Dr. Christopher Hendrickson

College of Letters and Sciences
Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Dr. Hendrickson earned a Ph.D. in Horticulture at Washington State University, M.S. degree in Plant Physiology from Utah State University and a B.S. in Plant Science with a specialization in plant research from Rutgers University in New Jersey. His graduate studies focused on whole-plant and molecular plant stress physiology and have allowed him to continue his current research into examining the ways in which plant interact with their environment. He conducted postdoctoral research in plant genomics and biotechnology at Washington State University (Pullman, WA) where his work focused on medicinal plant genomics and crops’ postharvest biotechnology. Before joining National University as full-time faculty, he taught courses at Washington State University in postharvest biology, horticulture, genomics and advanced crop physiology.

At National University, Dr. Hendrickson teaches Survey of Bioscience (BIO 100 and BIO 100A), General Biology (BIO 160 series), Ecology (BIO 330), Geography (SCI 300), Evolution (BIO 310), Botany (BIO 440), and Natural History of California (BIO 450). Dr. Hendrickson also contributes to the Master of Science in Biology graduate program, teaching the graduate seminar series in molecular biology (BIO 610) and Research Design (BIO 660). Dr. Hendrickson is a strong advocate for students’ research experience, and encourages participation in independent research projects spanning multiple disciplines. Dr. Hendrickson is actively seeking interested students to pursue their research and professional objectives on innovative, impactful projects.

As a plant biologist, Dr. Hendrickson has examined a diverse series of topics addressing how plants are able to thrive in challenging climates and habitats. His current research examines the remarkable mechanisms of extreme environmental stress tolerance in so-called ‘extremophiles’ that exhibit unusually high resistance to prolonged drought, heat, salt and light exposure during their growth cycle. While these species have been characterized physiologically, there remains an unclear or fully unknown mechanistic understanding of their capacity to thrive in such environments. Dr. Hendrickson’s research focuses on identifying and leveraging these mechanisms to address food security and natural resource management in the US southwest. Currently, he is investigating the genetic mechanisms of extreme stress tolerance in plant species with agricultural relevance such as the gypsum-endemic grass Sporobolus nealleyi. He also studies the roles of genes impacting accumulation of the dietary nutrient taurine in crops. Previous research projects involved identification of genetic mechanisms associated with pears’ (Pyrus communis) cold-induced ripening, medicinal plant genomics, microbial genomics, as well as chemical and physiological genomics of ripening induction in recalcitrant crop tissues. This work has resulted in patented novel means of accelerating ripening in pears, and several high-impact peer-reviewed manuscripts at various stages of publication.

Dr. Hendrickson is seeking to build genomic resources in extremophilic species to enable foundational research to address these questions. He is also seeking molecular markers and characterizing gene families associated with desirable phenotypes in extremophilic plants and microalgae. In this capacity, Dr. Hendrickson employs utilizes molecular biology, biochemistry and bioinformatics analyses to address his research objectives. Dr. Hendrickson maintains numerous domestic and international collaborations with scientists pursuant to these interests.

Selected publications:

C. Hendrickson, S. Mooney, J. Leuendorf and Hanjo Hellmann. 2009.Vitamin B6: A long known compound of surprising complexity. Molecules. 14:329-351.

Mandadi, N., Hendrickson, C., and Amit Dhingra. 2015. Genome sequences of Photorhabdus luminescens strains isolated from entomopathogenic nematodes from southern India. Genomics Data. 6:46-47.

Patents and Intellectual Property:

A. Dhingra and C. Hendrickson. United States 13/833,928 – Control of ripening and senescence in pre-harvest and post-harvest plants and plant materials. March, 2013.

Contact Details

College of Letters and Sciences