Our research

Emerging and re-emerging disease epidemics represent a global threat to food security and social stability.

We study infectious diseases in plants, such as Olive leprosy, and the plant immune system defending the pathogen.


Our aim is to understand the molecular processes that control the outcome of infection: immunity or disease. To this end, our research focuses on the plant immune receptors, the microbial patterns activating the receptors and the virulence strategies used by pathogens to circumvent immunity. We work on the following:

I. Cellular and molecular basis of plant immunity to Xylella fastidiosa
The capacity for immunity depends on the repertoire of genetically encoded immune receptors that greatly  vary between species. We explore model and crop plants to genetically identify the components of the plant’s immune system   recognizing X. fastidiosa.

II. Multi-host pathogenicity of Xylella

X. fastidiosa colonizes xylem vessels, dead cells of the vasculature. We use a multi-host approach combined with   transcriptomics to identify bacterial signatures associated with the disease.

III. Cellular and molecular inter-organism exchange


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are important bacterial structures, which have been associated with virulence. We research the role of EVs from model and economically important bacterial pathogens in host infection, and in the context of the phyllosphere microbiome.