Lab members

 

 

 

Professor

Prof. Daniele Daffonchio

Daniele Daffonchio obtains a PhD degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry and Ecology of Pesticides at the University of Milan in 1993. In 1994 he hold a Post-Doctoral position at the Laboratory of Microbial Ecology at the Gent University, Belgium under the coordination of Prof. Willy Verstraete. From 1995 to 2002 he is Senior Researcher at the Department of Food Environmental and Nutritional Sciences of the University of Milan. From November 1998 to October 1999 he is Adjunct Professor of Industrial Microbiology, University of Urbino, Italy. Since August 2001 he resulted eligible as Associate Professor at the University of Foggia. On march 2002 he is associate professor of microbiology at the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Milan. Since November 2010 he is full professor in Microbial Systems Biotechnology at the same University. He partecipated to several Italian and European projects among which BIODEEP (2001-04), TRANSBAC (2001-04), MACUMBA (2012-16) and KILLSPILL (2013-16) and he coordinates projects BIODESERT (2010-12) and ULIXES (2011-14). He is co-founder of the Spin-Off company Micro4Your S.r.l. and authored a patent on a novel strategy for the protection of honeybee health by exploiting microbial symbionts. Research themes regards: i) Microbial ecology and biotechnology of extreme marine and terrestrial ecosystems; ii) Biology and biotechnology of arthropod-microbe symbiosis; iii) Plant-microbes interactions under water stress; iv) Molecular biodiversity of microorganisms in relation to soil, ground water and marine system bioremediation; v) Study of microbial contribute to biodeterioration of stone artworks. He collaborates with many Italian and foreign scientists and is author of more than 130 scientific publications.

 

 

 

 

Associate Professor

Prof. Sara Borin

2001 University of Milan, PhD title in “Pesticide Chemistry, Biochemistry and Ecology”. Experimental thesis entitled: “Genetically modified plants and microorganisms: studies on the gene transfer to phytopathogen bacteria and on the impact of Bt corn, self-protected against Ostrinia nubilalis, on the microflora of the rhizosphere and of bovine rumen”.

2002 University of Milan, permanent position as researcher in Agricultural Microbiology.

2008 University of Milan, permanent position as associate professor in Environmental Microbiology.

·    Study of bacterial biodiversity in extreme environments.

·    Genetic and phenotypic diversity among the “Bacillus cereus group”.

·    Characterization of the microflora involved in bioremediation processes.

·    Genetically Modified Plants and bacteria.

·    Biodeterioration of stone artworks by microorganisms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr. Elena Crotti

Specialized in microbial symbiont ecology and biotechnology, Elena is a PostDoc researcher at the DDlab  at the University of Milan. Her current research focuses on the study and biotechnological applications of microbial associations between bacteria and insects. She is working with the genetic manipulation of symbionts for dissecting their functions in the hosts. Other research topics, Elena is working with, are in the ambit of the FP7 projects: MACUMBA, marine microorganisms: cultivation methods for improving their biotechnological applications; and BIODESERT, biotechnology from desert microbial extremophiles for supporting agriculture research potential in Tunisia and Southern Europe.

 

 

Dr. Eleonora Rolli

Eleonora joined the DDlab in 2009. She is a PostDoc researcher her research topic deals with plant-microbe interactions. Her study is focused to the biotechnological exploitation of plant growth promoting bacteria associated to cultivated and autochthonous plants in arid environments, both hot and cold deserts. She is interested in the characterization of the mechanisms adopted by these beneficial bacteria to support plant growth under drought, focusing on rhizo-competence ability through the use of GFP-labelled strains. This research is in frame with the BIODESERT project. Other research topic deal with primary colonization in bare moraine soils at high altitude. Under the umbrella of BIOGESTECA project, she is studying bacteria involved in nitrogen cycling in maize and rice plants cultivated in North Italy and beneficial bacteria associated to these crops.

 

 

Dr. Annalisa Balloi

Specialized in microbial ecology and bioremediation.  She is a PostDoc researcher at the DDLab, co-founder and CEO of the spin-off Micro4yoU (www.micro4you.eu). Her current research focuses on the biorestoration of cultural heritage and the biotechnological applications of microbial associations between bacteria and insects. Her didactic activity comprises a courses in 'Elements of Biology Applied to Cultural Heritage' at the Brera Academy.

 

 

Dr. Francesca Mapelli

Specialized in extreme ecosystems ecology, with a focus on microbe-plant and microbe-mineral interactions, Francesca is a Post Doc researcher at the DDLab at the University of Milan. Her current research regards the description of bacterial function and diversity in marine environments and extreme, pristine and polluted, environments. Her research is performed under the umbrella of the EU FP7 projects: ULIXES, approaches towards bioremediation of the Mediterranean Sea by exploring its microbial diversity; KILLSPILL, integrated biotechnological solutions for combating marine oil spills and MACUMBA, marine microorganisms: cultivation methods for improving their biotechnological applications.

