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Institute of Biosciences and Bioresources

National Research Council of Italy

Domenico Pignone

Role: Associated Staff
Section: Associate Members
Division: Bari
Tel: (39) 080-5583400-201
E-mail: domenico.pignone@ibbr.cnr.it


Domenico Pignone - Curriculum vitae et studiorum

Personal information

Business address: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche - Istituto di Bioscienze e Biorisorse

Via Amendola 165/A - 70126 Bari, Italy

Phone: +39 080 5583400, +39 366 5672611

E-mail: domenico.pignone@cnr.it - domenico.pignone@ibbr.cnr.it

Education

Degree cum laude in Biological Science, University of Rome, Italy, February 17, 1975

Languages

Italian, mother tongue

English, fluent

Spanish, fluent

French, good

Career

Present position: Emeritus Researcher of the CNR at IBBR-CNR, Bari, Italy

June 2016-June 2017: Acting Director Isntitute of the oastal-Marine Environment - CNR, Naples, Italy

October 2013-June 2017: Research Director at Institute of Biosciences and Bioresources-CNR, Bari, Italy

July 2008-October 2013. Director of the Institute of Plant Genetics - CNR, Bari, Italy

April 2012-November 2012. Coordinator of the Organizing Committee for the Biology, Agricultur and Food Science Department of CNR, Rome, Italy

April 2011-March 2012. Acting Director Agrofood Department of the Italian National Research Council, Rome, Italy

2001-2017. Research Director (equivalent to full professor) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR)

1988-2001. Senior researcher at CNR- Germplasm Institute, Bari, Italy

1981-1982. Visiting professor at University of Missouri, Colunbia Mo, USA

1976-1988. Researcher at CNR- Germplasm Institute, Bari, Italy

Scientific and Technical Committees

October 2020-present: Member of the Steering Committee of the CNR Research Unit at Metapontum Agrobios (ALSIA)

2018 - present. Member of the Veterinary and Agri-food Bioethical Committee, Rome, Italy

July - September 2016. Member of the Search Committee for the position of Director General of the National Research Council, Rome, Italy

March 2016 - december 2019. Expert of seed gene bank management and coordinator of CNR group, within the frame of a Project aimed at improving the Tunisian National Gene Bank, awarded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to an Italian consortium led by IAMB-CIHEAM, and involving the Agro-Food dept. of CNR, and the Universities of Bari and Perugia.

June 2015-present. Representative of the Agro-Food dept. of CNR within the Italian Plant Phenotyping Initiative “PhenItaly”, which led in October 2015 to the establishment of the Italian Plant Phenotyping Initiative (ITA-PPN), member of European Plant Phenotyping Initiative (EPPN).

June 2015-present. Member of the Scientific-Technical Committee of D.A.R.E. Puglia (Distretto Agroalimentare Regionale, SCaRL) a Public-Private society acting the “Distretto Tecnologico Agroalimentare”, an entity aimed at generating, sharing, and transferring innovation through the collaboration of researchers and entrepreneurs in the Agro-Food sector

May 2015 - present. Member of the Liason Office within the framework of the cooperation agreement between CNR and Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (IAMB-CIHEAM)

February 2015 - present. Member of the joint scientific committee within the frame of the agreement between the CNR and the University of Basilicata, Potenza, Italy

December 2014 - December 2015. Member of the scientific committee of an exposition on agricultural mechanization co-organized by Comune di Piacenza and CNR within the frame of the activities of CNR for EXPO

November 2014 - May 2015. Coordinator of the organizing committee of a conference within EXPO 2015 “A (bio)diverse word”, within the frame of the events financed by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (May 6, 2015).

August 2013- December 2013. Evaluator of research projects PAR FSC 2007-2013 - Technological District of Molecular Biomedicine of Region Friuli Venezia Giulia, Disciplin sector AGR07- Agricultural genetics.

September 2012-December 2013. Member of the committee for the set-up of a project of higher formation for Mediterranean researchers and officers, Agro Food sector, at request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rome, Italy

April 2012-November 2012. Coordinator of the Organizing Committee for the Bio-Agrofood Science Department of CNR, Rome, Italy

April 2012-present. Member of the scientific acting committee of the Project BioTTasa - Technological Transfer and integration of Biotechnologies for Health, Food and Environment, led by the National Research Council.

February 2012-present. Evaluator of Industrial Research projects for the Ministry of University and Research (Albo degli Esperti, art. 7, c. 1, DL n. 297/99),

2012-present. Member of the Joint Committee within the Agreement between the Italian Nationa Research Council and the Province of Cuneo, Piedmont, Italy.

2011-present. Representative of the Italian National Research Council within the National Observatory of Biodiversity, at Ministry of Environment, Rome, Italy.

2011-2012. Evaluator of Higher Formation projects for the ARTI (Regional Agency for Technology and Innovation of Puglia), Bari, Italy.

2010-2013. Member of the Joint Committee within the Agreement between the Italian National Research Council and the Agriculture Department of the Tuscany Region, Florence, Italy

2010-2013. Member of the Joint Committee within the framework of the agreement between the Italian National Research Council and the Region Puglia

2010-2011. Coordinator of the group “Herbaceous plants” within the frame of the Technical Workgroup supporting the National Permanent Committee for Agricultural Biodiversity, Ministry of Agriculture, Rome, Italy

2010. Scientific Expert for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for the extension of a tri-lateral Aid Program in Agricultural Development to Senegal, partners Senegal, Israel and Italy.

2009-2013. Member of the Joint Committee within the framework of the agreement between the Italian National Research Council and the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (CIHEAM Network).

2009-present. Representative of the Italian National Research Council within the EUCARPIA scientific society

2009-2012. Curator of the plant germplasm collection of the Institute of Plant Genetics of the CNR (>55000 accession), Bari, Italy.

2009. Scientific Expert for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for the extension of an Aid Program in Agriculture to Tunisia.

2006-present. Member of the Consultative Group for Agriculture of the Province of Bari, Bari,Italy.

