Texas Tech University

Jennifer Smith

Assistant Research Professor and Greenhouse Manager
Department of Biological Sciences

Email: jennifer.r.smith@ttu.edu

Phone: 1 (806) 834-7614

Office: Biology 303A
Research Keywords:
Plant Molecular Biology, Genetics, and Biotechnology
Research Groups:Plant Biology GroupGenetics & Genomics GroupCell & Molecular Group

Web Links:

Smith, Jennifer


  • Ph.D., Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University 2018
  • M.S., Crop Science, Texas Tech University 2005
  • B.S., Biology, Texas Tech University 2003

Research Interests

I am most interested in the relationship between the environment and the physiological and molecular response in plant systems. My work focuses on abiotic stress and biotechnology in crop systems with a concentrated interest in cotton and hemp. My favorite plant gene is RCA, a rubisco activase responsible for the biochemical limitation of photosynthesis during water deficit and heat stress.

My research interests are in abiotic stress tolerance and crop improvement. My current focus is on hemp and cotton for drought, heat and salt tolerance and looking at how a Rubisco Activase gene can improve crop yield. I use tissue culture techniques to combine stress tolerant genes to genetically engineer abiotic stress tolerant plants. My hemp project is a focus on flower timing and maturity. Other small projects look at mycorrhizae association and drought and heat tolerance.

My work at Texas Tech addresses the effects of climate change and agriculture productivity to improve crops not only for the Texas southern high plains but also a global impact.

 My previous research experience includes plant breeding work for abiotic stress tolerance in peanuts, high oleic and linoleic peanut lines, ornamental horticulture salinity stress in long stem rose, landscape performance trials for the urban environment, and human forensics.

Recent Publications

Wijewardene, I., Mishra, N., Sun, L., Smith, J., Zhu, X., Payton, P., Shen, G., and Zhang, H. 2020. Improving drought-, salinity-, and heat-tolerance in transgenic plants by co-overexpressing Arabidopsis vacuolar pyrophosphatase gene AVP1 and Larrea Rubisco activase gene RCA. Plant Science. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.plantsci.2020.110499.

Esmaeili, N., Cai, Y., Tang, F., Zhu, X., Smith, J., Mishra, N., Hequet, E., Ritchie, G., Jones, D., Shen, G., Payton, P. and Zhang, H. (2020) Towards doubling fibre yield for cotton in the semiarid agricultural area by increasing tolerance to drought, heat and salinity simultaneously. Plant Biotechnol. J., https://doi.org/10.1111/pbi.13476.

Zhu, X., Sun, L., Kuppa, S., Hu, R., Mishra, N., Smith, J., Esmaeili, N., Herath, M., Gore, M., Payton, P., Shen, G., and Zhang, H. 2018. The yield difference between wild-type cotton and transgenic cotton that expresses IPT depends on when water-deficit stress is applied. Scientific Reports. (8)2538.

Mishra, N., Sun, L., Zhu, X., Smith, J., Srivastava, A.P., Yang, X., Pehlivan, N., Esmaeili, N., Luo, H., Shen, G., Jones, D., Auld, D., Burke, J., Payton, P., and Zhang, H. 2017. Overexpression of the rice SUMO E3 ligase gene OsSIZ1 in cotton enhances drought and heat tolerance, and substantially improves fiber yields in the field under reduced irrigation and rainfed conditions. Plant and Cell Physiol. 58(4):735-746.

Department of Biological Sciences

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    Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, Box 43131 Lubbock, TX 79409
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