Graduated in Forestry Sciences, in 2008 I obtained a PhD in Agricultural Microbial Biotechnology. My research activity, in pathology and physiology, is aimed at the study of host-pathogen-environment interactions in forest trees, and in particular at the following topics:
• Constitutive and induced defense mechanisms (anatomical, biochemical and genetic) in trees against fungal pathogens. Induction of the content and emission of terpene compounds, accumulation of phenolic compounds in conifers (priming and signaling).
• Genetic improvement in Cupressus sempervirens aimed at the selection and patenting of genotypes with plus traits (resistance to pathogens, crown shape, growth and reduced pollen production).
• Virulence of fungal pathogens, characterization of populations with morphometric, biochemical and molecular assays as well as the study of phenotypic plasticity in invasive introduced fungal populations with particular reference to the Cupressus sempervirens–Seiridium cardinale pathosystem.
• Role of BVOCs in plant defense against pathogens and study of their impact on the flammability of Mediterranean tree species (impact on the risk of forest fires in relation to the health status and content of highly flammable terpenoids of plants).
• Biocontrol of forest pathogens. Evaluation of antagonism of native mycological species (Trichoderma spp. and ectomycorrhizal fungi) against telluric pathogens (Phytophthora cambivora, Heterobasidion abietinum, Armillaria spp.) both in vitro and in vivo. Characterization of bioactive molecules aimed at the production of biofungicides with reduced environmental impact.
During my career I realized internships and stays in foreign research institutes (UC Berkeley USA, INIA-Cifor Madrid, CREAF Barcelona, INRA Antibes, etc.) where I have deepened my skills on eco-physiological aspects related to the role of BVOCs emissions in response to biotic stress factors, and in forest phytopathology with reference to induced systemic resistance and genetic variability of pathogenic microorganisms.
Project Leader for: LIFE MycoRestore