2004-2008. Member of the Scientific Committee for the valuation of the local ecotype "Lenticchia di Villalba", Sicily, Italy.

2003-2007. Responsible of the Thematic Unit “Genetic Resources” of the Institute of Plant Genetics - CNR, Bari, Italy.

2001-present. Member of the technical-scientific committee of Region Lazio (Regional Act 15/2000 "Safeguard of autochthonous genetic resources of agricultural interest”), Rome, Italy.

1996-2002. Italian Focal Point of the MEDUSA Network, an EU/DG XII project.

1996-2001. Member of the Scientific Council of the Germplasm Institute - CNR, Bari, Italy.

1996-2000. Member of the Scientific Committee of the Bari Research Area, Bari, Italy.

1994-2002. President Rocket Network (Eruca and Diplotaxis genetic resources), within the frame of a project of the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) “Underutilized Mediterranean Species”.

1992-1996. Member of the Scientific Council of the Germplasm Institute - CNR, Bari, Italy.

Teaching

2019 March. Theoretical-practical high end and specialization course on “Application des bonnes pratiques de gestion de la banque de gènes et plus précisément concernant les analyses génétiques et la conservation des ressources génétiques”, Banque Nationale des Genes, Tunis, Tunisia

2018 June. Theoretical and practical high end and specialization course on “Les normes de mise en place et gestion des collections de ressources phytogénétiques; sorties de collecte d’accessions de blé; les techniques de conservation et de catalogage du matériel collecté/repéré”, Banque Nationale des Genes, Tunis, Tunisia

2018 March. High end and specialization course on “Les stratégies qui concernent les meilleures pratiques pour la collecte et la caractérisation des accessions de variétés d’espèces d’intérêt agricole de légumineuses alimentaires”, Banque Nationale des Genes, Tunis, Tunisia

2017 Sept. High end and specialization course on “Management of plant genetic resources in a gene bank”, Banque Nationale des Genes, Tunis, Tunisia

2016-2017. Scientific Director of Course 2, “Sustainable use of genetic resources to face climate change in the Mediterranean”, within the Project “DIPLOMAzia 2” aimed at Higher Formation of young scientists and officers from Mediterranean Countries.

2014. Coordinator of course 2 “Sustainable use of genetic resources to face climate change in the Mediterranean”, within the Project “DIPLOMAzia”, aimed at higher formation of seventy young scientists and officers from Mediterranean Countries.

2011-2013. Teacher at PhD course “Plant Genetics and Biotechnology” XXVI cycle, University of Bari, Bari, Italy

2008-2009. Teacher at course “Sustainable Mediterranean Agriculture”, Agricultural University “Ta Malta”, Malta

2008-2010. Teacher at PhD course “Plant breeding and pathology of crop plants” XXIII cycle, University of Bari, Bari, Italy

2005-2007. Teacher at PhD course “Plant breeding and pathology of crop plants” XX cycle, University of Bari, Bari, Italy

2005. Coordinator and teacher of a course for CNR researchers and technicians at ISAFOM, Catania unit, on “Management of plant genetic resources”

2002. Dissertation examiner at University of Barcelona, Spain.

2002. Tutor for a training period of a PhD student of the University of Barcelona, Spain.

1997. Course on “Plant Germplasm Collecting”. Agrital Ricerche, Maccarese, Italy

1988-1989. Supplementary course on “The use of cytogenetics for managing genetic resources and breeding”. University of Basilicata, Potenza, Italy

Principal Research Projects

2020-2023. Coordinator of the CNR units (ISPA-Bari, ISA-Avellino, IBBR-Bari, DiSBA-Rome) participating to the project DeSIRA - SUSTLIVES “SUSTaining and improving local crop patrimony in Burkina Faso and Niger for better LIVes and EcoSystems”, financed by the DG-DEVCO, and coordinated by the Italian Agency for International Cooperation (AICS)

2020-2022. Scientific Coordinator of a three-year program “National Implementation of the International FAO Treaty on Food and Agriculture”, financed by the Ministry of Agriculture. The project is led by the Bio-Agrofood Department of CNR and includes four different work-packages, allocated in four different CNR units (IBBR, IVALSA, IMEM, URT-Metapontum Agrobios). The applicant also coordinates one work-package.

2018-2020. Coordinator of the CNR units (ISMAR-Bologna, IRBIM-Ancona, ISMAR-Napoli, IRBIM-Castellammare) participation to the project “Assistenza istituzionale per lo sviluppo dell’economia del mare” target area ALBANIA, financed by the Italian Agency for International cooperation and coordinated by the Agronomic Mediterranean Institute of Bari, member of the CIHEAM.

2017-2019. Coordinator of the CNR units (IBBR Palermo, IBBR Bari, IBBR URT ALSIA, ISPA Bari) and Expert of Plant Genetic Resources management within the frame of the project “Ressources phytogénétiques tunisiennes mieux conservées et valorisées” financed by the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and led by CIHEAM-IAM Bari

2017-2019. Scientific Coordinator of a three-year project within the frame of the program “National Implementation of the International FAO Treaty on Food and Agriculture”, financed by the Ministry of Agriculture. The project led by the Bio-Agrofood Department of CNR included four different work-packages, allocated in three different institutes (IBBR, IVALSA, IMEM). The applicant also coordinates one of these work-packages.

2016-2019. General coordinator of a project awarded by the Apulia Region within the frame of agricultural research programs, “InnovaTrit”, innovation in Triticum culture. The project is executed by a public-private consortium, including CNR-IBBR as the leading partner and two private enterprises.

2016-2017. Scientific Director of the Course “Sustainable use of genetic resources to face climate change in the Mediterranean”, within the Project “DIPLOMAzia 2” awarded to CNR by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and aimed at Higher Formation of young scientists and officers from Mediterranean Countries.

2014-2018. Responsible of a workpackage on “Automated phenotyping in a collection of durum wheat SSD lines” within the frame of the Flagship Project “Interomics”.

