In these past years I dealt with a number of different projects in various areas of phytopathology, covering viruses, fungi, and bacteria (phytoplasmas). From traditional virology I shifted my interest to the virus-host interaction both for plant viruses and for mycoviruses.
My main research interests are in the following area:
- Set up of diagnostic tools for detection of a vast array of plant viruses and phytoplasmas (both serological and molecular)
- Identification and characterization of new virus-caused plant diseases, particularly for vegetable and ornamental crops
- Host-pathogen interaction in the case of resistance breaking strains of Tomato spotted wilt tospovirus, in pepper and tomato
- Host-pathogen interaction for Ourmia melon virus, at the cellular and molecular level
- Virus-vector interaction for TSWV and its thrips vector Frankliniella occidentalis
- Mycovirus-host interaction in the case of the CHV1-Cryphonectria parasitica. In particular we are currently evaluating the effects of the virus on signal transduction pathways, in particular for the MAP kinase cascades.
Recently we have started a new project in collaboration with Mycotheca Universitatis Taurinensis (MUT) which aims at detecting and characterizing mycoviruses from a collection of marine fungi isolated from Posidonia oceanica in order to verify their possible role in some biological features of the fungus, in specific for providing a specific advantage in the adaptation to the high salinity environment of the Mediterranean waters.