Tim Setter

Tim Setter


235 Emerson
(607) 255-1319

Tim Setter is Professor and Chair in the Section of Soil and Crop Science, with joint membership in the Section of Plant Breeding and Genetics. He currently collaborates with researchers at national institutes in Nigeria (NRCRI), and Uganda (NaCRRI), and at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on the NEXTGEN cassava project, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is a member of the Cornell Graduate Faculties in the Field of Crop and Soil Sciences and in Plant Biology.

Research Focus

My research seeks a better understanding of the underlying biology of drought stress response and better methods to screen breeding germplasm for improved responses to environmental stresses. In cassava and maize, we are comparing diverse lines for numerous traits related to stress response such as carbohydrate storage and remobilization, and accumulation of the stress hormone ABA. In maize, we focus on reproductive and kernel development and associated yield-determining processes. These studies seek to identify traits that could serve as targets for selection in breeding programs and QTL/marker assisted selection strategies. We use transcript profiling to quantify gene expression, collaborate with quantitative geneticists and breeders on mapping genetic loci, and seek to ways to improve crop cultivars so farmers in drought-prone areas of the world can achieve food security.

Teaching Focus

I teach courses at the undergraduate and graduate level on crop science and crop physiology. Field Crop Systems (PLSCS 2110) is an introduction to the principles of field-crop production of food, feed, fiber and bioenergy, emphasizing the most important crop species and their morphological and growth characteristics essential to environmental adaptation and response to management. Physiology And Ecology Of Crop Yield (PLSCS 4130) examines the biological processes involved in the conversion of solar energy into harvested plant products and the environmental constraints on crop productivity. Acclimation responses and genetic adaptation are examined for key environmental factors. Students gain an understanding of the underlying basis of crop performance in diverse environments and identify processes which are in need of improvement through improved genetics and management. Plant Responses to Environmental Stresses (PLSCS 6100), for which Dr. Vatamaniuk is the lead instructor, is a study of the responses of plants to environmental stresses, including drought, high temperature, salinity, chilling, freezing, flooding-hypoxia, and toxic elements. Students learn the physiological and biochemical basis of injury and plant resistance mechanisms at the whole-plant, cellular, and molecular levels.

Awards and Honors

  • Fellow, Crop Science Society of America (2015) Crop Science Society of America

Selected Publications

Journal Publications

  • Yu, L., Shen, X., & Setter, T. L. (2014). Molecular and functional characterization of two drought-induced zinc finger proteins, ZmZnF1 and ZmZnF2 from maize kernels. Environmental and Experimental Botany. 111:13-20.
  • Duque, L. O., & Setter, T. L. (2013). Cassava response to water deficit in deep pots: root and shoot growth, ABA, and carbohydrate reserves in stems, leaves and storage roots. Tropical Plant Biology. 6:199-209.
  • Xue, Y., Warburton, M. L., Sawkins, M., Zhang, X., Setter, T. L., Xu, Y., Grudloyma, P., Gethi, J., Ribaut, J. M., Li, W., Zhang, X., Zheng, Y., & Yan, J. (2013). Genome_wide association analysis for nine agronomic traits in maize under well_watered and water_stressed conditions. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. 126:2587-2596.
  • Boyer, J. S., Byrne, P., Cassman, K. G., Cooper, M., Delmer, D., Greene, T., Gruis, F., Habben, J., Hausmann, N., Kenny, N., Lafitte, R., Paszkiewicz, S., Porter, D., Schlegel, A., Schussler, J., Setter, T. L., Shanahan, J., Sharp, R. E., Vyn, T. J., Warner, D., & Gaffney, J. (2013). The U.S.drought of 2012 in perspective: A call to action. Global Food Security. 2:139-143.
  • Okogbenin, E., Setter, T. L., Ferguson, M., Mutegi, R., Ceballos, H., Olasanmi, B., & Fregene, M. (2013). Phenotypic approaches to drought in cassava: Review. Frontiers in Plant Physiology. 4:93.
  • Setter, T. L. (2012). Analysis of constituents for phenotyping drought tolerance in crop improvement. Frontiers in Physiology. 3:1269-1281.
  • Chen, C., & Setter, T. L. (2012). Response of potato dry matter assimilation and partitioning to elevated CO2 at various stages of tuber initiation and growth. Environmental and Experimental Botany. 80:27Ð34.
  • Setter, T. L., Yan, J., Warburton, M., Ribaut, J. M., Xu, Y., Sawkins, M., Buckler, E. S., Zhang, Z., & Gore, M. (2011). Genetic association mapping identifies single nucleotide polymorphisms in genes that affect abscisic acid levels in maize floral tissues during drought. Journal of Experimental Botany. 62:701-716.
  • This, D., Comstock, J., Courtois, B., Xu, Y., Ahmadi, N., Vonhof, W., Fleet, C., Setter, T. L., & McCouch, S. R. (2010). Genetic analysis of water use efficiency in rice (Oryza sativa; L.) at the leaf level. Rice. 3:72-86.
  • Setter, T. L., & Parra, R. (2010). Relationship of carbohydrate and abscisic acid levels to kernel set in maize under postpollination water deficit. Crop Science. 50:980-988.