Luis Duque, Ph.D.

Luis Duque, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Research Professor in Storage Root Physiology
Headhouse 1, Room 107
University Park, PA 16802

Areas of Expertise

  • Root Crop Physiology
  • Abiotic Stress
  • Breeding for Environmental Stress Resistance
  • Phenotyping and Database Management
  • Morphometrics of Flowers and Other Plant Organs


  • Ph.D. Crop Physiology and Field Crop Science, Department of Crop and Soil Science, Cornell University, NY, USA
  • M.Sc. Crop Physiology and Field Crop Science, Department of Crop and Soil Science, Cornell University, NY, USA
  • B.Sc. Agronomy, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede Palmira, Colombia

Research Interests

My research focuses on a better understanding of the influence of abiotic stresses on crop growth, development and yield of storage root crops, mainly Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) and Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas Lam.). In cassava, we have focused our attention in carbohydrate storage and remobilization and stress hormone fluxes during periods of prolonged water stress. In sweetpotato, we have examined plant-water relations, phenotypic plasticity, sink-source relations, and root system architecture, as well as root quality traits through the use of near-infrared spectometry. Ultimately, our research goals are to accelerate breeding efforts through the use of physiological attributes to improve crop performance and seek ways to alleviate famine and achieve food security. 

Morphometric analysis are regularly used by taxonomists, systematists, developmental biologists, morphologists, agronomists, and plant breeders. Plant organ shapes are highly variable and can be used for identifying species or genotypes, developmental patterning within and among individuals, evaluating plant health, and estimating environmental impacts on plant phenotypes. In collaboration with the Lopez-Uribe Lab at Penn State (, we are interested in characterizing how domestication processes have changed floral traits through the use of morphometrics and how those changes have affected plant ecological interactions with mutualists and antagonists. 

Past Work Experience

Research Associate, Sweetpotato Breeding and Genetics Program, Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University, NC, USA

Post-doctoral Associate, Soil and Crop Sciences Section, School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University, NY, USA


A Win–Win Situation: Performance and Adaptability of Petite Sweetpotato Production in a Temperate Region
Horticulturae, Duque, Luis O., Sánchez, Elsa, Pecota, Kenneth, Yencho, Craig, 2022

Creating a Virtual International Research Experience
American Entomologist, López-Uribe, Margarita M., Lopez-Uribe, Margarita, Urbina, Julio V., Mejia, Alfonso, Mejía, Alfonso I., Duque, Luis O., Riaño-Jiménez, Diego, Riaño-Jimenez, Diego, Riaño, D, Cure, Jose Ricardo, Cure, R, Ramos, Victor, Martel, Carlos, Fuentes, Jose, González, Victor H., Gonzalez, V, 2022

The Rise of the Sweet Potato, Butzler, Thomas, Duque, Luis, 2021

Keeping it green: The rise of the sweet potato, Butzler, T, Duque, Luis, 2020

Sweetpotato in PA: The Roadmap For Adaptation and Adoption By Stakeholders, Duque, Luis, 2020

Root branching and nutrient efficiency: Status and way forward in root and tuber crops
Frontiers in Plant Science, Duque, Luis O., Villordon, Arthur, 2019

PA Preferred Sweetpotato: a New, Viable and Profitable Food Commodity, Duque, Luis, 2019

Root System Architectural Traits under Phosphorus Deficiency in Sweetpotato: Interpreting Efficiency, Utilization and Physiological Performance, Duque, Luis, Lynch, J, 2019

Yield Response of Four Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) Clones to In-Row Spacing and Length of Growing Season, Schultheis, Jonathan, Duque, Luis, 2017

Sweet Potatoes in PA & The NE: Challenges & Opportunities, Duque, Luis, 2017