PlantStressLab - PhD students
Davide L. Patono
Grapevine root acts mostly as a sink of carbon during periods of water availability. During periods of drought stress, root changes drastically its metabolism, orchestrating whole plant stress responses. The goal of my PhD project is understand the pattern of carbon allocation to sink organs (root and fruits) during periods of drought stress and post-drought. Studies of C allocation follow pulse-chasing isotopic C strategy and involve ecophysiological and molecular investigation.
The aim of my PhD project is to investigate the molecular and physiological response of crop plants during drought stress and the recovery period using tomato as model. The general aim is to find new markers of drought stress resilience and I am particularly focused in elucidating the role of ORA47, a transcription factor that might repress strigolactone and ABA biosynthetic gene expression under well-watered conditions.
Strigolactones (SLs) are hormones produced in the roots and released into the soil. Their chemical lability and the low-volume radical productions hinder the prospect of using SLs as bioactive molecules at the pharmaceutical level and as biostimulants. The main objectives of my PhD project are the refinement of a process to extract SLs from exudates obtained from agro-industrial wastes and the enhancement of endogenous production of SLs in the roots by CRISPR protoplasts editing. SLs-enriched extracts will be used as biostimulants, evaluating the effects on stress response and flowering.
After graduating in Plant Biotechnology I'm now working with a research grant. My scientific interests are mainly focused on better understanding the role of SLs in the regulation of the response to abiotic stresses in plants with particular attention to phosphate starvation.