Education. University Degree, Biological Sciences, University of Torino, Italy, PhD degree in Crop Genetics, University of Torino, Italy.
Lab working experience. Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, NJ, US (1989-1990); INTA, Cordoba, Argentina (1992); IPO/DLO, Wageningen, NL (1996); Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA (2003); Department of Plant & Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA (2007); INRA, Station Pathologie Vegetal, Montfavet, F (1997, 2015, 2016).
Research interests. I am in charge of the Molecular Biology group I, which deals with diseases caused by phytoplasmas in different crops. In particular, we study the two pathosystems of chrysanthemum yellow (caused by ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma asteris’) and Flavescence dorée (caused by a phytoplasma, FDp). Our research focuses on the three actors of the phytopathological triangle: plant, phytoplasma, and vector insect. As far as phytoplasma is concerned, we deal with i) genetic and functional diagnosis and characterization, and ii) characterization of the role of phytoplasma membrane proteins in determining vector-specific transmission of the pathogen. As for the vector insect, the main research lines concern i) the development of an RNAi platform to study the insect genes involved in the specificity of phytoplasma transmission and ii) the virome of phytoplasma vector insects for the possible development of a VIGS platform to unveil the functional genomics of phytoplasma transmission. The activity on the plant mainly concerns grapevine, according to two main lines: i) characterization of the susceptibility of grapevine germplasm to FD and identification of tolerance / resistance genes to phytoplasma diseases and ii) factors that influence Flavescence dorée epidemics (FD) and possible sustainable strategies to overcome them.
Keywords: Phytoplasmas, Flavescence dorée, membrane proteins, Vitis vinifera, insect vectors, RNAi, gene expression, resistance elicitors, VIGS
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