2014-2017. Scientific Director of Course 2, “Sustainable use of genetic resources to face climate change in the Mediterranean”, within the Project “DIPLOMAzia” awarded to CNR by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and aimed at Higher Formation of 70 scientists and officers from Mediterranean Countries.

2014-2016. Responsible for the CNR unit of a project for the set-up of a National Inventory of Plant Genetic Resources within the frame of the program “National Implementation of the International FAO Treaty on Food and Agriculture”, financed by the Ministry of Agriculture

2014-2016. Responsible of the CNR unit within the three-year project “National Implementation of the International FAO Treaty on Food and Agriculture”, Phase 4, financed by Ministry of Agriculture, aimed at collection, advanced characterization and management of crop collections and databases.

2013-2015. Coordinator of the Prize Project (Progetti Premiali 7%) “Biologia dei Sistemi Produttivi Vegetali” awarded to the AgroFood Department of the National Research Council by the Ministry of University and Research.

2012-2016. Responsible of a workpackage of the project CISIA “Conoscenze Integrate per Sostenibilità e Innovazione del Made in Italy Agroalimentare”, awarded to the AgroFood Department of CNR by the Ministry of Economic Development, as part of the wider “Progetto Mezzogiorno”.

2011-2015. Scientific Director of a three-year project awarded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs “Programma di Appoggio al Programma Nazionale d’Investimenti in Agricoltura (PA-PNIA)” for supporting agricultural development on Senegal.

2011-2014. Responsible of the CNR unit within the project “National Implementation of the International FAO Treaty on Food and Agriculture”, Phase 3, financed by Ministry of Agriculture, aimed at collection, advanced characterization and management of crop collections and databases.

2010-2017. Coordinator of a selection program, in cooperation with private entrepreneurs, to develop commercial lines of Triticum turanicum.

2009-2011. Coordinator of a project awarded by Region Basilicata “Giovani Eccellenze Lucane” phase 2, aimed at post doctoral formation through lab work on specific topics relating to advanced germplasm characterization.

2008-2010. Responsible of the CNR unit within the project “National Implementation of the International FAO Treaty on Food and Agriculture”, Phase 2, financed by Ministry of Agriculture, aimed at collection, advanced characterization and management of crop collections and databases.

2008-2009. Coordinator of a project awarded by GAL Bradanica on characterization and enhancement of local landraces and agri-food products.

2008-2009. Coordinator of a project awarded by Region Basilicata “Giovani Eccellenze Lucane”, aimed at post doctoral formation through lab work on specific topics relating to advanced germplasm characterization.

2005-2009. Responsible of a Unit within the project “SICERME - Integrated system for Mediterranean cereal culture”, financed by Ministry of Agriculture, aimed at in depth characterization and breeding of a collection of Triticum turanicum.

2005-2008. Responsible of the CNR unit within the project “National Implementation of the International FAO Treaty on Food and Agriculture”, financed by Research Council for Agriculture, Italy, aimed at characterization and management of crop collections.

2004-2006. Responsible of a unit of a project financed by Ministry of University and Research (DM 1105/02) on “Plant genetic resources as source of chemical of interest for human health”, aimed at the characterization of plant chemicals of potential interest to human health and their genetic control.

2003-2007. Coordinator of a project on preservation local crop landraces of the Salento Province, financed by the Province of Lecce.

2003-2004. Coordinator of a bilateral project CNR-CSIC on evolution of artichoke and allied species.

2002-2003. Coordinator of a project financed by local communities of the Aniene Valley for the characterization and valuation of local bean germplasm.

2000-2006. Responsible of an unit within a project financed by MURST (Cluster C03) "Study of genes of biomedical and agrofood interest", aimed at the identification of plant genes producing bioactive proteins.

1998-2001. Responsible of the Italian unit of the Medusa Network, a EU-DG XII funded project, aimed at the implementation of a database on wild plants used by man and their modes of utilization.

1994-2002. General coordination the Rocket Network (Eruca and Diplotaxis genetic resources), specifically of the activities relating to networking existing germplasm collections and databases.

1989-1995. Responsible of an unit within the frame of the international project "Joint Biotechnology Cowpea Programme" financed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Nigeria, a CGIAR Network Institution, partners University of Napes, Purdue University, University of Durham, Ibadan University, and IITA.

Synthetic scientific activity

Plant phenotyping

  • utilization of a single seed descent (SSD) collection of durum wheat worth of >450 genotypes to explore different phenotypic aspects of durum wheat. This collection has been fully genotyped using a DNA-chip carrying ca. 82.000 SNPs;
  • analysis of 152 genotypes of the SSD collection through the automated high throughput platform LemnaTech set up in Metaponto at the Research unit of IBBR at ALSIA. development of strategies for the analysis of well-being of the plant at different growth stages, by means of image analysis algorithms based on RGB as well as IR fluorescence images;
  • analysis od some 50 SSD genotypes for water stress using an integrated approach of image analysis in the RGB domain, stomatal conductance and leaf fluorescence at two wavelengths. The stress was administered at different developmental stages of the plant, with a special reference to those involved in the seed set. These stages are those present in nature in the mid-late spring, when the water for prolonged drought stress is more probable;
  • analysis of a subset of 16 SSD genotypes, selected on the basis of morphological characters associated to production, for the response to nitrogen deprivation in the open field. The essay was developed over two different years in a scheme of randomized blocks with three repetitions. As a result of this trial it was possible to identify genotypes which are less sensible to nitrogen deprivation, which will be used in the future to explore a mechanism of resilience very important for sustainable agriculture;
  • The SSD collection is being tested for resistance/resilience to Septoria nodorum ;

Plant Genetic Resources:

