• Istituto di Biologia e Patologia Molecolari

plant biology

Current research activities focus on identifying the genetic and molecular basis of plant development as well as the molecular response of plants to environmental and abiotic stress. The model organism is Arabidopsis thaliana, for which there a large number of genetic and genomic tools and resources is available.
Our activities focus on understanding the molecular mechanisms through which the interactions between hormones and environmental factors control plant organ development. Particular emphasis is given to the role of specific transcription factors in root and shoot development, as well as to the molecular mechanisms controlling male fertility.
The understanding of these processes is of great interest for the isolation of new varieties resistant to environmental stress, and for production of male sterile plants of potential use in agricultural practice. Beyond Arabidopsis, plant species called hyperaccumulators, which are capable of growing in soils with very high concentrations of heavy metals/metalloids, are studied for their potential in cleaning up polluted soils (phytoremediation).