Agricultural Microbiologist

Sustainable Soils and Crops


Vanessa’s interests relate to the rhizosphere, the plant-soil interface, rich in nutrients and signalling molecules released by plants. Root exudates can attract and allow microbes to grow and, in turn, microbes can benefit the host plant through growth promotion and abiotic and biotic stress protection. Before Rothamsted Research, Vanessa studied phytoremediation of soils contaminated by heavy metals during her Master’s degree and, for her PhD at the University of Sao Paulo, she focused on bioprospecting rhizosphere bacteria from cacti, found in a unique Brazilian biome, for plant growth promotion under drought stress. She also studied the effects of dry and rainy seasons on bacterial community structure, using T-RFLP and 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing with the ion torrent platform. During her postdoc in Brazil at Embrapa Environment, she coordinated a work package within the project “Prospecting biological control agents and natural products for wheat blast management in Brazil”, working with a 16S rRNA amplicon approach to determine wheat-associated bacterial communities and their correlation to wheat blast incidence. Vanessa has recently joined the molecular microbial ecology team to explore wheat rhizosphere microbiome composition and function. The aim is to identify the potential of optimising beneficial microbial interactions of wheat for sustainable production.


+44 (0) 1582 938 377


    Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, AL5 2JQ


      Science project

      • Exploitation of the rhizosphere microbiome for sustainable wheat production


      • 2012 - PhD in Science, Agricultural Microbiology, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
      • 2008 - Master of Biotechnology, University of Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil
      • 2005 - Bachelor of Biological Sciences, University of Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil


      • 2016 - Member of the organizing committee for the 1st Plant Microbiome Symposium at Embrapa Environment, Brazil
      • 2016 - Research Fellowship from Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) to work as a postdoc at Embrapa Environment, Brazil - from November 2013 to November 2016
      • 2016 - Member of the project titled "Prospecting biological control agents and natural products for wheat blast management in Brazil" developed at Embrapa Environment, Brazil in collaboration with Embrapa Wheat, Embrapa Cerrados and Embrapa Soybean from 2013 to 2016
      • 2015 - Research Internships Abroad (BEPE) from Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) to work as a visiting researcher at Rothamsted Research, UK - from December 2014 to November 2015
      • 2014 - Travel award to participate in the International Symposium for Microbial Ecology (ISME) in Seoul, South Korea.