mamedov A., Khey-Pour A., and Foissac X. First report of phytoplasma infections in several temperate fruit trees and vegetable crops in Azerbaijan // Journal of Plant Pathology, 2010, v. 92, N. 4, Supplement, p.115.

3.      Balakishiyeva G., Qurbanov M., Mammadov A., Bayramov S., Aliyev J. & Foissac, X. Detection of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma brasiliense’ in a new geographic region and existence of two genetically distinct populations // European Journal of Plant Pathology, 2011, v. 130, p. 457-462.

4.      Danet J. L., Balakishiyeva G., Cimerman A., Sauvion N., Marie-Jeanne V., Labonne G., Lavina A., Batlle A., Križanac I., Škoriç D., Ermacora P., Ulubaş Serce C., Caglayan K., Jarausch W. & Foissac, X. Multilocus sequence analysis reveals the genetic diversity of European fruit tree phytoplasmas and the existence of inter species recombination // Microbiology, 2011, v. 157, p. 438 - 450.

5.      Fabre, A., Balakishiyeva, G., Ember, I., Omar, A.F., Acs, Z., Kölber, M. et al.  Stamp encoding the antigenic membrane protein of stolbur phytoplasma is useful for molecular epidemiology // Bulletin of insectology, 2011 (Supplement), p. 21-22.

6.      Balakishiyeva G., Gurbanov M., Mammadov A., Bayramov S., Aliyev J., and Foissac X.  Detection of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma brasiliense’ in a new geographic region and existence of two genetically distinct dnaK genotypes // Bulletin of Insectology, 2011, v. 64 (Supplement), p. 61-62.

7.      Balakişiyeva G.Ş., Məmmədov Ə.Ç. & Hüseynova İ.M.  Fitoplazmalar-bitki patogenləridir // AMEA-nın xəbərləri (biologiya elmləri), 2012, v. 67, N.1, p. 39-52.

8.      Balakishiyeva G. Sh., Danet J.-L., Mammadov A.Ch., Huseynova I.M. and Foissac  X. Genetic variability of stolbur phytoplasma in Azerbaijan // AMEA-nın məruzələri, 2012, N 2, p.66-73.

9.      Balakişiyeva G., Məmmədov Ə. & Hüseynova I. M. Azərbaycanda fitoplazma xəstəlikləri / Bakı: Elm, 2012, 48 səh.

10.  J. Aliyev, G. Balakishiyeva, A. Mammadov, J.-L. Danet, X.Foissac & I. Huseynova (2015). Genetic diversity of phytoplasmas in Azerbaijan. (monograph in azeri) Baku / Elm, 150p.

11.  Balakishiyeva G , Mamedov A, Foissac X, Huseynova I. and Aliyev J. (2016) First Report of  Grapevine „Bois noir‟ in Azerbaijan. Plant Disease, v.100, N.12, p.2522.

12.  Huseynova I, Balakishiyeva G, Aliyeva D, Gurbanova U, Bayramova J, Mustafayev N, Aliyev J. (2017) Changes in the activities of metabolic enzymes and antioxidant defense system in 'Candidatus phytoplasma solani' infected pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) plants. Net Journal of Agricultural Sciences, v. 5 (2),p.58-65.

13.  Balakishiyeva G., Bayramova J., Mammadov A., Salar P., Danet J-L., Ember I., Verdin E., Foissac X., Huseynova I. (2018). Important genetic diversity of 'Candidatus Phytoplasma solani' related strains associated with Bois noir grapevine yellows and planthoppers in Azerbaijan. European Journal of Plant Pathology,151:937–946. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10658-018-1429-4

14.  Desbiez, C., Verdin, E., Moury, B., Lecoq, H., Millot P.,Wipf-Scheibel, C., Mirzayeva, S., Sultanova N., Balakishiyeva G.,Mammadov, A., Ahmed Kheyr-Pour, A., Huseynova, I.(2019). Prevalence and molecular diversity of the main viruses infecting cucurbit and solanaceous crops in Azerbaijan. European Journal of Plant Pathology, 153: 359. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10658-018-1562-0


Membership with international and foreign scientific organizations

Member of Azerbaijan Society of  Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, since 2004 to present 

Expert of the Committee on Bioethics (DH-BIO) at the Council of Europe


Pedagogical activity


Lecturer in Phytopathology,  Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences

Other activities


Awards and prizes

“Honorary Certificate”  of ANAS, 2014

Place of work and its address

Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnologies of ANAS, AZ1073, Baku, pr., Izzat Nabiyev st.11


Leading researcher

Office phone

(+994 12) 538 11 64


(+994 55) 673 03 46 


(+994 12) 490 62 54 


(+994 12) 510 24 33