Plant Stress: Signalling Network And Physiological Responses (Prof. Stefania Pasqualini)

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Plants cannot run away! Instead, over millions of years of evolution, they have 'developed' smart strategies to quickly respond and adapt to sudden environmental changes. The 'stress' plants usually encounters can be divided into biotic-  (i.e. pathogens, herbivores) and abiotic stress (i.e. pollutants, cold, heat, salinity, oxidative stress, drought). Our main focus is to study the role that signaling molecules play in response to pollutants- (O3) and water stress, and  during plant-pathogen interactions. Signalling networks involve reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as hydrogen peroxide, superoxide, singlet oxygen and hydroxyl radical and hormonal molecules such as abscisic acid, ethylene, nitric oxide and jasmonic acid. These signaling molecules are produced by plant cells in a variety of situations and they represent  a common link between nearly all biotic and abiotic stresses including ozone and pathogens. Modern genomics- and system biology approaches are used to study these questions.

Main Research Topics

Hormones and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emission in plants challenged with biotic (herbivore) and abiotic stress (drought stress) (in collaboration with IPP-CNR)
Ethylenediurea (EDU) a protective compound of plants from ambient ozone: a study of persistence and localization of EDU in planta (in collaboration with Gabriele Cruciani group)
About the role of ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) and nitric oxide signaling molecules on pollen tube elongation of Cupressus arizonica pollen (in collaboration with University of Siena)
Atmospheric pollutants and effect on Cupressus pollen allergenicity
Analysis of pungency of different pepper cultivar through the quantification of the alkaloids capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin (in collaboration with Centro Appenninico del Terminillo Carlo Jucci)


Stefania Pasqualini ( - Associate Professor (SSD BIO/04) - COORDINATOR
Luisa Ederli ( – Researcher (SSD BIO/04)

Chantal Bianchet ( - PhD student


Chris Gehring (King Abullah University - Saudi Arabia), Sergey Shabala (University of Tasmania - Australia), Francesco Loreto, Mauro Centritto e Elena Paoletti (IPP-CNR Firenze), Francesco Paolocci, Ornella Calderini e Michele Bellucci (IGV - CNR), Maurizio Badiani (Università degli Studi Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria), Mario Ciaffi (DAFNE – Università della Tuscia), Mara Quaglia, Gianandrea Salerno e Eric Conti (Dip. Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Ambientali, Perugia), Cecilia Del Casino (Dip. Scienze della Vita - Siena), Stefano Mancuso (Dipartimento di Scienze delle Produzioni Vegetali, del Suolo e dell’Ambiente Agroforestale Università di Firenze), Paola Bonfante (Department of Life Science and Systems Biology, Università di Torino), Centro Appenninico del Terminillo Carlo Jucci.

Research Projects: 

PRIN 2010-2011 (prot. 20105XLAXM) - Going to the root of plant productivity: how the rhizosphere interact with the aboveground armament for indirect and direct defense against abiotic and biotic stressors (PRO-ROOT)

Collaborazione per attività di ricerca (CNR-UNIPG) - Studio delle risposte fisiologiche, biochimiche e molecolari di piante di Lotus sottoposte a stress biotici e abiotici (2012-2015)

Progetto Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio (2013.0049.021) - Inquinanti atmosferici e loro effetti sulla patogenicità del polline di cipresso nell’area urbana di Perugia

VaPeSab (PSR Lazio 2007-2013) - Valorizzazione del peperoncino sabino attraverso una caratterizzazione, botanica, genetica, fitosanitaria, produttiva e nutrizionale



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Chantal Bianchet (

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