Faculty / Kwanhee Kim

Dr. Kwanhee Kim



Room: BLS 345
Phone: 509-335-7022
Room: BLS 340
Phone: 509-335-7079

Kwanhee Kim

Research & Interests

The primary goal of my research is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms controlling embryonic and postnatal testis development and sperm production. A current focus is to determine the role of vitamin A (retinoids) and retinoid receptors in testicular cells in which both vitamin A and retinoid receptors have been shown to be essential for normal function. For example, vitamin A-deficient animals and transgenic mice carrying a mutated retinoid receptor gene are both sterile. Related to this, we are also interested to determine the mechanism by which alcohol and environmental toxins, also referred to as endocrine disruptors, interfere with normal retinoid signaling in the testis, resulting in abnormal testis development and reduced sperm production. To do this work, we use state-of-the art molecular and cellular techniques and in vivo animal model systems such as developing rats, environmental toxin- or alcohol-treated rats, vitamin A-deprived rats, and transgenic receptor knockout mice. Specific projects include: (1) identification of the mechanisms by which retinoid receptors are activated, (2) identification of the proteins directly induced by these receptors which are essential for testis function, and (3) identification of abnormal retinoid signaling mechanisms produced in fetal alcohol syndrome or during exposure to environmental toxins.