This is a summary list of all laboratories at University of Hawai'i Manoa . The list includes links to more detailed information, which may also be found using the eagle-i search app.
Telomeres are essential genetic elements that cap the ends of chromosomes. The replication of telomeres in proliferating cells is accomplished by a specialized ribonucleic acid enzymatic complex called telomerase. I have been studying telomere shortening and cell aging as well as telomerase biology, especially regulation of telomerase, for over a decade. More recently, as a post doctoral fellow in Dr. Irving Weissman’s lab at Stanford University, I became interested in stem cell biology, especially the regulation of telomerase in stem cells. I joined the Institute for Biogenesis Research (IBR) in the summer of 2003 as an assistant professor, where I am at present. My current research interests at the IBR are still in the area of stem cell biology and telomere/telomerase biology, and also include research on factors controlling and effecting long-term stem cell survival. I am particularly interested in figuring out how telomerase is regulated in stem cells, and what role telomerase dysregulation may have during perinatal development. I am also interested in the role that a new gene, Sirt1, may play in different types of stem cells. Sirt1 is an NAD-dependent protein deacetylase that effects both cell survival and has been implicated as a transcriptional regulator of telomerase as well. Stem cells which I am particularly interested in include blood stem cells, germ line stem cells and neuronal stem cells.
Research: metagenomics simulation, metagenomics assembly, metagenomics annotation.
The Bachmann lab is located at the College of Pharmacy Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Research focuses primarily on a pediatric cancer called neuroblastoma. Molecular biology, cell biology and translational research is being conducted to elucidate new therapeutics and regimens for the treatment of relapsed patients with the goal to improve the currently low survival rates. Polyamine and proteasome inhibitors are investigated, and novel tumor promoting proteins (PRAF2) studied to better understand the underlying mechanisms which control tumor proliferation and metastasis. The Bachmann lab uses state-of-the-art new equipment to perform its research including the Perkin Elmer Operetta High Content Screening System with live cell capability as well as a 5 to 50 liter mammalian cell bioreactor to produce large protein quantities for downstream experimental analysis and protein crystallization. The Bachmann lab is an official member of the Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Research Consortium (NMTRC) which conducts phase 1 and phase 2 clinical studies with neuroblastoma patients also using Dr. Bachmann's drug regimen. The lab also collaborates with several other U.S. and European laboratories to perform their research.
Dr. Bennett applies advanced technologies from genomics and bioinformatics to study dengue, hantavirus, influenza, and other viruses, and also bacteria such as leptospirosis and those found in mosquito vectors. She is especially interested in the nature of genetic mutations that give viruses the potential to cause epidemics or switch to new hosts.
Kapiolani Community College is part of the University of Hawaii System.
Research in the Berry lab is focused on selenoproteins, proteins containing the essential trace element, selenium, in the form of an unusual amino acid, selenocysteine. Most selenoproteins in higher organisms function either as antioxidants or in maintaining cellular redox balance. These functions explain the long-known antioxidant properties of selenium. In all selenoproteins whose functions are known, selenocysteine serves as the catalytic center of an enzyme, and its presence is required for optimal enzyme function.
Researchers in the Boisvert Lab are focused on exploring immunity and inflammation in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Dr. Boisvert's current research focuses on:
1. IL-10 in Macrophage Foam Cell Formation
2. Macrophage Migration Properties
3. Role of ROCK in Atherosclerosis
4. Inflammasome in Macrophage Function
5. CD98 in Migration of Smooth Muscle Cells
6. MicroRNA regulation
Dr. Bursell has successfully developed instrumentation to noninvasively measure different aspects of ocular physiology including retinal blood flow, retinal vascular permeability and retinal leukostasis measurements. These technologies have also been used in clinical studies, and because these methodologies are common to both clinical and basic research, can facilitate the interpretation of clinical results. He has been a significant contributor, in collaboration with Dr. King and Dr. Aiello, in the translation of the protein kinase C inhibitor from bench top to clinical trial through research showing its significant impact on retinal physiology in both animal models and preliminary clinical studies. More recently, in collaboration with Dr. Feener, he has been investigating novel vitreal proteomes such as carbonic anhydrase, and characterizing their impact on retinal physiology and retinopathy development. Over the past 20 years he has conducted, or been a part of numerous clinical research studies. He is an internationally recognized authority in his field of research.
