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I graduated in Industrial and Environmental Biotechnology in 2007 (MSc) and in 2012 got a PhD in Microbial Agricultural Biotechnology, at the University of Florence. After further specialization in microbial biotechnology, for biofuels and other environmental applications, at the Italian National Research Council in Florence, in 2018 I obtained a position as Researcher in Agricultural Microbiology at the University of Florence, where I'm now conducting my research work at the Department of Agriculture, Food, Evnironment and Forestry.
Name and Surname: Alessandra Adessi
Born in Firenze, Italy, 22 December 1983
Current Affiliation: Dipartimento di Scienze delle Produzioni Agroalimentari e dell’Ambiente, University of Florence,
Via Maragliano, 77 - 50144 Firenze Italy Present position: Researcher Phone: +39 0552755534
She obtained a Master Degree in Industrial and Environmental Biotechnology in 2007 at the University of Florence (grade 110/110 cum laude).
She got her PhD in Microbial Agricultural Biotechnology in 2012 at the University of Florence, under the supervision of Prof. Roberto De Philippis, with a thesis entitled “Hydrogen Production Using Purple Non-Sulfur Bacteria (PNSB) Cultivated Under Natural or Artificial Light Conditions with Synthetic or Fermentation-Derived Substrates”.
Qualified as Associate Professor - National Scientific Habilitation (ASN2016) - Sector 07/I1 Agricultural Microbiology (14/06/2018-14/06/2024); Sector 05/I2 Microbiology (13/09/2018-13/09/2024).
Since January 2022: Senior Researcher/Assistan Professor (Ricercatore a Tempo Determinato di tipo b, L240/2010), Department of Agrifood Productions and Environmental Sciences at the University of Florence, in the sector of Agricultural Microbiology (AGR016).
January 2018- December 2021: Research Fellow (Ricercatore a Tempo Determinato di tipo a, L240/2010), Department of Agrifood Productions and Environmental Sciences at the University of Florence, in the sector of Agricultural Microbiology (AGR016).
November 2016: Research Grant at the University of Florence (Assegno di ricerca di tipo a, L240/2010) with an original research entitled “Purple biorefinery”, about the use of phototrophic bacteria for producing hydrogen as a fuel, along with a range of economically valuable products of industrial interest.
AA2013/2014, 2014/2015: Adjunct Professor (Professore a contratto) for the Master course of Biomolecular Biotechnology (University of Florence), teaching classes in “Microbial Biotechnology and Laboratory”.
From 2011 to 2016:fellowship-holder at the Institute of Chemistry of Organometallic Compounds (National Research Council), involved in projects regarding the biological production of hydrogen from vegetable waste biomass.
From 2008 to 2011: fellowship-holder at the Department of Agricultural Biotechnology (University of Florence), involved in project regarding hydrogen production with phototrophic organisms.
Her scientific activity is certified by the number of scientific products from 2010 (38 in Scopus, H-index 16, citations 763): she is author of 36 research papers published since 2010 in international peer-reviewed journals, 6 chapters in international books, a monography of her PhD thesis, a national patent, a chapter in a national book.
Since 2008 she gave scientific contributions (abstracts) to more than 50 national and international conferences, with more than 20 oral contributions. Among the others, she was an invited for a plenary lecture at 2nd ABIS (Application of Biotechnology in Industrial and Society), National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, INDIA.
She is Editorial Board Member of BMC Microbiology and BMC Biotechnology, Section Editor for Advances in Horticultural Sciences, and Guest Associate Editor for Frontiers in Microbiology and Frontiers in Marine Sciences.
*** Scientific responsibilities
- Coordinator and PI of a competitive project BIOMIC Financed by Ministry of Economical Development of Italy (2021)
- Coordinator and PI of research project CO2MFIT financed by the private enterprise LOMAS srl (2020).
She coordinates her research group composed of 1 Post-Doc and 3 undergraduate-students.
***Awards and Grants
She received the Award for Best Doctoral Thesis 2012 in the University of Florence (Technological Area), by Firenze University Press.
From 2017 to 2018 she received a Research Grant at the University of Florence (Assegno di ricerca di tipo a, L240/2010) with a project she proposed, entitled “Purple biorefinery”.
In 2015 she received a Research Grant from FEMS (Federation of European Microbiological Societies) for a two-months research period at the University of Lisbon.
In 2014 and in 2015 she received two grants for short term-scientific missions (STSM) to the University of Lisbon, as part of the COST Action ES1104.
In 2013 she received a grant for Training School participation to the University of Jerusalem and Negev Desert as part of the COST Action ES1104 .
She received two grants in 2015 and two in 2012 for congress participation: FEMS grant for meeting attendance for young scientists at EMB 2012 (YSMG); SIMGBM grant for meeting attendance for young scientists at FISV 2012; Conference Support Grant 15th ISPP 2015, Tübingen Germany; FEMS grant for meeting attendance for young scientists 2015.
***Visiting Research periods
In 2010 she was a Student Intern at Department of Microbiology (Prof. C.S. Harwood) – University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle (WA), USA, for 3 months during her PhD.
In 2014 and in 2015 she was a Visiting Researcher at the University of Lisbon for three periods: 2 weeks in 2014 for a COST-STSM; 1 month in 2015 for another COST-STSM; 2 months for a FEMS Research Grant.
Since 2015 she is member of the Italian Society of Agro-Food and Environmental Microbiology, and since 2011 of the Italian Society of General Microbiology and Microbial Biotechnology. She is an elected member of the Executive Committee of the International Society for Applied Phycology (2021-2024).
***Main research topics
She has a 14-year research experience in the use of phototrophic microorganisms, also in integration with heterotrophic microorganisms, for the production of specific products (mainly hydrogen, but also carotenoids and liposomes) from agroindustrial waste derived substrates.
She also studies the role of the extracellular polymeric substances, secreted by the phototrophic microbial biomass (cyanobacteria and microalgae) in the formation and stabilization of biological soil crusts, which are complex microbial-based communities. In particular, she recently focused on the water-holding capacity of the polymeric matrix, and the composition of the polysaccharidic components.
She recently begun to study the metabolic interactions occuring between phototrophic and heterotrophic microbes in artificial laboratory conditions.
*** Topics for Bachelor and Master Thesis:
- Photobiological hydrogen production with purple non sulfur bacteria: studies on the optimization of hydrogen production under various light conditions and studies on integrated systems for hydrogen production based on sequential dark and photofermentation.
- Exopolysaccharide-producing cyanobacteria and microalgae: physiological studies and studies on the possible exploitation of the polymers produced
- Ecophysiology of exopolysaccharide-producing phototrophic microorganisms under stress conditions: studies on the distribution and on the role of these microorganisms in natural environments, in particular in Biological soil crusts in desert and degraded areas.
- Physiology and cultivation of marine diatoms and their interaction with marine bacteria.