Current projects:

  • Investigating the genetic basis of circadian rhythms and their relationship to physiological functions, specifically water-use efficiency and the traits contributing to it in the crop species, Brassica rapa. Circadian rhythms and external abiotic factors are known to be well related to each other, our aim is to underline the dramatic effects that drought can have on physiological traits in a population of Recombinant Inbred Lines (RILs). A whole picture of the physiology for the different RILs will permit the quantification of the traits, narrowing the field of the possible mechanisms involved in the response of plants to water stress.
  • Understanding how plants respond to extreme drought or bark beetle attack, analyzing several physiological and biochemical responses that take part in plant mortality. Climate models forecast further increases in aridity, but their predictions for plant growth and distribution are very uncertain especially with respect to mortality.  Identifying the time of death we aim to an accurate mechanistic description of mortality at the cell and leaf level, which will improve predictive understanding of the timing of lethal drought with climate change.We empirically test physiological mechanisms to search for the most reliable indicators of the precise timing of plant mortality in both herbaceous plants and forest trees. The implementation of these indicators will improve predictive capacity of global models forecasting climate impacts on both forest and agricultural ecosystems.
  • Quantifying circadian clock gating of critical abiotic stress responses from the organ to the whole-plant level and impacts on final yield. Collection and analysis of high-density time series measures of plant performance across crop-relevant genotypes of Brassica rapa. The data will serve the development of innovative Bayesian mechanistic models that will predict plant productivity from novel genotypes and growing environments.