There are two research projects in Dr. Callahan's lab. In the first a filamentous cyanobacterium is used to study the molecular genetics of cellular differentiation and the generation of periodic patterns. The second project looks at the contributions of bacteria, both commensals and pathogens, to the health of corals.
Malaria is a major cause of global morbidity and mortality in tropical countries and most notably among infants, young children and pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa. Our long term goal is to develop a safe and effective blood stage vaccine directed against merozoite surface protein-1 (MSP1), a major coat protein of P. falciparum merozoites. This goal requires development of two essential components of a malaria vaccine, (i) the production of an optimally immunogenic antigen capable of inducing a protective immune response, and (ii) the identification of an immunostimulatory and non-toxic adjuvant formulation that may be combined with this antigen to generate protective immunity to falciparum malaria. Previous studies in this laboratory have focused on developing a baculovirus recombinant 42 kDa MSP1 C-terminal polypeptide which is highly immunogenic and induces protection in a non-human primate model of P. falciparum malaria. One of our current research objectives is to improve the protective immune response to a P. falciparum MSP1-based malaria vaccine by combining sequences located within MSP1 blocks 4, 16, and 17 to induce protective immune responses to multiple MSP1 epitopes. Our second research objective is to evaluate the ability of a series of well-defined immunomodulators to stimulate an immune response to MSP1 with in vitro and in vivo biological activities against P. falciparum blood stages. We hypothesize that a multi-epitope MSP1 antigen formulated with specific combinations of TLR (Toll-like receptor) and NOD (nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor) agonists will be effective in inducing a protective immune response to P. falciparum infection.
Church will investigate the linkages between microbial physiology and biogeochemical cycles, targeting the time and space dynamics of specific microbial groups that control transformations of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. By merging rate measurements of organic matter production and consumption with molecular approaches to identify variability in gene expression, he seeks to elucidate how the activities, biomass, and diversity of functionally important groups of organisms contribute to biogeochemical variability in the oceans.
Originally from New Zealand, Dr. Collier received her B.Sc. in Pharmacology from the University of Auckland (1998) and her PhD in Pharmacology from the same institution in 2003. Dr. Collier teaches Pharmacology to undergraduate and graduate students as well as Clinical Pharmacology for medical students and was awarded the University of Hawaii Regent’s Medal for Teaching in 2011. Within Pharmacology, her sub-specialty is drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, primarily of the phase II (conjugation) enzymes, focused on pregnancy and pediatrics. A winner of the 2011 SimCYP award for Most Informative Report (“in recognition of scientific research that is leading the world in ADME, IVIVE, pharmacokinetics, modeling and simulation”), Dr. Collier uses a combination of wet laboratory work and in silico modeling to provide greater understanding of developmental pharmacology and improve drug/chemical safety. Dr. Collier’s research laboratory has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health, and private foundations since 2007. Along with her collaborators, she also performs research and publishes regularly in the fields of human and environmental toxicology and in endocrinology.
Our primary interest is in learning and the evolution of intelligence. We work mostly with honeybees, whose performance in a wide range of learning situations proves to be closely similar to that of vertebrates despite the remoteness of the evolutionary relationship and the vast differences in brain size and organization; broad functional convergence is indicated. In work with pigeons and fish, our primary concern is with the development of quantitative theories of learning that permit exact rather than merely ordinal predictions of experimental outcomes.
Dr. Donarchie investigates the diversity and role of microorganisms in the environment, focusing on both prokaryotes and eukaryotes in terrestrial and marine systems. Current projects explore potential relationships between bacteria (Archaea and Bacteria) and endemic Hawaiian marine invertebrates, Hawaiian marine Fungi and yeasts as sources of novel secondary metabolites, and biogeochemistry in Hawaiian lava tubes.
Dr. Ernst is a Professor at the JABSOM in the Dept. of Medicine, UH and an MR Physicist with extensive experience in the application of advanced MR techniques to clinical research in various brain disorders, especially in the areas of HIV and substance abuse.
