Kwanhee Kim

Kwanhee Kim

Associate Director for the Graduate Program


Room: BLS 345
Phone: 509-335-7022

Room: BLS 340
Phone: 509-335-7079


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.

Publications on PubMed

Select Publications

  • Bhattacharya N1, Dufour JM, Vo MN, Okita J, Okita R, Kim KH (2005) Differential effects of phthalates on the testis and the liver. Biol Reprod. 72(3), 745-54 PMID: 15564602 PMCID:
  • Li H, Kim KH (2004) Retinoic acid inhibits rat XY gonad development by blocking mesonephric cell migration and decreasing the number of gonocytes. Biol Reprod. 70(3), 687-93 PMID: 14613895 PMCID:
  • Li H, Kim KH (2003) Effects of mono-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate on fetal and neonatal rat testis organ cultures. Biol Reprod. 69(6), 1964-72 PMID: 12904314 PMCID:
  • Li H, Kim KH (2003) Effects of ethanol on embryonic and neonatal rat testes in organ cultures. J Androl. 24(5), 653-60 PMID: 12954654 PMCID:
  • Dufour JM, Vo MN, Bhattacharya N, Okita J, Okita R, Kim KH (2003) Peroxisome proliferators disrupt retinoic acid receptor alpha signaling in the testis. Biol Reprod. 68(4), 1215-24 PMID: 12606456 PMCID:
  • Braun KW, Vo MN, Kim KH (2002) Positive regulation of retinoic acid receptor alpha by protein kinase C and mitogen-activated protein kinase in sertoli cells. Biol Reprod. 67(1), 29-37 PMID: 12079996 PMCID:
  • Braun KW, Tribley WA, Griswold MD, Kim KH (2000) Follicle-stimulating hormone inhibits all-trans-retinoic acid-induced retinoic acid receptor alpha nuclear localization and transcriptional activation in mouse Sertoli cell lines. J Biol Chem. 275(6), 4145-51 PMID: 10660575 PMCID:
  • Cupp AS, Dufour JM, Kim G, Skinner MK, Kim KH (1999) Action of retinoids on embryonic and early postnatal testis development. Endocrinology. 140(5), 2343-52 PMID: 10218988 PMCID:
  • Dufour JM, Kim KH (1999) Cellular and subcellular localization of six retinoid receptors in rat testis during postnatal development: identification of potential heterodimeric receptors. Biol Reprod. 61(5), 1300-8 PMID: 10529278 PMCID:
  • Akmal KM, Dufour JM, Vo M, Higginson S, Kim KH (1998) Ligand-dependent regulation of retinoic acid receptor alpha in rat testis: in vivo response to depletion and repletion of vitamin A. Endocrinology. 139(3), 1239-48 PMID: 9492059 PMCID: