Jagdeep Singh Sidhu

Jagdeep Singh Sidhu

  • Ph.D. Candidate, Horticulture
310 Tyson Building
University Park, PA 16802

"Maybe you are searching among the branches for what only appears in the roots" Rumi


Roots Lab


Ph.D. (The Pennsylvania State University) Current

Specialization: Maize root biology
Major Advisor: Dr. Jonathan Lynch

M.Sc. (South Dakota State University) May 2018

Specialization: Plant breeding and genetics.
Thesis: Exploiting the Genetic Diversity of Wild Ancestors and Relatives of Wheat for its Improvement
Major Advisor: Dr. Sunish Sehgal

B.Sc. Agriculture (Punjab Agricultural University) June 2015

Major: Plant Breeding, genetics, and biotechnology



I am currently working under the umbrella of ARPA-E funded project named “DEEPER". DEEPER is integrative platform aimed to identify deeper root phenes for maize. Under this project, I get to work on several interesting topics related to soil science, genetics, plant physiology, and modeling (RootSlice). But I am primarily focused on discovering new root phenes that could improve plant performance under drought and/or nitrogen stress conditions. Among other topics, I am testing the utility of having long root hairs under drought stress. 

I am also working to identify phenes that could lead to overall metabolically cheap root systems. Maintaining roots is expensive, as on an average plants spend one-third of their photosynthates on producing and maintaining roots. Our lab has identified a number of anatomical phenes like cortical cell file number, cell size, and aerenchyma area which help in reducing the metabolic burden. I am moving a step deeper by looking at organelle level to explore the variation in different subcellular organelles like vacuole size, and peroxisomes per cell. I am then incorporating this information into a new root anatomy model - RootSlice to better understand the underlying mechanisms.


During my masters, I worked with a winter wheat breeding program at SDSU and did several projects on GWAS and population genetics of multiple important diseases. One of the projects that got me interested in studying plant roots was on wheat-diazotrophic interactions. In this project we found that wild species of wheat were able to interact better with diazotrophs as compared to their modern companions.


  • Teaching assistant with Dr. Jonathan Lynch. Hort 402W – Plant Nutrition (Fall 2020)
  • Host for the INTAG 100 (International Agriculture) with Dr. Noel Habashy (Fall 2018, Spring 2019)
  • Teaching assistant with Dr. Armen R. Kemanian. Agro 28- Principles of Crop Management Laboratory (Fall 2018, 2019)
  • Teaching assistant with Dr. Marie A. C. Langham. Plant Science 223 – Principles of Plant Pathology Laboratory (Fall 2016)


  • CAS Graduate Student Competitive Grants Program ($3000). Project: Deciphering how cell size regulates the metabolic cost of plant roots. PI: Jagdeep S. Sidhu and Jonathan P. Lynch


  • Lin P., Chen Y., Chaverra-Rodriguez D., Heu C.C., Zainuddin N.B, Sidhu J.S., Peiffer M., Tan C., Helms A., Kim D., Ali A., Rasgon J.L., Lynch J.P., Anderson C.T., Felton G.W., 2021. Silencing the alarm: Silencing the alarm: an insect salivary enzyme closes plant stomata and inhibits volatile release. New Phytol. nph.17214. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.17214
  • Schneider, H.M., Strock, C.F., Hanlon, M.T., Vanhees, D.J., Perkins, A.C., Ajmera, I.B., Sidhu, J.S., Mooney, S.J., Brown, K.M. and Lynch, J.P., 2021. Multiseriate cortical sclerenchyma enhance root penetration in compacted soils. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118: e2012087118. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2012087118
  • Burridge J.D., Black K., Nord E.A., Postma J.A., Sidhu J.S., York L.M., Lynch J.P., 2020. An analysis of soil coring strategies to estimate root depth in maize (Zea mays) and common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). Plant Phenomics, 3252703. https://doi.org/10.34133/2020/3252703
  • Sidhu J.S.,* Singh D.,* Gill H.S.*, Brar, N.K., Qiu Y., Halder, J., Al Tameemi R., Turnipseed B., and Sehgal, S.K., 2020. Genome-Wide Association Study Uncovers Novel Genomic Regions Associated With Coleoptile Length in Hard Winter Wheat. Front Genet. 2020;10:1345. https://doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2019.01345
  • Halder J., Zhang J., Ali S., Sidhu J.S., Gill H.S., Talukdar S.K., Kleinjan J., Turnipseed B., Sehgal S.K., 2019.Mining and genomic characterization of resistance to tan spot, Stagonospora nodorum blotch (SNB), and Fusarium head blight in Watkins core collection of wheat landraces. BMC Plant Biol 19,  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12870-019-2093-3
  • Gill H.S., Li, C., Sidhu J.S., Liu W., Wilson D., Bai G., Gill B.S., Sehgal S.K., 2019. Fine mapping of wheat leaf rust resistance gene Lr42. J. Mol. Sci.20(10), 2445. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20102445
  • Ramakrishnan S.M.,* Sidhu S.,* Ali S., Kaur N., Wu J., Sehgal S.K., 2019. Genome wide association mapping of Bacterial leaf streak resistance in Winter Wheat. PeerJ 7:e7276. http://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.7276 *Equal contribution
  • Sidhu J.S., Ramakrishnan S.M., Ali S., Bernardo A., Bai G., Abdullah S., Ayana G., Sehgal S.K., 2019. Assessing the genetic diversity and characterizing genomic regions conferring Tan Spot resistance in cultivated rye. PLoS One 14, e0214519. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0214519
  • Qiu Y., Gu L., Shengni T., Sidhu S., Gibbons J., Van Den Top T., Gonzalez-Hernandez J., Zhou R., 2019. Developmentally Regulated Genome-size Reduction Editing in Nitrogen-Fixing Heterocysts of Anabaena cylindrica ATCC 29414. bioRxiv 629832. https://doi.org/10.1101/629832
  • Ayana G. T., Ali S., Sidhu J. S., Gonzalez-Hernandez J. L., Turnipseed B., and Sehgal S. K., 2018. “Genome-Wide Association Study for Spot Blotch Resistance in Hard Winter Wheat." Front. Plant Sci. 9, 926. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2018.00926


  • AASIO (The Association of Agricultural Scientists of Indian Origin) Outstanding Agricultural Graduate Student Award - 2019
  • Best poster in the “third SDSU Edgar S. McFadden Symposium poster contest" (2018)
  • Third place in “SDSU Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition" (2018)
  • Recivied honarable mention in CSSA 2017 annual photo contest
  • Third place in “Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society of Agriculture Poster Contest" (2017)
  • Travel award at “Field-based High Throughput Phenotyping" University of Arizona Maricopa Agricultural Center Maricopa, AZ, USA (2017)
  • Third place in “SDSU Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition" (2017)
  • Graduate Student Leadership Award at ASA, CSSA and SSSA International Annual Meeting, Phoenix, AZ, USA (2016)“Sr. Gurdit Singh Kang Scholarship" (2011-2015)
  • “Tagra and Batra Scholarship" (2010-2011)
  • University Merit Scholarship" (2009-2010)