Dr. Ruth Gates and her group focus their research on coral reefs, marine ecosystems that protect coastlines, support tourism and provide nutrition to many island nations. The global deterioration in the quality of these ecosystems has been widely reported over the last 40 years, reflecting the complex interaction between climate change stressors (thermal anomalies, ocean acidification and storms) and chronic or acute local impacts (coastal development, pollution and over-fishing). Although the future looks bleak, some corals survive, and even thrive in the same conditions that rapidly kill others. Our group seeks to better understand the biological underpinnings of this variability by defining traits that associate with environmental sensitivity and resistance in corals, and with the resilience (capacity to recover) of reefs. Our goal in conducting this research is to contribute basic and applied scientific knowledge that expands understanding of how coral reefs function, and informs the management and conservation of these beautiful but threatened ecosystems.
This lab also has an Experimental Manipulation Facility, which allows researchers to create climate change conditions (e.g. temperature, CO2, capacity for delta light & delta flow) in order to explore Marine living.
We use molecular approaches to conducted research addressing issues on the systematics of the native Hawaiian flora. Studies involve phylogenetic questions of species biogeography in the islands both in terms of from where they came from and how they are distributing among the islands. Studies utilize molecular markers to answer these questions, and the type of markers will depend upon the specific question being asked. Also of importance in studying plants, especially in Hawaii, is the consequences of small population sizes. Hawaii is the "Endangered Species Capital of the United State" with over 300 endangered plant species and many others that are "species of concern" by the US Fish & Wildlife Service. As such, the opportunities to examine rare plant population genetics from many different perspectives are incredible.
Research in Dr. Gerschenson’s lab studies mitochondria in human cells and tissues. We are interested in adult and pediatric metabolic diseases (HIV and non-HIV insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity, fat, muscle, and liver tissue), neurological diseases (HIV peripheral neuropathy and HIV associated dementia), immunological diseases, and cancer. We conduct local, national, international clinical studies to obtain blood, cheek cells, fat tissue, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid, etc. to study mitochondrial genetics, energy metabolism, oxidative stress, cell death. We are also interested in how cytokines regulate mitochondrial genes via transcription and cell signaling.
Dr. Ha's research focuses on biochemistry and minority education.
The Hawai'i Undersea Research Laboratory is the only U.S. deep submergence facility in the Pacific Rim tasked with supporting undersea research necessary to fulfill the mission, goals, and objectives of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), along with other national interests of importance. Over 30 years of submersible operations have resulted in nearly 1900 dives representing 9300 hours underwater, and a benthic ecology database derived from in-house video record logging of over 125,000 entries based on 1100 unique deep-sea animal identifications in the Hawaiian Archipelago. With emerging interest in marine resources of the Pacific and renewable energy from the sea, HURL's contributions will continue to play an essential role in scientific research and advanced technology. HURL was established by Cooperative Agreement in 1980 between NOAA and the University of Hawai‘i, at which point it became a Regional Center in NOAA's Undersea Research Program (NURP). In 2009, President Obama signed Public Law 111-11 authorizing both NURP and Ocean Exploration (OE), and their administration under a merged program called the Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER). The Center supports highly-rated, peer-reviewed proposals to conduct undersea research in offshore and nearshore waters of the main and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and waters of the central, southern, and western Pacific, including the new marine national monuments. In addition, HURL accepts funded requests from private, state, or federal agencies and participates in international collaborative research projects.
The emphasis of Dr. Hemscheidt's research program is in the area of natural products chemistry, specifically biosynthesis and the isolation of natural products from plants and fungi.
Dr. Hernandez's research focuses on infection and cancer. Viruses associated with human cancers include human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B and C, Epstein-Barr virus, human herpesvirus 8, and Kaposi's sarcoma. These infectious agents influence the development of cancer through varied mechanisms including interaction of viral genes with host tumor-suppressor genes, integration of virus into host DNA, and the establishment of persistent or latent infections. Understanding the role of host response to infection is also key to elucidating the mechanism of viral carcinogenesis.
The Hoang Lab currently has two areas of infectious disease research interests, focusing on the genetics and pathophysiology of i) Burkholderia pseudomallei and ii) Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
This a relatively new lab; funding NIH/NCCAM to research the mechanisms by which selenium influences T Helper Cells during Immune Responses. The major goals of this project are to characterize mechanisms by which Se affects CD4+ T cell activation and identify specific selenoproteins that mediate the effects of Se on CD4+ T cells.
