Research Interests

At the heart of our research lies an unwavering commitment to the tree fruit industry, particularly focused on enhancing the productivity and profitability of pome and stone fruits. We perceive research as a crucial tool, a lens through which we can pinpoint and address the environmental, biological, and genetic factors that might limit their production. Our philosophy promotes the exploration of biological phenomena at all levels, from the macroscopic perspective of an entire tree down to its molecular intricacies. We prioritize aligning our research objectives with the interests and ambitions of stakeholders in the tree fruit industry. This strategic alignment guarantees that our findings are not only academically rigorous but also practically applicable, benefiting both growers and industry stakeholders.


A distinctive aspect of our research program is the equilibrium we maintain between basic and applied domains. This balance facilitates the creation of a bridge between theoretical understanding and practical application. In the applied domain, our work incorporates an in-depth analysis of a diverse array of plant genotypes and the utilization of predictive models. These elements guide the development of tailored orchard management strategies. A significant portion of our research is dedicated to investigating complex physiological disorders and deploying a variety of plant growth regulators (PGRs) to bolster the resilience of horticultural crops against both biotic and abiotic pressures. We place particular emphasis on combating microbial diseases and mitigating the impact of spring frost.


In parallel, we are fervent advocates of fundamental research. We utilize advanced methodologies in molecular biology, functional genomics, and synthetic biology to unravel intricate signal transduction pathways, gene networks, and molecular mechanisms that govern critical aspects of tree fruit biology such as bud dormancy, bloom time, autogamy, fruit maturity, and abiotic stress tolerance. Our research further extends to exploring plant-microbe interactions and employing state-of-the-art techniques, such as spray-induced gene silencing (SIGS), to bolster tree fruit production and management.


Research Projects