 

 

Dr. Ramona Marasco

Specialized in plant-microbes interaction and microbial ecology, Ramona is a Post Doc researcher at the DDlab at the University of Milan. My current research focuses on the study of biological richness and potential of bacteria associated to plant, with particular interest for the biotechnological applications in agriculture. She is working with Plant Growth Promoting Bacteria (PGPB) isolated from arid and stressful environment in order to characterize the mechanisms of plant promotion/protection during drought. She is working in the ambit of the BIODESERT project, biotechnology from desert microbial extremophiles for supporting agriculture research potential in Tunisia and Southern Europe; and BIOGESTECA project for the identification and characterization of PGP to improve rice and maize production under stress in Italy. Other research topics are focused on the study of phylogenetic and functional diversity of microbiome in extreme environment (cold and hot desert, volcanic lake, saline system).

 

 

Dr. Giuseppe Merlino

Specialized in environmental biotechnology and microbiology. He is a Post-Doc fellow and the main topics of his research are microbial-mediated processes involved in renewable energy production, such as methanogenesis in anaerobic digestion systems, and in bioremediation of contaminated terrestrial and aquatic environments. His current research is in the ambit of a project in collaboration with ENI spa and concerns the investigation of diversity, dynamics and metabolic capabilities of microbial consortia in freshwater environments polluted by chlorinated compounds aimed at setting up innovative bioremediation approaches. Other research activity Giuseppe is involved in, within the 7th EU FP Project ULIXES, is focused on the exploration of the microbial diversity of the Mediterranean Sea.

 

 

Dr. Marco Fusi

Specialized in mangrove crab ecology and more in general tropical and temperate intertidal ecology, Marco is a PostDoc researcher at the DDLab at the University of Milan collaborating with the University of Florence, Rhodes university (South Africa), SAIAB (South Africa)  and with VLB/ULB University in Belgium. His current research focuses on the study of symbiontic microbial associations between bacteria and and mangrove crabs. Furthermore he is also studying new techniques of culturability of non culturable microbes from marine environment, particularly from mangrove system to marine deep hypersaline basins. His research is in the ambit of the FP7 projects: MACUMBA, marine microorganisms: cultivation methods for improving their biotechnological applications.

 

 

Dr. Bessem Chouaia

Specialized in microbial symbiont ecology and genomics, Bessem is a PostDoc researcher at the DDLab at the University of Milan. His current research focuses on the study of microbial associations between bacteria and different insect models. He is working on understanding the interactions between the symbionts and their host using NextGen genomics and metagenomics. Other research topics, He is working on, are in the ambit of the FP7 projects: BIODESERT, biotechnology from desert microbial extremophiles for supporting agriculture research potential in Tunisia and Southern Europe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PhD Candidates

Marta Barbato

Marta is a Phd student at the DDLab of the University of Milan, who is specializing in environmental microbiology,. Her current research focuses on the study of polluted environments microbial diversity aiming to set up new bioremediation strategies. Her research topic is in the ambit of the EU project ULIXES, approaches towards bioremediation of the Mediterranean Sea by exploring its microbial diversity.

 

 

Davide Lavazza

Davide is specializing in biotechnology and environmental microbiology. He is a first year PhD student at the DDLab. His project is focused on the microbial characterization of organohalide polluted groundwater by enrichment microcosm cultures, in order to investigate the most suitable way to promote pollutant degradation by the resident microbial community.

 

 

Emanuela Lombardi

Emanuela is a PhD student at the school “Chemistry, Biochemistry and Ecology of Pesticides”. She is involved in a project at DDLab concerning the use of microorganism for the restoration of artworks.  The project is in collaboration with the spin-off “Micro4yoU”. Her current research focuses on setting up the optimal conditions for the growth of sulfate reducing bacteria, comparing the oxygen-tolerance of different strains.

 

 

Erica Prosdocimi

After the master degree in Biology, Erica started the PhD in Agricultural Ecology at the DDLab in 2011. Her research focuses on the symbiosis between insects and their microbiota. On one hand, she works on the description and functional characterization of microbial communities associated to insect pests, in order to enable new strategies of pest control in agriculture. On the other hand she is interested in the genetic mechanisms underlying the interaction between insects and gut bacteria, both beneficial symbionts and pathogens. To address this topic, she focuses on Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. During her PhD she is applying both microbiological techniques and molecular and biotechnological approaches.

 

 

Luigi Sansonno

Luigi is a Ph.D. student in “Chemistry, Biochemistry and Ecology of Pesticides” at the DDLab, University of Milan, working in the frame of microbial symbiont ecology and biotechnology. The project in which he is involved aims to study the microbial diversity associated to Mediterranean honey bees Apis mellifera, in order to develop a biocontrol strategy, based on the use of honey bee symbionts, to counteract bee pathogens and to improve their healthy state. His research is performed in the ambit of the EU FP7 project BIODESERT: biotechnology from desert microbial extremophiles for supporting agriculture research potential in Tunisia and Southern Europe.

 

 

Violetta Vacchini

Violetta has a Master Degree in Biology and is now attending the three years PhD Course at DDLab, at the University of Milan. The aim of her PhD. project is the study of the ecology and the interactions between symbiotic microorganisms and insects, including insect pests of agricultural crops, insect vectors of plant and animal diseases and insects that can be affected by several diseases. In detail her current work concerns the characterization of the microbiome of these invasive pests: the spotted wing fly, Drosophila suzukii, and the red palm weevil, Rhyncophorus ferrugineus, with a particular attention to the acetic acid bacteria associated to them, by means of molecular and microbiological techniques.