Martino Schillaci

Root microbe interaction to benefit cereal growth under temperature stress

During my PhD I will investigate the impact of beneficial microbes on root architecture and metabolism of the model grass Brachypodium distachyon grown under non-optimal temperatures and specifically the interaction between Brachypodium distachyon and the plant growth promoting bacterium Azospirillum brasilense at sub-optimal temperatures.

In particular, I am focusing on the effect of bacterial colonization on Brachypodium’s roots phenotype, transcriptome, proteome and metabolome at different time points. The aim of my project is to study which metabolic pathways are mainly influenced during the plant-bacterium interplay at various temperature scenarios.

Project Duration: 2017-2021

Supervisors: The University of Melbourne: Prof. Ute Roessner/ Forschungszentrum Jülich: Prof. Penelope Smith, Prof. Michelle Watt and Dr Borjana Arsova

Student Profile:

I started my PhD at the University of Melbourne in January 2017, and I was enrolled in the Forschungszentrum Jülich from August 2017 to December 2018 as part of my research project. During my stay in Germany I investigated the effects of PGP bacteria on Brachypodiums phenotype, while in Melbourne I will be focusing on changes occurring in inoculated plant’s roots metabolome and transcriptome. I fulfilled my Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science at the University of Florence and a Master’s degree in Plant and Microbial Biotechnologies at the University of Pisa.

My main professional goal is finding environmentally and economically sustainable ways to increase crops productivity, cereals in particular. I enjoys teamwork, learning new techniques and facing challenges, and I speak Italian, English and some German.

In my spare time I like practising sports, playing guitar and photography.


Podcast Interview: Martino has been featured in a special podcast interview produced by Jessica Piesse, Coordinator of JUMPA and published in August 2019. Listen to an excerpt from the interview below, and access the full interview here.