Scott Sattler
FYH 251
Lincoln, NE 68583-0937



Scott Sattler

USDA Research Molecular Biologist and Adjunct Associate Professor

Area of Expertise:

B.S., Genetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1994

Ph.D., Plant Biology, University of Minnesota, 2001

Area of Focus

Plant Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Research Interests

My research interests focus on using biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics and genomics to understand the developmental and biochemical pathways that affect bioenergy traits in sorghum and other bioenergy grasses.

Major Project Activities

  • Understand the fundamental mechanisms and genes controlling cell wall formation and energy availability in sorghum
  • Investigating the enzymes in starch biosynthesis in sorghum and its wild relatives
  • Investigating the enzymes in sorghum monolignol synthetic pathway
  • Understand how lignin modification impacts fungal pathogen and insect interactions in sorghum for bioenergy
  • Increasing lignin content in sorghum through transgenic approaches


  • Funnell-Harris, D.L., O'neill, P.M., Sattler, S.E., and Yerka, M.K. (2016). Response of Sweet Sorghum Lines to Stalk Pathogens Fusarium thapsinum and Macrophomina phaseolina. Plant Disease 100, 896-903.
  • Scully, E.D., Gries, T., Funnell-Harris, D.L., Xin, Z., Kovacs, F.A., Vermerris, W., and Sattler, S.E. (2016). Characterization of novel Brown midrib 6 mutations affecting lignin biosynthesis in sorghum. Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 58, 136-149.
  • Scully, E.D., Gries, T., Sarath, G., Palmer, N.A., Baird, L., Serapiglia, M.J., Dien, B.S., Boateng, A.A., Ge, Z., Funnell-Harris, D.L., Twigg, P., Clemente, T.E., and Sattler, S.E. (2016). Overexpression of SbMyb60 impacts phenylpropanoid biosynthesis and alters secondary cell wall composition in Sorghum bicolor. The Plant Journal 85, 378-395.
  • Yerka, M.K., Toy, J.J., Funnell-Harris, D.L., Sattler, S.E., and Pedersen, J.F. (2016). Evaluation of Interallelic waxy, Heterowaxy, and Wild-Type Grain Sorghum Hybrids. Crop Science 56, 113-121.
  • Dowd, P.F., and Sattler, S.E. (2015). Helicoverpa zea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) Responses to Sorghum bicolor (Poales: Poaceae) Tissues From Lowered Lignin Lines. J Insect Sci 15, 162.
  • Funnell-Harris, D.L., Sattler, S.E., O'neill, P.M., Eskridge, K.M., and Pedersen, J.F. (2015). Effect of waxy (low amylose) on fungal infection of sorghum grain. Phytopathology.
  • Rinerson, C., Scully, E., Palmer, N., Donze-Reiner, T., Rabara, R., Tripathi, P., Shen, Q., Sattler, S., Rohila, J., Sarath, G., and Rushton, P. (2015). The WRKY transcription factor family and senescence in switchgrass. BMC Genomics 16, 912.
  • Xie, S., Qin, X., Cheng, Y., Laskar, D., Qiao, W., Sun, S., Reyes, L.H., Wang, X., Dai, S.Y., Sattler, S.E., Kao, K., Yang, B., Zhang, X., and Yuan, J.S. (2015). Simultaneous conversion of all cell wall components by an oleaginous fungus without chemi-physical pretreatment. Green Chemistry 17, 1657-1667.
  • Yerka, M.K., Toy, J.J., Funnell-Harris, D.L., Sattler, S.E., and Pedersen, J.F. (2015). Registration of A/BN641 and RN642 waxy grain sorghum genetic stocks. Journal of Plant Registrations 9, 258-261.
  • Yerka, M.K., Toy, J.J., Funnell-Harris, D.L., Sattler, S.E., and Pedersen, J.F. (2015). Registration of N619 to N640 grain sorghum lines with waxy or wild-type endosperm. Journal of Plant Registrations 9, 249-253.
  • Funnell-Harris, D.L., Sattler, S.E., and Pedersen, J.F. (2014). Response of Fusarium thapsinum to Sorghum brown midrib Lines and to Phenolic Metabolites. Plant Disease 98, 1300-1308.
  • Green, A.R., Lewis, K.M., Barr, J.T., Jones, J.P., Lu, F., Ralph, J., Vermerris, W., Sattler, S.E., and Kang, C. (2014). Determination of the Structure and Catalytic Mechanism of Sorghum bicolor Caffeic Acid O-Methyltransferase and the Structural Impact of Three brown midrib12 Mutations. Plant Physiology 165, 1440-1456.
  • Palmer, N.A., Saathoff, A.J., Tobias, C.M., Twigg, P., Xia, Y., Vogel, K.P., Madhavan, S., Sattler, S.E., and Sarath, G. (2014). Contrasting metabolism in perenniating structures of upland and lowland switchgrass plants late in the growing season. PloS one 9, e105138.
  • Sattler, S.E., Saballos, A., Xin, Z., Funnell-Harris, D.L., Vermerris, W., and Pedersen, J.F. (2014). Characterization of Novel Sorghum brown midrib Mutants from an EMS-Mutagenized Population. G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics 4, 2115-2124.
  • Funnell-Harris, D.L., Prom, L.K., Sattler, S.E., and Pedersen, J.F. (2013). Response of near-isogenic sorghum lines, differing at the P locus for plant colour, to grain mould and head smut fungi. Annals of Applied Biology 163, 91-101.
  • Funnell-Harris, D.L., Sattler, S.E., and Pedersen, J.F. (2013). Characterization of fluorescent Pseudomonas spp. associated with roots and soil of two sorghum genotypes. European Journal of Plant Pathology 136, 469-481.
