Canini Antonella


foto_scheda-ACanini.jpg Canini Antonella
Department of Biology
Tel: +39 06 72594082
Lab: +39 06 72594333
Fax: +39+06 2023500



Antonella Canini is Full Professor of Botany at the Department of Biology of the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”. She graduated in Biology, reached the Ph.D. level in Cellular and Molecular Biology and participated to the Specialistic School of Biotechnological Application at the Department of Biology of the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”. Currently, the Professor Antonella Canini is in charge of the following positions:

  • Director of Botanical Garden of Rome “Tor Vergata” from 01-01-2006 to date
  • Director of the Department of Biology of the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” from 26-07-2012 to date
  • Deputy Rector for the Territory, Environment and Environment sustainability in the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” from 01-01-2014 to date
  • Director of Honey Research Centre of at the Department of Biology of the University of Rome “Tor Vergata”
  • Member of the Council of the Administration for the Inuit Foundation in the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” from 01-01-2015 to date
  • Member of Algares Spin-off from 01-01-2015 to date
  • Member of the Ph.D. School in Evolutionary Biology and Ecology at the Department of Biology of the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” from 2013 to date

Professor Antonella Canini received many National and Regional financial grants. Some of these, reported below, are very much related to the current project, as the ones concerning the preservation of cultural heritage, environment and territory and those relative to valorisation and preservation of local products and biodiversity, through basal and applied botany and beekeeping research.

  • PRIN 2008 – Origin and diffusion of agriculture in Central and Southern Italy: biomolecular analysis (n. prot. 2008B4J2HS)
  • Progetto PIF 2007/13 – Conservazione dei vitigni autoctoni del Frusinate – Regione Lazio
  • LIFE-09 NAT/IT/000118 RI.CO.PRI – Conservation of arid meadows of Central and Southern of Italy
  • CE 1234/2007 – Improvement of production and commercialization of apicultural products
  • MIPAAF – Progetto Nazionale Ligustica – Improvement of bee products
  • PRIN 2010-2011 – grant n. 2010EL8TXP_001, EPIC – Heredity of populations in Central and Southern Italy
  • UE 1308/2013 – Improvement of production and commercialization of apicultural products

Professor Antonella Canini has collected more than one hundred publications with high scientific impact on national and international journals (ORCID:


Research Activity

The laboratory of Botany of Prof. Antonella Canini is aimed at studying vegetal remains found in archaeological contexts, in order to taxonomically identify them and detect their genetic and morphological characteristics. Such type of investigations allow to obtain information about past human diet, agriculture, plant domestication, uses and traditions, trades, biogeography, economy, ecology, palaeclimatology and plant evolution. The laboratory of Botany perform analyses for the reconstruction, in qualitative terms, of the diet relative to ancient populations or individuals, starting from dental calculus collected from skeletal rests. New techniques for the detection and the identification of plant pigments and organic components in wall painting remains were developed, to determine the main natural elements used by ancient artists and favour restorers’ activities. Ceramics and potteries are also important objects of study for the laboratory of Botany; indeed, the analysis of the organic exudates preserved on the surface of these items may provide insights about their original content. To do it, the laboratory applies genetic methodologies (the analysis of the ancient DNA preserved in these samples), morphological approaches (different microscopy applications) and chromatographic techniques (GC-MS, LC-MS, HPLC-DAD). Moreover, recently, the research group is also trying to use innovative biotechnological systems (such as the application of plant secondary metabolites alone or conjugated with nanodiamonds) to preserve the surfaces of monuments and ancient remains from degradative processes. Finally, Prof. Canini coordinates the Botanical Garden of Rome “Tor Vergata” where a conservation centre for modern and ancient plant germplasm is present, to preserve biodiversity and rare plant exemplars and promote the safeguard of green areas located in cultural heritage environments and areas.


Selected Publications

  • Baldoni M., Scorrano G., Gismondi A., D’Agostino A., Alexander M., Gaspari L., Vallelonga F., Canini A., Rickards O., Martìnez-Labarga C. Who were the miners of Allumiere? A multidisciplinary approach to reconstruct the osteobiography of an Italian worker community. PLoS One, 13(10): e0205362.
  • Gismondi A., D’Agostino A., Canuti L., Di Marco G., Martínez -Labarga C., Angle M., Rickards O. and Canini A. (2018). Dental calculus reveals diet habits and medicinal plant use in the Early Medieval Italian population of Colonna. Journal of Archaeological Science – Reports 20: 556-564.
  • Gismondi A., Canuti L., Rocco G., Pisani M., Ghelli A., Bonanno M. and Canini A. (2018). GC–MS detection of plant pigments and metabolites in Roman Julio-Claudian wall paintings. Phytochemistry Letters 25: 47-51.
  • Gismondi A., Di Marco G., Martini F., Sarti L., Crespan M., Martínez-Labarga C., Rickards O. and Canini A. (2016). Grapevine carpological remains revealed the existence of a Neolithic domesticated Vitis vinifera L. specimen containing ancient DNA partially preserved in modern ecotypes. Journal of Archaeological Science 69: 75-84.
  • Gismondi A., Di Marco G., Delorenzo M. and Canini A. (2015). Upgrade of Castanea sativa (Mill.) genetic resources by sequencing of barcode markers. Journal of Genetics 94 (3): 519-524.
  • Gismondi A., Impei S., Di Marco G., Crespan M., Leonardi D. and Canini A. (2014). Detection of new genetic profiles and allelic variants in improperly classified grapevine accessions. Genome 57 (2): 111-118.
  • Gismondi A., Leonardi D., Enei F. and Canini A. (2013). Identification of plant remains in underwater archaeological areas by morphological analysis and DNA barcoding. Advances in Anthropology 3 (4): 240-248.
  • Gismondi A. and Canini A. (2013). Microsatellite analysis of Latial Olea europaea L. cultivars. Plant Biosystems, 147 (3): 686-691.
  • Gismondi A., Rolfo M.F., Leonardi D., Rickards O. and Canini A. (2012). Identification of ancient Olea europaea L. and Cornus mas L. by DNA barcoding. Comptes Rendus Biologies 335 (7): 472-479.


Teaching – link to Didattica web

  • Botany, Bachelor Degree in Biology (64 hours/average 150 students/year)
  • Medicinal Plants, Degree in Pharmacy and Master Degree in BEEAA (100 hours/average 70 students/year)
  • Food plants, Bachelor Degree in Biology (32 hours/average 100 students/year)