Dr. Hui's research is based on the development of blood stage malaria vaccines; and studies on the use of different vaccine adjuvants for the malaria vaccines. Specifically, his focus is on the design of vaccines based on the Merozoite Surface Protein 1 (MSP1) by defining critical T and B epitopes of the molecule. His lab also evaluates the use of a variety of immunological adjuvants to enhance vaccine potency and at the same time define the critical pathway for adjuvants’ mode of action. The approaches also study the use of nanoparticle platforms for antigen delivery.
Our laboratory utilizes fluorescence methodologies to elucidate dynamic aspects of biomolecules. We are currently studying dynamin, a large (98kDa) GTPase which functions to “pinch-off” membrane vesicles in pathways such as receptor mediated endocytosis and synaptic vesicle recycling. We carry out both in vitro and in vivo studies on the self-association modes of dynamin as well as its interaction with membranes and other proteins such as endophilin and Arc/Arg3.1. We have also been studying dynamins with mutations that cause motor disorders, specifically Centronuclear Myopathy and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. These studies, both in vitro and in living cells, are aimed at understanding the molecular basis for dynamin’s involvement in these disorders. Recently, we began a project to study, both in vitro and in vivo, the self-assembly of the protein Leucine Rich Repeat Kinase 2 or LRRK2. Mutations in the gene for LRRK2 are responsible for an autosomal dominant form of Parkinson’s Disease (PD). We also have a project on Botulinum Neurotoxin which involves biophysical studies on proteins forming the neurotoxin complex as well as development of in vitro and in vivo toxin assays based on Fluorescence Fluctuation Spectroscopy. Recently we have been developing the application of the phasor method, a visual approach to treatment of time-resolved fluorescence data, to in vitro systems such as intrinsic protein fluorescence.
- the S-Adenosylmethionine-Dependent Radical Enzymes
- the AdoMet Radical Enzyme Biotin Synthase
- in Vivo Iron-Sulfur Cluster Assembly
Dr. Kaholokula is interested in the study of biological, psychological, and socio-cultural factors (and their interplay) affecting the etiology and management of chronic diseases (and their risk factors) in Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders and in the designing and testing of behavioral interventions for primary and secondary prevention. His clinical interest is in behavioral assessment for clinical case formulation.
Dr. Kolonel's research focuses on the understanding the striking variations in cancer incidence and survival that are observed among the several different ethnic populations in Hawai‘i.
Current research projects focus on elastin, a vertebrate protein with remarkable biomechanical properties. The elastic properties of a number of physiological structures, such as blood vessels and skin, are believed to originate from elastin, an amorphous, crosslinked protein comprised largely of small hydrophobic amino acids. The three-dimensional structures of insoluble elastin remains elusive, as crystallographic tools and even the most sophisticated solution NMR spectroscopy cannot be used to study this insoluble protein. Therefore, for many years, the true nature of elasticity in biological systems has remained controversial, as none of the existing models could be confirmed or rebutted with high-resolution structural data.
The Laboratory for Microbial Oceanography is a research unit within the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
The Laboratory for Microbial Oceanography conducts basic research on microbial inhabitants of the sea, including bacteria, protozoans and unicellular algae. These studies range in scope from the development of novel techniques to assess in situ microbial biomass, activity and growth, to comprehensive field studies designed to elucidate the mechanisms and rates of microbiological cycling of C, N and P.
We study fundamental colloid and surface science and its applications to areas of biomedical and biotechnological interest. In particular, we focus on the biophysical study of lung surfactant and other self-assembled phospholipid/protein monolayers/bilayers/multilayers; pulmonary toxicology of nanomaterials and nanoparticle-based pulmonary drug delivery; and the development of advanced surface tension and contact angle measurement methodologies. The techniques we use include Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) technique, and drop shape analysis. The goal of our study is to explore the fundamental nature of biocolloids and biointerfaces, and to apply this knowledge to biomedical and clinical practices through an interdisciplinary and translational approach.
Dr. Lau's laboratory is currently focused on the regulation of gap junctions by tyrosine protein kinases and novel, interacting cellular proteins. Gap junctions are one of four major types of intercellular junctions that are involved in establishing intercellular adhesion and communication. Gap junctions are unique because they enable the direct interchange of small molecules (<1000 daltons) between the cytoplasms of adjacent cells. This activity provides a form of intercellular signaling that is essential for the proper functioning of a variety of normal tissues.
