Jul 7, 2015
PHHI welcomes new researcher focused on vegetable genomics, breeding

Massimo Iorizzo recently joined N.C. State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute (PHHI) at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis. An assistant professor in the Department of Horticultural Science, Iorizzo’s research will focus on genetics, genomics, germplasm improvement and breeding of small fruits (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc.) and vegetable crops.

He will research the health-promoting phytoactive compounds inherent in fruits and vegetables, while also investigating strategies for selecting, concentrating and preserving these phytochemicals. Iorizzo will begin his research effort at PHHI by working to identify molecular mechanisms regulating anthocyanin accumulation and diversification in carrot, in collaboration with Philipp Simon’s team at University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he worked as a postdoctoral assistant and an assistant scientist for the past five years. Ultimately he will be developing an integrated genetic and genomic approach to identify genes regulating the accumulation of health-promoting phytochemicals in berries and vegetables.

“I can help to link a plant genome to my colleagues’ research on plant phytochemical characterization, conservation and benefit to human health,” Iorizzo said. “This link will lay the groundwork for an effective strategy to breed for new varieties of berries and vegetables with increased nutritional value.”

Iorizzo earned his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from the University of Naples, Italy, in 2009. He most recently held an assistant scientist position at the University of Wisconsin Madison and has published more than 20 research articles.

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