Bill Dyer

Bill Dyer
, Professor, PhD. from Purdue University, 1988.

Office: 726 Leon Johnson Hall
Lab: 725 Leon Johnson Hall

Offfice Phone: 406-994-5063
Lab Phone: 4156

Fax: 406-994-1848
Email Dr. Dyer


  • Physiology and molecular biology of seed dormancy maintenance and release in Avena fatua (with R. Johnson)
  • Biochemistry and molecular biology of evolved resistance to herbicides
  • Population genetics and spatial components of invasiveness in Kochia scoparia (with M. Jasieniuk and B. Maxwell)


Statewide responsibility for Weed Physiology and Molecular Biology involving research on seed dormancy, herbicide mechanisms of action, and mechanisms of herbicide resistance.  Teaching responsibilities include PSPP 546 (Herbicide Physiology; distance delivery), PSPP 102CS (Plant Sciences, Resources, and the Environment), undergraduate research opportunities, and graduate and undergraduate student advising.


  • B.S., 1981, Montana State University, Agronomy, summa cum laude
  • M.S., 1983, Montana State University, Agronomy
  • Ph.D., 1988, Purdue University, Horticulture and Biochemistry


  • American Society of Plant Physiologists
  • Weed Science Society of America
  • Council for Agricultural Science and Technology
  • Western Society of Weed Science
  • Montana Weed Control Association


  • Panel member, USDA CSREES Special Research Grants Program for Tropical and Subtropical Agricultural Research (TSTAR), Honolulu, HI, March, 2004.
  • Invited External Reviewer, Insect Genetics and Plant Science Research Units, USDA/ARS Biosciences Research Laboratory, Fargo, ND, October 14-17, 2003.
  • International Who's Who of Professionals
  • Invited Participant, Scientific Methods Workshop: Ecological and Agronomic Consequences of Gene Flow from Transgenic Crops to Wild Relatives, sponsored by USDA/NRICGP. Columbus, OH, March 5-6, 2002.
  • Invited Participant, Agricultural Biotechnology Communications Workshop, sponsored by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, New Orleans, LA, September, 2000.
  • Panel Manager, USDA/CSRS NRICGP, Program 51.9 Biology of Weedy and Invasive Plants, March 2000.
  • USDA/CSRS NRICGP National Review Panel, Program 51.4 Plant Pathology/ Weed Science, April 1993, May 1994, May 1995, and March 1999.
  • Montana Plant Biology Representative, 12th Annual EPSCoR National Conference, Washington, D.C., September 1996.
  • Invited Participant, USDA/ARS Advisory Workshop on Breeding for Herbicide Resistant Crops, Beltsville, MD, November 13-14, 1996.
  • Associate Editor for Journal Weed Science


  • International Herbicide Resistant Weeds Workshop, Organizer and Co-Chair
  • Weed Science Society of America
    1. Undergraduate Research Award Subcommittee
    2. Editorial Committee (1991-present)
    3. Reviews of Weed Science Committee (2001-present)
  • Western Society of Weed Science Herbicide Resistant Weeds Committee (1990-present)
  • University Biotechnology Curriculum Planning Committee (1991-present)
  • Administrator, NSF/EPSCoR Plant Biology Group (1994-1999)
  • University Radiation Safety Committee (2007-present)


  • PSPP 546: Herbicide Physiology (Distance delivery) – since Fall 2006
  • PSPP 545: Agricultural & Medical Biotechnology (Distance delivery) – Primary audience is high school teachers in MSSE program (Fall 1998 – Fall 2003)
  • PSPP 102CS: Plant Sciences, Resources, and the Environment – since Spring ‘03
  • P&S 545: Plant Molecular Biology + Lab – Previous incarnation of current 545 course (1990 – 1998)
  • CLS 101 and 201: University Seminar – since 2002
  • BTEC 101: Introduction to Biotechnology – Regular guest lectures
  • PSPP 489/490: Undergraduate Research – Usually 1-2 students per year

PUBLICATIONS (2001 to present)

Keith, B.K., E.B. Kalinina, and W.E. Dyer. 2011. Differentially expressed genes in dicamba-resistant and susceptible biotypes of Kochia scoparia. Weed Biology and Management 11:224-234.

Kalinina, E. B., L. Lee, A.J. Kern, B.K. Keith, and W.E. Dyer. 2012. Salt and osmotic stress-induced choline monooxygenase expression in Kochia scoparia is ABA-independent.  Biologia Plantarum 56:699-704.

Harris, L., Martinez, S., Kyser, B., Dyer, W., and Johnson, R. 2013. Functional analysis of TaABF1 during abscisic acid and gibberellin signaling in aleurone cells of cereal grains.  Seed Science Research 23:89-98.

Lehnhoff, E., B. K. Keith, W. E. Dyer, R. K. Peterson, and F. D. Menalled. 2013. Characterization of multiple herbicide resistance in wild oat (Avena fatua) and its impacts on physiology, germinability, and seed production. Agronomy Journal 105:854-862.