Calcification of cardiovascular tissues occurs in a variety of pathological conditions, including vascular injury, renal failure, diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, and aging. Mineralization is multifactorial and results from abormal changes in the balance between activators and inhibitors of calcification. We and others have established a link between ABCC6 and the chronic calcification of pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE) in human and the dystrophic cardiac calcification phenotype (DCC) in mice. ABCC6 is primarily expressed in liver and the kidneys but not in connective tissues. Therefore, we use various mice models to elucidate the characteristics of this novel mineralization inhibitor pathway.
Research in my laboratory focuses on environmental biochemistry and biotechnology. Our current research projects are in areas of phytoremediation and bioremediation, metabolomics, marine pollution and toxicology, biochemical and molecular mechanisms of action of insecticides, antibody engineering and development of antibody-based assays, tephritid fruit fly control, parapheromones for tephritid fruit flies, bioactive natural product chemistry, analytical and environmental chemistry, environmental fate of pesticides and pollutants, and pesticide residue research for pesticide registration.
Dr. Linda Chang's research focuses on neurology, neuroimaging (MRI, MR spectroscopy, functional MRI, PET, SPECT), HIV, substance abuse (methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine), and aging.
The primary research interest of the laboratory is the study of the role of diacylglycerol pathways in cancer. As part of the Natural Products & Cancer Biology Program, we also participate in the screening of natural products in the search of novel anticancer agents.
1) RasGRP1 and mouse skin carcinogenesis
Our studies are directed towards the investigation of RasGRP1 signaling in mouse keratinocytes and its participation in skin carcinogenesis utilizing both, knockout and transgenic mouse models. This project is supported by NCI.
2) RasGRP1 in human keratinocyte biology and transformation
We are investigating the role of RasGRP1 in human epidermal cells, utilizing 3-D organotypic cultures (skin reconstructs). This project is supported by Hawaii Community Foundation.
3) Role of RasGRP in angiogenesis
We are examining the participation of some of the RasGRP isoforms in the effect of diacylglycerol analogs in angiogenesis, using HUVEC (human umbilical vein endothelial cells) as our model. This project is supported by Department of Defense.
Research Interests and Ongoing Projects:
• Viral vectors and vector-mediated gene transfer and transgene expression in vitro and in vivo
• Novel gene therapy approaches for HIV-1 infection in the central nervous system l
• Marine compounds and their antiviral activities
• Test and production of transgenic shrimp strains with viral resistance
• New methods for enhanced monitoring costal water contamination using environmental pathogens as an indicator
The Marine Viral Ecology Laboratory (MarVEL) group is part of the Department of Oceanography in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Our group investigates the ecology and diversity of microbial life in the sea, including human pathogens in coastal waters. We are particularly interested in the diversity of viruses and how viruses influence the ecology and evolution of plankton. A summary of some of our research interests and projects can be found here. Members of MarVEL are affiliated with the Center for Microbial Oceanography - Research and Education (C-MORE), and the Hawaii Ocean Observing System (HiOOS). Some of our previous work was carried out in affiliation with the Pacific Research Center for Marine Biomedicine (PRCMB).
We are interested in a broad range of problems associated with the cellular, molecular, and evolutionary basis of biological pattern formation. My lab utilizes a variety of molecular and "classical" techniques of microinjection, cell labeling, ablation, and transplantation, to address fundamental problems in developmental biology in a broad phylogenetic context.
My lab is currently focused in three major areas. The first area of interest is to understand the role of the early cleavage program in the segregation of developmental potential in a wide variety of animals which share a mode of embryogenesis known as spiral cleavage (e.g., molluscs, annelids, nemerteans, sipunculids, echiurans, and polyclad flatworms). Of particular interest is the mechanism by which dorsoventral polarity is established in members of different spiralian phyla. We are also interested in understanding the origins and significance of naturally evolved variations in the spiral cleavage program, such as modifications associated with the abandonment of larval development in order to develop directly to a miniature adult form (i.e., direct development). We consistently use intracellular cell lineage labeling and cell ablation techniques in a wide variety of species for many of our experiments.
