Begin date: 
February 16, 2022

End date:
April 16, 2022



Prof. Fabrizio Costa

University of Trento

Center Agriculture Food Environment

Fondazione Edmund Mach

About the Conference | Invited speakers

Prof. Christopher B. Watkins -  "Plant growth regulator effects on physiological storage disorders of apple fruit"
Watkins photo

Prof. Watkins is Associate Dean in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Director in Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.  Chris carries out a research program on storage and ripening of fruits and vegetables from both applied and fundamental aspects.  His primary interests are in understanding the underlying mechanisms of apple fruit responses to postharvest technologies in relation to preharvest factors. He has published over 170 peer reviewed papers, 18 book chapters, 44 conference proceedings, and 126 trade, newsletter and technical articles. Chris has graduated 9 MS and 12 PhDs students, and in addition has hosted many visiting scholars. Awards have included a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship; the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) Outstanding Extension Educator Award in 2005; and invited presenter of the B.Y. Morrison Lecture in 2016. He was elected Fellow of the ASHS in 2015, CALS Outstanding Faculty award in 2018, and Fellow of the International Society for Horticultural Sciences in 2021.

He is also Chair of the International Society for Horticultural Science Division for Postharvest Physiology and Quality Assurance, as well as Editor-in Chief of the journal, Postharvest Biology and Technology.

Prof. Claudio Bonghi - "Regulatory mechanisms controlling flower bud dormancy in peach"

Claudio Bonghi is Associate professor in Fruit tree production at the Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural resources, Animals and Environment, DAFNAE, of the 


 University of Padova. In 1988 he graduated in in Agricultural Science, University of Padova and in 1992 he received his PhD in Crop Physiology. In 1997 he spent six months at at Department of Horticultural Science, College of Agriculture and Life Science, Texas A & M University, Texas-USA, where was working for six
months on mRNA differential display technique with J.J Giovannoni. In 2001 and 2004 he was visiting scientist at Plant, Soil & Nutrition Laboratory of Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), where he was working with J.J Giovannoni on identification of genes involved ripening of tomato, peach, apple and grape by means microarray technique. The scientific activity is mainly focused on fruit development and ripening in many species. At the beginning, he worked on determination of auxin and ethylene content, using different approaches as spectrofluorimetric assay and ELISA, during peach fruit growth and development. After PhD he was starting in molecular investigations focused on biochemical and molecular aspects of growth, ripening and postharvest of different fruit (peach, kiwi, apple, grape). Recently, he included in his research activity the study of the epigenetic control of the whole reproductive cycle starting from bud development to fruit ripening. He is member of ESTRee consortium, an Italian network that produces tools for genetic and genomic studies on Rosaceae species. For this consortium he developed, with other colleagues, the first microarray for peach and other stone fruits. He has published over 140 papers, including original papers on scientific journals (59), lectures, communications and posters presented at congresses (79), and book chapters (7).

Prof. Sergi Munné-Bosch - "No contradictions, please! What does a simple hormonal profiling tell us about vegetative growth regulation?"


Prof. Sergi Munné-Bosch (ICREA Academia award 2008, 2014 and 2020) leads the research group ANTIOX, devoted to the study of antioxidants in plants. Research fronts focus on Plant Ecophysiolgy and Agri-Food Biotechnology. Prof. Munné-Bosch is author of more than 250 articles in JCR-indexed journals, several book chapters, has edited two books and is the Editor-in-Chief of Environmental and Experimental Botany. He is currently giving lectures on "Plant Physiology and Biochemistry" and "Control of Plant Metabolism and Development" in the Biotechnology Degree and on "Plant Responses to Environmental Stresses" in the "Environmental Agrobiology" Master Degree of the University of Barcelona, and is now supervising 8 Ph.D. Theses. His main goal is to better understand the fascinating world of plant physiological processes, help students to reach this goal and transfer this knowledge to the industry and society.  

Prof. Ryutaro Tao - "Environmental and epigenetic fruit ripening control in highbush blueberry" 

Ryutaro Tao has been a professor of Kyoto University since 1988. Prof. Tao’s research career was started when he started his graduation thesis study on


the development of tissue and cell culture system for persimmon (Diospyros kaki) in 1983 at Kyoto University. Since then he has been working on the research projects to utilize tissue and cell culture and transgenic techniques to improve fruit tree species. He has been also working on the reproduction biology of fruit tree species since 1990s, such as the S-RNase based self-incompatibility system in Prunus and floral induction in Diospyros and the Rosaceae. He has been extensively working on the sexual system in Diospyros and Actinidia for the last 10 years. Prof. Tao has made several milestone achievements during his 35 years of research career.

One of the major achievements Prof. Tao has been made is the development of a wide varieties of efficient tissue culture systems for D. kaki, including micropropagation, organogenesis, embryogenesis, plant regeneration from protoplasts, somatic hybridization, and Agrobacterium-mediated transformation.

