Dr. Maria Saponari graduated in 1997 in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Bari; in 2001 after she got her PhD in Plant Virology at University of Bari, she joined the research group at the Institute of Plant Virology – CNR. Dr. Saponari originally worked on the detection and characterization of olive-infecting viruses, contributing to extend the knowledge on olive viruses, to develop protocols for sanitary assessment and clean stock program for the production of virus-free olive plants. In 2003, she extented her research to citrus infecting viruses, particularly, on the Citrus tristeza virus (CTV). Through the support of the CNR short-term mobility program 2006 and 2007, she has been visiting scientist at the USDA, Parlier – California. In the framework of these stages, different activities were developed on CTV: biological characterization, molecular characterization, development of protocol through real-time RT-PCR for detection and strain differentiation of CTV, in vitro and in vivo CTV transmission by aphids, field survey. The collaboration established with the USDA resulted in different cooperative agreement with the CNR, to develop innovative researches: one of the first joint project (2008-2012) aimed to characterize the small interfering RNA associated to cross-protection phenomenon in CTV infected plants. Recently, Dr. Saponari partecipated to the project funded by California Department of Food and Agriculture on “Development of high throughput detection of RNA and DNA citrus pathogens” (2010-2013). The activities begun within the above mentioned projects on these new aspects of the molecular research, have been extended in 2011, in the framework of the national project OLEA to olive crops. Specifically, Dr. Saponari is conducting researches aimed to determine the miRNA profile and the role of transposable elements in epigenetic control.