The second area of interest is gaining an understanding of the relationship between radially symmetrical and bilaterally symmetrical metazoans. Current theory predicts that bilaterians are derived from a radially symmetrical stock, yet there is little evidence for how such a transition might have occurred. For example, what is the relationship of the oral-aboral axis of radially symmetrical forms to the anterior-posterior of bilaterians? How did the dorsoventral axis arise? Is there evidence for the origins of major cleavage patterns in bilaterian development (e.g., spiral and radial cleavage) in radially symmetrical forms? To what degree are the molecular events underlying morphological patterning and cell type specification conserved in this group of animals? We are investigating these and other aspects of early development in representatives of both anthozoan cnidarian and ctenophore embryos.
The third area of focus is to understand the evolution of biological novelties. These include the origins of the "middle" germ layer (mesoderm), the evolution of the nervous system in the Metazoa, and the evolution of unique cell types (cnidocytes, colloblasts, sensory cells, etc.). Many of these studies utilize cnidarians (the starlet sea anemone Nematostella vectensis) and ctenophores (the lobate Mnemiopsis leidyi), both of whose genomes have been sequenced. We continue to developed functional techniques to uncover conserved and novel molecular mechanisms underlying novel cell type formation.
Dr. Mau's research focuses on Native Hawaiian health disparities, diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism.
Assisted reproduction enables achieving fertilization when normal conception does not occur due to a variety of gamete defects. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is the injection of a single spermatozoon directly into the cytoplasm of an oocyte using an injection pipette. This technique has been applied successfully in the treatment of infertile couples and is now widely used as a method of human assisted reproduction (ART). In addition to its obvious role in overcoming the infertility, ICSI is also an excellent tool allowing exploring new venues of reproductive biology. It provides a unique opportunity to examine the mechanisms underlying male infertility by looking into the reproductive potentials of individual spermatozoa.
The primary research interest of the lab is to study sperm genetics and function in fertilization in the context of assisted reproduction, utilizing advanced techniques of gamete and embryo micromanipulation combined with cytogenetic and molecular biology techniques, in a mouse model. The overall goal is to explore how the 'genetic composition' of sperm translates on its function in fertilization.
The ongoing projects involve:
(1) Reproducing subfertile and infertile mice with phenotypes that mimic various human male infertility syndromes to test for ART effects;
(2) Studying sperm DNA damage, its origin and consequences for fertilization and embryo development;
(3) Examining the function of the Y chromosome encoded genes in male fertility.
Dr. Nerurkar's research interests are:
• Traditional Hawaiian medicine
• Traditional Ayurvedic medicine
• Role of alternative medicines in ameliorating obesity, insulin resistance and hyperlipidemia (metabolic syndrome).
• Signal transduction pathways involved in insulin signaling, lipid metabolism and glucose metabolism.
• Mechanisms of mitochondrial toxicity associated with obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes and drug-induced hepatotoxicity.
• ER function in obesity, insulin resistance and hyperlipidemia (metabolic syndrome).
• Role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nuclear transcription factors in obesity, insulin resistance and hyperlipidemia (metabolic syndrome).
Research focuses on the regulation of the presynaptic nerve terminal:
- Beta amyloid (Aβ) regulation of presynaptic calcium
- Lipid rafts in Aβ regulation
- Nicotine regulation via presynaptic nicotinic receptors
- Calcium homeostasis
• Theories of behavior change
• Motivation to engage in health behaviors
• Exercise/physical activity
• Multiple health behavior change
• Childhood obesity
• General Population
Dr. Novotny's research focus is in ethnic differences in diet, physical activity and body size and composition, especially patterns of growth and development, using anthropometry and DXA. She and colleagues have shown that Asian adolescent girls carry more trunk to peripheral DXA body fat than white girls, and that birth weight and birth length are inversely related to this relationship. They have also developed a novel measure of breast density, using DXA, which they are examining in girls and their mothers; and they are building a breast cancer risk model for Pacific Islanders that will expand the Gail model with novel risk factors. She was recently awarded a multi-million dollar multi-institutional grant to prevent child obesity throughout the Pacific Region.
Dr. Okihiro's research interests are in the area of childhood obesity and early metabolic risk, especially among children in Hawai'i. She is also interested in the development of obesity and how this issue can be addressed from a clinical and community perspective.
