Foto del docente

Luca Fontanesi


Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences

Academic discipline: AGR/17 Livestock Systems, Animal Breeding and Genetics

Curriculum vitae

Education/training and career

1991: Master Degree in Agricultural Sciences at the University of Bologna with score 110/110 cum laude.

1997: PhD in Animal Sciences with specialization in Animal Genetics (PhD course of the University of Milan). PhD thesis entitled "Isolation and characterization of skeletal muscle protein genes and identification of DNA markers in the pig genome".

During the PhD course he worked for about one year in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, University of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN, USA) led by Prof. Lawrence B. Schook.

Then, he obtained a few fellowships and a post-doctoral position at the University of Bologna.

1999: research assistant position in the DIPROVAL dept. of the University of Bologna.

2006-2011: research scientist in the same dept. (sector AGR/19).

2008: Professoeur invite' (Invited Professor) at the Faculte' des Sciences et Techniques de Universite' de Limoges, Limoges, France (20 June-12 July 2008)

2011-2017: Associate Professor of Animal Breeding and Genetics (sector AGR/17)

2013: Passed positively the national evaluation to become Full Professor.

He attended more than 50 international or national conferences or courses.

2017-: Full Professor of Animal Breeding and Genetics (sector AGR/17).

Research activities

Since 1992 he is involved in research activities on the identification, characterization, mapping of genes and QTL affecting farm animal production traits with the final aim to improve selection strategies in dairy cattle, pigs and rabbit. Moreover, he is has been involved in research programs having as objectives animal products traceability using DNA technologies and identification of the genetic factors affecting phenotypic traits (such as coat color) in livestock. He has been involved or is still currently involved in 35 research projects, 6 of which have been funded by the European Union.

His scientific production accounts for more than 190 scientific papers in peer reviewed journals and more than 200 communications and posters to international or national conferences.

He has been coordinator of the strategic research project FAGenomicH (Farm Animal Genomics for Humans) funded by the University of Bologna (2007-2010). He has been scientific coordinator of a research sub-unit in the Selmol project (funded by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture; 2007-2010) and the PRIN 2007 project (funded by the Italian Ministry of the University and Research; 2008-2010).

He has been recently involved in several research projects including genomics in different species (pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, donkey, rabbit and European sea bass) and authentication of food products

He has been Chair of the European funded COST Action TD1101 "A Collaborative European Network on Rabbit Genome Biology (RGB-Net)" (2011-2015) -

He has been coordinator of the SANCO/2014/G3/026 tender: "Pig castration: methods of anaesthesia and analgesia for all pigs and other alternatives for pigs used in traditional products": "CASTRUM – Pig Castration for Traditional and Conventional Products: a Report on Methods and their Impacts on Animal Welfare, Meat Quality and Sustainability of European Pork Production Systems" (2016).

He has been WP leader and deputy coordinator of the European Union project H2020 - TREASURE "Diversity of local pig breeds and production systems for high quality traditional products and sustainable pork chains" (2015-2019)

He has been supervisor and leader of the European Union project H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie "Applied phenomics to identify biomarkers in pigs for new concepts in precision livestock farming - MARKTHEPIG" (2016-2018).

He is currently involved in the following projects and research networks: 1) Lagomorph Genomics Consortium (LaGomiCs) - Member of the Steering Committee e founder. 2) Member of the Working Group 1 of COST Action PiGutNet, FA1401 (2014-2018). 3) member of the Management Committee (MC) of the COST Action "Functional Annotation of Animal Genomes - European Network (FAANG-Europe) - CA15112" (2016-2020) . 4) Member of the Management Committee (MC) of the COST Action "Innovative approaches in pork production with entire males - CA15215" (2016-2020) . 5) DUAL BREEDING - Dual purpose dairy cattle breeding: a model for sustainable animal breeding and farming. European Fund for Rural Development, 10.2 - PSRN (2018-2020). Research Unit Leader. 5) SUIS – Suinicoltura Italiana Sostenibile - Sustainable Pig Farming. European Fund for Rural Development, 10.2 - PSRN (2018-2020). Research Unit Leader. 6) CUN-FU – La cunicoltura del futuro: benessere e sostenibilità degli allevamenti cunicoli italiani. European Fund for Rural Development, 10.2 - PSRN (2018-2020). Research Unit Leader. 7) PigPhenomics - Applied phenomics and genomics in pigs for the identification and use of new phenotypes in breeding plans. PRIN2017 - MIUR, Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (2019-2022). National Coordinator and Research Unit Leader.

