My research activity is aimed at the study of plants’ innate defense mechanisms to microbial pathogens; at the development of sustainable strategies of plant protection that exploit natural defenses of plants, such as induced resistance and defense priming; at the understanding of molecular interactions occurring between the pathogen and the plant during infection.
The studies are carried out with the use of molecular (e.g. qPCR), biochemical and bioinformatics techniques on crops (e.g. tomato) and on the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana (also with the use of T-DNA lines).
My research interests include:
- resistance inducers/priming activators of natural (e.g. beta-aminobutyric acid, BABA) and chemical origin;
- molecular mechanisms at the basis of defense priming in plants;
- role in resistance to pathogens of individual plant genes (e.g. GlyI4 in A. thaliana);
- microbial elicitors and their mechanism of action on plants (e.g. cerato-platanin family proteins);
- development of new sustainable strategies of plant protection (e.g. RNA interference).
Research projects of national interest (PRIN) 2017 – Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) – “Small RNAs and Peptides for controlling diseases and development in horticultural plants” (2019-2023). Research unit coordinator at CNR-IPSP (project started on 29/08/2019).