Dr. Panee's research focuses on the mechanism and evaluate translational application of natural products in the prevention and treatment of obesity-associated diseases and breast cancer.
Our current work is focused on determining how expression of cancer-associated genes c-myc and p53 affects sensitivity to TNF and FasL induced programmed cell death in cell lines representing various stages on the pathway to cancer. We are also using our cell lineages to determine whether activation of caspase-2 plays a role in the differential sensitivity of cells to TNF- and FasL-mediated cytotoxicity. In addition, studies are underway to characterize TNF- and FasL-induced changes in mitochondrial membranes. This involves monitor the appearance of mitochondrial-associated proteins involved programmed cell death such as caspase-2, caspase-9, cytochrome c, and apoptosis Inducing factor.
This lab focuses on: 1 understanding the underlying mechanisms controlling cancer cell proliferation and invasion; 2 the role of PEA-15 and the ERK MAP kinase pathway in cancer formation and progression; 3 dysregulation of cell signaling in neuroblastoma and glioblastoma; 4 developing new drugs to target cancer based the lab's basic research findings.
Funding: NIH and DOD.
The Rappé laboratory for aquatic microbial ecology is located at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), a research institute in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The HIMB is located on Coconut Island in Kaneohe Bay, about a 30 minute drive from the main university campus.
Using a variety of approaches (genomics, molecular biology, microbial oceanography, and traditional microbiology), research in the Rappé Lab focuses on the diversity, evolutionary history, ecology, and physiology of microorganisms that inhabit coastal and open ocean seawater, corals and coral reef environments, and the deep subsurface biosphere.
My laboratory studies the genetic and hormonal regulation of nervous system development in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. We are particularly interested in understanding how developmental signals such as hormones, nuclear receptors, trophic factors and synaptic contacts regulate gene expression to control nervous system development and function.
One project in the lab focuses on the regulation of programmed cell death, or apoptosis, in the nervous system. In Drosophila, the genes reaper, grim and head involution defective (hid) induce apoptosis when expressed at high levels. We have identified two distinct sets of neurons that die by apoptosis shortly after the emergence of the adult from the pupal case at the conclusion of metamorphosis, in a low steroid hormone environment. Both sets of neurons accumulate reaper and grim transcripts, but not hid transcripts immediately prior to their death. Application of the biologically active steroid 20-hydroxyecdysone prevents transcription of these genes and prevents the death of these neurons. We have identified a genomic region that regulates expression of the grim gene that is sensitive to the titer of 20E. We are currently characterizing this region to determine the mechanism by which 20E represses transcription of this gene.
The steroid hormone 20E drives Drosophila development by interacting with nuclear receptors that act as ligand regulated transcription factors. To define the cellular mechanisms and interactions involved in nuclear receptor signaling, we are currently conducting a screen to identify genes that are involved in nuclear receptor signaling pathways. This screen is designed to identify genes that function during metamorphosis when the animal undergoes a dramatic reorganization. Characterization of genes identified in this screen will help define the molecular pathways that are regulated by hormones during development.
This is a relatively new lab. Funding: NSF, DARPA, National Geographic. Research focuses on 1 understanding the relationships between different groups of organisms at the population level, species levels, and above 2 building DNA and morphology-based phylogenies to identify new species and uncover hidden relationships and patterns between species. Current projects focus on the application of systematics to improve agriculture and conservation efforts in Hawai'i and elsewhere.
• Preterm Birth
• Genitourinary Infections in Pregnancy
• Viral Infections in Pregnancy
• Peridontal Disease in Pregnancy
• Thyroid Disease
• Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes
• Role of Infection in Preterm Birth
Dr. Seifried's research focuses on macromolecular interactions, physical biochemistry, bioinformatics, microbial and human molecular genetics.
Dr. Shiramizu's research interests focus around the role of HIV-1 in causing neurological problems and cancer; and childhood cancers.
Researchers in the Shohet Laboratory are engaged in exploring the response of the stressed heart in mouse models.
