Anu Singh-Cundy , PhD

Associate Professor · She/her/hers


I grew up in northern India, and spent much of my youth birding and botanizing in the Himalayas. As an undergraduate at Delhi University, I got interested in cell and molecular biology. At Western, I study cell-cell interactions in plants, with a focus on a gene family called HD-AGPs. My students and I have shown that HD-AGPs are multi-functional extracellular proteins that evolve rapidly and have a role to play in breeding barriers between sister species.

Research Interests

1. Plant cell biology, especially pollen-pistil interactions; regulation of pollen tube growth; post-pollination gene expression; and, biochemistry of the plant extracellular matrix and its remodeling during vegetative and reproductive development.

2. Pacific Northwest native plants and their pollinators, especially flowering phenology and bumblebee visitation. We are particularly interested in the recovery of Bombus occidentalis (Western bumblebee) and the potential threats to native pollinators from the non-native and possibly invasive Bombus impatiens (Eastern bumblebee).

Educational & Professional Experience


Penn State, University Park           1988-1993, Post-doctoral associate, Molecular and Cell Biology

Cornell University, Ithaca               1988, Ph.D., Plant biology

Delhi University, Delhi                   1982, B.Sc., M.Sc.



2003-present Associate Professor, Biology Department, Western Washington University

1996-2003     Assistant Professor, Biology Department, Western Washington University

1994-1996     Research Assistant Professor, Molecular Biology Program, Department of Biology, Utah State University

1988-1992     Post-doctoral associate with Prof. Teh-hui Kao, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Penn State

1982-1988     Research Assistant/Teaching Assistant/McKnight Foundation Fellow, Cornell University; Ph.D. Advisor:  Prof. Dominick J. Paolillo, Jr.

Recent Publications

Publications (WWU graduate students: bold font; WWU undergraduates: italics):

Callaway, TD and Singh-Cundy, A. 2019.  HD-AGPs as Speciation Genes: Positive selection in a proline-rich domain in non-hybridizing species of Petunia, Solanum, and Nicotiana. Plants 8:211.

Twomey, CM, Brooks, JK, Corey, JM,  and Singh-Cundy, A. 2013. Characterization of PhPRP1, a histidine domain arabinogalactan protein from Petunia hybrida pistils. J Plant Physiol 170:1384-1388.

Holden, J, Marty, JA and Singh-Cundy, A.  2003.  Pollination-induced ethylene promotes the early phase of pollen tube growth in Petunia inflata.  J Plant Physiol 160: 261-269

Lubliner, N and Singh-Cundy, A.  2003. Characterization of the pollen growth transition (PGT) in self-incompatible Petunia inflata.  Plant Reprod 15: 243-253

Karunanadaa, B, Singh, A and Kao, TH  1994.  Characterization of a predominantly pistil-expressed gene encoding a γ-thionin-like protein of Petunia inflata.  Plant Mol Biol. 26:  459-464

Lee, HS, Singh, A and Kao, TH  1992.  RNase X2, a pistil-specific ribonuclease from Petunia inflata, shares sequence similarity with solanaceous S-proteins.  Plant Mol. Biol.  20:  1131-1141

Singh, A and Kao, TH  1992.  Gametophytic self-incompatibility systems:  molecular, cellular and evolutionary aspects.  Int. Rev. Cytol.  140:  449-483

Singh, A, Evensen, KB and Kao, TH  1992.  Ethylene production following compatible and incompatible pollinations in Petunia inflata.  Plant Physiol.  99:  61-68

Singh, A, Ai, Y and Kao, TH  1991.  Characterization of ribonuclease activity of three S-allele-associated proteins of Petunia inflata.  Plant Physiol.  96:  38-45

Ai, Y, Singh, A, Coleman, CE, Ioerger, TR, Kheyr-Pour, A and Kao, TH  1990.  Self-incompatibility in Petunia inflata:  isolation and characterization of cDNAs encoding three S-allele-associated proteins.  Plant Reprod.  3:  130-138