Biology, agriculture and food sciences

Scientific council


Title: Full Professor in Plant Genetics (AGR/07)

Affiliation: University of Naples "Federico II"

Specialization: Plant Genetics and Biotechnology

Graduated with honors in Agricultural Sciences at the University of Naples Federico II in 1987, she pursued training in the field of Genetics and Plant Breeding during 1988-1993, thanks to scholarships provided by various institutions, such as the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (I.I.T.A.), the CNR, and the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.
Since 1994, she has carried out research activities at the Centro di Studio per il Miglioramento Genetico degli Ortaggi - Portici (Naples), in the area of "Agro-biotechnology in vegetable crops" as a Researcher under a fixed-term contract (ex Art..23 ), and since 1997 as a Level III Professional Researcher at the Institute for the Breeding of Vegetable and Flowering Plants - CNR-IMOF.
Since 2001, she has been Researcher at the Faculty of Biotechnology Sciences for Plant Genetics, in 2005-2018 she was an Associate Professor, first at the Faculty of Biotechnology Sciences, then at the Department of Agricultural Sciences, of the University of Naples "Federico II" and from 2018 to present she is a Full Professor at the same Department.
From 2021 to present, she has been the Coordinator of the PhD in Food Science at the University of Naples Federico II and since 2019 she has been a Component of the University's Quality Presidium.
During these years she has been involved in plant breeding of vegetables, using both classical and innovative methodologies. She has gained experience in the areas of breeding, cytogenetics and genomics. In particular, since 1989 she has specialized on the use of molecular markers in the study of germplasm, identification of resistance genes, construction of genetic maps, and assisted selection. Since 1990 she has set up a molecular biology laboratory at the CNR headquarters in Portici, fine-tuning techniques related to the use of various markers, and coordinating various research activities in this area. She currently coordinates a research group consisting of one associate professor, one RTD-A researcher, one post-doc, two PhD students, and has been supervisor of several doctoral and master's degree students.
She is author and co-author of more than 100 papers, published in indexed scientific journals (5249 citations, h-index 31, source Scopus). In carrying out her research activities, she collaborated with scientists from national and international institutions, including the Max-Planck Institut in Cologne, the John Innes Center, Institut National Polytechnique in Toulouse, Universidad Politecnica in Valencia, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomic in Bordeaux, and the Maritsa Vegetable Crops Research Institute in Plovdiv.
She has participated in and been the scientific leader of many research projects at the national and international level, and is currently the scientific leader of the PSR-Measure 16.1.1 project "Development and enhancement of the sustainable supply chain of GiaGiù yellow cherry tomato," and is the coordinating person for UNINA of Spoke 1 "Plant, animal and microbial resources and adaptation to climatic changes" of the AGRITECH project - National Research Center for Agricultural Technologies.


Title: Full professor

Affiliation: University of Basilicata

Specialization: insect biotechnologies

Graduated in Science of Food Preparation, summa cum laude at the University of Basilicata. On 2000 she obtained the title of PhD in Applied Biology, XII cycle, at the University of Basilicata.
She was Researcher for the scientific disciplinary sector AGR/11 (General and Applied Entomology) at the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Basilicata, from 2002 to 2008. She was Associate Professor at the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Basilicata, from 2008 to 2012 and at the Department of Sciences of the University of Basilicata from 2012 to 2021. She is Full Professor for the disciplinary scientific sector AGR/11 at the Department of Sciences of the University of Basilicata since December 16th 2021 to date.
Since 2018 she has been Pro-Rector of Teaching. She is the Coordinator of the international PhD School in Applied Biology and Environmental Safeguard (cycles XXXIII, XXXIV and XXXV), of the international PhD School in Sciences (cycles XXXVI and XXXVII) and of the PhD School in Sciences (cycles XXXVIII and XXXIX). Since 2022 she has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Tech4you created for the project "Tech4you-Technologies for climate change adaptation and quality of life improvement" - Ecosistemi dell'Innovazione - PNRR M4C2.
For the University she carry out numerous institutional and Public Engagement activities.
She currently coordinates a research group composed of 2 researchers, 3 post docs, 12 PhD students and 2 postgraduate trainees and characterized by numerous national and international collaborations. Over the years she has supervised numerous PhD students and bachelor and master degree students.
Scientific responsible for the activities of tasks 2.2.4 and 2.2.5 (Spoke 2) of Unibas of the project "National Research Center for Agricultural Technologies - AGRITECH" - Centri Nazionali - PNRR M4C2, and of the Unibas activities of the Pilot Project 3.5 of Spoke 3 "Green Chemistry for Circular Economy", project "Tech4You - Technologies for climate change adaptation and quality of life improvement" - Ecosistemi dell'Innovazione - PNRR M4C2. She is also responsible for 4 regional projects financed by European funds for the 2014-2020 programme period (FEASR PSR Basilicata 2014-2020 - sub-measures 16.1 and 16.2, PO FESR - Linea A and PO FESR - CORES) and she is scientific manager of research units of 2 national research projects (PON R&I 2014-2020 and PRIN 2017), all in progress and many others concluded.
She is the founding partner of the innovative start-up and academic spin-off XFLIES s.r.l.
She is editor of numerous international journals indexed with impact factor.
Author of 206 publications (87 articles in international journals with impact factor, 1 abstract in journal, 7 contributions in volumes, 29 contributions in conference proceedings, 4 abstracts in conference proceedings, 76 posters, 2 curatorship) (citations 2739, H- index 33, source Scopus).
Her research activities mainly fall within the field of biomimicry and insect biotechnologies and their applications, in particular:
- the study of the molecular basis of mechanisms that regulate the behaviour, biology and physiology of insects and their interactions with other organisms;
- insects as sources of genes, molecules and processes useful for human activities.
The more detailed scientific CV is available at the link:


