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Structure Department of Biology
Telephone 0498276273
Qualification Professore associato confermato
Scientific sector BIO/04 - VEGETAL PHYSIOLOGY
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Office hours
Friday from 11:00 to 12:00 Studio del docente area scientifica 4°piano sud Vallisneri
(updated on 12/07/2013 09:49)

Proposals for thesis
The research currently ongoing in the laboratory concerns:

1) studies on photosynthetic microorganisms of extreme environments
- characterization of the microbiota, with particular attention to the cyanobacterial population, from the natural thermal springs and mud used for the therapies at the Euganean District of Abano and Montegrotto Terme;
- physiological characterization and optimization of the growth of some strains isolated from the Euganean District and of particular importance for the production of high-value compounds that confer anti-inflammatory therapeutic properties to thermal muds.
- physiological characterization of microalgae from Alpine and Antarctic environments

2) studies on growth and photosynthetic responses of cyanobacteria exposed to stellar lights and atmospheres of exoplanets simulated by specially designed instruments, realized in collaboration with researchers of the National Institute of Astrophysics (Padua Astronomical Observatory) and the Institute of Photonics and Nanotechnology (CNR Padova). Research is focused on dwarf red stars and oxygen-free, CO2-rich atmospheres.

Interested students can contact me for more information on current projects.

If you want to get an idea of ​​how it is working with us, visit this link edited by our collaborators

Curriculum Vitae
Date and place of birth: October, 31, 1966, Mestre (VE), Italy
Work address: Department of Biology, via U. Bassi 58/B, 35131, Padova, Italy
Associate Professor of Plant Physiology (05/A2) Department of Biology, University of Padova, Italy.

1997-1999 - Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology. Thesis title: ‘Light stress and photodamaging effects on the photosynthetic apparatus of angiosperms’, Laboratory of Plant Physiology, Department of Biology, University of Padova. Supervisor: Prof.ssa Nicoletta Rascio.
Ph.D. thesis defence 9th February 2000.
1994 - One year research stage for Biologist profession qualification. Laboratory of Biochemistry, Department of Biology, University of Padova. Supervisor: Prof. Roberto Barbato.
Degree, June 1995.
1993 - Master Degree in Biology, with full marks and honors (110/110 cum laude). Thesis title: “Reserve mobilization during seed germination and first photosynthetic phases of the shoot in Ceratonia siliqua L.” Laboratory of Plant Physiology, Department of Biology, University of Padova. Supervisor: Prof. ssa Nicoletta Rascio.

Italian Universities:
Since October 2001 to October 2017 - Researcher in Plant Physiology (05/A2) at the Department of Biology, University of Padova, Italy. The position implies teaching duties as well as supervision of the work of undergraduate students.
April 2000 - October 2001 - Assegnista di Ricerca (PostDoc) at the Laboratory of Algology, Department of Biology, University of Padova. Project title: ‘Taxonomic and physiological surveys on Antarctic microalgae’ (funded by Italian Antarctic Research Program, PNRA). Supervisor: Prof. Carlo Andreoli.
1996 - 10 months research contracts (January-October) at the Laboratory of Algology, Department of Biology, University of Padova. Project title: “Monitoraggio della presenza di microalghe tossiche nella fascia costiera di Civitavecchia”(funded by ENEL). Supervisor: Prof. Carlo Andreoli.
1995 - 8 months research contracts (May-December) at the Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Padova.
Foreign Universities:
1999-2000 - Guest researcher for a total of 5 months at the Laboratory of Phytochemistry, Botanical Institute of the Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Germany. Research Project concerning: ‘Chlorophyll precursors in the regulation of photosynthesis related gene expression’ (partially funded by the hosting laboratory, SFB 184 DFG). Collaboration with Prof. Wolfhart Rüdiger.

Editorial and reviewer activities:
Since 2016 Nicoletta La Rocca is Member of the Editorial Board of Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group).
2008 and 2015 Nicoletta La Rocca had an Editorial Contract for writing two chapters of the book ‘Fisiologia delle Piante’ 1st (published in 2012) and 2nd (published in 2017) Edition, by EDISES, Napoli, Italy

Extended version of the CV in the following pdf file.