  • coordination of plant germplasm collecting missions in Italy (all southern Italian regions including islands) and abroad (Albania, Greece, Crete, Malta) since 1985; collecting missions are essential to enlarge the existing collections and sources of useful genes, and to trace crop movements in historical times within the Mediterranean;
  • studies on local germplasm of crop species and on ethno botany in islands of linguistic minorities in Italy (Albanian-speaking, Greek-speaking, German-speaking, etc.); these multidisciplinary studies are essential to understand the human and plant migration through the two sides of the Adriatic sea and the Alps, mostly occurred during the late Middle Age;
  • evaluation of plant collections and their genetic diversity through multidisciplinary approach, aimed at the characterization, protection and valuation of specific segments of the plant germplasm collections, mostly wheat, legumes and some horticultural crops;
  • studies on the evolution and domestication of cultivated plants, by means of integrated multidisciplinary approach, including genetics, genomics and historical records; a specific attention has been devoted to the evolution/domestication of lentil, a staple food since the origin of agriculture, and artichoke, a plant domesticated in Italy in Roman times;
  • management of the seed collections held in a plant germplasm bank allocated at the Institute of Plant Genetics in Bari (> 56000 samples); this activity has allowed the rationalization of the fourth germplasm collection established worldwide in 1970, and the adhesion to the multilateral system of the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources;
  • development of advanced conservation techniques (ultra-dry, DNA banking) for specific segments of the plant germplasm stored;
  • development of new strategies for the utilization of crop germplasm: the development of inbred single seed descent lines in durum wheat representative of the whole genetic variation in the crop’s world germplasm collection.

Genetics/Molecular biology:

  • use of molecular markers (SSRs, AFLPs, SNPs, molecular cytogenetics, etc.) for studying genetic diversity in and among plant populations, of both cultivated species and wild relatives, aimed at the identification of the genetic structure of plant populations, genetic relationships among samples within species, relationships among allied species;
  • identification and characterization at the structural and functional levels of genes coding for specific proteins (trypsin inhibitors, Bowman-Birk protease inhibitors) of potential medical use, and of genes involved in metabolic chains (Phenyl-Ammonia-Lyase, Glutamine synthetase, etc.);
  • analysis of gene expression at different growth stages and organs of the plant and under stress conditions (cold, salt, injuries) in order to identify the genes differentially expressed at each stage and/or discriminate the role of single genes/alleles in relation to the others;
  • identification by approaches of next generation sequencing and bioinformatics applications of mi-RNAs in artichoke; analysis of the conserved mi-RNA and discovery of new ones by means of an ad hoc bioinformatics pipeline aimed at recognizing potential new mi-RNA, their conformation and structure in silico, and their validation in laboratory experiments;
  • molecular cytogenetics (FISH, GISH) and its use in analyzing chromosome evolution among allied species (Dasypyrum, Vigna, Cicer,), hybrids meiosis (Triticum, Dasypyrum) and in selection of backcrosses and recombinant lines of a cross Triticum turgidum x Aegilops umbellulata and other recombinant lines of T. durum;
  • development of an integrated genetic map of artichoke based on an F1 progeny of a cross cultivated artichoke x wild cardoon using EST-derived SSRs, genomic SSRs, AFLPs, ten genes, and two morphological traits;
  • development of high throughput phenotyping approaches to select durum wheat germplasm for resources use efficiency, principally nitrogen and water use efficiency.

Pre-Breeding and selection:

  • production through wide hybridization of a series of hybrids and amphyploids Triticum x wild relative (Aegilops, Dasyspyrum) in order to study the patterns of meiotic pairing in hybrids, also through the application of mathematical models, and the meiotic stability of amphyploids;
  • some of the hybrids/amphyploids were used to attempt gene transfer from the wild relatives to the wheat crop, by selecting back-cross generation using FISH and GISH molecular cytogenetics tools, leading to the development of introgression lines in wheat incorporating resistance genes from Aegilops species;
  • use of molecular tools for identifying in a population of a Capsicum annuum landraces (Peperone di Senise POD) the farmers lots close to the original genetic nucleus of the landrace, endangered by the allogamic reproductive behavior of this crop; selection of best performing genotypes and their reproduction under isolation;
  • registration as “conservation varieties” in the conservation varieties list of the Lazio Region of four historical common bean landraces of the Lazio region, Aniene river valley;
  • selection through a collection of genotypes of Triticum turanicum to develop through conservative selection three lines potentially adapted to hilly regions of Central Italy under organic agriculture. These varieties possess enhanced characteristics as compared to commercial varieties of this crop, e.g. the renown Kamut;
  • development of a collection of some 500 genotypes of Triticum durum representative of the whole area of diversification of the crop, obtained by single seed descent. This collection is aimed at being utilized as a bio-platform for discovering and mapping markers (SNPs, SSRs, etc.), quantitative trait loci, and can constitute a reference set for the Italian Durum Wheat Initiative. It has been genotyped using a chip containing some 90.000 SNPs.

Management activity

As Director of the Institute of Plant Genetics (IGV) of CNR

The Institute of Plant Genetics (IGV) was a multi-site Institute organized in five different units, which in October 2013 ceased to be incorporated into the newly established Institute of Bioscence and Bioresources. The mandate of director was extinguished as a consequence. The headquarters of IGV were located in Bari and the units located in Florence, Perugia, Portici (Naples) and Palermo, with a staff of over 100 permanent staff, 46 being researches, and a varying number of temporary job employees, PhD students, post-docs, etc. It also hosted five experimental fields in Apulia, Basilicata and Sicily regions.

After obtaining the directorship of the IGV, the applicant devoted efforts to harmonize the management structure throughout the five units of the Institute in order to facilitate the procedures, to focus the activity of the Institute on two major axes of activity, to give motivation to the researchers and coordinate them for the application to competitive grants. As a result of this action the main goals are described in the following paragraphs.

The administrative procedures over all units were harmonized, to make them more efficient and to cope with the new rules of the CNR. This goal was achieved by organizing a coordinated secretariat with a chief administrative secretary and a series of local staff with specific tasks. This has allowed a better efficiency in handling the administrative load, that the continuously changing national rules for Public Entities make rather complex, and to have a quick dissemination and application of any new rule or directive.