He has been member of the ISAG "Domestic Animal Epigenetics" committee ( (2014-2016).


Other activities

From 2007 to 2019: Section Editor of Italian Journal of Animal Science ( ( Since 2010: Reviewer Editor of Frontiers in Livestock Genomics ( Since 2012: Member of the Editorial Board of Agriculturae Conspectus Scientificus ( Since 2014: Associate Editor of Gene ( Since 2016: Section Editor of Livestock Science for "Genetics, Animal Genetic Resources and Breeding" ( Since 2019: Member of the Editorial Board of Scientific Reports (

He has been involved in peer reviewing activities for: African Journal of Biotechnology, Animal, Animal Biotechnology, Animal Genetics, Animals, Aquaculture Research, Biochemical Genetics, Biologia Serbica, BMC Genetics, BMC Genomics, BMC Evolutionary Biology, BMC Research Notes, CAB Reviews, Canadian Journal of Animal Science, Chinese Journal of Oceanology and Limnology, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Czech Journal of Animal Science, DNA and Cell Biology, Ecology and Evolution, Electronic Journal of Biotechnology, European Journal of Nutrition, Fisheries Research, Food Control, Frontiers in Genetics, Gene, Genes & Genomics, Genetics Selection Evolution, Genome, Heredity, Italian Journal of Animal Science, Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Journal of Animal Science, Journal of Animal Science and Technology, Journal of Applied Genetics, Journal of Dairy Research, Journal of Dairy Science, Journal of Dental Research, Journal of Genetics, Journal of Genomics, Journal of Heredity, Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Journal of Pest Science, Journal of Proteomics, Livestock Science, Mammalian Genome, Marine Genomics, Meat Science, Molecular Biology Reports, Molecular Genetics and Genomics, Molecular Immunology, Nucleic Acids Research, PLoS Genetics, PLoS ONE, Scientific Reports, Small Ruminant Research, Research in Veterinary Science, Theriogenology, The Scientific World Journal, World Rabbit Science.

Review activities of projects for the following agencies/organizations: PRIN (Italian Miur), University of Milano, University of Padova, Finpiemonte, FP7 European Union, Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR; France), OKTA (Hungarian Scientific Research Fund Organization), National Science Centre (Poland), Croatian Science Foundation (Croatia), BBSRC (UK), BARD (US-Israel Agricultural Research & Development Fund), ARRS Slovenian Research Agency (Slovenia). Evaluator of research structures for the Secretariat of State for Research, Development and Innovation Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Spain). Evaluator of research products for the National Agency ANVUR.

Since 2000: member of the International Society for Animal Genetics (ISAG).

Since 2002: member of the Association for Animal Production (ASPA).

Since 2006: member of the Italian Association for Rabbit Production (ASIC).

Since 2013: member of the World Lagomorph Society (WLS).

He has been co-founder of the Centre for Genome Biology of the University of Bologna.

He has been member of the advisory board of the Integrated Research Team "ALMA Sequencing" of the University of Bologna.

He is member of the Technical Committee of the Italian Rabbit Herd Book as experts nominated by the Ministry of Agriculture.

He is President of the "Recourse Council" of INEQ, now IFCQ (

He is member of the research commission of the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences.

He has been member of the board of the PhD program in Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences of the University of Bologna (2014-2019).