Lecturer's Curriculum (PDF): 65BB89D2D6E1F929339D99B26629E7E1.pdf

Research areas
Nicoletta La Rocca is currently Associate Professor of Plant Physiology at the Department of Biology, University of Padova. Her research activity, carried out in different laboratories of both Italian and foreign Universities, always aimed at investigating the effects of environmental factors on the photosynthetic apparatus structure and function in organisms with different position of the evolutionary scale, from plants to microbes. Collaborating at research projects considering extremophile photoautotrophic microorganisms she contributed to the discovery and description of 7 new species.
Main current research topics concern:
1) the investigation of environmental factors effects such as light, temperature and drought on the photosynthetic apparatus structure and function in organisms with different position in the evolutionary scale
2) the photosynthetic characterization of microalgae and cyanobacteria from extreme environments, like cold (Alps and Antartica) or hot (thermal springs and muds) habitats.
She has been recently PI in a PRAT project and a research contract from a private company (undisclosed name) aiming at the selection of microalgae and cyanobacteria for the production of high added value compounds such as pigments, lipids and polysaccharides.
She is presently the PI of a research project financed by Centro Studi Pietro d’Abano for the characterization of the microbiota, cyanobacteria in particular, conferring healthy properties to the Euganean Thermal Districts muds.
3) the growth and photosynthetic performances analyses of selected strains of cyanobacteria exposed to simulated star lights and atmospheres of exoplanets.
Within the last two years Nicoletta La Rocca started a peculiar collaboration in the field of astrobiology with researchers of the National Institute of Astrophysics (Astronomic Observatory Padova) and of the Institute of Photonics and Nanotechnology (CNR Padova) aiming to define the ability of photosynthetic microorganisms, cyanobacteria in particular, to growth and perform oxygen evolution when exposed to the light of red dwarf stars, generated by a custom made illuminator. This is a really cutting edge research topic, as recently earth-like planets, like those of the Trappist-1 planet system, have been discovered orbiting around this type of stars.

69 peer reviewed journal papers.
SCOPUS: h-index 21. 1699 citations.
Scholar: h-index 24. 2092 citations.

Complete list of publications

List of last 3 years selected publications:

1.Sforza E, Calvaruso C, La Rocca N, Bertucco A. Luxury uptake of phosphorus in Nannochloropsis salina: Effect of P concentration and light on P uptake in batch and continuous cultures. Biochemical Engineering Journal 2018 in press
2.Larosa V., Meneghesso A,. La Rocca N., Steinbeck J., Hippler M., Szabo I., Morosinotto T. Mitochondria affects photosynthetic electron transport and photo-sensitivity in a green alga. Plant Physiology 2018 in press. doi: 10.1104/pp.17.01249
3.Gris B., Sforza E. Morosinotto T., Bertucco A., La Rocca N*. 2017. Influence of light and temperature on growth and high-value molecules productivity from Cyanobacterium aponinum. Journal of Applied Phycology 29:1781–1790. doi: 10.1007/s10811-017-1133-3 (*corresponding author)
4.Sello S., Moscatiello R., La Rocca N., Baldan B., Navazio L. 2017. A rapid and efficient method to obtain photosynthetic cell suspension cultures of Arabidopsis thaliana. Frontiers in Plant Science. 8, 1444:1-8
7.Meneghesso A., Simionato D., Gerotto C., La Rocca N., Finazzi G., Morosinotto T. 2016. Photoacclimation of photosynthesis in the Eustigmatophycean Nannochloropsis gaditana. Photosynthesis research 129 (3), 291-305. doi: 10.1007/s11120-016-0297-z
8.La Rocca N., Moro I., Rascio N. 2016. Excess light and limited carbon: two problems that cyanobacteria and microalgae have to cope with. In: Handbook of Photosynthesis, Pessarakli Ed. CRC Press, Taylor and Francis. pp. 369-390 ISBN 9781482230734
10.De Farias Silva C.E., Gris B., Sforza E., La Rocca N., Bertucco A. 2016 Effects of sodium bicarbonate on biomass and carbohydrate production in Synechococcus PCC 7002. Chemical Engeneering Transaction 49: 1-6 ISSN 2283-9216
11.Dadea, C., Bacchiocchi, S. C., La Rocca, N., Mimmo, T., Russo, A., Zerbe, S. 2016 Heavy metal accumulation in urban soils and deciduous trees in the City of Bolzano, N Italy. Landscape Research and Nature Protection. 15: 35-42. ISSN : 1867-710X
12.Sciuto K., Lewis L.A., Verleyen E., Moro I., La Rocca N. 2015. Chodatodesmus australis sp. nov. (Scenedesmaceae, Chlorophyta) from Antarctica, with the emended description of the genus Chodatodesmus, and circumscription of Flechtneria rotunda gen. et sp. nov. Journal of Phycology Epub 2015 Nov 16. 51(6): 1172-88. doi: 10.1111/jpy.12355.
13.La Rocca N., Manzotti P., Cavaiuolo M., Barbante A., Dalla Vecchia F., Gabotti D., Gendrot g., Horner D.S., Krstajic J., Persico M., Rascio N., Rogowsky P., Scarafoni A., Consonni G. 2015 Maize fused leaves1 (fdl1) gene controls organ separation in the embryo and seedling shoot and promotes coleoptile opening. Journal of Experimental Botany Epub 2015 Jun 20. 66 (19): 5753-67. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erv278.
14.La Rocca N.*, Sciuto K., Meneghesso A., Moro I., Rascio N., Morosinotto T., 2015 Photosynthesis in extreme environments: responses to different light regimes in the Antarctic alga Koliella antarctica. Physiologia Plantarum 153: 654-67. doi: 10.1111/ppl.12273 (*corresponding author)

List of taught course units in A.Y. 2020/21
Degree course code (?) Degree course track Course unit code Course unit name Credits Year Period Lang. Teacher in charge
SC1161 COMMON SCP8084999 6 3rd Year (2020/21) First
SC1179 COMMON SCN1031415 6 1st Year (2020/21) Second
SC1161 COMMON SCO2045673 11 2nd Year (2020/21) Second