Ramona Marasco received her PhD from the University of Milan (Italy), where she spent four years with a postdoctoral research fellowship before joining the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 9 years ago. She is now Research Scientist in the Extreme System Microbiology Lab of the Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering Division (BESE). Her research focuses on addressing the assembly, fitness and roles of plant, insect and soil-associated microbiomes in extreme environments, such as deserts, dryland and coastal areas, and how their assembly and ecological processes are influenced/affected by various biotic and abiotic factors, including climate change drivers. By providing (eco)systems-level understanding of microbial communities and their multi-functional role, the research explores different host and/or microbiome models to disentangle and reveal beneficial interactions to further develop/design microbial-based strategies for (desert) agriculture in changing environments.
Microbial solutions to dryland desertification
Covering more than 45% of the Earth’s surface, drylandsare home to ~3 billion humans (~37.5% of the population) and generate ~50% of global food production.