Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna

Our partner in

Pisa, Italy

Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSSA) is a research-oriented public university and honours college located in Pisa, Italy. The crop genetics group at SSSA specializes in forward genetics approaches to unravel the molecular basis of complex traits, and particularly in the development and analysis of multi-parental mapping populations and derived data. CAPITALISE relies on a broad collection of genetic diversity, spanning from breeding materials, to landraces, to crop wild relatives, and harnessing extensive allelic diversity for photosynthetic efficiency in tomato, maize, and barley. In CAPITALISE, the SSSA team led by Dr Matteo Dell’Acqua is overseeing germplasm exchange, genomic data production, and QTL mapping and GWAS to derive candidate genes. They aim to network information available across different germplasm resources, combining their strengths and weaknesses to identify genomic loci of breeding relevance, an unprecedented opportunity offered by the innovative research conducted within CAPITALISE.

Dr Matteo Dell’Acqua

Matteo specializes in quantitative genetics, in the effort of connecting genomic variation to complex crop phenotypes. When he is not doing research, he enjoys reading sci-fi and horror fiction in sunny Pisa.

“I am very excited about the research in CAPITALISE – we are teaming with top scientists from all over the world to make a difference in crop improvement”



Dr Leonardo Caproni

Leonardo works on crop genetics and plant breeding and has a passion for bioinformatics. When Leonardo is not working on the project, he enjoys swimming, running and go to the theatre.

“It is amazing to join CAPITALISE; it is a great research effort, a challenge to actually enhance crop productivity in the years to come”.



Min Soe Thein

Min is a researcher and breeder working on maize and rice germplasm, originally from Myanmar. Currently, he is one of the Ph.D. students in Agrobiodiversity at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna  His research focuses on phenotyping and genotyping of MAGIC maize RILs.

“CAPITALISE a great opportunity to improve the most important crops in the world. I’m very proud to be involved in this project”



Zeynu Tehar Suafi

Zeynu is originally a barley plant breeder from Gondar, Ethiopia. Currently, he is a Ph.D. candidate in the Doctoral Programme in Agrobiodiversity at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna

“I am elated to be a member of this great scientific community, and I look forward to the work that CAPITALISE will perform on Ethiopian barley germplasm”



Dr Mara Miculan







The Team