Lara Poles

PhD Student - XXXV Cycle Agricultural, Food and Environmental Science - Tutor: Stefano Giovanni La Malfa
Office: Via Valdisavoia 5 - Piano Primo

  • 2019-2022: PhD course in Agricultural, Food and Environmental Science, University of Catania. Research project: 'New Breeding Techniques in Citrus: effect of genotype, explant source, in vitro cultural condition and interaction with Agrobacterium on transformation efficiency'.
    Research activity: the adoption of new breeding techniques (NBT) such as genome editing, cis-genesis and RNA interference represent a good alternative to classical breeding to overcome limitations proper of most of the woody plants such long juvenility and high heterozygosity. The high specificity and efficiency of these NBT approaches enables the introduction or the modification of specific genes conferring traits of agronomical interest to the plant. To this extent, the identification of the candidate genes is of pivotal importance as well as the attitude of the plant to be transformed and regenerated. Despite many studies have been carried out to standardize the transformation protocols for lemon (Citrus. lemon), mandarins (C. reticulata) and orange (C. sinensis), transformation efficiency in citrus is still relatively low and the effect of genotype, explant source, in vitro cultural condition and interaction with Agrobacterium could be further investigated and improved.
  • 2019-2021 – Holder of Assegno di ricerca (Project CITRUS BIOTECH - citrus improvement by sustainable biotechnologies. DM 15930/7305/2018), Centro di ricerca Olivicoltura, Frutticoltura e Agrumicoltura (CREA-OFA), Acireale (CT). Research activity:
    • Identification of candidate genes involved in sterility mechanism (self-incompatibility) in mandarins and mandarins-like to be used in CRISPR/Cas9 system for seedless fruit production.
    • Morphological and histological analysis on the flower apparatus of some citrus mutants. CRISPR/Cas9 constructs design and assembly.
    • Citrus stable transformation mediated by Agrobacterium tumefaciens.
    • Optimization of regeneration protocol for citrus commercial varieties.
  • 2015-2018 - Innovation Fruit Consortium (CIF), Trento. Research activity:
    • Marker Assisted Selection (MAS), screening and developing of novel markers for apple scab resistance and for other traits of agronomical interest to improve Edmund Mach Foundation (FEM) apple breeding program.
    • Fingerprint analysis on different fruit species ranging from apple to plum and walnut; characterization of the whole FEM apple germplasm collection and curation of a web interface database collecting all genetic profiles.
    • Field and trial evaluation in apple experimental orchards.
  • 2015 – Grant scholarship (progetto ‘AppleBerry’, provincia Autonoma di Trento) Edmund Mach Foundation (FEM), San Michele all’Adige (TN). Research activity:
    • MAS on FEM apple breeding program;
    • Fingerprint analysis of the FEM apple germplasm collection.
  • 2013-2014 – Grant scholarship (progetto ‘Ager’) Edmund Mach Foundation (FEM), San Michele all’Adige (TN). Research activity:
    • MAS, screening of apple seedlings using SSR and SCAR markers on several disease resistance and fruit quality traits.
    • QTL analysis on grape using pedigree-based analysis (PBA) approach: identification of the favourable alleles involved in downy mildew resistance.
  • 2012-2013 - Training at Consiglio per la Ricerca e la sperimentazione in Agricoltura - Centro di Ricerca per la Viticoltura (CRA-VIT), Conegliano (TV).  Research activity:
    • Diagnostic and biological analysis (PCR, ELISA test) for the identification of pathogens (phytoplasmosis, bacteria and fungi) on grape.
    • Analysis for the traceability of Agrobacterium vitis, the predominant species causing grape crown gall and grapes fingerprint analysis with SSRs markers
  • 2010-2012: Master’s Degree in Industrial Biotechnology, University of Padua. Supervisor: Prof. Barbara Baldan. Degree thesis: “Transformation of leaves and protoplasts of Jatropha curcas (L.)”.
  • 2007-2010: Bachelor’s Degree in Biotechnology, University of Padua. Supervisor: Prof. Michela Zottini. Degree thesis: “Selection of homozygous mutant lines of Arabidopsis thaliana for p23 co-chaperone”.
  • 2007: Scientific High School. Liceo Scientifico Sperimentale “G.A. Pujati” di Sacile (PN).

Last updated: 05/29/2020

Adoption of new plant breeding techniques (NPBTs) such as genome editing, cis-genesis and intragenesis to develop novel varieties of citrus with improved agronomical traits and to perform functional studies on genes and alleles involved in the major pathways. Work include the identification of candidate genes to be used and optimization of regeneration and transformation protocols for citrus commercial varieties in order to apply NPBTs.

  • Padmarasu S, Sargent DJ, Patocchi A, Troggio M, Baldi P, Linsmith G, Poles L, Jänsch M, Kellerhals M, Tartarini S, Velasco R. “Identification of a leucine-rich repeat receptor-like serine/threonine-protein kinase as a candidate gene for Rvi12 (Vb) based apple scab resistance” - Molecular Breeding, (2018) 38:73 -
  • Poles L, Micheletti D, Banchi E, Bianco L, Costa F, Lovatti L, Velasco R. “Genetic diversity investigation of the apple germplasm available at the Fondazione Edmund Mach” - Acta Horticulture. (2018) 1203, 155-164, DOI:10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1203.23
  • Poles L. “Recupero e valorizzazione della Susina di Dro DOP”. - Frutticoltura (2018) n.8, 78-80
  • Poles L, Lovatti L. “Breeding e selezione assistita: esperienze del CIF di Trento”. - Frutticoltura (2018) n.10, 26-29.
  • Di Guardo M, Bink MC, Guerra W, Letschka Y, Lozano L, Busatto N, Poles L, Tadiello A, Bianco L, Visser R, Van de Weg E, Costa F. “Deciphering the genetic control of fruit texture in apple by multiple family-based analysis and genome-wide association” - J Exp Bot (2017) erx017. doi: 10.1093/jxb/
  • Chagné D, Kirk C, How N, Whitworth C, Fontic C, Reig G, Sawyer G, Rouse S, Poles L, Gardiner S, Kumar S, Espley R, Volz R, Troggio M, Iglesias I. “A functional genetic marker for apple red skin coloration across different environments” - Tree Genetics & Genomes (2016) 12: 67.
  • Buti M, Poles L, Caset D, Magnago P, Fernandez Fernandez F, Colgan RJ, Velasco R, Sargent DJ. “Identification and validation of a QTL influencing bitter pit symptoms in apple (Malus pumila)” -  Mol Breeding (2015) 35: 29.
  • Banchi E, Poles L, Magnago P, Pindo M, Costa F, Velasco, R, Sargent, DJ. “A cost-effective strategy for marker assisted selection (MAS) in apple (M. pumila Mill.): The experience from the fondazione edmund Mach programme for resistance and quality traits” - Acta Horticolture (2015), 1100: 85-89. doi: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2015.1100.10 handle:
  • Peressotti E, Dolzani C, Poles L, Banchi E, Stefanini M, Salamini F, Velasco R, Vezzulli S, Riaz S, Walker MA, Reisch BI, Van de Weg WE and Bink MCAM. “A first pedigree-based analysis (PBA) approach for the dissection of disease resistance traits in grapevine hybrids.” - Acta Horticolture (2015). 1082, 113-12. DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2015.1082.15