Marie Curie award for soil health project

Dr. Cristina Bez, Research Scientist in the Bacteriology Group at ICGEB Trieste, has been awarded a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Global Postdoctoral Fellowship of the European Commission.

The award, which is highly competitive and prestigious, focuses on her research to carry out the “LUXOM” project (“LuxR solos as major proteobacterial players of cell-cell signaling in the plant microbiome”), to find Microbial-based alternatives that represent an environmentally friendly strategy to substitute chemical products in agriculture.

About 60 to 70% of soils in the EU are not healthy, being subject to severe degradation processes: erosion, pollution, loss of biodiversity, salinisation and sealing. This is the result of climate change, unsustainable land use and overexploitation of chemicals.

The award funds the mobility of researchers outside Europe and intends to foster excellence in research as well as to support researchers’ careers by acquiring new scientific and transversal skills, and developing their professional network.

The fellowship of Dr. Bez will last for two years, with the first to be spent the laboratory of Prof. Dorrestein, world leader in bacterial metabolomics at the University of California in San Diego. The second year will be the return phase at ICGEB. 

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Contributing to SDG 15 -Life on Land:  Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems and halt biodiversity loss, the project will focus on the role of a family of bacterial transcriptional regulators discovered in the laboratory of Dr. Venturi that are involved in bacterial cell-cell signalling in the plant microbiome.

Discovering new chemical cell-cell signals and deciphering the role of these regulators in the plant microbiome will be the objective of the research project, leading to effective and sustainable solutions for plant and soil health.