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Department of Plant and Microbial Biology

Dr. Gabriella Pessi - Microbiology

Our laboratory studies the molecular biology of Paraburkhoderia strains that are beneficial for the plant, by forming a nitrogen-fixing symbiosis with legumes and/or by protecting the plant against phytopathogens. We use a multidisciplinary approach that combines high-throughput genome-wide molecular screening methods (Tn-Sequencing, RNA-Sequencing, shotgun proteomics and metabolomics) with targeted mutant analysis, phenotypical analysis and microscopy. Our objectives are to elucidate the genetic bases of the ability of certain plant associated Paraburkholderia strains to i) be highly competitive in infecting the roots of legumes, ii) nodulate a wide range of legumes to provide them with fixed nitrogen as nutrient, and iii) protect certain plants against phytopathogens.
Our work aims at better understanding the molecular bases of beneficial plant-microbe interactions that might be exploitable in the future to develop novel rhizobial inoculants for enhancing the sustainability of agriculture and crop protection.