  • Pedersen, J.F., Sattler, S.E., and Anderson, W.F. (2013). Evaluation of Public Sweet Sorghum A-Lines for Use in Hybrid Production. BioEnergy Research 6, 91-102.
  • Sattler, S., and Funnell-Harris, D. (2013). Modifying lignin to improve bioenergy feedstocks: strengthening the barrier against pathogens? Frontiers in Plant Science 4.
  • Sattler, S.E., Toy, J.J., Okeno, J.A., Funnell-Harris, D.L., and Pedersen, J.F. (2013). Registration of N614, A3N615, N616, and N617 Shattercane Genetic Stocks with Cytoplasmic or Nuclear Male Sterility and Juicy or Dry Midribs. J. Plant Reg. 7, 245-249.
  • Walker, A.M., Hayes, R.P., Youn, B., Vermerris, W., Sattler, S.E., and Kang, C. (2013). Elucidation of the Structure and Reaction Mechanism of Sorghum Hydroxycinnamoyltransferase and Its Structural Relationship to Other Coenzyme A-Dependent Transferases and Synthases. Plant Physiology 162, 640-651.
  • Funnell-Harris, D.L., Sattler, S.E., Prom, L.K., Dowd, P.F., and Pedersen, J.F. (2012). Response of sorghum modified for bioenergy to grain and stalk fungal pathogens. Phytopathology 102, 157-157.
  • Saathoff, A.J., Hargrove, M.S., Haas, E.J., Tobias, C.M., Twigg, P., Sattler, S., and Sarath, G. (2012). Switchgrass PviCAD1: Understanding residues important for substrate preferences and activity. Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology 168, 1086-1100.
  • Saballos, A., Sattler, S.E., Sanchez, E., Foster, T.P., Xin, Z., Kang, C., Pedersen, J.F., and Vermerris, W. (2012). Brown midrib2 (Bmr2) encodes the major 4-coumarate: Coenzyme A ligase involved in lignin biosynthesis in sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench). Plant Journal 70, 818-830.
  • Sattler, S.E., Palmer, N.A., Saballos, A., Greene, A.M., Xin, Z.G., Sarath, G., Vermerris, W., and Pedersen, J.F. (2012). Identification and characterization of four missense mutations in Brown midrib 12 (Bmr12), the Caffeic O-Methyltranferase (COMT) of sorghum. Bioenergy Research 5, 855-865.
  • Saathoff, A.J., Tobias, C.M., Sattler, S.E., Haas, E.J., Twigg, P., and Sarath, G. (2011). Switchgrass Contains Two Cinnamyl Alcohol Dehydrogenases Involved in Lignin Formation. BioEnergy Research 4, 120-133.
  • Funnell-Harris, D.L., Pedersen, J.F., and Sattler, S.E. (2010). Soil and root populations of fluorescent Pseudomonas spp. associated with seedlings and field-grown plants are affected by sorghum genotype. Plant and Soil 335, 439-455.
  • Funnell-Harris, D.L., Pedersen, J.F., and Sattler, S.E. (2010). Alteration in Lignin Biosynthesis Restricts Growth of Fusarium spp. in Brown Midrib Sorghum. Phytopathology 100, 671-681.
  • Palmer, N.A., Sattler, S.E., Saathoff, A.J., and Sarath, G. (2010). A Continuous, Quantitative Fluorescent Assay for Plant Caffeic Acid O-Methyltransferases. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 58, 5220-5226.
  • Sattler, S.E., Funnell-Harris, D.L., and Pedersen, J.F. (2010). Brown midrib mutations and their importance to the utilization of maize, sorghum, and pearl millet lignocellulosic tissues. Plant Science 178, 229-238.
  • Sattler, S.E., Funnell-Harris, D.L., and Pedersen, J.F. (2010). Efficacy of singular and stacked brown midrib 6 and 12 in the modification of lignocellulose and grain chemistry. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 58, 3611-3616.
  • Dien, B.S., Sarath, G., Pedersen, J.F., Sattler, S.E., Chen, H., Funnell-Harris, D.L., Nichols, N.N., and Cotta, M.A. (2009). Improved sugar conversion and ethanol yield for forage sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) lines with reduced lignin contents. BioEnergy Research 2, 153–164.
  • Sattler, S.E., Saathoff, A.J., Haas, E.J., Palmer, N.A., Funnell-Harris, D.L., Sarath, G., and Pedersen, J.F. (2009). A nonsense mutation in a cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase gene is responsible for the sorghum brown midrib6 phenotype. Plant Physiol 150, 584-595.
  • Sattler, S.E., Singh, J., Haas, E.J., Guo, L., Sarath, G., and Pedersen, J.F. (2009). Two distinct waxy alleles impact the granule-bound starch synthase in sorghum. Molecular Breeding 24, 349-359.
  • Palmer, N.A., Sattler, S.E., Saathoff, A.J., Funnell, D., Pedersen, J.F., and Sarath, G. (2008). Genetic background impacts soluble and cell wall-bound aromatics in brown midrib mutants of sorghum. Planta 229, 115-127.
  • Pedersen, J.F., Toy, J.J., Funnell, D.L., Sattler, S.E., Oliver, A.L., and Grant, R.A. (2008). Registration of BN611, AN612, BN612, and RN613 Sorghum Genetic Stocks with Stacked bmr-6 and bmr-12 Genes. Journal Of Plant Registrations 2, 258-262.
  • Sarath, G., Mitchell, R.B., Sattler, S.E., Funnell, D., Pedersen, J.F., Graybosch, R.A., and Vogel, K.P. (2008). Opportunities and roadblocks in utilizing forages and small grains for liquid fuels. Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology 35, 343-354.