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April Wynn - University of Mary Washington. Fredericksburg, VA, US

April Wynn

Assistant Professor | University of Mary Washington

Fredericksburg, VA, UNITED STATES

Dr. Wynn is a plant geneticist and is interested in examining the intersection of genetic regulatory networks for seed and flower formation.





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Dr. Wynn is a plant geneticist by training and is interested in research examining the intersection of genetic regulatory networks for seed and flower formation with plant response to environmental stress. Working on a family of genes responsible for flower formation and ovule (seed precursor) development is exciting work – especially when the genes are named after Dr. Wynn’s favorite childhood book author, Dr. Seuss! Using the model plant system, Arabidopsis thaliana, Dr. Wynn aims to understand the effects of environmental conditions on ovule size and development by looking at the role transcription factors play in regulating flower patterning genes. Transcription factors are like light switches for genes – they turn other genes on, off, or up/down. In this way they are useful in helping plants to respond to changes in their environment, including day length, temperature and drought.

Areas of Expertise (4)

Genetic Regulation

Developmental Genetics

Plant Genetics

Molecular Biology

Accomplishments (4)

Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award (professional)


UMW Alumni Association

Outstanding Teaching Apprentice (professional)


NCSU Genetics Department

Outstanding Teaching Apprentice (professional)


NCSU Genetics Department

Best Presentation Award (professional)


Genetics Graduate Student Association Symposium

Education (3)

North Carolina State University: Ph.D., Genetics 2013

Texas A&M University: M.Sc., Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education 2006

McMurry University: B.Sc., Natural Sciences 2004

Affiliations (2)

  • American Society of Plant Biologists
  • Virginia Academy of Science

Media Appearances (5)

Common Experience Encourages Critical Thinking, Connections

University of Mary Washington - UMW Voice  online


“We hope to challenge them to think about the material in new ways, learn about themselves and connect with their classmates,” said Assistant Professor of Biology April Wynn. As the First-Year Experience director, she oversees a variety of initiatives, including first-year seminars, living and learning communities, and peer mentorships, all designed to help freshmen successfully transition to life at Mary Washington.

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Podcasts on UMW Activism Spell ‘Good Trouble’ for Students

University of Mary Washington - UMW Voice  


We think of Lewis as a man of “so much conviction, power and strength,” said First-Year Experience Director April Wynn. But Lewis was also nervous when he started out. “We want our students to see themselves in him and know they have the capacity for great things, even now during a time of turmoil and unrest.” Civility and political action was originally this year’s chosen theme, Wynn added.

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Professors Pool Resources to Focus on ‘Compelling Courses’

University of Mary Washington - UMW Voice  


To teach mitosis, April Wynn has students in her class act out the process, portraying chromosomes that divide into nuclei. The assistant professor of biological sciences hopes to replicate lively exercises like this – but virtually – in the fall.

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Wynn Named Faculty Director of the First Year Experience

UMW - Eagle Eye  


Dr. April Wynn has accepted the position of Faculty Director of the First Year Experience. Dr. Wynn is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the MWCF Herbarium Coordinator, having joined the UMW faculty in 2015. She is the chair of the First-Year Seminar Committee and serves as a Faculty Fellow in the Office of Academic Services.

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Wynn Publishes Work on Student Misconceptions about Plants

UMW - Eagle Eye  


Assistant Professor of Biology April Wynn and colleagues had a recent paper published in the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education. The paper is a meta-analysis of the misconceptions that students of all levels hold about plants biology. The goal of this work is to be a resource for instructors to identify misconceptions in order to focus on enriching the education in these areas of plant biology.

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Articles (5)

Ethylene involvement in the regulation of the H+-ATPase CsHA1 gene and of the new isolated ferric reductase CsFRO1 and iron transporter CsIRT1 genes in cucumber plants

Plant Physiology and Biochemistry

In previous works using ethylene inhibitors and precursors, it has been shown that ethylene participates in the regulation of several Fe deficiency stress responses by Strategy I plants, such as enhanced ferric reductase activity, rhizosphere acidification and subapical root hair development. Furthermore, recent evidence suggests that ethylene could regulate the expression of both the ferric reductase and the iron transporter genes of Strategy I plants by affecting the FER (or FER-like) transcription factor.

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Novel functional roles for PERIANTHIA and SEUSS during floral organ identity specification, floral meristem termination, and gynoecial development

Frontiers in Plant Science

The gynoecium is the female reproductive structure of angiosperm flowers. In Arabidopsis thaliana the gynoecium is composed of two carpels that are fused into a tube-like structure. As the gynoecial primordium arises from the floral meristem, a specialized meristematic structure, the carpel margin meristem (CMM), develops from portions of the medial gynoecial domain.

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Transcriptomic Characterization of a Synergistic Genetic Interaction during Carpel Margin Meristem Development in Arabidopsis thaliana


In flowering plants the gynoecium is the female reproductive structure. In Arabidopsis thaliana ovules initiate within the developing gynoecium from meristematic tissue located along the margins of the floral carpels. When fertilized the ovules will develop into seeds. SEUSS (SEU) and AINTEGUMENTA (ANT) encode transcriptional regulators that are critical for the proper formation of ovules from the carpel margin meristem (CMM).

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Student Misconceptions about Plants – A First Step in Building a Teaching Resource

Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education

Plants are ubiquitous and found in virtually every ecosystem on Earth, but their biology is often poorly understood, and inaccurate ideas about how plants grow and function abound. Many articles have been published documenting student misconceptions about photosynthesis and respiration, but there are substantially fewer on such topics as plant cell structure and growth; plant genetics, evolution, and classification; plant physiology (beyond energy relations); and plant ecology.

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The Arabidopsis thaliana GRF-INTERACTING FACTOR gene family plays an essential role in control of male and female reproductive development

Developmental Biology

Reproductive success of angiosperms relies on the precise development of the gynoecium and the anther, because their primary function is to bear and to nurture the embryo sac/female gametophyte and pollen, in which the egg and sperm cells, respectively, are generated. It has been known that the GRF-INTERACTING FACTOR (GIF) transcription co-activator family of Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis) consists of three members and acts as a positive regulator of cell proliferation.

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