Keynote speakers

Gabriel Krouk is a Research Director at CNRS (FR) in Montpellier. Highly Cited Researcher in 2020. Gabriel studies are at the crossroads of biology (mainly molecular physiology) and modelling. His research was first focused on the crosstalk between nutrient sensing and hormonal signalling in plants. For his work on the nitrate transceptor (NRT1.1 aka CHL1 or NPF6.3), he received a prize from the French Academy of Science. His current work continues with the recent findings concerning the combinatorial effect of Nitrogen and Phosphorus signalling on plant development and molecular responses. His research also recently branched into very fundamental questions concerning in silico simulation of biological phenomena and machine learning. He is the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of a start-up company, BionomeeX ©.

Markus Puschenreiter has got 22 years of experience in rhizosphere ecology, with a particular focus on the biogeochemistry of micronutrients and trace elements in the root soil interface. Linked to that, he has been developing phytoremediation/phytomining techniques, with a particular focus on rhizosphere management options for increasing the efficiency of these approaches. In addition, he has developed and improved methods and tools of rhizosphere research, e.g., micro-suction cups for rhizosphere soil solution sampling and DGT imaging techniques. Together with Eva Oburger and Walter Wenzel he developed a novel rhizobox-based approach for collecting root exudates from soil grown plants.

Roberto Pinton is working at the University of Udine since 1986 and is currently full professor of Agricultural chemistry. His research activity is focussed on mechanisms of plant nutrition, with special regard to iron and nitrogen, and on soil-plant relationships with special emphasis to the rhizosphere processes, root exudates release and the role of natural organic matter fractions. Co-editor of three books and author of 93 peer-reviewed scientific papers in indexed journals, 15 book chapters and 130 congress presentations (ORCID: 0000-0003-3134-3842). He presented several invited lectures in national and international conferences. He is a member of several scientific societies. He has been in charge of numerous research projects and held different institutional roles at the University of Udine. In May 2019 has been elected Rector of the University of Udine for the period 2019-25.

Solicited speakers

Giorgio Alberti, associate professor in Silviculture and Forest Management at University of Udine and at Freie Universität Bozen has been focusing his research on the response of terrestrial ecosystems to global change and on the relationship between biodiversity, management and ecosystem services. He has been involved in technology transfer projects in Africa and Europe as well as in studying nature based solutions for climate mitigation and agro-forest systems in developing countries.

Michela Schiavon is Associate Professor in Agriculture Chemistry, and member of Soil Science Lab at the department of Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences at University of Turin. She has a MD in Biology (2002) and a PhD in Crop Productivity (2006) obtained at the University of Padova. She was Researcher Scientist (2014-2017) and Faculty associate member (2017-2022) at the Colorado State University (USA). Her expertise is in plant nutrition and physiology, crop biofortification, phytoremediation and plant-rhizosphere interactions. Her research activity was initially focused on unravelling the physiological and molecular mechanisms of heavy metal tolerance and acquisition by crops, and in metal-nutrient interactions during uptake processes. Then, she developed a major interest on the beneficial element selenium and on biostimulants, including humic substances, with a focus on their mode of action in crops to enhance NUE and resistance to abiotic stress.

Gianpiero Vigani is associate professor at the Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology of the University of Turin. His main research lines are oriented to i) understanding the metabolic regulation mechanisms of plants in response to abiotic stress (nutritional deficiencies and water stress); ii) characterization of the interactions between nutrients in the plant and iii) regulation of the plant-microorganism interaction in the soil according to the nutritional status of the plant itself. Prof. Vigani is responsible for the course of plant ecophysiology and mineral nutrition and plant biofortification for the master's degree courses in Environmental Biology and Plant Biotechnology. He is Associate Editor for Frontiers in Plant Science, Journal of Plant Interaction, Plants, Frontiers for young minds. He held the position of principal investigator for national and international projects.

Mónica Yorlady Alzate Zuluaga is a post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Faculty of Science and Technology of the Free University of Bolzano. She obtained her Ph.D in Biotechnology focusing on the study of metabolic profiling of root exudates and functional diversity of rhizosphere microbial communities in response to PGPB inoculation and abiotic stresses at the State University of Londrina (Brazil). Her research is mainly focused on the interactions between plants and biostimulants (i.e. beneficial microorganisms and protein hydrolysates) in order to obtain promising ways to boost environmental sustainability by decreasing the use of synthetic agricultural inputs and enlighten the processes between plants and microorganisms that can be exploited for biotechnological applications. In details, her research has been focused on: i) isolation, screening, and biochemical and molecular characterization of plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB); ii) interaction between plants and PGPB to improve plant nutrients uptake; iii) rhizosphere interactions; iv) physiological and molecular mechanisms of plant-derived protein hydrolysates.

