FVSUag Directory


Somashekhar Punnuri, PhD

Research Assistant Professor

(478) 825-6519

(478) 825-6376


Academic Program: Biotechnology

Research Area: Plant Biotechnology

Research Interests:
  • Genetics and Genomics of crop plants-cereal crops, fruits and vegetables
  • Plant molecular breeding for resistance to biotic stresses such as insects and diseases and germplasm screening and mutant selections
  • Use of Host Plant Resistance and biocontrol agents (Entomopathogens)
  • Soil Microbiome studies
  • Transcriptome-based studies
  • 2019 SEED (The Scientists Engaging and Educating Decision-makers) Ambassador for Tri-Society’s immersive advocacy training program with the goal of developing trusted relationships between Society members and Members of Congress.
  • Invited by Tri-Societies Government relations office to present research work to the members of congress and at the 2019 Annual Ag Research Exhibition at Capitol Hill Washington D.C.-May, 2019
  • Served as reviewer on USDA NIFA Grant Panel for Non-Land Grant Colleges (NLGC) Capacity Building Projects.
  • Involved in pearl millet genome sequencing project lead by ICRISAT.
  • Selected to participate in GIS modeling workshop with theme titled “Climate Change, Global Food security and the US Food system” jointly organized by NCAR-USDA at Boulder, Colorado. 11 July-16 July 2016.
  • Summer Graduate College Research Fellowship - Oklahoma State University
  • Member of Professional societies- Agronomical Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Sigma Xi Tifton Chapter.

Doctor of Philosophy: Plant Sciences - Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK (2011)

Master of Science: Agriculture, Plant Biotechnology - Institute of Agri-Biotechnology, University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Dharwad, Karnataka, India (2004)

Bachelor of Science: Agriculture - UAS (2001)

Recent Publications/Presentations:

Punnuri* S, Ayele A, Harris-Shultz K, et al. (2022). Genome-wide association mapping of resistance to the sorghum aphid in Sorghum bicolor, Genomics, 110408, ISSN 0888-7543, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ygeno.2022.110408.  (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0888754322001537)

Li Y, Mbata G, Simmons AM and Punnuri S. (2022). Susceptibility of snap bean varieties to the sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci, Crop Protection

Carolyn-Dill et al. (2022). Ten Simple Rules to Ruin a Collaborative Environment, PLoS Computational Biology. Accepted online version available

Li Y, Mbata GN, Punnuri S, Simmons AM, Shapiro-Ilan D I, (2021) Bemisia tabaci on Vegetables in the Southern United 3 States: Incidence, Impact, and Management. Insects 2021 Feb 26;12(3):198. (Review article)

Harris-Shultz, K., Knoll JE, Punnuri S, Niland E, Ni X. (2020). Evaluation of Strains of Beauveria bassiana and Isaria fumosorosea to Control Sugarcane Aphids [Melanaphis sacchari (Hemiptera: Aphididae)] on Grain Sorghum. Agrosystems, Geosciences & Environment. 2020; 3:e20047.

Harris-Shultz, K., Punnuri S, Knoll JE, Ni X, Wang H. (2019). The sorghum epicuticular wax locus Bloomless2 reduces plant damage in P898012 caused by the sugarcane aphid. Agrosystems, Geosciences & Environment. 2020;3:e20008 https://acsess.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/agg2.20008

Lahiri S, Ni X, Buntin GD, Punnuri S, Jacobson A, Reay-Jones FPF, Toews MD. (2019). Combining host plant ressitance and foliar insecticide application to manage Melanaphis sacchari (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in grain sorghum. International Journal of Pest Management. 2021 v.67 no.1 pp. 10-19

Mahapatra AK, Ekefre DE, Degala H, Punnuri S M, Terrill TH. (2019). Moisture-dependent physical and thermal properties of sericea lespedeza seeds. American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. Applied engineering in agriculture 2019 v.35 no.3 pp. 389-397

Whitley N, Terrill T, Griffin E, Greer, Mapson L, Singh A, Owen V, Dykes G, Kommuru DS, Miller J, Mosjidis J, Punnuri S, Burke J. (2018). Effect of Ensiling on Efficacy of Sericea Lespedeza against Gastrointestinal Nematodes and Coccidia in Goats. Journal of Agricultural Science and Technology A 8 (2018) 377-387 doi: 10.17265/2161-6256/2018.06.005

Varshney et al. (2017). Pearl millet genome sequence provides a resource to improve agronomic traits in arid environments. Nature Biotechnology 35, 969–976 (2017)

Punnuri, S. M. & Huang Y. (2017). Identification and confirmation of greenbug resistance loci in an advanced mapping population of sorghum. Journal of Agricultural Sciences 155(10), 1610-1622.

Punnuri, S., K. Harris-Shultz, J. Knoll, X. Ni, and H. Wang. (2017). The genes Bm2 and Blmc that affect epicuticular wax deposition in sorghum are allelic. Crop Sci. Research Note 57(3).

Punnuri*, S. M., J. G. Wallace, J. E. Knoll, K. E. Hyma, S. E. Mitchell, E. S. Buckler, R. K. Varshney, and B. P. Singh. (2016). Development of a High-Density Linkage Map and Tagging Leaf Spot Resistance in Pearl Millet Using Genotyping-by-Sequencing Markers. The Plant Genome. 9(2) 1-13 doi:10.3835/plantgenome2015.10.0106

Assefa, M., Shimelis, B., Punnuri*, S., Sripathi, R., Whitehead, W. and Singh, B. (2014). Common Bean Germplasm Diversity Study for Cold Tolerance in Ethiopia. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 5, 1842-1850.

Punnuri* S and Singh BP (2013). Chapter 18: Oil Palm In: Bharat P. Singh (ed.) Biofuel Crops: Production, Physiology and Genetics of biofuel crops. CABI, London, UK. pp-392-414 (Book Chapter)

Punnuri S, Huang Y, Steets J, Wu Y (2013). Developing new markers and QTL mapping for greenbug resistance in sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench]. Euphytica 191(2):191-203

Liu L, Huang L, Punnuri S, Samuels T, Wu Y, Murthy M (2013). Development and integration of EST-SSR markers into an established linkage map in switchgrass. Molecular Breeding-32(4):923-931