PlantStressLab - Francesca Secchi

Associate Professor in Plant Physiology

She has expertise in molecular plant physiology. Her current research focuses on whole woody plant water relations, sugar metabolism, structure and function of plant vascular network and abiotic plant stress biology.


  • PB-PINE: Short and long term effects of prescribed burning on soil-plant system in alpine forest stands (Pinus sylvestris L.)

  • MITIWOOD: Holistic understanding of xylem recovery from water stress to mitigate future climate impact on woody plants

  • MicroCT-xRec: The main goal of the proposed research is to use concurrently physiological treatments and in vivo 3-D micro-tomography to gain mechanistic insight into biological activity of poplar vessels-parenchyma complex during the cycle of embolism and subsequent recovery of hydraulic conductivity (recovery).

Recent publications

Pagliarani C, Moine A, Chitarra W, Nerva L, Catoni M, Tavazza R, Matic S, Vallino M, Secchi F, Noris E (2022). The C4 protein of tomato yellow leaf curl Sardinia virus primes drought tolerance in tomato through morphological adjustments. Horticulture research.
Morabito C, Orozco J, Tonel G, Cavalletto S, Meloni GR, Schubert A, Gullino ML, Zwieniecki MA, Secchi F (2021) Do the ends justify the means? Impact of drought progression rate on stress response and recovery in Vitis vinifera. Physiologia Plantarum 174(1):e13590
Campobenedetto C, Agliassa C, Manino G, Vigliante I, Contartese V, Secchi F, Bertea CM, (2021). A Biostimulant Based on Seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum and Laminaria digitata) and Yeast Extracts Mitigates Water Stress Effects on Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.). Agriculture 11(6)
Agliassa C, Manino G, Molino D, CavallettoS, Contartese V, Bertea CM, Secchi F (2021). A new protein hydrolysate-based biostimulant applied by fertigation promotes relief from drought stress in Capsicum annuum L. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 166:1076-1086
Morabito C, Secchi F, Schubert A (2021). Grapevine TPS family genes are differentially regulated during development, upon sugar treatment and drought stress. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 164: 54-62
Secchi F, Pagliarani C, Cavalletto S, Petruzzellis F, Tonel G, Savi T, Tromba G, Obertino MM, Lovisolo C, Nardini A, Zwieniecki MA (2021) Chemical inhibition of xylem cellular activity impedes the removal of drought-induced embolisms in poplar stems – new insights from micro-CT analysis. New Phytologist 229, 2: 820-830
Pagliarani C, Casolo V, Ashofteh Beiragi M, Cavalletto S, Siciliano I, Schubert A, Gullino ML, Zwieniecki MA, Secchi F (2019). Priming xylem for stress recovery depends on coordinated activity of sugar metabolic pathways and changes in xylem sap. Plant Cell and Environment 42: 1775-1787. doi: 10.1111/pce.13533.
Ouleadi S, Ennajeh M, Ferrandino A, Khemiraa H, Schubert A, Secchi F (2019). Influence of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi inoculation on the control of stomata functioning by abscisic acid (ABA) in drought-stressed olive plants. South African Journal of Botany 121: 152-15
Petruzzellis F, Pagliarani C, Savi T, Losso A, Cavalletto S, Tromba G, Dullin C, Bär A, Ganthaler A, Miotto A, Mayr S, Zwieniecki MA, Nardini A, Secchi F (2018). The pitfalls of in vivo imaging techniques: evidence for cellular damage caused by synchrotron X-ray computed micro-tomography. New Phytologist 220:104-110
Stein O, Secchi F, German M, Damari-Weissler H, Aloni R, Holbrook Mn, Zwieniecki Ma, Granot D (2017). The tomato cytosolic fructokinase FRK1 is important for phloem fiber development. Biologia Plantarum 62:353-361 doi: s10535-017-0762
Bagherzadi L, Sinclair TR, Zwieniecki MA, Secchi F, Hoffmann, Carter TE, Rufty TW (2017). Assessing water-related plant traits to explain slow-wilting in soybean PI 471938. Journal of Crop Improvement 31: 400-417.
Zwieniecki MA, Secchi F (2017). Role of Aquaporins in the Maintenance of Xylem Hydraulic Capacity. Chapter 11. In: "PLANT AQUAPORINS: FROM TRANSPORT TO SIGNALING”. Chaumont F, Tyerman SD. Editor Springer. ISBN: 978-3-319-49393-0
Sperling O, Secchi F, Godfrey J, Zwieniecki MA (2017). Acclimation of Pistacia integerrima trees to frost in semi-arid environments depends on autumn's drought. Planta 245: 671-679. doi: 10.1007/s00425-016-2629-9.
Secchi F, Pagliarani C, Zwieniecki MA (2017). The functional role of xylem parenchyma cells and aquaporins during recovery from severe water stress. Plant Cell and Environment 40: 858-871. doi: 10.1111/pce.12831