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Molecular dynamics in plant-microorganism interactions

Expand your knowledge on the molecular, cellular and evolutionary aspects of plant immunity and on the analogies and differences with the animal innate immune system!

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CIVIS focus area
Climate, environment and energy
Open to
  • Master's
Field of studies
  • Environment & Agriculture
  • Short-term
  • CIVIS Hub 1
Course dates
15 March - 31 May 2022

Molecular dynamics in plant-microorganism interactions: plant-microorganism interactions as foundation for the development of biotechnological approaches

This CIVIS course aims to provide knowledge on the molecular, cellular and evolutionary aspects of plant immunity and on the analogies and differences with the animal innate immune system. The course will also provide knowledge on the molecular basis of plant-microbe communication (recognition, elicitation, response) and on the mechanisms that regulate the immune response to lead to pathogenicity or symbiosis. Part of the course will illustrate how knowledge gained in the study of plant-microbe interactions is translated into biotechnological approaches.

Main topics addressed

  • Plant defence responses
  • Variability-Gene for gene model
  • Resistance genes
  • Danger signals (non-self) and their recognition
  • Hormones in plant-microbe interaction
  • Systemic responses
  • Plant transduction cascades in immunity

Learning outcomes

  • Molecular, cellular and evolutionary aspects of plant immunity
  • Analogies and differences with the animal innate immune system
Language: English (B2) ECTS: 6*
Format: Virtual CIVIS students accepted: 5
Contact hours: 30 Individual workload: 100 hours

*The recognition of ECTS depends on your home university.

This CIVIS course will be running for a total of 10 weeks. The courses are scheduled twice a week: 2 hours of online sessions from 14.00-16.00 CET on Wednesdays and Fridays. 


This CIVIS course is open to Master's students at one of CIVIS member universities. A strong background in plant biology and microbiology is required. AB2 level of English is recommended.

Application process

Interested students should send their CV and a motivation letter by 28 February 2022 to Giulia De Lorenzo ( and Lucia Marti (

Selected students will be notified by 8 March 2022.


Evaluation will be based will on:

  • An oral presentation of a research article (60%) 
  • A final exam (40%)
  • Attendance to the courses and active participation in the discussions (bonus)

The evaluation criteria are the following:

  • Verification of the learning of the basic principles and concepts,
  • Ability to ask questions,
  • Analyze and find possible solutions to scientific problems related to the subject and engage with an active attitude.

The evaluation is expressed in thirtieths (minimum mark 18/30, maximum mark 30/30 with honours).

GDPR Consent

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Giulia De Lorenzo

Giulia De Lorenzo is a full Professor of Plant Physiology at Sapienza Università di Roma. She pioneered studies on polygalacturonase-inhibiting proteins and plant leucine-rich repeat proteins, and has provided important contributions on signalling mediated by damage-associated molecular patterns in plant innate immunity.

Lucia Marti

Lucia Marti is a researcher at Sapienza Università di Roma, Department of Biology and Biotechnology. She is a plant biologist with a strong background in molecular biology, plant cell biology and confocal microscopy. She developed a strong interest in the secretory pathway during her master thesis in plant cellular biology.