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Academic positions

  • December 2014 – present. Full Professor, Horticultural Sciences (AGR/03), Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy.

Past responsibilities

  • June 2016 – 14th September 2021 - Director of the Institute of Life Sciences Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy.

Studies and Qualification

  • MSc in Agricultural Sciences, cum laude (1991, University of Pisa, Italy).
  • PhD in Plant Biology - Agriculture - Environment (1996, Scuola Superiore di Studi Universitari e di Perfezionamento S.Anna - Pisa, Italy).

  • Post Doctorate in the area of: "Innovative technologies in agricultural science: use of biotechnology for investigations on biotic and abiotic stress on cultivated plants" (1996 -1998 Section of Agricultural Science, Sant'Anna University, Pisa, Italy).

Past Academic positions and responsibilities

  • May 2012 – March 2017. Coordinator of the PhD Course in AgroBioSciences Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy.
  • 2014, 2015, 2016. Coordinator of the Undergraduate Student Guidance activities at Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy

Past Employment Records

  • November 2002 – December 2014. Associate Professor, Horticultural Sciences (AGR/03), Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy.
  • September 1998 – October 2002. Assistant Professor, Horticultural Sciences (AGR/03), Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy.

Research activity

  • June 2022-present. Crop Science Research Center, Sant'Anna University, Pisa
  • 2011-May 2022. Life Science Institute, Sant'Anna University, Pisa
  • 1992-2010. BioLabs, Sant'Anna University, Pisa and BioLabs Scientific Coordinator from 2003 to 2010.
  • November-December 2016. Invited Lecture at the College of the Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Beijing Forestry University. Contact prof. Huafang Wang
  • 2010-2012. Visiting Scientist (2-3 short time visits per year) at the Department of Plant Physiology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava for the activities of the Bilateral project Italy-Slovack Progetto di Rilevante Interesse MAE, contact Professor Alexander Lux.
  • July 2012. Visiting Scientist at the Kruger National Park - Professor Johannes van Staden - Director, Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development, South Africa.
  • June-July 2005. Visiting Scientist at the Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiologia de Sevilla, Espana, contact Dr. Enrique Fernandez.
  • August 2005. Visiting Scientist at the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA, contacts Professor Jules Janick and Professor Ray Bressan.
  • March 1999. Guest researcher at the Department of Plant Science, Oxford University, Oxford, UK, contacts Professor Marc Knight
  • June-July 1997. Guest researcher at the Department of Plant Physiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden with a grant from CNR/SJFR, contact Professor Sylvia Lindberg.
  • July 1996. Guest researcher at the Department of Plant Physiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden, contact Professor Sylvia Lindberg.
  • August-October 1995. Guest researcher at the Department of Plant Physiology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden, contact Professor Sylvia Lindberg.
  • April-July 1995. Research training at MOGEN International nv - The Agricultural Bio-engineers - Leiden, The Netherlands with a grant from European Community (COMETT Project).
  • 1988-91. Research activity at the Dept of Plant Biology - Section of Genetics, University of Pisa.



  • 12th May 2011. ISHS ( Medal for the organisation of the VIII International Workshop on SapFlow Workshop
  • 19th November 1998. Giovanni Spitali Foundation Award for the best PhD dissertation discussed in the year 1995-1996-1997 at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy.

Editorial Board of International Journals

  • July 2014-present. Associate Editor - Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier (2013 Impact Factor = 2.333; Rank Q1 in Agronomy category).
  • October 2011-present. Editorial Board - Plant Growth Regulation, Springer (2013 Impact Factor = 1.625; Rank Q2 in Plant Sciences category).
  • August 2013-present. Editorial Board - South African Journal of Botany, Elsevier (2013 Impact Factor = 1.340; Rank Q2 in Plant Sciences category).
  • September 2013-present. Editorial Board - The Scientific World Journal, Hindawi Publishing Corporation (2013 Impact Factor = 1.219; Rank Q2 in Multidisciplinary Sciences category)
  • January 2012-present. Editorial Board - Scientifica the open access journal of science, Hindawi Publishing Corporation.
  • August 2012-present. Editorial Board - Antioxidants - Open Access Journal, MDPI - Open Access Publishing.

PhD Board

  • Agrobiodiversity - Sant'Anna University, Pisa
  • Agrobiosciences - Sant'Anna University, Pisa



Physiological and molecular interactions among plants and the environmental constrains

In this research area, I tried to disclose some of the biological and molecular mechanisms involved in woody plant’s reaction to abiotic stresses moving from cell/tissue to whole crop level. At cell/tissue level I studied the molecular and biochemical involved in the reaction to temperature (chilling and freezing stress), drought and salinity, mineral nutrient deficiencies (Fe), pollution effects (ozone and heavy metals stress in particular) and also global change (increasing CO2 levels) aspects. In these type of studies I used woody plant having an immediate interest for agricultural production such as olive, peach, kiwifruit and poplar. The basic idea was to understand how these crops for fruit (olive, peach, kiwifruit) and wood (poplar) production resist to abiotic stresses and how we can improve by crop management or genetic improvement strategies their resistance traits.

Fruit composition and antioxidant compounds

In this research area, my studies were aimed to prove the health promoting effects of woody plant fruits (apple, grape, olive) and derivate products (juices, oil, …) since them are a very important source of polyphenolic compounds. In one of the first study we applied the peroxynitrite anion (ONOO- ; a free radicals involved in numerous degenerative pathologies) test to verify the  antioxidant properties of different grapevine and apple varieties as well as how to maximize these compounds in fresh fruits or juices.

Woody plant germplasm conservation

Plant biodiversity recovery, conservation and valorization strategies are crucial processes for the preservation of ancient crop varieties and production practices in small and marginal agricultural areas. Moreover, a detailed knowledge of plant genetic variability is important in order to correctly preserve the germplasm and eventually use it for future genetic improvement program. The two mani  systems studied were:

  • Olive-growing areas of Tuscany and Liguria, which are characterized by a number of different olive varieties - most of them still unknown and/or partially described or characterized.
  • Hilly and mountainous regions in Tuscany (Casentino, Comune di Zeri, Capannori, Elba) and Liguria (Provincia di La Spezia) that are characterized by a fast population decline and loss of several agricultural activities due to strong international competition, farmer ageing and more attractive economic activities (industry, commerce and tourism) in the surrounding areas

ICT and DSS technologies in agriculture.

In this area I supervise field activities dealing with the application at regional level (Toscana and Liguria) of ICT and DSS technologies for the monitoring of grapevine and olive fruit maturation dynamics and plant phenology.



  • Piante ed Inquinanti Ambientali