illustration Claudia Bartoli, a young researcher studying the plant microbiota


Claudia Bartoli, a young researcher studying the plant microbiota

Claudia Bartoli is a young researcher who recently joined the Institute for Genetics, Environment and Plant Protection (IGEPP) at INRA’s Brittany-Normandy research centre. She studies the plant microbiota, and more specifically Brassicaceae-microbiota-bioagressor interactions with a view to reducing the use of pesticides in crops.

Published on 23 March 2019

Claudia began her scientific career in 2008 with a BSc degree in evolutionary biology obtained at the University of Tuscia in Italy.

From sea to soil...

She went on to complete a Master’s degree at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands in which she investigated the immune responses of carp to Trypanoplasma borrelli.

Claudia then moved her attention from marine biology to  plant-microbe interactions by completing a European PhD from 2011 to 2014 between the University of Tuscia and INRA’s Plant Pathology research unit in Avignon. During her PhD, she focused on the role of non-agricultural habitats on crop diseases caused by the phytopathogenic bacterium Pseudomonas syringae.  For this, she used a multipronged approach between microbial ecology and genetics.

In 2014, Claudia further continued her research with a post-doctoral fellowship at the Laboratory of Plant-Microbe Interactions (LIPM) in Toulouse, where she focused on the interactions between the microbiota and pathobiota in natural populations of Arabidopsis thaliana and their role on plant health. This experience allowed Claudia to open up new perspectives on the complex interactions between microbial populations and plants in an ecologically realistic context. In 2017, Claudia carried out a second post-doctoral fellowship at the LIPM, to study wheat-microbiota interactions and to further investigate the role of plant genetic diversity and agricultural practices in modulating this interaction which in turn effects crop health.

Studying plant microbiota to decrease the use of phytosanitary products

In 2018, Claudia was hired by INRA’s Plant Health and Environment Division (SPE) to join the Institute for Genetics, Environment and Plant Protection (IGEPP) at the INRA research centre of Rennes. She works on Brassicaceae-microbiota-bioagressor interactions in the Resistance and Adaptation team.

The young researcher and her colleagues used approaches at the interface between ecology, pathology, entomology, nematology and plant genetics in order to identify and understand how bacterial and fungal populations are recruited by plants to trigger defence processes and/or limit the development and spread of bioagressors in the Brassicaceae.

Claudia’s main scientific aim is to identify factors that shape plant microbiota with a beneficial effect on the plant (i.e. preventing disease) with the perspective of reducing phytosanitary products.

In the short term, Claudia wishes to submit a project for a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant, designed for young researchers in need of financing for their projects. She is also considering a short-term internship in a French or foreign laboratory to improve her knowledge on metagenomic techniques and the analysis of data obtained from Nanopore high-throughput sequencing.



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