Dr Maria SAPONARI, PhD with 13 years of experience on invasive plant pathogens of woody crops (olive and citrus). Main interests are to develop innovative tools for the identification, detection and quantification of plant pathogens, and to develop genomic information that can help to elucidate the cross-protection mechanisms and the differential host response to pathogen infections. She has contributed to define the genetic relatedness of the CoDiRO strain to the X. fastidiosa subsp. pauca and to identify the first ascertained vector of X. fastidiosa in Italy (Philaenus spumarius). She has published over 30 peer reviewed papers and has coordinated three R&D research projects and authored one patent on diagnostic kit.