Cynthia A. Wenner


Cynthia Wenner

Department of Basic Sciences

School of Natural Health Arts and Sciences

School of Naturopathic Medicine



Herbal Sciences

Dr. Wenner is a Professor in the Department of Basic Sciences within the School of Natural Health Sciences. She is an instructor of undergraduate and graduate courses in Immunology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Infectious Diseases, Research design theory, Lab Research Methods, Integrated Case Studies and Bioethics. Dr. Wenner mentors undergraduate and graduate students in research exploring immunomodulatory and antitumor actions of botanical medicine and medicinal mushrooms extracts. Dr. Wenner also is the program director, administrator and co-instructor of the international travel course, Evidence Base of the Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle. 



Dr. Wenner is committed to mentoring undergraduate and graduate students who aspire toward a future career in research to strengthen the evidence base of natural medicine practices. She is currently mentoring students conducting research to study the modulatory effects of Cordyceps militaris and Fomatopsis medicinal mushroom extracts on human cancer cell lines and on TNF and IL-12 cytokine production by LPS-stimulated, PMA-differentiated U937 human macrophages.

Dr. Wenner also is continuing her research exploring the potential for medicinal mushroom preparations to enhance anti-cancer immune responses, including NK cell activity, phagocytic activity and cytokine responses in human cell lines and peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

Dr. Wenner’s philosophy is to teach through active learning, sharing her enthusiasm and providing real-life examples relevant to the topics she teaches and researches.

Outside of work, Dr. Wenner enjoys spending time with her family and three children, leading dance classes, singing in a choir, hiking, bike riding, gardening and making herbal medicines.


  • Ph.D. in immunology from the Washington University
  • BS in cellular and molecular biology from the University of Michigan


Research Interests

Dr. Wenner’s research interests are focused on understanding the immunomodulatory effects of botanical medicines and medicinal mushroom extracts. She is particularly interested in understanding the combination effects of constituents in complex botanical preparations for the adjunctive treatment of cancer.

Dr. Wenner's past research experience includes serving as co-director and project principal investigator of a National Institutes of Health-funded Developmental Center for Complementary and Alternative Research (DCRC) grant examining the anti-tumor immunopotentiating effects of Trametes versicolor, a medicinal mushroom in use in Asia as an adjunctive, integrative oncology therapy. Dr. Wenner also conducted research on the immunomodulatory effects of Echinacea species and constituents.