WSU Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Postharvest Disease Guide

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Rosa Caiazzo

After receiving her MSc degree in 2003, Dr. Caiazzo began work on the molecular biology of pathogenic fungi (such as Rhizoctonia solani, Peronospora tabacina, Penicillium sp). Her worked involved molecular characterization and diagnosis of plants disease using PCR, RAPD, RFLP, analysis of proteins (SDS-PAGE or native gel) and enzymatic assays.

The topic of her PhD project was "Characterization of isolates of Pyrenochaeta lycopersici and study of the effect of the nutrient starvation on gene expression". She studied the intra-specific variability of Pyrenochaeta lycopersici isolates collected at the Agricultural Research Council (CRA) of Scafati, using molecular and biochemical analysis and performed a study on the complex interaction between host and pathogen (P. lycopersici and tomato) to generate a model which could simulate "in vitro" the initial stage of pathogenesis. The hypothesis was that condition of growth with limited presence of carbon and/or nitrogen could mimic the fungus development in planta during the first stages of the pathogenesis and she confirmed this. Dr. Caiazzo studied the effects of nutrient limitation, mainly starvation, on gene expression in P. lycopersici by means of a Rapid Suppression Subtractive Hybridization (RASH) to create a library of differential expressed genes in order to better understand the mechanisms underlying the interaction between tomato and P. lycopersici.

Dr. Caiazzo also worked at the University of Rome "La Sapienza", on differentially expressed genes in Aspergillus parasiticus after antioxidant enzyme stimulation by Lentinula edodes. She spent a period of three months in Hungary at the University Corvinus of Budapest to study the effects of heavy metal on proteins expression in burley analysing the apoplastic fluid using 1D and 2D gels. After receiving her PhD, 2009, she continued working on the characterization of fungi collected at the CRA-CAT, and studying the suppressive effect of compost on fungi caused plant diseases, by means of in vitro and in greenhouse trials.


Research & professional interests

  • Molecular diagnosis of plant pathologies
  • Identification and characterization of phytopathogenic fungi
  • Education and outreach


  • Ph.D. Agricultural Biology and Biotechnology at the University of Basilicata (Italy)
  • M. Sc., Molecular Biology, University Federico II of Naples (Italy)
  • B.Sc., Biology, University Federico II of Naples (Italy)
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