Lehnhoff, E. A., B. Keith, W. Dyer, and F.D. Menalled. 2013. Does multiple herbicide resistance modify crop-weed competitive interactions? Impact of biotic and abiotic stresses on multiple herbicide resistant wild oat (Avena fatua) in competition with wheat (Triticum aestivum). PLoS one 8.5:e64478.

Malone, K., A. Harmon, W. Dyer, B. Maxwell, and C. Perillo. 2014. Development and evaluation of an introductory course in sustainable food & bioenergy systems. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, pp. 1–13. Published online February 8, 2014.

Keith, B.K., E.A. Lenhoff, E.E. Burns, F.D. Menalled, and W.E. Dyer. 2014. Characterization of Avena fatua L. populations with resistance to five herbicide modes of action. (In preparation).

Jordan, N., J. Grossman, P. Lawrence, A. Harmon, W. Dyer, B. Maxwell, K. Cadieux, R. Galt, A. Rojas, C. Byker, S. Ahmed, T. Bass, E. Kebreab, V. Singh, T. Michaels, and C. Tzenis. 2014. New curricula for undergraduate food-systems education: A sustainable agriculture education perspective. NACTA J. (in press).


Kern, A.J. 2002. Characterization of gene expression patterns and regulation of choline monooxygenase in dicamba-resistant and susceptible Kochia scoparia. Ph.D. Dissertation. Montana State University-Bozeman. 265 pp.

Menalled, F. and W. Dyer.  2004.  Getting the most from soil-applied herbicides.  Montguide.  Montana State University Extension Service.  MT 200405AG issued 5/04.

Menalled, F. and W. Dyer.  2005.  Herbicide-resistant weeds.  In 2005-2006 Weed Management Handbook.  Montana State University, Utah State Univ. and Univ. of Wyoming.

Menalled, F. and W. Dyer. 2005. Preventing and managing herbicide-resistant weeds in Montana. Montguide.  Montana State University Extension Service. 200506AG issued 6/05.

Book Chapters

Dyer, W. E.  1994.  Mechanisms of Plant Resistance to Glyphosate.  p. 229-241  In S. Powles and J. Holtum, eds.  Herbicide Resistance in Plants:  Biology and Biochemistry.  CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 

Dyer, W. E.  1996.  Techniques for Producing Herbicide-Resistant Crops. p. 37-52 In S. O. Duke, ed.  Herbicide-Resistant Crops:  Agricultural, Economic, Environmental, Regulatory, and Technological Aspects.  CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 

Baker, C. M. and W. E. Dyer. 1996.  Genetic Transformation of Carthamus tinctorius L. (Safflower).  In Y.P.S. Bajaj, ed.  Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry Vol. 38: 201-210.  Springer Verlag, BerlinHeidelberg.

Johnson, R.R., H.J. Cranston, M.E. Chaverra, and W.E. Dyer.  1996.  Analysis of cDNA Clones for Differentially Expressed Genes in Dormant and Nondormant Wild Oat (Avena fatua L.) Embryos. p. 293-300 In G. A. Lang, ed.  Plant Dormancy:  Physiology, Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology.  CAB Intl., Wallingford, UK. 

Dyer, W.E. 1997. Technological, Ecological and Social Aspects of Herbicide-Resistant Crops. p. 249-258 In R. DePrado, J. Jorrín, and L. García-Torres, eds.  Weed and Crop Resistance to Herbicides. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands. 

Bussan, A.J. and W.E. Dyer. 1999. Herbicides and Rangeland. p. 116-132 In R.L. Sheley and J.K Petroff, eds. Biology and Management of Noxious Rangeland Weeds. Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, OR.

Duke, S.O., B.E. Scheffler, F.E. Dayan, and W.E. Dyer. 2002. Genetic Engineering Crops for Improved Weed Management Traits.  p. 52-66 In K. Rajasekaran, T.J. Jacks, and J.W.  Finley, Eds., ACS Symposium Series No. 829, Crop Biotechnology, ACS Books, Washington, DC.

Dyer, W.E. and S.C. Weller. 2005. Plant Response to Herbicides. p. 171-214 In M.A. Jenks and P.M. Hasegawa, Eds., Plant Abiotic Stress. Blackwell Publishing, Ltd.

Published Abstracts

Dyer, W.E., G.A. Goss, and P. Buck. 2002. Gravitropic responses of auxinic herbicide-resistant Kochia scoparia. Weed Sci. Am. Abstr. 42:171.

Dyer, W.E., G.A. Goss, and P. Buck. 2002. Auxin-mediated responses in dicamba-resistant Kochia scoparia. Proc. West. Soc. Weed Sci. 55:58.

Bahieldin, A., R. Qu, W. Dyer, A.S. Haider, and M.A. Madkour. 2002. Modified procedure for rapid recovery of transgenic wheat plants. Pgs 395-398 in Ryan, J. (ed.). Desert and Dryland Development: Challenges and Potential in the New Millennium. Proc. Sixth Intl. Conf. Devel. Dry Lands, 22 -27 August, 1999, Cairo, Egypt. ICARDA, Aleppo, Syria. 655 pp.

