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Department of Agronomy

Department of Agronomy
Kansas State University
2004 Throckmorton PSC
1712 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS 66506-0110

Ph: +1-785-532-6101
Fx: +1-785-532-6094

Dr. Geoffrey Morris

Dr. Geoffrey Morris

Associate Professor

Sorghum Genetics
Email Dr. Morris

Kansas State University
3004 Throckmorton PSC
1712 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS 66506

Ph: +1-785-532-3397
Fx: +1-785-532-6094

Biography & Education


My group at K-State is focused on the genomics of climate adaptation in sorghum and its relatives. Our goal is to develop genomic knowledge and tools that accelerate the development of climate-resilient crops.

We map genes that underlie climate adaptation and develop new approaches to understand and predict adaptation. We also work directly with breeding programs in the US (Kansas and Texas) and developing countries (Senegal, Niger, Haiti, and others) to facilitate development of new better-adapted sorghum varieties.

I received my undergraduate training in Biology at University of Ottawa. My doctoral work at University of Chicago (Ecology & Evolution) was focused on analysis of genomic variation, to understand how gene expression is controlled across environments. I turned my focus to crop genomics during my postdoctoral research, first to the emerging bioenergy crop switchgrass at University of Chicago, then to sorghum starting at the University of South Carolina as a Research Assistant Professor. I've run the Sorghum Genetics lab at K-State since 2013.

  • Ph.D. Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, 2007
  • B.S. Biology, University of Ottawa, 2002


Selected recent publications
  • Maina F, Bouchet S, Marla S, Hu Z, Wang J, Mamadou A, Abdou M, Saïdou A-A, Morris GP (2018) Population genomics of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) across diverse agroclimatic zones of Niger. Genome. Full text.
  • Akata EA, Diatta C, Faye JM, Diop A, Maina F, Sine B, Tchala W, Ndoye I, Morris GP, Cisse N (2017) Combining ability and heterotic pattern in West African sorghum landraces. African Crop Science Journal. Full text.
  • Marla SM, Shiva S, Welti R, Liu S, Burke J, Morris GP (2017) Comparative transcriptome and lipidome analyses reveal molecular chilling responses in chilling-tolerant sorghums. The Plant Genome. Full text
  • Bouchet S, Olatoye MO, Marla SM, Perumal R, Tesso T, Yu Y, Tuinstra M, Morris GP (2017) Increased Power To Dissect Adaptive Traits in Global Sorghum Diversity Using a Nested Association Mapping Population. Genetics. Full text.
  • Morris GP, Hu Z, Grabowski PP, Borevitz JO, de Graaff MA, Miller RM, Jastrow J (2016) Genotypic diversity effects on biomass production in native perennial bioenergy cropping systems.Global Change Biology BioenergyFull text.
  • Hu ZB, Mbacké B, Perumal R, Guèye MC, Sy O, Bouchet S, Prasad PV, Morris GP. (2015) Population genomics of pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.): comparative analysis of global accessions and Senegalese landraces. BMC Genomics. Full text.
  • Lasky JR, Upadhyaya HD, Ramu P, Deshpande S, Hash CT, Bonnette J, Juenger TE, Hyma K, Acharya C, Mitchell SE, Buckler ES, Brenton Z, Kresovich S, Morris GP (2015) Genome-environment associations in sorghum landraces predict adaptive traits. Science Advances. Full text.

View a complete listing of publications.

Staff & Students

Postdoctoral Fellows
  • Zhenbin Hu
  • Sandeep Marla
  • Kebede Muleta
  • Rubí Raymundo
Graduate Students
  • Fanna Maina (Ph.D. student)
  • Jacques Faye (Ph.D. student)
Research Staff
  • Matt Davis (Assistant Scientist)
  • Terry Felderhoff (Postdoc Associate Scientist)
  • Sridevi Nakka (Heart Plant Innovations postdoc)
Undergraduate Researchers / Research Assistants
  • Noah Winans


Areas of Interest
  • Sorghum genetics and genomics
  • Population and quantitative genomics
  • Crop diversity and adaptation
  • Genomics-assisted breeding
Grant Funded Projects
Active Projects

Sorghum Genomics Toolbox: TERRA Partnership

  • Supported by: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Institutional PI. Project PI: T. Mockler (Danforth);  Co-PIs: V Vadez, N Cisse, J Schmutz, R Pless, et al.

TERRA-REF: A reference phenotyping system for energy sorghum

  • Supported by:Dept. of Energy ARPA-E TERRA
  • Institutional PI. Project PI: T. Mockler (Danforth); Co-PIs: J Schmutz, J White, P Andrade-Sanchez, W Rooney, S Kresovich, J Poland, et al.

Improving sorghum adaptation in West Africa with genomics-enabled breeding

  • Supported by: USAID Feed the Future, Sorghum Millet Innovation Lab
  • Project PI. Co-PIs: N Cisse (CERAAS-Senegal); A Mamadou (INRAN-Niger); D Fonceka, JF Rami (CIRAD-France); E Weltzien (ICRISAT-Mali); R Perumal, T Tesso (KSU)

Improved Genomic Mapping and Marker-Assisted Selection for Cold Tolerance in Grain Sorghum

  • Supported by: Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission
  • Project PI.Co-PIs: Perumal, Tesso, Prasad (KSU)
Completed Projects

Discovery of new genes for enhancing grain and forage quality traits through association mapping in pearl millet

  • Supported by: USDA-FAS Borlaug Fellowship
  • With: R. Perumal, Bass Mbacke (ENSA-Senegal

Diversity, Genetics, and Health Benefits of Sorghum Flavonoids

  • Supported by: United Sorghum Checkoff Program
  • D Rhodes, S Kresovich (Clemson); WL Rooney (TAMU)

Using genetic variation in root traits to maximize soil carbon sequestration and biomass yields

  • Supported by: USDA-AFRI Sustainable Bioenergy
  • Project co-PI. PI: M-A De Graaff (PI, Boise St.); Co-PIs: J Jastrow (Argonne); J. Six (ETH)