The capacity of attracting external funds was boosted, by applying to competitive calls at both the European, National and Regional levels. The average external funds of the IGV passed from less than 2.0 M euros per year (2004-2008) to an average of over 2.6 M euros per year (2009-2012) with a peak of 3.8 M euros in 2011 and over 3.5 M euros got in 2013. The IGV has been particularly effective in obtaining funds from the PON (National Operative Program) awarded by the Ministry of University and Research and the PSR (Rural Development Plan) issued by the Southern Italian Regions.

An increase of the ISI publications of the researchers was stimulated. In fact, the average number of ISI papers published in the period 2008-2013 was 48 per year, as compared to 36.6 per year of the previous period (2002-2007). The average impact factor also slightly raised, from 2.3 to 2.6.

In the same period (2008-2013) the permanent staff increased by some 20 units (from 87 to 107) due to both new competitions (positions awarded to the IGV due to its evaluation parameters, including the ability to get external grants) and internal mobility from other CNR Institutes. A various number of PhD students and Post-Docs was also attained due to the utilization of external funds.

Partnership with small and medium enterprises, from both the agricultural and the biotechnogical sectors, was enhanced. As for the agricultural sector an agreement was developed in 2009 with the Austrian enterprise Saatbau-Lintz for the exploitation of a hulled wheat variety developed at the IGV in previous years, which in turn produced a small but constant revenue to the CNR in the form of royalties. Another agreement was signed in 2009 with an SME of Central Italy for the development lines of Triticum turanicum apt to cultivation under organic conditions in hilly regions of Central Italy and particularly fit for baked products.

In order to foster transfer of the IGV know-how to SMEs, a collaboration was started with Bionat Italia, a small biotech enterprise, specialized in technological transfer. This collaboration started from interaction within the frame of specific projects aimed at applications in the agrofood and agriculture sectors, and allowed the access to external funds from the FESR Sicilia and PON actions. This kind of projects are specifically devoted to develop solid relationships with SMEs and transfer of scientific know-how to the productive sector. The agreement with Bionat Italia had an important role in the growth of capacity of IGV in obtaining external competitive funds.

The IGV participated to an agreement with the University south Australia on research on durum wheat. Scientists from the IGV were invited in Australia to outline the overall agreement that includes also other Italian research Institutions (ISPA CNR, Research Council for Agricultural Research) and Universities (Bari university, Bologna University). As a result the IGV participates to the Italian Initiative for durum wheat research.

The gemplasm collection held at the IGV was revitalized. This collection was established in 1970, the fourth in time in the world after the VIR (Russia), the IPK (Germany) and the NPGS/GRIN (USA). For many and different reasons during the last decade the bank had lost its function and was poorly managed. The applicant reorganized the whole managing and scientific structure of the bank. All data relative to the samples collected were implemented in a database that is freely searchable on the website of the IGV. All seed samples were inventoried and the inventory data flow to the database which to the operators is also acting as a management tool. This work has allowed to contribute to the Multilateral System of the FAO International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, signed by Italy in 2004, some 30.000 accessions of Triticum and Hordeum, both species of the annex1. It is worth of note that the IGV germplasm bank has been the first Italian contribution to the Multilateral System, notwithstanding the obscure period it underwent. Starting 2012 the bank has been provided with a scientific and technical organization: a curator has been identified and different scientists and technicians cooperate with the curator for the different needs of the bank.

The IGV obtained in 2011 a project from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) to support agricultural efforts of Senegal. The project is overall worth some 33 million euros, most of which to implement in loco activities by Senegalese institutions. The role of the IGV, and its partner institute IBIMET, is to provide the guidelines of the implementation plan and the technical assistance to the project. Being the project quite complex and involving two different institutes of the CNR, it has been necessary to implement a specific project structure, with a general scientific coordinator, an operative project director, and responsible of specific actions. Also the administrative structure has been molded so that there is a general administrative responsible coordinating the single administrative units activity.

The IGV collaborated with many different research Institutions, which span from many Italian Universities (Bari, Naples Federico II, Perugia, Florence, etc.), research Institutions (Research Council for Agricultural Research(CRA), National Agency for new Technology, Energy, and Sustainable Economic Development(ENEA), and the private sector, mostly in the primary production and biotechnology, and some foreign Universities (e.g. University of Winsconsin, USA, University of Kassel, Germany), and research organizations (e.g. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), Spain, John Innes Center, UK).

As Acting Director of the AgroFood Department of CNR

The AgroFood Department (DAA) of the CNR, now incorporated in the newer Bio-AgroFood Science Department, has been a structure including 10 Institutes with full activity within the department projects and 9 more institutes participating to the projects of the DAA. The staff present in the DAA was over 650 permanent staff units and some 250 more contract staff, plus an undetermined number of PhD students and post-docs. The activity of the DAA regarded three principal investigation areas: genomics and genetic resources, sustainability of the agricultural systems, food science and technology.

Different to an institute, the management of a Department must be respectful of the autonomy level the CNR rules grant to the Institutes and of the fact that most efforts for fund rising are actuated by the researches of the institutes in a bottom-up fashon. The coordination must be attained through sharing the vision of the Department, with some exceptions, e.g. when a limited number of CNR units can participate to a call, or to avoid the proliferation of small project in reciprocal competition. A special attention has been devoted to stimulate a multidisciplinary approach in the development and conduction of the research programs that were being developed and proposed.

An example of this has been the participation to a POR Biotechnology project issued by the Region Campania. This proposal has been assembled in close cooperation among the DAA, the Molecular Design Department and Life Science Department of the CNR, and has been coordinated by the DAA. The proposal has been awarded a 3 million euro grant and is the only grant, out of ten, with the CNR as general coordinator.

Similarly, the participation of Institutes of the DAA has been coordinated for the project CISIA (Integrated Knowledge for Sustainability and Innovation of the AgroFood based Made in Italy) as part of the CNR project “Mezzogiorno”.