Title: Full Professor

Affiliation: Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome

Specialization: Analytical Chemistry

Chiara Fanali, Ph.D., is full Professor of Analytical Chemistry at the Department of Science and Technologies for Humans and the Environment, Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome (Italy). She is President of the Degree Course in Food Science and Human Nutrition of the Departmental Faculty of Sciences and Technologies for Sustainable development and one health, Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome from the academic year 2019-2020. She is Coordinator of research and third mission of the Departmental Faculty of Sciences and Technologies for Sustainable development and one health, Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome from the academic year 2022-2023. She is the Coordinator of the PhD Course in "Sustainable development: environment, food and health" (XXXVIII cycle), Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome from the academic year 2022-2023. He currently teaches Analytical Chemistry in various courses for students of the bachelor and master's degree in Food science and human nutrition, Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome.
In 2008 she received her PhD degree in Biochemical Studies of Proteome at Catholic University of Rome (Italy). Since February 2010 she has carried out her research activity at Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome. Her research interests mainly concern the application of modern and innovative analytical techniques to the analysis and characterization of food bioactive compounds and peptides and proteins in biological fluids. Analytical techniques currently employed include high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and nano-liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometers such as Ion Trap (IT), single quadrupole, high resolution Linear Ion trap-Orbitrap and time of flight (TOF). She is author or co-authors of papers in international journals and some book's chapters and invited speaker at national and international symposia.
On August 2023 in Scopus database there are 120 documents with 3178 citations and H-index of 34.


Title: Senior researcher CNR

Affiliation: National Research Council, Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection

Specialization: Plant pathologist specialized in the area of the diseases affecting perennial crops, graft- transmissible and vector-borne pathogens

Dr. Saponari started her research in plant pathology by focusing on the detection and characterization of olive and citrus-infecting viruses, she contributed to extend the knowledge on the viruses causing diseases on these Mediterranean crops, to develop protocols for virus detection and for sanitation. She has successfully combined innovative molecular approaches with traditional biological studies contributing to unravel important genetic/biological features of plant pests and their interactions with hosts. Several new emerging pathogens have been characterized and reported for the first time by Dr. Saponari. During the past 10 years, she extended her scientific interest to the development of several research programs on Xylella fastidiosa, at national and European level. She contributed to the first report of Xylella fastidiosa in Europe; to define the genetic relatedness of the Apulian strain to X. fastidiosa subsp. pauca and to identify the first ascertained vector of X. fastidiosa in Italy (Philaenus spumarius). She contributed to fulfill the kock's postulates on X. fastidiosa and the olive quick decline disease, and to obtain the first complete genome of the EU strain of X. fastidiosa. She coordinated the research on X. fastidiosa at European and national level, establishing a network of international scientific collaborations. In this framework, it is also relevant the cooperation with stakeholders, promoting the exploitation and transfer of knowledge and research outcomes. She is actively involved in several working groups, i.e. at the European Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO) and at European Food Safety Agency (EFSA). Currently she is leading a strategic national project on Xylella, which also includes relevant investments in plant biosecurity.


Title: Research Manager

Affiliation: National Research Council - Institute of sciences of food production

Specialization: use of microorganisms, microbial products, and natural metabolites as environmentally-friendly agrochemicals; weed biocontrol

Maurizio Vurro is an agronomist with main expertise and scientific interests in plant pathology, weed biological control, parasitic weed management, production and biological characterization of bioactive metabolites by phytopathogenic fungi and plants, and use of microbes, microbial products, and natural metabolites as agrochemicals.
He is employed at the Institute of Sciences of Food Production (ISPA) (former Institute of Toxins and Mycotoxins from Plant Parasites), National Research Council (CNR) in Bari, Italy, since 1987, with the position of Director of Research since 2011.
He was the coordinator of several projects and acted as scientific and local organizer of several international events, e.g., among others: an EU Project on the use of microbes for biocontrol; an EU Life project on Ailanthus management; a Rockefeller/OECD-CRP Conference; a NATO Advanced School and a NATO Workshop; an OECD conference on parasitic weed management and one on biological weed control; the 11' World Congress on Parasitic Plants; the 13' European Weed Research Society Symposium. He was involved in several European COST actions. He is currently the Vice-President of the European Weed Research Society (EWRS). He acted as a tutor for several students and supervised many theses. He made several speeches and presentations at national and international congresses, PhD classes, and courses. He is the author of over 110 publications in international journals. H-index Scopus: 35 - Google Scholar: 44.
Personal website: