Research Group Staff
My research interest revolves around exploring feedback processes related to Plant-soil-microbe interactions, with the aim of improving plant adaptation to environmental stresses and, potentially, enhancing agricultural productivity. I am fascinated by the way certain plant species survive under harsh arid environmental conditions, such as drought, heat, nutrient, and salinity stress. I am therefore prompted to delve into understanding the mechanisms that such plants employ in order to survive in such environments. In this quest, I focus on the role of microbiota (both microbes inside plants, i.e. endophytes; and rhizosphere microbes) in improving soil health (nutrient cycling), water or nutrient utilization and plant growth.
By applying methodologies and experience from plant biology, microbiology, soil, and molecular biology, I am interested in identifying novel technologies for precision agriculture that could address productivity constraints in water-limited areas in arid regions. To this end, my current research focuses on investigating the potentials of superhydrophobic sand mulches and other moisture-retaining polymers in reducing surface evaporation (hence irrigation); improving plant water-use efficiency and crop productivity in desert agriculture. Therefore, the cryptic interactions of plants and microbial assemblages within soil biome is investigated in view of interactions between water and hydrophobic surfaces.