Delegate of the University of Bologna at the Sustainable Farm Animal Breeding and Reproduction Technology Platform (FABRE-TP).

He is member of the GTA Agro-Food coordinating team of the University of Bologna.

He is Research Delegate for the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences of the University of Bologna.



Inventors: Pancaldi M., Fontanesi L., Salvi A., Russo V., Davoli R., Carboni E. Title: Natural Food Tracer (RM2005 A000235).

Inventors: Fontanesi L., Dall’Olio S., Scotti E. Title: DNA marker for the identification of Cinta Senese pigs and methods and kits for the identification. Patent no. 102015000011082 – 10/11/2017.


Research services provided to scientists and private enterprises

1) Authentication of mono-breed dairy products based on DNA analysis

2) Differentiation between wild boar and domesticated pig meat based on DNA analysis

3) Authentication and traceability services for animal products with DNA analysis

4) Next generation sequencing with Ion Torrent platform

Research awards

2007: Second at the 2006-2007 edition  of "Premio Montana alla Ricerca Alimentare" with a research project entitled "A new system for authentication and traceability of food products" (reasearch project carried out with  Dr. Marco Pancaldi, Biolab spa).

2008: First at the 2007-2008 edition of "Premio Montana alla Ricerca Alimentare" with a research project entitled "Identification of biomarkers for meat quality prediction: a new approach based on post mortem gene expression analysis (research project carried out with Dr. Daniela Giovanna Calo', Dept. of Statistics of the University of Bologna).


Invited presentations at national or international congresses/workshops and dissemination events

1) International congress: "Regional Workshop on Biotechnology Applied to Agriculture" Beograd (former Jugoslavia Republic), Vincia Institute, 5-6 June 1998 (Title: Molecular genetics and animal production improvement).

2) National congress: Invited presentation at the "Convegno su Biodiversita'  e Riproduzione Animale", Bari 6-8 December 2001, Hotelclub il Baricentro, Casamassima (BA) (Title: Importanza della biodiversita' per le produzioni zootecniche - Roles of biodiversity in animal productions).

3) National congress: Main lecture at the XLIX SIGA Annual Congress, Potenza, 12-15 Sept. 2005 (Title: Genetic strategies to improve and control the quality of animal products).

4) International Workshop: Invited presentation at the "Animal Genetics Workshop -A 'Go Milk Sicily' Workshop - Transfer of Knowledge-Development . Marie Curie Actions Animal Genetics Workshop -A 'Go Milk Sicily' Workshop -Transfer of Knowledge-Development. University of Palermo - Department S.En.Fi.Mi.Zo. 21 Aprile 2006 (Title: The genome scan for QTL affecting milk production by means of selective milk DNA pooling)

5) National event: Invited presentation at the 8th Matching technology-Innovation, ICOMO la Fabbrica delle Idee, Centro Volta, Villa Olmo, Como, 28 Sept. 2006 (Title: Tracciante alimentare naturale - Natural food tracer).

6) International Workshop: "The Animal Genetics Workshop", University  of Palermo, GoMilkSicily project, 25-01-2008, Palermo (Title: Molecular genetics of coat color in livestock: insights into comparative biology and applications for animal products traceability).

7) Professoeur invite' (Invited Professor) at the Faculte' des Sciences et Techniques de Universite' de Limoges, Limoges, France (20 June-12 July 2008) (A series of seminars).

8) National Congress: Main lecture at the 18th ASPA Congress, Palermo, 9-12 June, 2009 (Title: Main lecture - Genetic authentication and traceability of food products of animal origin: new developments and perspectives).

9) National event: presentation at the 52th International Pig Fair (RASSEGNA SUINICOLA INTERNAZIONALE), Reggio Emilia 19 April 2013, during the presentation of the "AGER Hepiget research project: Ricerca avanzata in genomica e innovazioni tecnologiche per la filiera produttiva del suino pesante italiano: primi risultati" (Title: Le tecnologie di analisi del DNA per il miglioramento genetico dei suini e prospettive della selezione genomica nella suinicoltura italiana - DNA technologies in pig selection and perspective for genomic selection in the Italian pig breeding sector).

