Dr. Simone Diego Castellarin, Ph.D

Canada Research Chair, ‎Viticulture‬ & Plant Genomics
Assistant Professor, Wine Research Centre
phone: 6048272667
fax: 6048225143
FNH 211
2205 East Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4

My research focuses on viticulture and grapevine physiology. Particularly, it considers the physiological and molecular aspects that underlay fruit ripening and the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, and how they are modulated by the environment and viticultural practices.

My laboratory currently uses a multidisciplinary approach that combines field and greenhouse experiments and targeted and untargeted analysis of metabolites and transcripts.

The laboratory has a robust partnership with top scientists in the field of viticulture, grapevine physiology and applied genomics in North America and Europe.

My research is shaped by my agriculture-oriented background and considers those aspects of grapevine physiology that are relevant for improving fruit quality in vineyards.


Some recent and forthcoming research projects are:

  • Characterization of molecular and physiological mechanisms that activate and modulate fruit ripening in grapevine
  • Analysis of the genetic and environmental control of secondary metabolites in grapevine
  • Analysis of the effect of water deficit on fruit physiology in white and red grapevine varieties
  • Analysis of the effect of canopy management techniques on fruit physiology and wine quality

I am interested in working with undergraduate students, graduate students and postdocs with strong interest in molecular viticulture and with outstanding training in one or more of the following subjects: plant molecular biology, genomics, bioinformatics, plant physiology and viticulture.

Wong DCJ, *Lopez Gutierrez R, Gambetta GA, Castellarin SD (2017) Genome-wide analysis of cis-regulatory element structure and discovery of motifdriven gene co-expression networks in grapevine. DNA Research 24 (3), 311-326.

Ariani P, Regaiolo A, Lovato A, Giorgetti A, Porceddu A, CamioloS , Wong DCJ, Castellarin SD, Vandelle E, Polverari A (2016) Genome-wide characterisation and expression profile of the grapevine ATL ubiquitin ligase family reveal biotic and abiotic stress-responsive and development-related members. Scientific Reports 6, 38260.

Hochberg U, Herrera JC, Degu A, Fait A, Castellarin SD, Peterlunger E, Alberti G, Lazarovitch N (2016) Evaporative demand determines the relative transpirational sensitivity of deficit-irrigated grapevines. Irrigation Science 35 (1), 1-9.

Loyola R, Herrera D, Mas A, Wong DCJ, Höll J, Cavallini E, Amato A, Azuma A, Ziegler T, Aquea F, Castellarin SD, Bogs J, Tornielli GB, Peña-Neira A, Czemmel S, Alcalde JA, Matus JT, Arce-Johnson P. The photomorphogenic factors UV-B RECEPTOR 1, LONG HYPOCOTYL 5 and HY5 HOMOLOG are part of the UV-B signalling pathway in grapevine and mediate flavonol accumulation in response to the environment. Journal of Experimental Botany 67 (18): 5429-5445.

Wong DCJ; Schlechter R, Vannozzi A, Höll J, Hmmam I, Bogs J,Tornielli GB, Castellarin SD, Matus JT (2016) A systems-oriented analysis of the grapevine R2R3-MYB transcription factor family uncovers new insights into the regulation of stilbene accumulation. DNA Research 23 (5), 451-466.

Sivilotti P, Herrera JC, Lisjak K, Česnik HB, Sabbatini P, Peterlunger E, Castellarin SD (2016) Impact of leaf removal, applied before and after flowering, on anthocyanin, tannin, and methoxypyrazine concentrations in ‘Merlot’ (Vitis vinifera L.) grapes and wines. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Accepted

Wong DCJ, Lopez Gutierrez R, Dimopoulos N, Gambetta GA, Castellarin SD (2016) Combined physiological, transcriptome, and cis-regulatory element analyses indicate that fruit size influences key aspects of ripening, metabolism, and transcriptional program in grapes (Vitis vinifera L.). BMC Genomics Accepted

Savoi S, Wong DCJ, Arapitsas P, Miculan M, Di Gaspero G, Peterlunger E, Fait A, Mattivi F, Castellarin SD (2016) Transcriptome and metabolite profiling reveals that prolonged drought modulates the phenylpropanoid and terpenoid pathway in white grapes (Vitis vinifera L.). BMC Plant Biology, 16: 67

Herrera JC, Castellarin SD (2016) Pre-Veraison water deficit accelerates berry color change in Merlot grapevines. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture. published ahead of print

Giordano D, Provenzano S, Ferrandino A, Vitali M, Pagliarani C, RomanF, Cardinale F, Castellarin SD, Andrea Schubert A (2016) Characterization of a multifuctional caffeoyl-CoA methyltransferase activated in grape berries upon drought stress. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, 101, 23-32

Mosetti D, Herrera JC, Sabbatini P, Green A, Alberti A, Peterlunger E, Lisjak K, Castellarin SD (2016) Impact of leaf removal after berry set on fruit composition and bunch rot in Sauvignon blanc. Vitis, 55, 57-64

