Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Associate Professor Sandra Savocchia

Associate Professor Sandra Savocchia

BAgSci(Hons) PhD (Adel)

Sandra Savocchia has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Honours) and a PhD from The University of Adelaide majoring in fungicide resistance and viticultural plant pathology. After completing her PhD she was employed at The University of Adelaide as a researcher in the area of grapevine root pest (phylloxera and root-knot nematode) resistance and was also involved in demonstrating and tutoring undergraduate students. She also worked for a private viticultural consultant in the Southern Vales region of South Australia.

Sandra began lecturing at CSU in 2002 in viticulture and wine science and is currently involved in teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate students. She is passionate about her research and is involved in a number of plant pathology related projects including a national project studying the management of grapevine wood diseases.Sandra is currently Associate Dean, Graduate Studies for the Faculty of Science.

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Teaching Interests

  • MCR101 Introduction to Microbiology
  • VIT211 Viticultural Science (Coordinator)
  • VIT405 Integrated Vineyard Management (Coordinator)

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Research Interests

  •  Fungal plant pathology
  • Epidemiology and management of plant pathogens
  • Genetic diversity of plant pathogens
  • Fungicide resistance

Her research team is working towards understanding the epidemiology of grapevine pathogens, improving their detection through the use of molecular tools and improving management strategies for grapevine diseases. Of particular interest are grapevine trunk diseases and those belonging to the family Botryosphaeriaceae. Current research funded by the Grape and Wine Authority involves the development of practical solutions for the management of grapevine trunk diseases. Her team is also aiming to understand the genetic diversity of fungal pathogens and how to better manage fungicide resistance in pathogens such as downy and powdery mildew and botrytis.

Current Research Projects

  • 2013-2016 Practical management of grapevine trunk diseases.  Funded by GWRDC $1,380,086.  Collaborating scientists:  M Sosnowski (SARDI), G Ash, C Steel (CSU).
  • 2013-2016 Understanding fungicide resistance in powdery and downy mildew of grapevine.  Funded by GWRDC $1,327,466.  Collaborating scientists:  B Hall, M Sosnowksi, S McKay (SARDI), E Scott (Adelaide Uni), F Lopez, R Oliver (Curtin Uni), A Borneman (AWRI), A Taylor (Ag WA).

Research Students

PhD Current
  • Jennifer Niem "Elucidating the microbiome associated with grapevine trunk diseases". 2016-2019
  • Dilhani Perera "The role of bunch rots in wine taints".  2016-2019
  • Sana Hanif "Biological control of blackleg in canola".  2015-2018
  • Aruni Buddhika "The role of laccase in Botrytis cinerea of grapevines" 2014-2017
  • Ginger Korosi "Biological control of endemic strains of root-feeding grape phylloxera using Metarhizium anisopliae" 2013-2016
  • Nirodha Weeraratne "Investigating bacterial sheath rot complex of rice:  Diagnostics and Epidemiology" 2012-2015
  • Sujeewa Rathnayake "Biological control of grapevine bunch rots" 2012-2015

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