The DAA has proposed and coordinates a cooperative network called RIRAB (Italian Network for Research in Organic Agriculture) which includes all the Italian actors of research in this field: the Research Council for Agricultural Research (CRA), the National Agency for new Technology, Energy, and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), various Universities, and Associations of the private sector. This network has also elaborated the vision document for the Italian Platform for organic food and farming - PT Bio (IT) as National member of the EU Technology Platform Organics.

The applicant has promoted agreements between the National Research Council and equivalent research organizations in the Mediterranean. As a result, an agreement between CNR and the IRESA (Institution de la Recherche et de l’Enseignement Superieur Agricoles) Tunisia and with the CNRS (National Council for Scientific Research) Lebanon were signed by the President of the CNR.

An agreement between the Agro-Food Department and the Province of Cuneo was signed in February 2012. The Province of Cuneo has the highest concentration in Italy of enterprises of the agro-food sector and has a relevant primary production. Through this agreement the CNR will provide scientific and technical support to the Province decision makers and to the producers and enterprises operating in that area. The implementation of the actions is being retarded by political incertitude regarding the Provinces as intitutions.

As part of demonstrative and dissemination actions on the activities of the DAA, an operative program has been agreed with the “Fondazione Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci”, Milan, in order to develop the program “Alimentazione e salute: un grande patrimonio culturale da valorizzare” (Food and health: a heritage to enhance), devoted to the diffusion of the diffusion of the knowledge on the linkage between nutrition and health, through thematic expositions for the public also as a part of the propaedeutic activities for EXPO 2015.

Moreover, in October 2011 a Department Conference was organized in connection with the World Food Day 2011. In that occasion a new vision document for the Department was prepared and presented to the public, which focused on the challenges of the agrofood system for the oncoming years.

Finally, a new web site of the DAA and a new logo were projected and completed at the end of June 2012.

The former Agro-Food Department of the CNR has a patents portfolio of some 50 patents, some being new varieties, others being technological patents. This portfolio is largely under valuated or licensed to enterprises which are too small to exploit their full potential. The applicant has instituted within the department a support group formed by scientists, patent experts and private entrepreneurs in order to support the full exploitation of the wealth. A particular success is the revitalization of a license for detoxifying wheat flour for the celiac disease. An industrial plan has been produced and partners have been identified in order to extend the potential of production of detoxified flours outside the national area. The preparatory phase of the consortium agreement has been completed and the agreement will be signed in the next weeks.

Last but not least, the applicant organized the DAA secretariat to solve problems of the Institute and to facilitate the flow of information between the Central Offices and the Institutes regarding the administrative and management rules, allowing to offer a facilitated access of the institutes to the information.

As Acting Director of the Institute for Marine and Coastal Environment (IAMC)

The Institute of for Marine and Coastal Environment (IAMC) is a multi-site Institute organized in 7 different units, and including some 270 permanent staff, mostly Researchers and Technicians, and some 90 Temporary stuff, as well as a variable number of positions with different status at doctoral or post-doctoral positions. IAMC is the largest Institute of CNR for number of employees, its headquarters are located in Naples and the units are located in Taranto, Oristano, Messina, Castellammare del Golfo (PA), Mazara del Vallo (TP) and Torretta Granitola (TP). It also has two lab positions in Palermo at the Research area of CNR and at the locations of ENEA. The institute has also a research unit activated at the TechnoIn site Naples.

The position of acting director was acquired on June 1, 2016. The Institute had several administrative problems as well as for managing the large mass of temporary stuff, accounting for some 25% of the total employees. A further problem for the Institute derived from having started many survey activities in favor of public or private entities, which were much time and manpower demanding, thus subtracting energies to proper scientific activities.

As for the administrative actions, the applicant started a in-depth survey of the actual economic position of the Institute, an activity that allowed to claim credits (mostly from Ministries, or public entities) that had not been demanded on due time, thus determining a potential deficit for IAMC administration. The claim of other credits is being carried on in those cases in which there is a potential controversy or an actual litigation in act. As for those credits that are nor claimable the applicant is designing a rescheduling plan in agreement with the central authorities of CNR.

One of the most evident issues in the administrative/management area was the lack of uniformity of the administrative procedure set up at the different units of the Institute. As a result the applicant set up a body administrative/management rules to be commonly used at every level in the Institute. Moreover, to facilitate the exchange of documents among the units a system based on cloud document storing and exchange was set up from anew. This procedure allowed to fulfill two main requirement: to foster the digitalization of legal and administrative document, and to implement the recent rules on public administration (law 50/2016) and the new regulations of CNR (provision 43/2015).

As for the mass of temporary staff, the problem was the discrepancy between the figure at IAMC (some 25%) and the average in the whole CNR (around 13%). This situation was determined by the large number of projects, of conspicuous economical value, competitively acquired by some of the units, which in turn caused the wide use of temporary staff recruitment. The end of many projects implicated the dissolution of many contracts creating a conflict with the labor unions. A plan of action was then devised in order to clarify the actual needs of temporary staff recruitment, together with a set of procedure to make impartial the criteria of choice of the professional figures needed, so also to reduce the risk of litigations. This plan is presently being presented to the General Director of CNR.

Finally, as for the scientific activity of IAMC, notwithstanding the scarce time since the beginning of this charge, a survey of the actual activities within the different sites of the institute has been developed. Moreover a plan of activity has been devised for the next fall, a period when a series of competitive tenders are expected to be issued at both national and regional levels. In this new plan the survey and inspection activities in favor of public or private entities will be progressively reduced in order to free human resources to favor programs with a higher scientific attitude. Actions have also been undertaken in order to favor the expansion of some sectors of activity, mostly in the areas of fisheries, marine ecology and technology transfer, towards the Mediterranean with special referenc to southern and eastern Mediterranean. In this sense an agreement with an international research entity acting in that area, the CIHEAM, is being negotiated, within the frame of the framewoth agreement between CNR and CIHEAM.

