Student at graduation with Academic Affairs logo


Photo of Cynthia Weinig

Dr. Cynthia Weinig

Dr. Cynthia Weinig (PhD Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, Indiana University). Wyoming Excellence Chair in Botany. Dr. Weinig is a Professor in the Departments of Botany and Molecular Biology, and in the Program in Ecology. Her research focuses on plant evolutionary genetics, that is, the genetic underpinnings of plant adaptation to natural or agricultural settings, and has received over $40M in funding from the National Science Foundation, including an early career NSF Young Investigator’s Award as well as collaborative institutional awards such as the NSF EPSCoR. Dr. Weinig’s current research focuses on the interaction between plants and microbes (microscopic organisms). When growing in agricultural or natural field settings, plants interact with complex microbial communities. As many as 10 billion microbial cells are present in each gm of soil, meaning that soil in the immediate proximity of plant roots harbors abundant microbial life and is the site of continuous host plant-microbe interactions. Not only are microbes highly abundant in soil, but also their communities are exceptionally diverse, with a gm of soil including thousands to tens of thousands of microbial species based on gene sequence analyses. As a consequence of this taxonomic diversity and associated differences in their functions, microbes can have pronounced negative or positive effects on the growth of plants with which they interact. Her research in both crop and wild plant species seeks to identify both the plant traits that may attract beneficial microbes as well as plant growth responses to the presence of microbes. Dr. Weinig’s lab has hosted over 100 undergraduate students to collaborate in research, including WY Research Scholars and McNair scholars, as well as dozens of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.  Dr. Weinig incorporates her interest and enthusiasm for plant-microbe interactions into undergraduate courses at the University of Wyoming, such as Genetics, and graduate courses in Plant Evolution of Development and Plant-Microbe Interactions.

Contact Us

Office of Academic Affairs

1000 E. University Ave - Dept 3302

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307)766.4286

Fax: (307)766.2606