The most important achievement Prof. Tao has been made in his career is his study on the S-RNase-based gametophytic self-incompatibility (GSI) system in Prunus fruit tree species. Prof. Tao cloned the gene for Prunus S-RNase for the first time in the world. The S-RNase DNA sequence information was utilized to develop the PCR-based methods for S genotyping. After the identification of the pistil S, Prof. Tao identified the pollen S of Prunus. Based on the pollen S identification, marker-assisted selection of self-compatible (SC) individuals has been developed and utilized for SC breeding.

Recently, Prof. Tao has clarified sex determination system in Diospyros, which is a plant genus including persimmon and dioecious Actinidia including kiwifruit. Dr. Tao recently also works on blueberry genetics and fruit ripening.

Prof. Satoru Kondo - "ABA signaling and metabolism on anthocyanin and sugar syntheses in grapes" 

Satoru Kondo

Satoru Kondo is a professor and fellow in the Graduate School of Horticulture in Chiba University. He has studied the research topics as follows ( Roles of physiological active substances in fruit growth (Cell wall metabolism, anthocyanin biosynthesis, and aroma volatile production). Metabolism of abscisic acid, jasmonates and ethylene on fruit development. The analyses have been performed using GC/MS, LC-MS and qRT-PCR. Effects of environmental stress (low temperature, water stress) on antioxidant activity and physiological active substances in fruit trees or fruit. Relationship between flower bud formation and physiological active substances. Fruit tree growing and fruit production in plant factory with LED lighting. He is editor-in-chief of Scientia Horticulturae and played a role of editor-in-chief of J. Japan. Soc. Hort in 2012-2014. He was convener of the symposium of Plant Growth Regulators in Fruit Production that was held in Tokyo in 2017. 

Prof. Guglielmo Costa - "TBA" 

Guglielmo Costa

Guglielmo Costa served in the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Bologna from 1969 to 1985 as Assistant and Associate Professor in Fruit Science, at Udine from 1986 to 1997 University of Udine and at Bologna University from 1997 as Full Professor of Fruit Science until 2015. Professor Costa was particularly interested in the use of plant growth regulators (growth retardants, thinning agents, fruit set promoters, ethylene inhibitors affecting maturation and ripening of fruit) that is probably the area of research for which he is best known in Italy as well as overseas. Professor Costa was also active in promoting international cooperation in education; the most outstanding example of this involvement is the International Master Course in Horticultural Science (IMaHS), an Erasmus Mundus project funded by the European Union. Affiliation to Scientific Society:

Professor Costa is affiliate to ISHS since 1973, served as Chair of the Plant Bioregulators and of “Kiwifruit and its culture” and as a Chair of the Pome and stonefruit Section”. He is actually the vice-chair of the Division Vine and Berry Fruit (DVIN). He was the Convener of the XI Plant Bioregulators Symposium (2009, Bologna), of the VII Kiwifruit Symposium (2010, Faenza),) and the ISHS Non-destructive Assessment of Fruit Attributes Symposium at the 29th IHC in Brisbane. He has long been involved with the EUFRIN Working Group on Fruit Thinning and has led the group since 1994.

Dr. Sayantan Panda - "Hormone profiling of tomato reproductive organs reveals the vital role of indole-acetic acid conjugation in flower and early fruit development" 

Sayantan Panda

Sayantan Panda is a Senior Post-doctoral Fellow, working with Prof. Asaph Aharoni at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. In 2010 he graduated from Plant Sciences, University of Pune and in 2017 he received his Ph.D. in Plant Sciences from the same university. Part of the Ph.D. work he carried out in the laboratory of Prof Asaph Aharoni, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel. He got the award of Gold Medal for best Ph.D. thesis from Pune University. Later he continued at Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel as a post-doctoral fellow focusing on the biosynthesis and regulation of specialized metabolism in plants. His primary interest is to understand how the complex phytohormonal regulation takes place during plant growth and development. He has a keen interest in understanding the underlying mechanisms of fruit development and ripening in Solanaceous crops. In his previous studies, he exploited the introgression population of tomato to establish the genetic basis for wild-species-associated fruit quality traits like taste and pathogen resistance. Furthermore, he did the integration of transcriptomic, metabolomic, and hormone profiling with functional genomics to understand the physiological and molecular basis of jasmonate-mediated plant defense and how it affects plant growth. Additionally, he adopted integrated OMICS strategies coupled with functional genomics to identify hormonal components that are involved in the reproductive development of tomato. Moreover, in the last years, he is extensively worked on microRNA-mediated post-transcriptional regulation of fruit development in non-climacteric eggplant. His long-term goal is to understand plant reproductive biology to a deeper extend which will help in the development of desired fruit traits and new commercial varieties that will aid in sustainable agricultural development.