Dec 4, 2017
Di Gioia accepts Penn State vegetable position

Francesco Di Gioia, a native of Italy and a graduate of the University of Bari ‘Aldo Moro’ has accepted the vegetable crops research and extension position in the Plant Science Department at Penn State University, according to the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association (PVGA).  He will be replacing William Lamont, who retired at the end of June.

Di Gioia is expected to begin his work in May 2018. He is currently working as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Florida and the USDA’s Horticultural Research Laboratory in Fort Pierce, Florida, under Erin Rosskopf.  He is working on anaerobic soil disinfestation for the management of soil inhabiting pests and pathogens as well as using grafting to enhance resiliency in vegetables. 

Francesco Di Gioia

Previously he had worked on a microgreens agronomic biofortification project at the University of Florida.  Di Gioia studied the physiological response, growth, yield, and quality of grafted tomatoes under combined excess boron and salinity stress in a postdoctoral position at the University of Bari ‘Aldo Moro’ prior to coming to Florida in 2015.

While in Italy he worked as an agricultural consultant as well as a researcher for several years. He began his career in agriculture working for nine years at a cooperative in the production of vegetable crops where he was involved with irrigation system set-up, transplanting, fertilization, harvesting, packing, and pre-refrigeration of lettuce, fennel, parsley, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, rapini, Swiss chard and spinach. He has taught and written extensively on various aspects of vegetable production, including microgreens production.

Lamont retired in an early retirement program offered by the university that resulted in many vacancies in the faculty. 

According to PVGA, given the tight budget situation facing the College of Agricultural Sciences each year lately, it was uncertain whether the vegetable crops research and Extension position would be refilled. 

PVGA offered the College a contribution of $25,000 toward the “start-up” funding (used to let up their research laboratories and programs) offered to new faculty members to show the vegetable industry’s strong interest in seeing this important position refilled.

“PVGA welcomes Dr. Di Gioia to Penn State and looks forward to working with him in the coming years,” the statement said. 

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