James (Jack) Satterlee

Position title: Assistant Professor of Botany

Pronouns: he/him/his

Email: satterl@cshl.edu

Office: Birge Hall, B139
Lab: Birge Hall, B136

Ph.D. Plant Biology, Cornell University (2022)
Research interests
Comparative development, genomics, convergent evolution, co-option, cytokinin
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Dr. Jack Satterlee headshot

Dr. Satterlee will be joining the Botany Department January 1, 2025.
His lab will be accepting graduate students wishing to start their studies in Summer/Fall 2025.

image of thorny stemUsing instances of convergent trait evolution as natural experiments, we seek to better understand the routes by which trait evolution occurs, with a particular eye to phenotypes useful to agriculture and plant fitness. We use comparative genetic, molecular, and biochemical approaches in the model genus Solanum as well as other lineages to understand fundamental mechanisms and principles underlying phenotypic evolution. Recent work focuses on prickles, sharp epidermal projections of the plant epidermis, which have evolved independently at least 28 times across vascular plants. Using this system and others we are interested in the following questions:

  1. How have different plant lineages converged on quantitative and qualitatively novel adaptive phenotypes and what are the genetic and developmental constraints?
  2. What are the molecular mechanisms of gene co-option and how does it contribute to plant evolution?
  3. Can novel traits be engineered and, if so, in which developmental contexts?

By addressing these questions, we aim to predict evolutionary patterns and ultimately leverage them for crop improvement.