Davide Savy is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Agriculture of the University of Naples “Federico II”. His main research activity is focused on the isolation of humic and humic-like compounds from lignin-rich residues, which may act converted as plant biostimulants or starters for producing technologically advanced materials (hydrogels, coatings, nanomaterials) for the slow release of agrochemicals. Davide is specifically interested in unravelling the chemical nature of humic molecules and their derived materials to relate it with their biological and release properties, thus ultimately, fine tune the humic structure to obtain desired biological/delivery features.

Martina Mazzon after earning a bachelor's degree in Science and Technology for the Environment and Nature at the University of Trieste, she chose to approach the agricultural world by moving to Bologna where, in 2015, she obtained a master's degree in Planning and management of agro-territorial, forest and landscape. In 2020, she obtained the PhD in Agricultural, Environmental and Food Science and Technology. From 2019 to today she is a research fellow at the University of Bologna and her research activity is mainly focused on the study of soil biochemical parameters (e.g. enzymatic activities, soil respiration, microbial biomass carbon content) related to microbial activity and which can be considered early indicators of soil quality and functionality and from which it is possible to determine different soil quality indexes.

Beatrice Giannetta is a post-doctoral research fellow at University of Verona (Department of Biotechnology). Her research is focused on the biogeochemical cycle of C and N in a variety of soils from different ecosystems. She is specifically interested in the formation and turnover of organo-mineral interactions in soils and sediments, related to the investigation of other relevant elements (e.g., Fe). Her recent research has dealt with the understanding of the mechanistic drivers of changes in soil organic C storage and the best practices to adopt in a world that is warming. She combines field and laboratory experiments with physical fractionations of soil and synchrotron-based spectroscopy analyses.

Laura Giagnoni is a senior researcher at the Department of Civil, Environmental, Architectural Engineering and Mathematics (DICATAM), University of Brescia. The main aim of her research activity is the soil, a biological system playing a pivotal role in major global biogeochemical cycles. She uses a multidisciplinary approach, by chemical, biochemical and biomolecular techniques, to study the complexity of soil. She evaluates the soil quality in terms of soil fertility assessment, of the impact of soil contamination and of the potential soil remediation by sustainable methodologies.

Biancamaria Senizza is a final year PhD student in "Agrisystem", a doctoral school on the agri-Food system at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza. Her PhD thesis focuses on the study of plant secondary metabolism and the plant-microbes interactions in the rhizosphere under abiotic stress. The research is based on metabolomics as a tool to understand plant biochemistry and plant secondary metabolism modifications and the metabarcoding to characterize the rhizosphere microbiota and elucidate the soil microbial biodiversity under biotic and abiotic stresses. The research also focus on the use of plant biostimulants to enhance plant adaptation to stress and to increase sustainable agricultural production.

Concetta Eliana Gattullo is a Senior Researcher at the Department of Soil, Plant and Food Sciences of the University of Bari, where she obtained a PhD in agricultural chemistry in 2011. Her research activities mainly focus on the study of distribution and speciation of potentially toxic elements in polluted soils by means of innovative x-ray based techniques and conventional methods. Moreover, she is involved in the study of dynamics of essential and toxic elements in the soil-plant system. She has also expertise in the development of physical-chemical strategies to remediate soils polluted by potentially toxic elements. She is a member of the staff of Micro X-ray Lab of the University of Bari.

Nicola Tomasi is an associate professor (AGR/13) at the University of Udine. He did a Ph.D. in Natural Sciences at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. His scientific activities are mainly focused on plant mineral nutrition and, in particular, on the acquisition of P, N and Fe, studying at the chemical, biochemical, physiological and molecular levels the mechanisms and their regulation involved in the transport of root exudates and nutrients in presence of effectors or abiotic stresses.

Daniel Said Pullicino is an associate professor and soil scientist at the Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences at the University of Torino, Italy. He also serves as Editor-in-Chief of the international soil science journal Geoderma. His research interests mainly develop around the biogeochemical cycles of carbon and nutrient elements in soil-plant systems, with a particular focus on redox-driven processes in hydromorphic soils and their implications on soil functions. His work has contributed to providing new conceptual developments on organic matter and element cycling in rice paddies and has laid the groundwork for unravelling the carbon source/sink functions and microbial nitrogen cycling in rice paddy soils amongst others.