Inizio contenuto principale del sito


Academic positions

  • December 2014 – present. Full Professor, Horticultural Sciences (AGR/03), Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy.
  • May 2023 – present. Coordinator of the PhD Course in AgroBioSciences 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 - International Journals with Impact Factor


PhD Board



Statement of the Main Research Interests

The scientific interest and business activities related to crop species production are constantly increasing as a result of several factors such as: 1) the need to produce healthy and safe food (food safety) for a growing world population (food security); 2) the requirement to adopt sustainable and rational production techniques; 3) the necessity to reduce product losses (waste and loss) that are increasing due to the adverse effects of climate change. In particular, regarding my research interests and intended direction, I schematically identify the main areas of interest.

Physiological and molecular interactions among plants and environmental constrains.
Climate change and pollution will be a challenge for the food production in the future. For this reason, we need to understand deeply the complex interactions among plants and the environment and how plants could face abiotic and biotic stresses. The final goal is to translate this knowledge in efficient ecosystem/crop management strategies and crop genetic improvement solutions. My future research in this area will continue to contribute to the discovery of the biological and molecular mechanisms involved in plant’s reaction to abiotic stresses and in the translation of these molecular and biochemical information up to whole ecosystem/crop level. Thanks to the improvements in the phenotyping capabilities and omics technologies we have now new opportunities to identify relevant genes or epigenetic modifications in plant stress responses. Knowledge in plant responses to stresses could be used to screen the existing plant germplasm to identify which genotypes carry on stress related genes. Otherwise, we could use biotechnological tools such as micropropagation and Agrobacterium tumefaciens mediated transformation or the modern CRISP/Cas9 technology to insert/modify these genes in genotypes/plant of our interest. We need deeper knowledge on the stress impact and new plants/genotypes that could guarantee food security in terms of production stability and limited uptake of contaminates (inorganic or organic) in edible organs.

Nutraceutical in plants
“Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food”, despite the uncertain on who wrote this sentence there is a clear increase in the awareness of the importance of lifestyle for disease prevention. A renaissance of nutrition and lifestyle is evident, and people try to get healthier food rich in beneficial molecules that could help to reduce risk factors for disease. In this research area, my studies were aimed to improve the quantity and quality of nutraceutical molecules in plants and derivate products. My research activities for the next years will address both plant diversity and technological solutions that could be useful to select the best genotypes or the more conservative transformations for improving the nutraceutical content in foods. Thanks to the experience gained with the project TOSCOLATA® (Nutraceutical enhancement of typical Tuscan products in innovative foods made with cocoa) I would also like to explore the possibility to create novel food products rich in beneficial molecules that reduce the risks for human diseases.

Plant germplasm conservation
Plant biodiversity recovery, conservation and valorization strategies are crucial processes for the preservation of crop varieties and production practices in all agricultural areas. Moreover, a detailed knowledge of plant genetic variability is important to correctly preserve the germplasm and eventually use it for future genetic improvement program. In this research area, I studied the genetic variability of fruit tree species accessions using SSR markers. The accessions (pome and stone fruit) were also subjected to in-depth agronomic characterization of fruit quality for exploring new applications.

Agriculture 4.0
Agriculture 4.0 refers to the integration of advanced technologies into the agricultural sector to increase productivity, efficiency, and sustainability. In this area, I supervise field activities dealing with the application of artificial intelligence, robotics, internet of things (IoT), big data analytics, and automation technologies in grapevine and olive crops. These activities are done in collaboration with experienced engineers in the field of robotics, informatic and sensor technology applied to environmental monitoring. The aim is to optimize resource like water, in a competitive agricultural environment.

Ongoing Projects - Principal Investigator

  • 2023-26. Principal Investigator project ZESPRI. Funded by ZESPRI International Company
  • 2023-24. Principal Investigator project FERRERO. Funded by FERRERO Company
  • 2023-24. Principal Investigator project COSTA D’ORO. Funded by COSTA D’ORO Company
  • 2023-25. Principal Investigator project CASOliReXy. Funded by Masaf
  • 2023-25. Principal Investigator projects Fruits biodiversity in Casentino Area. Funded by Regione Toscana
  • 2022-24. Principal Investigator project VIRMA. Funded by MUR




  • Piante ed Inquinanti Ambientali 

Organization of International Events (last two):

  • 6-8 November 2023 - Metrology for Agriculture and Forestry - - Co-convener.
  • 10-14 October 2016 - 8th INTERNATIONAL OLIVE SYMPOSIUM - - Organizing Committee.