Peter Beyer studied Biology at the universities of Marburg and Freiburg. In 1981 he was awarded his doctorate in Cell Biology from the University of Freiburg and received his postdoctoral lecture qualification in 2000. Afterwards he was appointed Professor for Cell Biology at the Faculty of Biology. Since 2001 Beyer is Vice-Director Plant Biotechnology of the Centre for Applied Biosciences (ZAB) in Freiburg. Starting 2005 Peter Beyer became Principal Investigator in the ProVitaMinRice Consortium, a program funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and one of the selected Grand Challenges in Global Health projects. The project «Engineering Rice for High Beta-Carotene, Vitamin E and Enhanced Iron and Zinc Bioavailability», designed to further biofortify Golden Rice with other vital micronutrients has been awarded 11.3 Million USD to achieve its goals. Research is handled by a consortium of seven laboratories in a number of countries. Apart from Beyer's group the project involves groups from Baylor College of Medicine, Michigan State University, the International Rice Research Institute and PhilRice, both in the Philippines, the Cuu Long Delta Rice Research Institute, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Peter Beyer’s research focusses on the biochemistry, molecular biology and regulation of the plant [prenyl-lipid metabolism (sterols, vitamins E and K, carotenoids. Besides basic science the group focuses on applied pathway engineering to improve the nutritional value of crop plants. Peter Beyer pioneered the metabolic engineering of plants with engineering the beta-carotene biosynthetic pathway into rice endosperm, published 2000 in Science, which is widely appreciated as one of the success stories of Synthetic Biology. Consequently, Beyer is PI in the Centre for Biological Signaling Studies, which is devoted to this novel field in science.
- The Golden Rice patent: Beyer P and Potrykus I. Method for improving the agronomic and nutritional value of plants EP1159428 B1, 5. Dezember 2001.
- Ye X, Al-Babili S, Klöti A, Zhang J, Lucca P, Beyer P, Potrykus I (2000) Engineering the provitamin A (beta-carotene) biosynthetic pathway into (carotenoid-free) rice endosperm. Science 287:303-305.
- S. Al-Babili, P. Beyer: Golden Rice - five years on the road - five years to go? In: Trends in Plant Science. 12/10/2005 S. 565-573