Rod A. Wing


Director of the Center for Desert Agriculture | Professor of Plant Science | Principal Investigator of the Wing Lab




Rod A. Wing earned his PhD in Genetics from UC Davis, and completed Postdoctoral Research at Cornell’s NSF Plant Science Center and USDA/UC Berkeley’s Plant Gene Expression Center. His 30-year career in plant science has spanned the US, beginning as an Assistant Professor of Soil & Crop Sciences at Texas A&M, followed by Coker Chair of Genetics & Biochemistry at Clemson University, and Regents Professor and Bud Antle Chair at the University of Arizona’s School of Plant Sciences. Prior to joining KAUST, he led both the Clemson University Genomics Institute and the Arizona Genomics Institute. Wing has been the recipient of numerous international honors and awards.

Research Interests

Wing's pioneering work on the genome biology of rice and other crop plants has empowered the agricultural community across the globe to address both fundamental and applied research in pursuit of the 10 billion people question: How can we sustainably grow enough nutritious food to feed the world by 2050 without destroying our planet? Wing’s approach to this question is to identify, understand, and harness the majority of natural variation that already exists in cultivated rice and its wild ancestors, and to use that information to create the next generation of green super crops. Since rice is the most important food crop on the planet, his team is developing new crop varieties that are higher yielding and more nutritious while having a smaller environmental footprint.

Selected Publications


  • PhD, Genetics, University of California, Davis, USA, 1987
  • BA, Biochemistry, University of California, Berkeley, USA, 1980

Professional Profile

  • 2019-present: Director, Center for Desert Agriculture; Professor, KAUST, Saudi Arabia
  • 2019-present: Regents Professor, University of Arizona
  • 2002-present: Professor, School of Plant Sciences; Founding Director, Arizona Genomics Inst.; Member, BIO5 Institute, University of Arizona
  • 2005-present: Bud Antle Endowed Chair of Excellence in Agriculture & Life Sciences, University of Arizona
  • 2008-present: Professor, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona
  • 1997-2002: Founding Director, Genomics Institute, Clemson University
  • 1996-2002 : Associate & Full Professor and Coker Endowed Chair of Plant Molecular Genetics, Departments of Agronomy and Biological Sciences, Clemson University
  • 1991-1996: Assistant & Associate Professor, Department of Soil and Crop Science, Texas A&M University
  • 1990-1991: Research Associate, Cornell University, NSF Plant Science Center, Ithaca NY
  • 1987-1990: USDA/ARS Postdoctoral Fellow, Plant Gene Expression Center, UC Berkeley

Scientific and Professional Membership

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • American Society for Plant Biology (ASPB)
  • Indian National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS)


  • 2022 Foreign Fellow, Indian National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS)
  • 2019-present Regents Professor, University of Arizona
  • 2016-present Honorary Professor, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  • 2015 International Beijing Da Bei Nong Technology Group Science & Technology Award 
  • 2014-present AXA Chair in Genome Biology and Evolutionary Genomics, AXA Research Foundation (500,000 Euros) 
  • 2011 Extraordinary Faculty Award – UA Alumni Association & College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • 2010 Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • 2009-2010 Alexander von Humboldt Research Award (60,000 Euros)
  • 2008 Award for Research Excellence - Arizona BioIndustry Association
  • 2008 Technology Innovation Award – UA Innovation Awards
  • 2006-present First Holder of the Shennong Professorship – Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China
  • 2005-present First Holder, Bud Antle Endowed Chair of Excellence in Agriculture & Life Sci. 
  • 2005 Researcher of the Year – College of Agriculture & Life Sci., UA
  • 2004 USS Arizona Outstanding University Achievement Honoree – Rice Genome Sequencing Project
  • 2004 USDA Secretary’s Honor Award for Superior Service, Group Leader - United States Rice Genome Consortia
  • 1997-2003 Honorary Scientist of the Rural Development Administration, Korean Rice Genome
  • 1996-2002 First Holder of the Robert and Lois Coker Endowed Chair of Molecular Genetics
  • 1988-1990 USDA/ARS Terry Kinney Postdoctoral Fellowship, PGEC/UC Berkeley

Research Interests Keywords

genetics genomics evolutionary biology of crop plants and their wild relatives