10) International Congress: Invited lecture at the 5th International Meeting on Rabbit Biotechnology, Shanghai (China), June 6-8, 2013 (Title: Genomics of coat colour in the rabbit: modelling and animal model for pigmentation related diseases in human).

11) International Congress: Keynote lecture at the 8th International symposium on the Mediterranean pig, Ljubljana (Slovenia), 10-12 October 2013 (Title: Molecular genetics of coat colour in pigs)

12) International workshop in a national event: invited presentation at the First Forum on European pig Genetics. ITALPIG, Rassegna Suinicola di Cremona (Pig fair of Cremona), 25 October 2013 (Title: La selezione per la suinicoltura italiana - Pig selection for the Italian pig production chain).

13) International congress: invited presentation at the Plant and Animal Genome Congress (PAG2015), San Diego, California, 10-14 January 2015: " Genomics meets metabolomics: developing a systems biology approach to understand the genetic mechanisms affecting complex traits in pigs".

14) Spanish National Congress: invited speaker and main lecture at the XVIII Réunion Nacional Sobre Mejora Genetica Animal. Valencia, Spain, 2-3 June 2016. Titolo: The rabbit in the genomics era: applications and perspectives in rabbit biology and breeding.

15) International Congress: Invited speaker and main lecture at the 11th World Rabbit Congress, Qingdao, China, 15-18 June 2016. Title: The rabbit in the genomics era: applications and perspectives in rabbit biology and breeding.

16) Brazilian National Congress: Invited speaker at the 54th Annual Meeting of the Brazilian Society of Animal Science organized by SBZ (Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, 26-28 July 2017). Title: Metabolomics and genomics in livestock: taking advantages from the next phenotyping frontiers in animal breeding and selection.

17) International Congress: Invited speaker and main lecture at the 7th International Conference on Rabbit Biotechnology (Isawa, Japan, 25-26 August 2017). Title: Shaping the rabbit genome: a landscape of relicts of natural and human driven evolution.

18) Seminar: Invited scientist for the seminar series of the Department of Animal Science, Iowa State University (FALL, 2017 Animal Breeding and Genetics Seminar - 9-10 October 2017; Ames, Iowa, USA): Title: Shaping, Reshaping and Deconstructing a Meat Machine: Unraveling a Story on Pig Genomics and Phenomics.

19) International Congress: Invited presentation at the 69th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP), Dubrovnik, 27-31 August 2018. Title: Exploiting genomic data of autochthonous pig breeds: conservation genetics comes of age.


Teaching: University courses

2006/2007: Organic productions in farm animals.

From 2007/2008 to 2010/2011: Slaughtering and meat quality evaluation.

2009/2010, 2010/2011, 2014/2015, 2016/2017, 2017/2018, 2018-2019: Traceability in animal production

From 2010/2011 to 2012/2013: Production and breeding in game animals

2010/2011: Molecular Mechanisms of Gene Expression (at the International Master degree Course in Bioinformatics - In English)

From 2010/2011 to 2018/2019: Biotechnologies in animal productions

From 2012/2013 to 2018/2019: Pig breeding and production

From 2013/2014 to 2018/2019: Applied Genomics in Animal Production

From 2013/2014 to 2018/2019: Applied Genomics (at the International Master degree Course in Bioinformatics - In English)


Teaching: other courses

Since 1994 he teaches animal genetics and genomics in several courses, invited workshops and seminars, organized by different institutions: IFOA, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dell'Emilia Romagna, ASPA, University of Messina, University of Palermo, University of Padova, University of Pisa, University of Limoges (France) (in English), PhD school of the former Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Bologna (in English), COST Action "A Collaborative European Network on Rabbit Genome Biology" (in English).