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Horticulture and Natural Resources

Sunghun Park

SParkProfessor of Horticulture Crop Improvement
Office: 3731 Throckmorton

785-532-6949 fax

Area(s) of Specialization:
Horticultural crop genomics/biotechnology

HORT 640 - Undergraduate Research Project


View My Curriculum Vitae

Bio Brief

Dr. Park states, the general goal of his research program is to "increase the nutritional value and production efficiency of horticultural crops by using biotechnology."  His very active research program includes projects to increase calcium concentrations in fruits and vegetables; metabolic engineering of flavonoids in fruits and vegetables; studying plant adaptation to stresses such as salinity, cold, and drought tolerance; engineering ornamental plants for phytoremediation; and molecular breeding for biofuels.

Dr. Park is the department's tissue culture expert, and he teaches an advanced undergraduate and graduate course on the subject. Outside of the lab, Park enjoys traveling to Galveston, Texas, to ocean fish.


B.S. Agronomy, Seoul National University, 1987
M.S. Agronomy, Seoul National University, 1989
Ph.D. Plant Physiology, Texas A&M University, 1995

Area of Emphasis

Dr. Park’s research interests include both fundamental studies to address unique questions in the role of Ca2+ in vegetable/fruit cell physiology and applied studies to enhance production and nutritional quality of horticultural crops using genomic and plant biotechnology tools. Currently, he is focusing on plant growth and adaptation mechanisms to abiotic stresses (salinity, freezing and drought), manipulating the expression levels and substrate specificity of ion transporters, development of blossom-end rot tolerant and longer shelf life horticultural crops, Phytoremediation and metabolic engineering of flavonoids for health and nutritional benefits.


Y. Hu*, Q. Wu*, Z. Peng, S.A. Sprague*, W. Wang, J. Park*, E. Akhunov, K.S.V. Jagadish, P. Nakata, N. Cheng, K.D. Hirschi, F.F. White, and S.H. Park (2017) Silencing of OsGRXS17 in rice improves drought stress tolerance by modulating ROS accumulation and stomatal closure.  Scientific Reports. 7:15950  "Top 100 Scientific Reports Plant Science papers in 2017”

Q. Wu*, Y. Hu*, S.A. Sprague*, T. Kakeshpour*, J. Park*, P. Nakata, N. Cheng, K.D. Hirschi, F.F. White, and S.H. Park (2017) Expression of a monothiol glutaredoxin, AtGRXS17, in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) enhances drought tolerance. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 491: 1034-1039

H. Yu, J. Yang, Y. Shi, J. Donelson, S.M. Thompson, S.A. Sprague*, T. Roshan, D. Wang, J. Liu, S.H. Park, P.A. Nakata, E.L. Connolly, K.D. Hirschi, M.A. Grusak, and N. Cheng (2017) Arabidopsis Glutaredoxin S17 Contributes to Vegetative Growth, Mineral Accumulation, and Redox Balance
during Iron Deficiency. Frontiers in Plant Science. 8: 1024

Q. Wu*, J. Yang, N. Cheng, K.D. Hirschi, F.F. White, and S.H. Park (2017) Glutaredoxins in plant development, abiotic stress response, and iron homeostasis: From model organisms to crops. Environmental and Experimental Botany. 139: 91-98

Qingyu Wu, S.H. Park, M.B. Kirkham, and Kimberly A. Williams (2016) Transcriptome analysis reveals potential mechanisms for inhibition of intumescence development by UV radiation in tomato. Environmental and Experimental Botany. 134: 130-140

Florian Müller, Jiemeng Xu, Lieke Kristensen, Mieke Wolters-Arts, Peter F. M. de Groot, Stuart Y. Jansma, Celestina Mariani, S.H. Park, and Ivo Rieu (2016) High-Temperature-Induced Defects in Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) Anther and Pollen Development Are Associated with Reduced
Expression of B-Class Floral Patterning Genes. PLOS ONE. 11: e0167614

P. Li, G. Zhang, N. Gonzales, Y. Guo, H. Hu, S.H. Park, and J. Zhao (2016) Ca2+-and diurnal rhythmregulated Na+/Ca2+ exchanger AtNCL affects flowering time and auxin signaling in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell & Environment. 39: 377-392

Y. Hu, Q. Wu, S.A. Sprague, J. Park, M. Oh, C.B. Rajashekar, H. Koiwa, P. Nakata, N. Cheng, K.D. Hirschi, F.F. White, and S.H. Park. (2015) Tomato expressing Arabidopsis glutaredoxin gene AtGRXS17 confers tolerance to chilling stress via modulating cold responsive components. Horticulture Research. 2: 15051 "Featured Article"

N. Driedonks, J. Xu, J.L. Peters, S.H. Park, and I. Rieu. (2015) Multi-level interactions between heat shock factors, heat shock proteins and the redox system regulate acclimation to heat. Frontiers in Plant Science. 6:999

J. Zhao, P. Li, C.M. Motes, S.H. Park, and K.D. Hirschi (2015) CHX14 is a plasma membrane Kefflux transporter that regulates K+ redistribution in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Cell & Environment. 38: 2223-2238

J-S. Han, K. Park, S. Jeon, S.H. Park, A.H. Naing, and C. Kim (2015) Assessments of salt tolerance in a bottle gourd line expressing the Arabidopsis H+-pyrophosphatase AVP1 gene and in a watermelon plant grafted onto a transgenic bottle gourd rootstock. Plant Breeding. 134: 233-238

Students & Staff


Trevor Steiner

Lab Technician
3734 Throckmorton

TejManTaman300pxTej Man Tamang

Ph.D. Graduate Student
3034 Throckmorton
Specialization: Gene Editing of Horticultural Crops

TayebehKakeshpourTayebeh Kakeshpour

Ph.D. Graduate Student
Specialization: Metabolic Genomics

NavrudeSpencerSpencer Navrude

Lab Technician
3734 Throckmorton
Specialization: Gene Transformation and Editing


Course #TitleSemesterDelivery Method
HORT 710Plant cell, tissue and organ cultureSpringOn Campus
HORT 910Advances in plant cell cultureSpring**On Campus
HORT 350Plant propagation (micropropagation section)SpringOn Campus
HORT 640Undergraduate Research ProjectSpring
On Campus