On April 7th 2015, Dr. Graziella Pasquini passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 54. She was a Senior Researcher at the CRA- Plant Pathology Research Center, Rome, Italy.

 

In her graduate study at University “La Sapienza”of Rome, she became interested in research on temperate fruit viruses. Her thesis objective was to investigate the role of almond seeds in transmission of Apple mosaic virus and Prunus necrotic ringspot virus.


When she joined the Plant Pathology Research Institute as a researcher in 1990 her research activities focused on development and optimization of serological and molecular diagnostic methods for detection and identification of economically important  plant viruses that infect temperate fruit trees such as Plum pox virus (PPV) or grapevine such as Grapevine leafroll associated virus-3. For her creativity and innovation, Graziella was the first to detect and identify strains of PPV using the microarrays technology as well as to validate her developed method.


She was an active member of the International Conference on Virus and Other Graft Transmissible Diseases of Fruit Crops (ICVF) and the International Symposium on Virus and Virus-Like Diseases of Temperate Fruit Crops that preceded ICVF.


Due to her expertise, she was invited to be a member of the EPPO Panel on “Technical requirements for diagnostic laboratories” and the “Working Group on Community Reference Laboratories” acting as a reference member at the European Union and the National levels.


For the last ten years, she studied thoroughly with passion, the ‘intricate’ world of phytoplasmas and the diseases they cause in grapevine or temperate fruit trees. Graziella was an active member of the International Phytoplasmologist Working Group (IPWG) since its establishment in 2007 and significantly contributed with her research activity to the aim of the COST Action FA0807 - Integrated Management of Phytoplasma Epidemics in Different Crop Systems.


Thanks to her availability, volunteering and high scientific competence she was a member of the Organizing Committee of the 16th International Symposium on Virus and Virus-Like Diseases of Temperate Fruit Crops and the 22th ICVF  held in Rome in 1994 and 2012, respectively.


Because of her professional reputation, Graziella lead the coordination of scientific projects at the European Union level such as the EUPHRESCO ERA-NET: ‘Epidemiological studies on reservoir hosts and potential vectors of Grapevine flavescence dorée (GFD) and validation of different diagnostic procedures for GFD (GRAFDEPI)’.


She published more the 100 scientific papers and book chapters on viruses and phytoplasmas of temperate fruit trees or grapevine.


We hope that her memory will remain alive and shine in all colleagues she met during her professional life.

Marina Barba