Dyer, W.E. 2003. An auxin-binding protein (ABP) mutation in dicamba-resistant Kochia scoparia. Proc. West. Soc. Weed Sci. 56: 149.

Dyer, W.E. and T.M. Sterling. 2003. Selection and compressed evolution in agroecosystems. Pg 26 in Abstracts, Invasive Plants in Natural and Managed Systems: Linking Science and Management + 7th International Conference on the Ecology and Management of Alien Plant Invasions, 3 -7 November, 2003.

Kern, A.J., H.J. Cranston, M.E. Chaverra, and W.E. Dyer. 2005. Dicamba-responsive genes in Kochia scoparia. Proc. West. Soc. Weed Sci. 58: 68.

Maxwell, P.A., W.E. Dyer, S.Creel, and B.D. Maxwell. 2006. Are wolf/elk interactions changing grazing preferences for exotic grasses? Proc. West. Soc. Weed Sci. 59:53.

Dyer, W.E. and E. Kalinina. 2006. Weeds: adapted genotypes or plastic phenotypes? Proc. West. Soc. Weed Sci. 59:104.

Keith, B. A., E. Kalinina, and W.E. Dyer. 2007. Global analysis of gene expression in auxinic herbicide-resistant Kochia scoparia.  Weed Sci. Soc. Am. Abstr. 47:35.

Eissa, H.F., A. Shokry, O.M. Saleh, A.M. Ramadan, A. Bahieldin and W. E. Dyer. 2007. Genomic characterization of stress-related genes from wild barley. Second International Conference of Genetic Engineering and its Applications. 14-16 Nov., 2007, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

Harmon, A.H, Dyer W., Maxwell, B., Malone, K., Stein, M.  2009.  Sustainable Food & Bioenergy Systems: Interdisciplinary Education at Montana State University.  Oral presentation for the Agriculture Food and Human Values Society and Association for the Study of Food and Society Joint Annual Meetings, State College, PA. May 30, 2009.  

Miles, G., E. Kalinina, and W.E. Dyer. 2011. Investigation of multiple herbicide resistance in Avena fatua L. Montana State University Undergraduate Scholars Conference, March, 2011. 

Boyd, M., B. Keith, and W.E. Dyer. 2012. Are glutathione S-transferases involved in multiple herbicide resistance in Avena fatua?  Montana State University Undergraduate Scholars Conference, March, 2012. 

Davis, E.S., W.E. Dyer, and F. Menalled. 2013. Herbicide Resistant Wild Oat Occurrence in Diverse Cropping Systems: Two Case Studies.  Proc. West. Soc. Weed Sci. 66:33. 

Burns E. E., W. E. Dyer, F. Menalled, E. A. Lehnhoff, and B. K. Keith. 2014. Impact of environmental and biological stressors on the demography and ecological fitness of multiple herbicide resistant wild oat (Avena fatua). Proc. West. Weed Sci. 67:60. 

Burns, E.E., Barbara Keith, Fabián Menalled, William Dyer. 2015. Multiple herbicide resistant wild oats in Montana. Montana Grain Growers Convention, Great Falls, MT. 

Burns E. E., B. K. Keith, E. A. Lehnhoff, F. D. Menalled, and W. E. Dyer. 2016. Characterizing the transcriptome and proteome of multiple herbicide resistant Avena fatua L. Proc. Weed. Sci. Soc. Am. 

Burns E. E., E. A. Lehnhoff, B. K. Keith, F. D. Menalled, and W. E. Dyer. 2017. Impacts of Environmental and Biological Stressors on the Population Dynamics of Multiple Herbicide Resistant Avena fatua (L.)Proc. Weed. Sci. Soc. Am. 

Burns E. E., B. K. Keith, and W. E. Dyer. 2017. Molecular, proteome, and biochemical characterization of multiple herbicide resistant Avena fatua (L.). Proc. Weed. Sci. Soc. Am.



The Dyer Weed Physiology lab at MSU studies applied agricultural problems using the tools of molecular biology and genetics.  We seek to understand the physiological strategies used by plants that are highly successful as weeds in agricultural settings.  In particular, we study the mechanisms by which weedy biotypes evolve resistance to herbicides.  Current research focuses on the mechanisms of resistance to multiple herbicide families in two Avena fatua (wild oat) lines.  These plants are resistant to members of all selective herbicide families available for wild oat control in small grain crops, and thus pose significant agronomic and economic threats to American agriculture.  Transcriptome and proteome data show that expression levels of a number of genes and proteins are constitutively altered before herbicide exposure.  In addition, enzyme assays confirm that key enzymes of secondary metabolism are constitutively induced, enabling the plants to withstand normally lethal exposure to multiple herbicides.  These wild oat lines thus represent a classic example of Darwinian selection by very strong selectors (herbicides), resulting in a new phenotype that is elegantly adapted to the modern agronomic environment.


  • Improve syllabus, course materials, and lectures for PSPP 102CS, incorporating multimedia presentations and web tools.
  • Develop degree plan for BS degree in Sustainable Food and Bioenergy Systems, a new degree from the PSPP and LRES Departments (College of Agriculture) and Health and Human Development Department (College of Education, Health and Human Development)