Current Research focuses on:
1. HIF-1 Overexpression
2. Endothelial Responses to Cardiovascular Stress
3. Elucidating the Role of Endothelin-1 in the Heart
4. Ultrasound Targeted Microbubble Destruction (UTMD)
5. Human Genetics
Dr. Stewart’s lab specializes in Human Nutrition research. The lab’s research scope ranges from basic benchwork to clinical trials. Dietary fiber and intestinal health are the lab’s focuses. Specific topics of interest are:
*Dietary fiber content of local foods
*Fiber as a functional food ingredient
*Physiological effects of dietary fiber with an emphasis on fiber fermentation
*Prebiotic effect of dietary fiber
*Influence of gut microbiota on fiber fermentation
Researchers in the Stokes Lab are focused on exploring regulatory protein mechanisms in the stressed and failing heart, specifically, ion channels and complex trans-membrane proteins.
Dr. Taylor’s primary research is on malarial immunity, including identification of immune responses associated with protection and pathology. Early studies examined cellular and humoral immune responses to malaria using rodent and primate models. These studies lead to producing monoclonal antibodies (mAb) against Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes human malaria. Since 1990 she has conducted research and training of graduate and doctoral students in Cameroon, receiving continued NIH support since 1994. More recently, Dr. Taylor began evaluating how malaria infections during pregnancy influence acquisition of immunity of their babies to malaria during the first year of life.
Dr. Verma’s long-term research goal is to understand immunological events associated with pathogenesis of neurotropic viruses to ultimately design therapeutic interventions and/or adjunct therapies to improve disease pathology. Her research employs both, in vitro and in vivo mouse models to delineate various innate immune signaling pathways that contribute to antiviral defense and inflammation in flavivirus infections. The focus of her COBRE project is to analyze mechanisms associated with disruption of the blood-brain barrier and its consequence with respect to the entry of West Nile virus (WNV) in the mice brain. In addition, ongoing studies are investigating the efficacy of anti-inflammatory drugs such as inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases and cyclooxygenase-2 signaling pathway as a potential therapeutic target to manage WNV encephalitis. Another area of her research is to understand the role of NLR family of pathogen recognition receptors, NLRP3, NLRC5 and inflammasome adapter molecule ASC in modulating innate and adaptive immune response to WNV. One of her recent project also involves characterizing the role of epigenetic modulation in innate immune responses to flaviviruses.
Our research is focused on the structure of mammalian sperm chromatin and how this is related to function. The main hypothesis that we have tested is that the sperm cell provided the newly developing embryo with more than just the genetic code in the DNA sequence; it also provides a three dimensional organization of the DNA that provides crucial information as to how to use the father's genetic code.
DNA is packaged very densely in the sperm nucleus in a manner that is different from any other cell type. Most of the histones are replaced by protamines, and the DNA is crystallized into dense toroids with roughly 50,000 bp of DNA, each. Protamine condensation protects the sperm DNA from damage from external insults, and prevents transcription or DNA replication from occurring. We have shown that one structural feature present in all other somatic cells is also retained in sperm chromatin: the organization of DNA into loop domains attached at their bases to the nuclear matrix. This organization is crucial to two aspects of sperm chromatin function. Shortly after fertilization, the protamines are removed from the sperm DNA and the chromatin is repackaged with histones. The DNA is then replicated, and we have demonstrated that this DNA synthesis requires the loop domain organization to be intact. On the other hand, spermatozoa have the ability to digest their own DNA through an apoptotic-like process in which the sperm DNA is degraded. This degradation occurs on the nuclear matrix.
Our current research efforts are focused on understanding how sperm chromatin structure is related to the events that occur shortly after fertilization and how the DNA packaging in the sperm cell contributes to embryonic development.
The research interests of Dr. Williams center on the discovery and evaluation of these small molecule chemical defenses from marine sources as potential drug leads. In collaboration with the other members of the Cancer Biology Program, marine extracts are screened against a variety of relevant cancer targets. The active constituents are then isolated using a combination of bioassay data and repeated separations. The structures of these metabolites are then determined primarily through the use of high-field NMR spectroscopy and chemical degradation. For example, Dr. Williams and colleagues have recently begun searching for novel inhibitors of the Ras/ERK MAP kinase pathway. Constitutive activation of this pathway is commonly observed approximately 30% of all tumor types and in 90% of all pancreatic tumors in epithelial tumors, hence it represents a potential therapeutic target. To this end, they have begun assaying extracts derived from marine sponges and cyanobacteria in an effort to discover new structural classes of inhibitors. Efforts in the Williams lab are directed towards identifying and characterizing these active components.
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