skip to content »

Molecular and Human Genetics

Houston, Texas

Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
not shown on screen

Kendal Hirschi, Ph.D.

Kendal Hirschi, Ph.D.

Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics

Other Positions

Professor, Department of Pediatrics; Program in Integrative Molecular and Biomedical Sciences; USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center
Associate Director of Research, Vegetables and Fruit Improvement Center, Texas A&M University


B.S., University of Arizona, 1984
Ph.D., University of Arizona, 1993
Postdoc, Whitehead Institute, 1997

Research Interests

We study both model systems biology in plants as well as translational research related to agricultural improvement. At the molecular level, our goals are to understand the structure, biological function, and regulation of transporter proteins that control trafficking into and out of the plant vacuole. Many of our molecular approaches use the standard genetic “tool kit”.

Another major goal in our group is to learn how to manipulate the expression and function of these transporters to increase the nutritional content of crop plants, improve plant productivity, and cleanse polluted soils. For this second objective, we collaborate with clinical researchers at the Children's Nutrition Research here at Baylor and faculty at the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center at Texas A&M. Obtaining help from nutritional scientists, we perform clinical trials addressing how changes in plant architecture alter nutrient bioavailability.


Mutants of Arabidopsis are used to understand how plants acquire and transport nutrients.

Selected Publications

  1. Wu Q, Lin J, Liu JZ, Wang X, Lim W, Oh M, Park J, Rajashekar CB, Whitham SA, Cheng NH, Hirschi KD, Park S (2012). Ectopic expression of Arabidopsis glutaredoxin AtGRXS17 enhances thermotolerance in tomato. Plant Biotechnol. J. 10(8): 945-55. PubMed PMID: 22762155
  2. Undurraga SF, Santos MP, Paez-Valencia J, Yang H, Hepler PK, Facanha AR, Hirschi KD, Gaxiola RA (2012). Arabidopsis sodium dependent and independent phenotypes triggered by H⁺-PPase up-regulation are SOS1 dependent. Plant Sci. 183: 96-105. PubMed PMID: 22195582
  3. Hirschi KD (2012). New foods for thought. Trends Plant Sci. 17(3): 123-5. PubMed PMID: 22265093
  4. Punshon T, Hirschi K, Yang J, Lanzirotti A, Lai B, Guerinot ML (2012). The role of CAX1 and CAX3 in elemental distribution and abundance in Arabidopsis seed. Plant Physiol. 158(1): 352-62. PubMed PMID: 22086421
  5. Cheng NH, Liu JZ, Liu X, Wu Q, Thompson SM, Lin J, Chang J, Whitham SA, Park S, Cohen JD, Hirschi KD (2011). Arabidopsis monothiol glutaredoxin, AtGRXS17, is critical for temperature-dependent postembryonic growth and development via modulating auxin response. J. Biol. Chem. 286(23): 20398-406. PubMed PMID: 21515673
  6. Conn SJ, Gilliham M, Athman A, Schreiber AW, Baumann U, Moller I, Cheng NH, Stancombe MA, Hirschi KD, Webb AA, Burton R, Kaiser BN, Tyerman SD, Leigh RA (2011). Cell-specific vacuolar calcium storage mediated by CAX1 regulates apoplastic calcium concentration, gas exchange, and plant productivity in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 23(1): 240-57. PubMed PMID: 21258004
  7. Manohar M, Mei H, Franklin AJ, Sweet EM, Shigaki T, Riley BB, Macdiarmid CW, Hirschi K (2010). Zebrafish (Danio rerio) endomembrane antiporter similar to a yeast cation/H+ transporter is required for neural crest development. Biochemistry 49(31): 6557-66. PubMed PMID: 20578725
  8. Zhao J, Shigaki T, Mei H, Guo YQ, Cheng NH, Hirschi KD (2009). Interaction between Arabidopsis Ca2+/H+ exchangers CAX1 and CAX3. J. Biol. Chem. 284(7): 4605-15. PubMed PMID: 19098009
  9. Hirschi K (2008). Nutritional improvements in plants: time to bite on biofortified foods. Trends Plant Sci. 13(9): 459-63 (Cover). PubMed PMID: 18635389
  10. Morris J, Hawthorne KM, Hotze T, Abrams SA, Hirschi KD (2008). Nutritional impact of elevated calcium transport activity in carrots. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A 105(5): 1431-5. PubMed PMID: 18202180

Contact Information

Kendal Hirschi, Ph.D.
Department of Pediatrics - Children's Nutrition Research Center
Baylor College of Medicine
One Baylor Plaza, MS BCM320
Houston, TX, 77030, U.S.A.

Phone: 713-798-7011
Fax: 713-798-7171
Web site: Hirschi Lab

E-mail this page to a friend