Office of Science
Photo of Kim Hixson

Kim Hixson

Senior Research Scientist, WR Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, Mass Spectroscopy

P.O. Box 999, J4-02
Richland, WA 99352
Work: (509) 371-6338 Fax: (509) 371-6546 Updated: May 12, 2014

Current Activities and Projects

As part of the EMSL mission, Hixson has been the science point of contact for multiple EMSL user projects, overseeing and facilitating the progression of successful data accumulation and interpretation. Her major projects now include full multi-omic comparisons and data interpretations for challenging plant-focused omics projects, including soybean symbiotic relationships in collaboration with scientists from the University of Missouri and characterization of the phenylpropanoid pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana and characterization of phenylethanol producing Poplar trees (engineered to produced high value chemicals and high energy biofuels) in collaboration with Dr. Norman Lewis from Washington State University. The soybean study will enhance knowledge of symbiotic relationships between plants and nitrogenase-containing bacteria that may eventually aid in the development of plants that thrive without the need for fertilizers. The
Arabidopsis and Poplar tree projects will aid in understanding of how plants can be efficiently engineered to produce many highly valuable chemicals. Many of these chemicals could serve as a renewable resource for chemicals and fuels currently obtained from petroleum.

Research Interests

• Advanced Proteomics stategies/methodologies
• Multiomics integeration(proteomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, etc)
• Plant and photosynthetic organism related research

Past Experience

For the last 16 years, Kim Hixson has worked in the Biological Separations and Mass Spectrometry group located within EMSL, where she specializes in multi-omics analysis of many organisms and systems associated with EMSL user projects or internal PNNL-directed studies.

• Over 16 years of technical expertise in biological mass spectrometry with focus on high throughput, high performance protein identification using mass spectrometry
• Knowledge and use of advanced methods in HPLC, electrophoresis, proteolytic digestion, antibody-based protein depletion, mass analysis of complex protein/peptide mixtures, MS sample multiplexing, modified protein enrichment (e.g., phosphorylations, glycosylations)
• Biological data interpretation with the use of advanced bioinformatics tools, cluster analysis, normalization and statistical analysis of large biological data sets, pathway and network analysis
• Collaborated and teamed with scientific and technical staff at PNNL, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Oakridge National Laboratory and numerous academic institutions
• Supervised and trained research scientists, post-docs, students, and visiting scholars
• Contributing author of proposals to governmental clients
• Pioneered and developed innovative approaches to sample preparation for mass spectrometric applications for membrane proteins and developed working protocols for broadly applicable protein/peptide preparations for mass spectrometric compatible analyses with an emphasis on recalcitrant plant sample preparation.


• Ph.D. Degree in Molecular Plant Sciences from Washington State University (scheduled date of completion, Fall 2014)
• M.S. Degree in Chemistry from Washington State University (2005)
• B.S. Degree in Chemistry from Eastern Oregon University (1997)

Awards, Honors, & Appointments

• ACS Withycombe-Charalambous Symposium Award, (2014)
• Helen and Loyal H. Davis Fellowship Award (2011-2012)
• 61st Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Selected Young Scientist Participant,
• Phytochemical Society of North America Best Poster Award (2011)
• NIH Biotechnology Training Program (2010-2011)
• Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Scientist and Engineer Development Program (2006-2008)
• Fundamental Sciences Directorate Outstanding Performance Award for Contribution to the Proteomic Characterization of the Photosystem II Protein Complex in Cyanobacterium synechocystis (2004)
• Environmental Health Sciences Division Outstanding Performance Award for the Pilot Proteome Project of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (2001)
• US DOE Associated Western Universities Fellowship at PNNL (1997)

EMSL Publications >View All EMSL Publications


• American Society for Mass Spectrometry
• Phytochemical Society of North America
• American Chemical Society