Castellarin SD, Gambetta GA, Wada H, Krasnow MN, Cramer GR, Peterlunger E, Shackel KA, Matthews MA (2016) Characterization of major ripening events during softening in grape: turgor, sugar accumulation, abscisic acid metabolism, colour development, and their relationship with growth. Journal of Experimental Botany, 63(3), 709-722

Herrera JC, Bucchetti B, Comuzzo P, Zulini L, Vecchione A, Sabbatini P, Peterlunger E, Castellarin SD (2015) Effect of water deficit and canopy management on the composition of Vitis vinifera L. ‘Merlot’ grapes and wines. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research, 21(2), 254-265

Zhuang S, Tozzini T, Green A, Acimovic A, Howell GS, Castellarin SD, Sabbatini P (2014) Achieving targeted quality and yield via cluster thinning and basal leaf removal in Cabernet Franc (Vitis vinifera L.) grapevines grown in cool climate conditions. HortScience, 49(6),750-756

Teixeira A, Eiras-Dias J, Castellarin SD, Gerós H (2013) Berry phenolics of grapevine under challenging environments. International Journal of Molecular Science. 14(9):18711-187139

Falginella L, Di Gaspero G, Castellarin SD (2012) Expression of flavonoid genes in the red grape berry of ‘Alicante Bouschet’ varies with the histological distribution of anthocyanins and their chemical composition. Planta. 236(4):1037-1051

Di Gaspero G, Copetti D, Coleman C, Castellarin SD, Eibach R, Kozma P, Lacombe T, Gambetta G, Zvyagin A, Cindrić P, Kovács L, Morgante M, Testolin R (2012) Selective sweep at the Rpv3 locus during grapevine breeding for downy mildew resistance. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. 124(2):277-286

Casagrande K, Falginella L, Castellarin SD, Di Gaspero G (2011) Defence responses in Rpv3-dependent resistance to grapevine downy mildew. Planta. 234:1097-1109

Castellarin SD, Gambetta GA, Wada H, Shackel KA, Matthews MA (2011) Fruit ripening in Vitis vinifera: spatiotemporal relationships among turgor, sugar accumulation, and anthocyanin biosynthesis. Journal of Experimental Botany. 62:4345-4354

Bucchetti B, Matthews MA, Falginella L, Peterlunger E, Castellarin SD (2011) Effect of water deficit on Merlot grape tannins and anthocyanins across four seasons. Scientia Horticulturae. 128:297-305

Falginella L, Castellarin SD, Testolin R, Gambetta GA, Morgante M, Di Gaspero G (2010) Expansion and subfunctionalisation of flavonoid 3′,5′-hydroxylases in the grapevine lineage. BMC Genomics. 11:562

Gambetta GA, Matthews MA, Shaghasi TH, McElrone AJ, Castellarin SD (2010) Sugar and abscisic acid signaling orthologs are activated at the onset of ripening in grape. Planta. 232(1):219-234

Castellarin SD, Bucchetti B, Falginella L, Peterlunger E (2010) Impact of water deficit on fruit quality: physiological and molecular aspects (Article in Italian). Italus Hortus, 18:63-79

Castellarin SD, Pfeiffer A, Sivilotti P, Degan M, Peterlunger E, Di Gaspero G (2007) Transcriptional regulation of anthocyanin biosynthesis in ripening fruits of grapevine under seasonal water deficit. Plant, Cell & Environment. 30:1381-1399

Castellarin SD, Matthews MA, Di Gaspero G, Gambetta GA (2007) Applied water deficits accelerate ripening and induce changes in gene expression regulating flavonoid biosynthesis in grapevine. Planta 227(1):101-112

Castellarin SD, Di Gaspero G (2007) Regulation of the anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway in naturally occurring extreme phenotypes for red berry colour of Vitis vinifera. BMC Plant Biology 7:46

Castellarin SD, Di Gaspero G, Marconi R, Nonis A, Peterlunger E, Paillard S, Adam-Blondon AF, Testolin R (2006) Structure of flavonoid 3′-hydroxylase and flavonoid 3′,5′ hydroxylase genes in grape (Vitis vinifera) and their expression profile in berry skin accumulating cyanidin- and delphinidin-based anthocyanins. BMC Genomics 7:12


University of Udine, PhD, Agricultural Science and Biotechnology
University of Udine, BSc, Agricultural Science and Technology


2009 Rudolf Hermanns Award (Geisenheim, Germany) ‒ Outstanding scientific achievements in all fields of viticulture and horticulture
2007 Sigismondo Douglas Attems Petzenstein Award (Cormons, Italy) ‒ Best PhD thesis in Viticulture and Enology
2004 Sigismondo Douglas Attems Petzenstein Award (Cormons, Italy) ‒ Best MSc thesis in Viticulture and Enology

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

Faculty of Land and Food Systems
248-2357 Main Mall,
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada
Tel: 604-822-1219
Fax: 604-822-6394
Wine Research Centre
2205 East Mall,
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada
Tel: 604-822-0005
Fax: 604-822-5143

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