Foto del docente

Nicoletta Contaldo

Junior assistant professor (fixed-term)

Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences

Academic discipline: AGR/12 Plant Pathology

Curriculum vitae


  • 2008: PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biotechnology, XX cycle, University of Bologna. Thesis entitled: “Molecular mechanisms involved in symptoms appearance of plants infected by viruses and virus - satellites".
  • 2003: Degree in Biotechnology (106/110), Agricultural specialization, awarded by the University of Bologna. Thesis in Phytopathological Biotechnologies: "Use of yeast ribonuclease (PAC1) as a transgene for resistance to plant pathogenic viruses".

Other courses:

  • 2011: "School on bioinformatical analyses of phytoplasma sequences", COST FA0807, Vilnius, Lithuania.
  • 2009: "COST European Science Foundation training course: Frontiers in Functional Genomics for Plant Protection", Zurich, Switzerland.
  • 2008: Advanced Course of Fermentation Biotechnology, University of Bologna.
  • 2006: Proteomic Course, University of Bologna.

Working experiences:

Working activities

  • 15/11/2017 to now: Junior assistant professor (fixed-term) in Plant Pathology, University of Bologna
  • 2009-2017: post-doc fellows on “Molecular identification and characterization of virus and phytoplasmas infecting medicinal and ornamental plants”, University of Bologna
  • 2/5/2011-23/2/2012: Fixed-term contract on “Molecular mechanisms involved into fungal’s resistance and susceptibility to pesticides”, University of Bologna
  • 10/6/2008-30/4/2009: post-doc fellow on “Grapevine yellows”, University of Bologna

Teaching activity

  • A.A. 2016/2017: First Level Master “Difesa del verde ornamentale per produzioni e progettazioni ecosostenibili”, University of Bologna.
  • A.A. 2016/2017: “Molecular diagnostic and epidemiology of plant disease”, University of Bologna.
  • 2003 - present: practical trainings in Plant Pathology and Epidemiology.
  • Supervision of bachelor, master and PhD theses.

Working activities at foreigner institutions

  • 14/10-7/11/2012: COST STSM research fellow entitled : "New technologies applied to fruit trees phytoplasma detection and their molecular characterization" , held at the University of Chile , Santiago, Chile
  • 3-15/9/2010: COST STSM research fellow entitled: "Mycoplasma isolation and handling techniques", held at Mycoplasma Experience laboratory, Reigate, UK
  • 1-15/6/2010: research stage in the frame of the European project COST FA0807, held at the Department of Plant and pest Management, Belgrade, Serbia
  • 2/1/2010-2/4/2010: Marco Polo research fellow in the frame of the European project 7th FP, QBOL, held at Aarhus University, Department of Integrated Pest Management, Slagelse, Denmark
  • 25/8- 3/9/2008: research stage in the frame of the bilteral project No. 20 LS, ID. No. I-73/2007, held at FITOLAB Plant Pest Diagnostic and Advisory LTD, Budapest, Hungary.
  • 9/4/2007-9/10/2007: research fellow in the frame of the PhD program, held at Agricultural Biotechnology Center, Godollo, Hungary.

Teaching activities at foreigner institutions

• 06-10/07/2015: “Advanced Technology Applied to Phytoplasma research”, Toronto, Canada, in the frame of the Project COWALY (Coconut West Africa Lethal Yellowing).

• 15-18/07/2013: “Methodologies to improve phytoplasma DNA extraction from plants and insects”, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, in the frame of the European project COST FA0807.

• 29/10/2012: “Phytoplasmas impact on agricolture relevant crops”, Santiago, Chile.

• 03-07/09/2012: “Methodologies to improve phytoplasma DNA extraction from plants and insects”, Ankara, Turkey, in the frame of the European project COST FA0807.

Research activity

Junior assistant professor (fixed-term) in Plant Pathology in the frame of the European project Horizon H2020 “Tropicsafe”, at the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna from November 15, 2017. She carries out research in the field of plant pathology and epidemiology and molecular diagnosis of plant diseases. She actively collaborates with leading international research groups in the field of plant pathology in several countries such as Chile, Slovenia, Austria, Serbia, Canada, Bosnia Herzegovina, Mexico, Hungary, South Africa, Denmark, Jamaica, Portugal and Saudi Arabia. She started the academic career working with plant viruses and studying some of the molecular mechanisms underlying plant-virus interactions. Since 2008, after PhD, she has been working on phytoplasmas and phytoplasma-associated diseases, with all the available molecular techniques and eventually succeeded in phytoplasma axenic cultivation, depositing a patent number PCT/IB2012/052965 about this topic. Starting from the PhD, she collaborated with several scientific groups in the world, spending several research periods abroad, in the frame of European projects such as the COST Action FA0807 “Integrated Management of Phytoplasma Epidemics in Different Crop Systems” and the EU 7th FP, project QBOL, making relevant contributions to their realization. Within the project QBOL, she contributed to develop a DNA barcoding system for universal identification of ‘Candidatus Phytoplasmas’ species using three conserved genes. As a follow up of this project, she is currently one of the curators of the phytoplasma database within the project QBANK. She was also actively involved in the EU founded project QCollect, with the focus on maintenance of the phytoplasma strains collection at the University of Bologna ( ; Her research activity is also aimed to improve the phytoplasma taxonomy and their molecular characterization using a multi gene analyses approach. On the other hand, growing phytoplasmas in artificial complex media, she has therefore as first the great opportunity to use this discovery to study in detail the mechanisms underlying the lives of these plant pathogens that are among the smallest living organisms. As part of this new research issue, she is starting new networking with leading international research groups. She was involved as collaborator in an International project funded by the Canadian government to study the lethal yellowing disease of coconut in Côte d’Ivoire from August 2014 to January 2017. Her expertise made her to lead the phytoplasma cultivation topic in this Canadian-African research project and to be one of the authors in the scientific publications which were part of these project outcomes. She plays a key role in the Phytoplasmology unit of the DiSTAL at the Bologna University, by teaching in both theoretical and practical lessons to master students and as supervisor of Italian and foreigner master and PhD students. She has also participated as a trainer in international schools in the frame of COST FA0807, where she teaches phytoplasma basic diagnostic techniques to worldwide researchers. She also enhanced her skills by attending as trainee to national and international courses of proteomic, advances in plant pathology, bioinformatical analyses of sequences among others. She attended to various national and international conferences, as a speaker and as a poster presenter, producing more than 100 communication papers published in conference proceedings. She was part of the organizing committee of the "VI National Meeting on Phytoplasma Diseases and Phytoplasmas", held in Bologna from 17 to 19 June 2013.

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