Selected Recent Publications (2010-2020)

Caccialupi P, Ceci LR, Siciliano RA, Pignone D, Clemente A, Sonnante G (2010). Bowman-Birk inhibitors in lentil: Heterologous expression, functional characterisation and anti-proliferative properties in human colon cancer cells. Food Chemistry 120: 1058-1066

Pignone D, Laghetti G (2010). On sweet acorn (Quercus spp.) cake tradition in Italian cultural and ethnic islands. Genet Res Crop Evol 57:1261-1266

Laghetti G, Pignone D, De Lisi A, Cifarelli S, Faslia N, Hammer K (2011). Collecting crop genetic resources in Italian towns of Albanian origin across the Molise, Calabria and Sicily regions. Genet Res Crop Evol 58: 139-152

Sonnante G, Gatto A, Morgese A, Montemurro F, Sarli G, Blanco E, Pignone D (2011) Genetic map of artichoke × wild cardoon: toward a consensus map for Cynara cardunculus. Theor. Appl. Genet. 123: 1215-1229

De Paola D, Cattonaro F, Pignone D, Sonnante G (2012) The miRNAome of globe artichoke: conserved and novel micro RNAs and target analysis. BMC Genomics 13: 41

Catalano D, Pignone D, Sonnante G, Finetti-Sialer MM (2012) In-silico and in-vivo analyses of EST databases unveil conserved miRNAs from Carthamus tinctorius and Cynara cardunculus. BMC Bioinformatics 13: S12

Laghetti G, Ghiglione G, Miceli F, Cifarelli S, Pignone D, Hammer K (2012) Collecting crop genetic resources in two Italian linguistic (Occitan and Ladin) islands and West Liguria with historical and ethnobotanical notes. International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation 4: 54-70

Pontieri P, De Vita P, Boffa A, Tuinstra MR, Bean SR, Krishnamoorthy G, Miller C, Roemer E, Alifano P, Pignone D, Massardo DR, Del Giudice L (2012) Yield and morpho-agronomical evaluation of food-grade white sorghum hybrids grown in Southern Italy. Journal of plant interactions 7: 341-347

Laghetti G, Ghiglione G, De Lisi A, Maruca G, Losavio F, Pignone D (2013) Survey for The Conservation of Agrobiodiversity in Three Italian Linguistic (Occitan, Croatian and Franco-Provençal) Islands. Journal of biology and life science 4: 80-114

Pontieri P, Mamone G, De Caro S, Tuinstra MR, Roemer E, Okot J, De Vita P, Ficco DBM, Alifano P, Pignone D, Massardo DR, Del Giudice L (2013) Sorghum, a Healthy and Gluten-free Food for Celiac Patients As Demonstrated by Genome, Biochemical, and Immunochemical Analyses. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 61: 2565- 2571

Hammer, K., Gladis, T., Laghetti, G., & Pignone, D. (2013). The wild and the grown-remarks on Brassica. International Journal of AgriScience, 3(6), 453-480.

Maruca G, Laghetti G, Losavio F, PignoneD, Hammer K (2013) Historical and Traditional Notes on Collecting Crop Genetic Resources in Central Part of Calabria Region. Journal of Environmental Science and Engineering B 2: 117-126

Colecchia SA, Basso B, Cammarano D, Gallo A, Mastrangelo AM, Pontieri P, Del Giudice L, Pignone D, De Vita P (2013) On the relationship between N management and grain protein content in six durum wheat cultivars in Mediterranean environment. Journal of Plant Interactions 8: 271-279

Hammer K, Gladis Th, Laghetti G, Pignone D. (2013) Cichorium intybus L. as a root vegetable in Italy and remarks on the infraspecific classification of the cultivated races of this species. International Journal of AgriScience 3: 927-938

De Paola D, Cattonaro F, Finetti Sialer MM, Catalano D, Fracchiolla A, Morgese A, Pignone D, Sonnante G (2013) MicroRNAs in the Globe Artichoke: Detection and Analysis. In: Pagnotta MA, Proc. 8th IS on Artichoke, Cardoon and Their Wild Relatives. Acta Hort. 983: 187-192.

De Masi L, Adelfi MG, Pignone D, Laratta B (2015) Identification of Doris verrucosa mollusc via mitochondrial 16S rDNA. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 58: 21-29

Pignone D, De Paola D, Rapanà N, Janni M (2015) Single seed descent: a tool to exploit durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.) genetic resources. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 62: 1029-1035

Pontieri P, De Stefano M, Massardo DR, Gunge N, Miyakawa I, Sando N, Pignone D, Pizzolante G, Romano R, Alifano P, Del Giudice L (2015) Tellurium as a valuable tool for studying the prokaryotic origins of mitochondria. Gene 559: 177-183

Pignone D (2015) Plant genetic resources and climate change. Michael Jackson, Brian Ford-Lloyd and Martin Parry (eds.). CABI Climate Change Series, Wallingford UK , Boston USA, 2014. ISBN 978-1-78064-197-3. XIII+291 pages. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 62: 803-805

Boucheffa S, Miazzi MM, di Rienzo V, Mangini G, Fanelli V, Tamendjari A, Pignone D, Montemurro C. (2016) The coexistence of oleaster and traditional varieties affects genetic diversity and population structure in Algerian olive (Olea europaea) germplasm. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution. First online: January 28, 2016 DOI 10.1007/s10722-016-0365-4

Pignone D, Hammer K (2016) Parasitic angiosperms as cultivated plants? Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution. First online: August 2, 2016, DOI 10.1007/s10722-016-0416-

De Masi, L., Castaldo, D., Pignone, D., Servillo, L., Facchiano, A. (2017). Experimental Evidence and In Silico Identification of Tryptophan Decarboxylase in Citrus Genus. Molecules, 22, 272.

Liu, W., Maccaferri, M., Chen, X., Laghetti, G., Pignone, D., Pumphrey, M., Tuberosa, R. (2017). Genome-wide association mapping reveals a rich genetic architecture of stripe rust resistance loci in emmer wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. dicoccum). Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 130, 2249-2270.

