Valeria Zeni

Supervisors: Prof. Giovanni Benelli and Prof. Angelo Canale

Research field: General and Applied Entomology

Research interests: arthropod ethology, biological control, electromagnetic field, biogenic amines, neurophysiology

Institute of Entomology, Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, via del Borghetto 80, 56124, Pisa, Italy


Valeria Zeni is a PhD student in the “PhD Program in Agriculture, Food and Environment-XXXVI Cycle” at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment at Pisa University. Her PhD research project focuses on the adoption of biological control agents (i.e., parasitoids and predators) to control pests affecting horticultural crops in the Mediterranean area. The project is partially funded by the European PRIMA project iGUESS-MED entitled “Innovative Greenhouse Support System in the Mediterranean Region efficient fertigation and pest management through IoT based climate control”. The project goal is to provide new eco-friendly tools able to replace insecticides, which are well known to cause several damage to the environment and human health. She is interested in arthropods’ ethology, such as courtship and mating behaviour, intra- and interspecific aggression, including intra-guild predation. She is also fascinated by understanding how abiotic and biotic factors can interfere with pests and their natural enemies’ behaviour. She has recently spent 6 months at the Graduate School of Science of Kobe University (Japan) where she investigated how extremely low frequencies electromagnetic fields can impact ants at a behavioural and neurophysiological level. She acquired knowledge on arthropods neurophysiology, on arthropod brain and nervous system dissection techniques, micro-CT scanning and neuronal immunochemistry. She speaks English (C1 level), French (B1 level) and Japanese (N5 level).  



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