Matthew is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition and in the Department of Pharmacology & Cancer Biology at Duke University Medical Center, and is a faculty member of the new Duke Institute of Molecular Physiology. 

He obtained a Bachelors of Science at the University of Vermont, and earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, Santa Barbara with Alison Butler. He was a post-doctoral research fellow with Eric Verdin at the Gladstone Institutes at the University of California in San Francisco, where he studied the function of acetylation and deacetylation by the enzyme SIRT3 in the mitochondria. He discovered acetylation is a mitochondrial protein modification that regulates fatty acid oxidation, and loss of SIRT3 in mice and humans results in the accelerated development of the metabolic syndrome, where his work appeared in high-profile journals, including Nature, Science, Cell Metabolism, and Molecular Cell. He received numerous awards including an Innovator Award from the American Heart Association and a New Scholar in Aging award from the Ellison Medical Foundation. His work is supported by grants from FARA and the NIH.

[Read more about Matthew's scientific journey].

Matthew joined Duke University Medical Center in 2011, where his lab studies metabolic regulation and the diseases that occur with its dysregulation.

Kristin is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, and a Faculty Member of the Sarah W. Stedman Nutrition and Metabolism Center at Duke University Medical Center. 

She earned a Bachelors of Science at the University of Kentucky and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Gerhard Meissner.  She was a post-doctoral fellow with Tony Means at Duke University where she studied Ca2+-calmodulin protein kinase signaling pathways in T cells.  Following her post-doctoral work she continued with Tony Means as Assistant Research Professor, discovering a role for CaM kinase kinase 2 as an AMPK kinase in the hypothalamus that regulates expression of the potent appetite enhancer, NPY.  Her work demonstrated that deletion or inhibition of CaM kinase kinase 2 in the mouse reduces food intake and protects the animals from high-fat diet-induced obesity, glucose intolerance, and insulin resistance.  She is an expert in biochemistry, metabolic regulation, cellular function and mouse physiology, and identified direct regulatory roles for CaM kinase kinase 2 in carbohydrate and fat metabolism in liver, demonstrating that liver-specific deletion of the kinase lowers blood glucose and improves whole body glucose tolerance in the mouse.    

With extensive experience in the field of protein post-translational modification biology, she is now interested in how acetylation and other post-translational modifications integrate biological signals.


Frank is a post-doctoral fellow in the Hirschey Lab. Frank completed his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He received a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biochemistry, and a PhD in Physiology.  Frank performed his graduate work in the laboratory of Dr. Timothy J. Kieffer, where he studied links between obesity and type 2 diabetes. Specifically, he studied how the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin affects glucose and lipid metabolism in the liver. 

In the Hirschey lab, Frank is continuing to pursue his interests in mechanisms linking diabetes and obesity.  He is investigating intracellular biochemical pathways as well as using whole body physiology techniques in order to uncover the metabolic roles of mitochondrial sirtuins and how these may relate to diabetes and obesity.  Frank is currently funded by a joint American Diabetes Association-Canadian Diabetes Association Postdoctoral Fellowship and has been funded in the past by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.  Frank also has a keen interest in teaching.  He has taught a graduate module in Cell and Molecular Biology at Duke University and served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Elon University teaching undergraduate level Human Physiology.


Zhihong is a Research Technician in the Hirschey Lab at the Molecular Physiology Institute in the Duke University School of Medicine. Her areas of expertise include molecular biology and mouse strain management. Before joining the Hirschey Lab, Zhihong was a Research Technician in the Department of Genetics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 2009 to 2014 and worked at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY from 2000 to 2009.


Darren joined the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute (DMPI) in 2015 as an Associate in Research in the Hirschey Lab.  He holds a B.S. in Biochemistry and an M.S. in Toxicology from N.C. State University.  Darren comes to DMPI with 20+ years of pharmaceutical research experience in early stage drug discovery.  His experience is primarily with in vitro systems using recombinant proteins and cultured cells to identify small molecule leads against biological targets to treat various diseases, including metabolic and musculoskeletal.  He has extensive experience with multiple enzyme classes and has developed and performed assays to assist medicinal chemists in developing structure-activity relationships for new chemical entities, including mechanism of action studies.  He also led multidisciplinary teams working to discover drug candidates.  A highlight of his career is being on the team that discovered Avodart® for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. 


Alec is a graduate student in the Hirschey lab at the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute at Duke University Medical Center.


More about Alec soon!


Dr. Mill’s joined the Hirschey lab as a post-doctoral fellow in 2018. Allie earned a Bachelor of Science in general biology from Radford University and her Ph.D. in Pharmacology at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, where she worked with Dr. Michael Emanuele. Her graduate work focused on identifying the roles of Cyclin F, an E3 ubiquitin ligase substrate adapter, in cell cycle regulation. Using biochemical, cellular biology and molecular biology techniques, she identified novel Cyclin F substrates and determined their importance in cell cycle progression. This work identified SIRT5 as a novel Cyclin F substrate and revealed a possible role for SIRT5 in cell cycle control. Allie’s expertise is in cellular biology, cell cycle, and the ubiquitin proteasome system. Her research in the Hirschey lab will focus on better understanding the link between SIRT5 and proliferation.


Keith is a graduate student in the Hirschey lab at the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute at Duke University Medical Center.


More about Keith soon!


Hirschey Lab Alumni

Name Dates Position Current Position
Laura Starzenski 2011-2013 Undergraduate Medical Student (Medical School)
Michelle Green, Ph.D. 2012-2014 Scientist N-of-One
Dongning Wang, Ph.D. 2011-2014 Scientist Trial Card, Cary, NC
Howard Bomze, Ph.D. 2014-2015 Scientist Duke University
Gregg Wagner, Ph.D. 2012-2016 Study Director Metabolon, Inc., Research Triangle Park, NC
Eoin McDonnell, Ph.D. 2012-2016 Graduate Student Post-doctoral Fellow, Pfizer, SD, CA
Angel Martin, Ph.D. 2013-2017 Graduate Student Research Director, FARA, Downingtown, PA
Kathleen Hershberger, Ph.D. 2012-2017 Graduate Student Post-doctoral Fellow, Duke University
Dhaval Bhatt, Ph.D. 2013-2018 Post-doctoral Fellow Post-doctoral Fellow, UNC-Chapel Hill
Frank Huynh, Ph.D. 2013-2018 Post-doctoral Fellow Assistant Professor, San Jose State University