PhD student profile, Joa Patania

PhD Student: Joa Patania (ORCID n. 0000-0002-4054-1106)



Supervisor: Prof. Francesca Mapelli, DeFENS

Dean: Prof. Diego Mora

Research area: Agri-Environment

Research topic

“Environmental probiotics”: exploitation of the beneficial interaction among microorganisms and the environment or the plant


Project Synopsis

By designing and administrating synthetic bacterial communities to plant model spp. of relevance for food systems, my PhD project aims to investigate the response of plant holobiont to the invasion of the generally defined beneficial (i.e., Plant Growth Promoting) or neutral (i.e., antibiotic resistant) bacteria. The project focus on relevant environmental conditions like water scarcity and soil pollution, currently threatening food security at the global scale. The project results will increase the knowledge in the field of plant microbiome, addressing important ecological questions on invasion and moving toward the designed manipulation of the plant microbiome for sustainable agriculture. Investigating the resilience of plant microbiome towards the spreading of antibiotic resistant bacteria I will contribute to clarify the potential risks associated to treated wastewater use for irrigation. Moreover, I am interested to study novel methods to delivery PGP bacteria to plants, possibly contributing to a more effective usage of biofertilizer/biostimulants in agriculture.


Project keywords

environmental microbiology, antibiotic resistance, plant microbiome, microbial invasions



Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences (DeFENS)

Università degli Studi di Milano

via Mangiagalli 25 (Milano)




Fellowship sponsor: Università degli Studi di Milano



Vergani L., Patania J., Riva V., Nerva L., Nuzzo F., Gambino G., Borin S., Mapelli F. (2024). Deciphering the interaction of bacteria inoculants with the recipient endophytic community in grapevine micropropagated plants, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Vol.90, No.2, doi: 10.1128/aem.02078-23

Riva, V., Patania, G., Riva, F., Vergani, L., Crotti, E., & Mapelli, F. (2022). Acinetobacter baylyi Strain BD413 Can Acquire an Antibiotic Resistance Gene by Natural Transformation on Lettuce Phylloplane and Enter the Endosphere. Antibiotics, 11(9), 1231. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics11091231

Marta Barbato, Violetta Vacchina, Aschwin H. Engelen, Giovanni Patania, Francesca Mapelli, Sara Borin and Elena Crotti, What lies on macroalgal surface: diversity of polysaccharide degraders in culturable epiphytic bacteria, AMB Express 12, Article number 98 (2022), doi: 10.1186/s13568-022-01440-8

Eleonora Rolli, Lorenzo Vergani, Elisa Ghitti, Giovanni Patania, Francesca Mapelli and Sara Borin, ‘Cry-for-help’ in contaminated soil: a dialogue among plants and soil microbiome to survive in hostile conditions, Environmental Microbiology (2021) 00(00), 00–00, doi:10.1111/1462-2920.15647


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