Damiano Puglisi

PhD Student - XXXIII Cycle - Tutor: Angela Roberta Lo Piero
Office: Via Valdisavoia, 5, I piano
Email: damiano.puglisi@phd.unict.it
Phone: 095 4783451

2018-2021: PhD course in Biotechnology, University of Catania. Research project: “Using genomic prediction and analysis of below-ground traits to select high-yielding barley lines for temperate and semi-arid environments”.

Research activities: In temperate and semi-arid environments climate changes and drought are causing important yield losses in barley. The aim of this project is to select high-yielding barley lines adapted to Mediterranean environments using genomic prediction as well as the analysis of below-ground traits applied to MAGIC and biparental populations. The MAGIC population was sown in clear pots to phenotype Seminal Root Angle (SRA), Seminal Root Number (SRN) and in field trials to phenotype for grain yield (GY) and heading date (HD) in several temperate and semi-arid environments (Annoucer - Morocco, Fiorenzuola d’Arda PC - Italy, Adana and Konya - Turkey) using alpha lattice experimental designs. The four biparental populations were phenotyped for GY and HD in two environments (Fiorenzuola d’Arda and Catania - Italy) using alpha lattice experimental designs. To create Genomic Selection (GS) models and compute “Genomic Estimated Breeding Values” (GEBVs), training and breeding populations, composed by 90 and 323 individuals, respectively, were fingerprinted using the Illumina 50K iSelect SNP array. Using linear mixed models, GY and SRA Best Linear Unbiased Prediction (BLUPs) were computed. To compute GEBVs, BGLR (Bayesian Generalized Linear Regression) package implemented in R software was used to combine BLUPs and genotypic data of the training population using ridge regression method.  Different models have been created, validated and used to select lines for temperate and semi-arid environments. Finally, it was created a genomic prediction model for below ground traits (SRA-SRN).

From 02/04/2019 to 24/02/2020: Training of six months as visiting PhD student at International Center for Agriculture Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Rabat (Morocco). Supervisor: Andrea Visioni. Research activities:

  • Post-harvest laboratory activities: Green Scan for the acquisition of morphological data (green size, diameter, area, roughness, TKW), near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR) for the acquisition of qualitative data (proteins, starch, humidity, malt extract);
  • Malting quality traits analysis: 18 barley genotypes were planted in 4 location in Morocco under two water regimes, irrigated and rainfed. 96 samples were selected in the base of protein content and the percentage of the bold grain using the Sortimat machine. Malt protein, soluble protein, malt extract and moisture were estimated by the NIR. Beta-glucans was carried out by a fluorometric method using an Automated Wet Chemistry Analyzer - Continuous Flow Analyzer (CFA), SKALAR.
  • Plant-transpiration response to Vapor Pressure Deficit (VPD)
  • Root system architecture (RSA) experiment were performed on the training population of the MAGIC population. The seminal root angle (SRA) and seminal root number (SRN) of barley seedlings was measured using the clear-pot method

From 30/09/2018 to 29/11/2018: Training of two months as visiting PhD student at Centro di ricerca Genomica e Bioinformatica (CREA-GB), Fiorenzuola d’Arda (Italy). Supervisor: Dott. Luigi Cattivelli and Dott. Agostino Fricano. Research activities: Major breeding objectives; Breeding techniques; Genotype x environment interactions; Application of biotechnology in barley breeding; Statistical software and R studio; Phenotypic and genotypic selection; Genomic selection; MAGIC barley population.

From 12/06/2018 to 15/06/2018: Summer School “Climate change and crop productivity: the role of plant physiology, breeding and biotechnology”, Isola Polvese (PG).

From 01/03/2017 to 01/02/2018: Stage at Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Di3A). Supervisor: Prof. Gaetano Distefano. Research activities: Embryo rescue technique and MAS, screening of table grapes seedlings using SSR.

2015-2017: Master’s Degree in Biotecnologie Agrarie (LM-7), University of Catania. Final mark: 110/110 e lode. Supervisor: Prof. Gaetano Distefano. Degree thesis: Incrocio ed ‘embryo rescue’ per il miglioramento genetico dell’uva da tavola".

2012-2015: Bechelor’s Degree in Scienze Erboristiche e Dei Prodotti Nutraceutici (L-29), University of Catania. Supervisor: Prof.ssa Rosaria Acquaviva. Degree thesis: “Piante ad attività epatoprotettiva”.

2007-2012: Scientific High School, Liceo Scientifico Statale Galileo Galilei, Via Vescovo Maurizio 73, Catania (CT).

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