Stefania Maria Bennici

Fixed-term Assistant Professor (RTDA) of Arboriculture and Fruitculture [AGR/03]


Born in Vittoria (RG), Italy, on May 20th, 1990. After having obtained the scientific high-school diploma in 2009, in September of the same year she enrolled in the bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences (L-13) of the University of Catania (Italy). In 2014 she achieved the degree with 110/110 marks. She then enrolled in the master’s degree in Agricultural Biotechnology of the University of Catania (Italy) graduating in July 2016 cum laude.  In October 2016 she won a scholarship for the International PhD course in Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Di3A) of the University of Catania. During the PhD she spent a 15-months research period at the Laboratory of Citrus biotechnology of the Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas (IBMCP), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)-Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (UPV), Valencia, Spain. In February 2020 she obtained the title of PhD defending the thesis entitled" Citrus reproductive biology. Physiology and genetic aspect of sterility, seedlessness and fruiting". 
From February 2020 to February 2021, she worked as research fellow at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Di3A) of the University of Catania. 
From February 2021 to December 2021, she worked as postdoctoral researcher at the IBMCP (UPV-CSIC), Valencia, Spain. 
In January 2022 she won a type A researcher contract (RTDA) at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Di3A) for the scientific disciplinary sector AGR/03. 


Last edit: 05/17/2024

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The scientific activity of Dr. Bennici concerned research topics related to biology, physiology, molecular characterization and genetic improvement of fruit tree species.

The main research topics are:

  • Study of reproductive biology in citrus fruits through histological analysis and in vitro test for the evaluation of the effects of thermal stress during flower development. Analysis of the levels of expression of genes involved in flowering to evaluate the influence of rootstocks in flower induction and the yield in sweet orange;
  • Use and analysis of molecular markers (SSRs and RAPDs) for fingerprinting, marker-assisted selection (MAS) and molecular characterization in collection of plant genetic resources of different fruit trees (almond, pear, grapevine);
  • Whole genome sequencing analysis for the selection of genes related to agronomic traits of interest and use of classical genetic transformation and genome editing approaches for genetic improvement in citrus fruits with reference to qualitative traits and resistance to biotic stresses;
  • Setting up of regeneration, genetic transformation and genome editing protocols in citrus.