Janni, M., Cadonici, S., Pignone, D., & Marmiroli, N. (2017). Survey and new insights in the application of PCR‐based molecular markers for identification of HMW‐GS at the Glu‐B1 locus in durum and bread wheat. Plant Breeding 136, 467-473.

Santori, P., Caporale, C. et al. (2017) Comitato Bioetico per la Veterinaria: La macellazione inconsapevole - Unaware slaughtering. The future of Science and Ethics 2, 154-157

Comastri, A., Janni, M., Simmonds, J., Uauy, C., Pignone, D., Nguyen, H. T., Marmiroli, N. (2018). Heat in wheat: exploit reverse genetic techniques to discover new alleles within the Triticum durum sHsp26 family. Frontiers in Plant Science 9, 1337.

Janni, M., Cadonici, S., Bonas, U., Grasso, A., Dahab, A. A. D., Visioli. G., Pignone, D., Ceriotti, A., Marmiroli, N. (2018) Gene-ecology of durum wheat HMW glutenin reflects their diffusion from the center of origin. Scientific Reports 8, 16929

Hammer, K., Laghetti, G., Pignone, D. (2018) South Italy And Sicily - Hotspots For Cultivated Plants. Global Journal of Engineering Science and Researches 5, 177-203

Danzi, D., Briglia, N., Petrozza, A., Summerer, S., Povero, G., Stivaletta, A., ... & Janni, M. (2019). Can high throughput phenotyping help food security in the Mediterranean area?. Frontiers in plant science 10, 15.

Facchiano, A., Pignone, D., Servillo, L., Castaldo, D., De Masi, L. (2019). Structure and Ligands Interactions of Citrus Tryptophan Decarboxylase by Molecular Modeling and Docking Simulations. Biomolecules 9, 117.

Slim, A., Piarulli, L., Chennaoui Kourda, H., Rouaissi, M., Robbana, C., Chaabane, R., ... & Mangini, G. (2019). Genetic Structure Analysis of a Collection of Tunisian Durum Wheat Germplasm. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 20, 3362.

Pontieri, P., Troisi, J., Bean, S. R., Tilley, M., Di Salvo, M., Boffa, A., ... & Alifano, P. (2019) Comparison of extraction methods for isolating kafirin protein from food grade sorghum flour. Australian Journal Crop Science 13, 1297-1304

Janni, M., Coppede, N., Bettelli, M., Briglia, N., Petrozza, A., Summerer, S., ... & Pignone, D. (2019). In Vivo Phenotyping for the Early Detection of Drought Stress in Tomato. Plant Phenomics 2019, 6168209.

Babay, E., Khamassi, K., Sabetta, W., Miazzi, M. M., Montemurro, C., Pignone, D., ... & Mangini, G. (2020). Serendipitous In Situ Conservation of Faba Bean Landraces in Tunisia: A Case Study. Genes 11, 236.

Selected Books And Book Chapters (2010-2018)

Pignone D, Martínez-Laborde JB (2011) Diplotaxis. In: Kole C (Ed.) Wild Crop Relatives: Genomic and Breeding Resources, Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, 2011, pp. 137-147.

Pignone D, Gómez-Campo C (2011) Eruca. In: Kole C (Ed.) Wild Crop Relatives: Genomic and Breeding Resources, Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, 2011, pp. 149-160.

Grandillo S, Chetelat R, Knapp S, Spooner D, Peralta I, Cammareri M, Perez O, Termolino P, Tripodi P, Chiusano ML, Ercolano MR, Frusciante L, Monti L, Pignone D (2011) Solanum sect. Lycopersicon. In: Kole C (Ed.) Wild Crop Relatives: Genomic and Breeding Resources, Vol 5 - Vegetables, Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, 2011, pp. 129-215.

Hammer K., Laghetti G., Pignone D. (2011) Linguistic Islands and Plant Genetic Resources - The Case of the Arbëreshë. ARACNE, Rome. pp. 330

Hammer K., Laghetti G., and Pignone D. (2011) Checklist and short history of South Italian cultivated plants. In: Hammer K., Laghetti G., Pignone D. (Eds.) Linguistic Islands and Plant Genetic Resources - The Case of the Arbëreshë. ARACNE, Rome. pp. 101-124

Hammer K., Laghetti G.,Pignone D. (2011) The meeting of two cultures and their agricultures. In: Hammer K., Laghetti G., Pignone D. (Eds.) Linguistic Islands and Plant Genetic Resources - The Case of the Arbëreshë. ARACNE, Rome. pp. 253-272

Pignone D., Sonnante G., Faslia N. (2011) Conclusions and considerations for the future. In: Hammer K., Laghetti G., Pignone D. (Eds.) Linguistic Islands and Plant Genetic Resources - The Case of the Arbëreshë. ARACNE, Rome. pp. 273-292

Laratta B, De Masi L, Sarli G, Pignone D (2013) Hot peppers for happiness and wellness: a rich source of healthy and biologically active compounds. In: Lanteri S and Rotino GL (Eds) Breackthrough in the Genetics and Breding of Capsicum and Eggplant. COE-DISAFA, Torino, Italy, 233-240

Pignone, D., & Hammer, K. (2013). Conservation, Evaluation, and Utilization of Biodiversity. In Kole C.: Genomics and Breeding for Climate-Resilient Crops (pp. 9-26). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Pignone D (2013) Le “isole linguistiche italiane” e la conservazione del patrimonio genetico vegetale: il caso degli Arbëreshë. In: Becherelli A, Carteny A (eds.) L’Albania indipendente e le relazioni italo-albanesi (1912-2012). Vol. 6. Edizioni Nuova Cultura, Roma, pp. 379-384

Pignone D, De Paola D. Rapanà N, Janni M (2016) Capturing wild relative and landrace diversity for crop improvement using a new selection tool to exploit genetic resources in durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.). In: Maxted N, Ehsan Dulloo M, Ford-Lloyd BV (Eds. ) Enhancing crop genepool use: capturing wild relatives and landrace diversity for crop Improvement. CAB International, Wallingford, UK, pp. 47-53

 

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