Sandeep Marla

Post-doctoral Research Associate: Sorghum Genetics and Genomics

Address 1712 Claflin Road

Dept. of Agronomy, Kansas State University

Manhattan, KS 66506-0110

Phone (001) 334-703-3197


Area of Specialization Host-pathogen interactions; molecular genetics; molecular underpinnings of resistance against biotic and abiotic stressors; genetics and genomics;


2014 PhD – Plant Pathology, Purdue University, USA

Dissertation: Characterization of adult plant resistance in the maize–Cochliobolus carbonum race 1 pathosystem revealed a close connection between plant immunity and metabolism. Advisor: Dr. Gurmukh S. Johal

2008 MS – Plant Pathology, Auburn University, USA

Thesis: The effect of cover crops on suppression of nematodes on peanuts and cotton in Alabama. Advisor: Dr. Robin N. Huettel

2005 BSc – Agriculture, Acharya N. G. Ranga Agricultural University, India

Professional Appointments

2014 (Sept)– Postdoctoral Research Associate. Department of Agronomy, Kansas State University

2009–2014 Graduate Research/Teaching Assistant. Department of Botany & Plant Pathology, Purdue University

2006–2008 Graduate Research Assistant. Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology, Auburn University

2004–2005 Undergraduate Research Intern, Acharya N. G. Ranga Agricultural University

Research Accomplishments

  • Filed invention disclosure on molecular markers for early-season chilling tolerance
  • Characterized the genetic architecture of chilling tolerance in sorghum with a nested association mapping (NAM) population
  • Investigated molecular mechanisms underlying seedling chilling tolerance in sorghum
  • Established the genetic underpinnings of adult plant resistance (APR) in maize
  • Demonstrated a close connection between plant metabolism and immunity in maize
  • Generated novel genetic variation in maize with ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS)
  • Mapped modifiers of hypersensitive reaction (HR) using MAGIC (mutant-assisted gene identification and characterization), a mutant-assisted enhancer/suppressor genetic screen
  • Identified sunn hemp as a good cover crop for managing nematodes on peanuts and cotton

Peer Reviewed Publications

13. Marcus O. Olatoye, Sandeep R. Marla, Zhenbin Hu, Sophie Bouchet, Ramasamy Perumal, and Geoffrey P. Morris. (2019). Dissecting adaptive traits with nested association mapping: Genetic architecture of inflorescence morphology in sorghum. Heredity (in review).

12. Sandeep R. Marla, Gloria Burow, Ratan Chopra, Chad Hayes, Marcus O. Olatoye, Terry Felderhoff, Zhenbin Hu, Ramasamy Perumal, and Geoffrey P. Morris. (2019). Genetic architecture of chilling tolerance in sorghum dissected with a nested association mapping population. G3 (Accepted).

11. Zhenbin Hu, Marcus Olatoye, Sandeep Marla, Geoffrey Morris. (2019). An integrated genotyping-by-sequencing polymorphism map for over 10,000 sorghum genotypes. The Plant Genome.

10. Rajdeep S. Khangura, Sandeep Marla, Bala P. Venkata, Nicholas J. Heller, Gurmukh S. Johal, Brian P. Dilkes. (2018). A Very Oil Yellow1 modifier of the Oil Yellow1-N1989 allele uncovers a cryptic phenotypic impact of cis-regulatory variation in maize. G3 Genes Genomes Genetics.

9. Sandeep R. Marla, Kevin Chu, Satya Chintamanani, Dilbag S. Multani, Antje Klempien, Alyssa DeLeon, Kim Bong-suk, Larry D. Dunkle, Brian P. Dilkes, Gurmukh S. Johal. (2018). Adult plant resistance in maize to northern leaf spot is a feature of partial loss-of-function alleles of Hm1. PLOS Pathogens.

8. Xu Wang, Ph.D.; Daljit Singh; Sandeep Marla; Geoffrey P. Morris; Jesse A. Poland. (2018) Field-based high-throughput phenotyping of plant height in sorghum using different sensing technologies. Plant Methods.

7. Fanna Maina, Sophie Bouchet, Sandeep R. Marla, Zhenbin Hu, Jianan Wang, Aissata Mamadou, Magagi Abdou, Abdoul-Aziz Saïdou, Geoffrey P. Morris. (2018) Population genomics of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) across diverse agroclimatic zones of Niger. Genome.

6. Sandeep R. Marla, Sunitha Shiva, Ruth Welti, Sanzhen Liu, John Burke, and Geoffrey P. Morris. (2017). Comparative transcriptome and lipidome analyses reveal molecular chilling responses in chilling-tolerant sorghums. The Plant Genome.

5. Sophie Bouchet, Marcus O. Olatoye, Sandeep R. Marla, Ramasamy Perumal, Tesfaye Tesso, Jianming Yu, Mitch Tuinstra, and Geoffrey P. Morris. (2017). Increased power to dissect adaptive traits in global sorghum diversity using a nested association mapping population. Genetics.

4. Junping Chen, Ratan Chopra, Chad Hayes, Geoffrey Morris, Sandeep Marla, John Burke, Zhanguo Xin, and Gloria Burow. (2017). Genome-wide association study of developing leaves’ heat tolerance during vegetative growth stages in a sorghum association panel. The Plant Genome.

3. Olukolu BA, Wang GF, Vontimitta V, Venkata BP, Marla S, Ji J, Gachomo E, Chu K, Negeri A, Benson J, Nelson R, Bradbury P, Nielsen D, Holland JB, Balint-Kurti PJ, and Johal, G. (2014). Genome-wide association study identifies specific biochemical pathways controlling the maize hypersensitive defense response. PLOS Genetics.

2. Olukolu BA, Negeri A, Dhawan R, Venkata BP, Sharma P, Garg A, Gachomo E, Marla S, Chu K, Hasan A, Ji J, Chintamanani S, Green J, Shyu CR, Wisser R, Holland J, Johal G, Balint-Kurti P. (2013). A connected set of genes associated with programmed cell death implicated in controlling the hypersensitive response in maize. Genetics.

1. S. R. Marla, R. Huettel, and J. Mosjidis. (2008). Evaluation of Crotalaria juncea populations as a summer cover crop to manage Meloidogyne incognita and Rotylenchulus reniformis. Nematropica.