Kendal Hirschi Lab

Hirschi Lab Members

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Kendal Hirschi, Ph.D. - Primary Investigator

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Kendal Hirschi
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I graduated with a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Arizona (Go Wildcats!), obtained a M.S degree in Microbiology from Arizona State (Go Sun Devils!), and earned my Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of Arizona (Tucson>Tempe). I am currently a professor of the Departments of Pediatrics and Human and Molecular Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine and associate director of research at the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center at Texas A&M - Go Aggies!). While a postdoctoral at the Whitehead Institute at MIT (Go Engineers?), I learned to appreciate and utilize various model systems. I have published more than 120 peer reviewed publications using plants, bacteria, yeast, zebrafish, mice and human subjects to understand the relationships between diet and health. Since 1997, I have been a proud member of the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine. In my time away from work I enjoy tennis, exercise, camping, reading, music, cooking, my family, and especially my two heelers.

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Iny Mathew, Research Associate

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Iny Mathew
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I joined as a research associate with Dr. Hirschi in March 2020. My primary research interest is to understand the mechanism of anoxia tolerance mediated by the cax1 mutants. This work could improve the plant response to low-oxygen conditions, like for example flooding. I have earned my doctoral degree in plant molecular biology form NIPGR, India, on the regulation of seed storage proteins in rice. Parts of the research has been documented in six international publications. I did my graduation in botany and biotechnology and masters in biotechnology. Prior to me starting on my doctoral journey, I worked as a lecturer in India for two years. I always enjoy learning new things both in my field of work and on the personal side. Outside of science, I enjoy music, cooking, traveling, watching TV, making handicrafts and spending time with family.
 

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Hormat Rhein, Ph.D. - Research Assistant

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Hormat Rhein
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I was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. I graduated with a B.S. in agricultural engineering from University of Tehran, Iran in 2010. After working for a company, I moved to the United States to pursue my graduate studies. I got a M.S degree in agricultural biology (2016) and continued with my Ph.D. in molecular biology from New Mexico State University and graduated during the pandemic (2020). My Ph.D. research was on the genetic of pecan flowering. Currently I am working at Dr. Hirschi`s lab at the Children`s Nutrition Research Center. I am very excited about the great opportunity Dr. Hirschi`s lab offers to improve and enhance my knowledge and professional experience. I am also excited about working with model organisms here at Dr. Hirschi`s lab. Swimming, jogging, hiking, traveling and reading books are some of my favorite hobbies. I also really enjoy spending time with this gentleman in the picture, Mr. Chili the dog!
 

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Ardawna Green, Research Technician

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Ardawna Green
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I graduated with a bachelors degree in biology from Prairie View A&M University aka "The Hill!" Currently I am a student in the Pre-Graduate Education and Training (PGET), a postbac program, of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine and research technician of the Children Nutrition Research Center. During my undergraduate years, I've learned to utilize various bioinformatic programs such and appreciate how genetics is one of the keys to figure out how a gene works. Upon becoming a postbac student, I gained more appreciation for the plants especially and how important it is to understand its genes such as CAX1 and CAX3 (I love the lab greenhouse, you can find me there most of the time!). One of my postbac studies involve the isolation of exosome-like nanoparticles(ELNs) from plant models such as kale and swiss chard to understand the functional relationship between the ELNs and the gut biome. Outside of work, I enjoy playing video games, drawing, music and spending time with my family (did I mention I love to try different foods?).
 

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Hannah Powell, Graduate Student

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Hannah Powell
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I graduated with a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Florida State University. I then spent three years working as a research technician in the Molecular Genetics Department at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. I am now a Cancer and Cell Biology graduate student at Baylor College of Medicine and was a rotation student in the Hirschi Lab. All my undergraduate research experience was in plant biology, so I was excited for the opportunity to see if I enjoy working in a lab that combines both biomedical and agricultural research, thus combining all my previous research experiences! Outside of science I enjoy lifting weights/bodybuilding, choreographed dancing, exploring spirituality, and taking care of my senior-childhood cat.

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Deisy Ramos, Postbaccalaureate Student

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Deisy Ramos
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I graduated from Prairie View A&M University in 2020 majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry. I currently am a student in the Pre-Graduate Education and Training Program at Baylor College of Medicine learning great things every day! I am currently working in the Hirschi Lab. Outside from work and school, I like to try new foods (without mushrooms!) from around the world and spend time with my friends and family. I enjoy playing badminton, watching T.V. shows, and riding rides that give me a good case of adrenaline rush! 

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Vignesh Nalliah, Student Worker

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Vignesh Nalliah
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I joined the Hirschi lab in the fall of 2020. I was born and brought up near Detroit, Mich. After high school, I moved to Houston, Texas to continue my education in ecology and evolutionary biology at Rice University. At Rice I’m a proud Jonesian (Jones always wins!!!!). In the Hirschi Lab, my research is mainly focused on investigating the anoxia tolerant phenotype of CAX mutants (Arabidopsis thaliana) by analyzing several types of data including metabolomics, rna sequencing and hormone profiles. I also research into how CAXs are regulated, potentially by other calcium sensors and transporters. In my free time, I enjoy biking, reading (Fiction, Historical, Political), spending time with my friends and family, visiting the zoo (I am an ecology major after all), writing, and cooking. I also love Deadpool (as you can tell by my picture). 
 

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Carmen Neira, Student Worker

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Carmen Neir
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I am currently a senior at the University of Houston (Go Coogs!) I am majoring in kinesiology and minoring in nutrition. After graduating, I plan to travel a lot around the world. I would love to travel to Japan, South Korea, and Iceland. I plan on applying to medical school after graduation. I am bilingual, but I want to learn two more languages in the future. My favorite hobbies include playing volleyball, listening to music (I love BTS), and watching t.v. shows. I love Marvel and DC Comics. My favorite superheroes are Spiderman, Dr. Strange and Moonknight.