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David Shintani, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

David Shintani

Contact Information


  • Ph.D., Botany and Plant Biology, Michigan State University, 1996
  • B.S., Genetics, University of California, Davis, 1985


  • 2012- present, Associate Dean, College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, University of Nevada, Reno
  • 2006 - present, Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Nevada, Reno
  • 2007- 2012, Director of the BS/MS Biotechnology Program, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Nevada, Reno
  • 2000 – 2006, Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Nevada, Reno
  • 1998 - 2000, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, University of Nevada, Reno


  • 2007 University of Nevada Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor

Research Interests

Improving the Nutritional Quality and Stress Tolerance of Crop Plant

The goals of this research are to increase the nutritional content of seeds while at the same time increasing the tolerance of germinating seeds to abiotic stress. Thiamin (Vitamin B1) is an essential plant derived nutrient in human and animal diets. While not limiting in typical Western diets, thiamin deficiencies are common in developing countries where people subsist primarily on polished grains and seed products. By increasing thiamin levels in the seeds of important subsistence crop species such as rice and wheat, we can make a positive impact on human nutrition and global food security. In regards to abiotic stress tolerance, we have shown that high thiamin containing seeds are better able to germinate and survive under environmental stress conditions including high and low temperature, drought and saline conditions. Seedlings stress tolerance can improve the survivability of crops during the initial vulnerable stages of development. By elevating seed thiamin levels, we will increase the nutritional value of seeds while at the same time increasing the survivability of the following generation’s crop. This research will significantly benefit global food security by leading to the development of more nutritious and stress tolerant food crops.

Rubber Biosynthesis in Plants

The goal of this project is to determine how natural rubber is synthesized in plants. Natural rubber is required for the manufacture of thousands of products needed in daily life. Due to its superior performance properties, natural rubber is an irreplaceable material in the manufacture of many products, such as automobile and aircraft tires. Through this research, we are identifying genes/proteins that regulate the quantity and quality of natural rubber. The gene-based resources generated from our research will be used for the improvement of current rubber producing crops and the development of alternative rubber producing domestic crops through genetic engineering and molecular breeding approaches. The development of domestic rubber producing crops will provide a number of benefits to the American public including: 1) decreased dependence on imported natural rubber, 2) the creation of a new high value commodity crops for the American farmer, 3) the generation of a hypoallergenic alternatives to Hevea derived rubber for persons with latex allergies and 4) decreased dependence on petroleum for the synthesis of synthetic polymers.

Selected Publication

  • Gidda, S.K.,Watt, S., Collins-Silva, J., Kilaru, A., Arondel, V., Yurchenko, O., Horn, P.J., James, C.N., Shintani, D., Ohlrogge, J.B., Chapman, K.D., Mullen, R.T., Dyer, J.M. (2013) Lipid droplet-associate proteins (LDAPS) are involved in the compartmentalization of lipophillic compounds in plant cells. Plant Signaling and Behavior 8:e27141
  • Yazdani, M., Zallot, R., Tunc-Ozdemir, M., deCrecy-Lagard, V. Shintani, D.K., Hanson, A.D. (2013) Identification of the thiamin salvage enzyme thiazole kinase in Arabidopsis and maize. Phytochemistry 94: 68-73.
  • Ponciano, G., McMahan, C.M., Xie, W., Lazo, G.R., Coffelt, T.A., Collins-Silva, J., Nural-Taban, A., Gollery, M., Shintani, D.K., Whalen, M.C. (2012) Transcriptome and gene expression analysis in cold-acclimated guayule (Parthenium argentatum) rubber-producing tissue. Phytochemistry 79: 57-66.
  • Collins-Silva, J., Tuban-Nural, A., Skaggs, A., Scott, D., Hathwaik, U., Woolsey, R., Schegg, K., McMahan, C, Whalen, M., Cornish, K., Shintani, D. (2012) Altered levels of the Taraxacum kok-saghyz (Russian dandelion) small rubber particle protein TkSRPP3, results in qualitative and quantitative changes in rubber metabolism. Phytochemistry 79: 46-56
  • Tunc-Ozdemir, M., Miller, G., Song, L., Kim, J., Sodek, A., Kouussevitzky, S., Misra, A.M., Mittler, R., Shintani, D. (2009) Thiamin confers enhanced tolerance to oxidative stress in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology 151(1): 421-432.
  • Wachter, A., Tunc-Ozdemir, M., Grove, B.C., Green, P.J., Shintani, D.K., Breaker, R.R. (2007) Riboswitch control of gene expression in plants by splicing and alternative 3' end processing of mRNA. Plant Cell 19: 3437-3450.
  • Xie, W., McMahan, C.M., DeGraw, A.J., Distefano, M.D., Cornish, K., Whalen, M.C., Shintani, D.K. (2008) Initiation of rubber biosynthesis: In vitro comparisons of benzophenone-modified diphosphate analogues in three rubber-producing species. Phytochemistry 69: 2539-2545.

Courses Taught


  • BCH 407/408 Senior Thesis (Capstone, Service Learning Option)
  • BCH 705 Molecular Genetics

Past Teaching

  • BCH 400/600 Introductory Biochemistry
  • BIOT 495 Biotechnology Seminar
  • BIOT 607 Biotechnology Research Laboratory
  • BIOT 777 Biotechnology Symposium (Capstone)

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University of Nevada, Reno

University of Nevada, Reno
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