Leeward Community College and the University of Hawaii West Oahu together hosted this year’s 9th Annual Undergraduate Student Research Symposium. Students from both institutions presented their Summer 2022 research projects. Congratulations on your outstanding presentations!!
Summary: This learning research
community is a 10-week series of asynchronous technical lectures and
synchronous workshops to introduce health disparity researchers to data
science through practical, hands-on training. Lectures will introduce
fundamental principles and techniques of data science in order to
extract useful information and knowledge from data. In parallel to
lectures, workshop participants will also learn how to explore data,
define cohorts and build participant-level datasets using the All of Us
Researcher Workbench. Participants will also learn how to write
reproducible and modular code with R, including programming best
The University of Hawaii Cancer Center’s CREATE Summer Internship program hosted their annual poster presentation on Friday, July 29, 2022. Twenty-three students presented their project posters at this event.
“The annual program provides hands-on summer research experiences and a multi-disciplinary curriculum to undergraduate students residing in the Islands of Hawaii and the Pacific to reinforce their intent to graduate with a science degree and to consider a career to address health disparities and contribute to drug discovery” – CREATE Program
This year, Hawaii held its first Hawaii INBRE – RAIN Summer Exchange Program and invited two students, Aurora Davis (West Virginia) and Annie Carper (Idaho), to participate in the CREATE summer internship program. Aurora Davis received the Overall Best Quality Award for her poster presentation entitled, ‘PGM5 Expression In Liver Sinusoidal Endothelial Cells.’
Congratulations to Aurora Davis for her outstanding poster presentation and to all students and their mentors in the CREATE program for their commitment and hard work!!
The UHCC CREATE Summer Internship program hosted a poster presentation on Friday, July 28, 022 for the CREATE students to showcase their summer projects. INBRE RAIN students Carper and Davis were able to participate in this program.
Annie Carper (Idaho INBRE) and Aurora Davis (Virginia INBRE) both participated in the first Hawaii Idea Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) – Regional Alliance of INBRE Networks (RAIN) Summer Exchange Program. The summer program is with the University of Hawai’i Cancer Center’s, Cancer Research Education, Advancement, Training and Empowerment (CREATE) Summer Internship Program. The CREATE Program provides hands-on summer research experiences and a multi-disciplinary curriculum to undergraduate students residing in the Islands of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific to reinforce their intent to graduate with a science degree and to consider a career to address health disparities and contribute to drug discovery.
Photo of the UHCC Coordinator and INBRE team at the poster session: Left to Right: Gertraud Maskarinec (CREATE Program Lead), Peter Hoffmann, Chi Ma, Christian Fernando Alonzo, Annie Carper, Aurora Davis, FuKun Hoffmann, Robert Nichols, Leighanne Felix
The Biomedical Symposium was held virtually for the first time on April 15-16, 2021. Despite some trepidation over holding the event online, the symposium was a tremendous success, with over 200 attendees in attendance for both days.
On Day 1 Drs. Peter Hoffmann and Saguna Verma had a monumental task of organizing and hosting 127 graduate presentations, (126 presenters), which ran at 5-minute intervals in two parallel sessions. There was an assortment of topics from SARS-Cov-2, the H.O.M.E. Project, arthroplasties, various cancers, urogenital complications, substance abuse, depression, microbiome database development, studies anthropogenic changes to the Kailua Ahupuaʻa, census data analysis, to Alzheimer’s Disease.
Keynote speaker, Dr. Barbara Slusher, Professor of Neurology, Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, Psychiatry, Neuroscience, Medicine and Oncology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, shared a fascinating presentation on academia’s rising contribution to pharmaceutical discoveries. Dr. Slusher is the Director of Johns Hopkins Drug Discovery and is Co-founder of the International Consortium of Academic Drug Discovery with over 150 university-led translational centers.
Day 2 was sponsored by the INBRE Program, led by by Drs. Jon-Paul Bingham and Peter Hoffmann. The morning session began with welcomes by INBRE Principal Investigator Dr. Robert Nichols, and INBRE PATHway Director Dr. Jon-Paul Bingham, followed by a Panel Discussion led by PhD and Master’s Candidates, then followed by breakout rooms for INBRE students to “Meet the Mentors” for Q&A time with INBRE faculty.
The morning session concluded with Keynote Speaker Dr. Zoe Hammatt, JD, MPhil, Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology and President of Z Consulting, LLC. Dr. Hammatt’s talk on “An Introduction to Research Integrity,” covered the nuances and distinction of rules, regulations and guidelines of commonly accepted norms of research.
The afternoon session comprised of undergraduate poster presentations. There were 51 presentations (49 presenters), running at 15-minute intervals in 5 breakout rooms. Five minutes was allotted for Q&A. Research topics on Day 2 were equally diverse, examples include:
Machine learning and metabolomics;
Dicephalic parapagus imaging in conjoined twins;
Native Hawaiian health;
E-Cigarette Marketing and Use;
Vibrio vulnificus in the Ala Wai canal;
Trends on substance use among emerging young adults
Presentations were professionally done by all presenters. Thank you to the Biomedical Symposium Committee, INBRE judges, Moderators, and INBRE Admin Staff who helped make this symposium possible and a memorable event for all.
Congratulations to all the presenters who participated in this year’s Biomedical Symposium. The INBRE Judges and Leadership decided on 4 top winners and 5 honorable mentions for their outstanding presentations. Thirty-six INBRE students, (34 presentations), presented at this event. The presentations were held in 5 breakout rooms, with over 200 people in attendance throughout the day.
Due to COVID-19, the symposium was held virtually for the first time. This new platform created new but exciting challenges for our students as they made their way preparing presentation slides, timing their speeches, and creating posters that were displayed on the Biomedical Symposium website.
Congratulations to all presenters and a big mahalo to everyone who came to support them!
Jonna Ocampo, former INBRE student researcher at Leeward Community College in 2014-2015, will be pursuing her M.D. at the Ross University School of Medicine beginning this summer. Her experience working on the synthesis and biological evaluation of chalconoid antimicrobials with Dr. Bradley Ashburn and Dr. Helmut Kae inspired her to earn a Master’s degree in Medical Sciences with a concentration in Molecular Medicine at the University of South Florida.
has been awarded numerous honors such as the NASA Florida Space Grant
Consortium Fellowship for her work on Transposon Expression Changes Induced by
Simulated Microgravity and has presented at national and international
conferences including the United Nations Expert Meeting on Human Space
Technology in Vienna, Austria and 4th Mexican Congress of Medicine and Space
Health, in Mexico City, Mexico.
Her former INBRE supervisor Bradley Ashburn says, “I have had the great pleasure to keep in contact with Jonna over the years and witness her growth into a high-achieving biomedical researcher. She works relentlessly to further the boundaries of science (literally speaking, she has performed experiments in microgravity space flights). Jonna embodies the spirit and success of the Hawaii INBRE program and will continue to make an impact as she pursues her dream to be a physician.”
Congratulations to Ashley Fukuchi for being a recipient of this year’s 2020-2021 AFPE Gateway award!!
The American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education (AFPE) is a non-profit organization that provides scholarships and grants to aspiring researchers and academics to be able to conduct novel research in the pharmaceutical sciences arena that will impact the future of healthcare and patient outcomes. “The primary goal of the Gateway to Research Scholarship program is to help students understand the importance of research by enabling them to apply that knowledge to improve their clinical goals” (source: http://afpepharm.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/2019-Gateway-Description.pdf). Ashley was selected from a highly selective pool of applicants.
Ashley has received INBRE SRE stipends support for conducting research in Leng Chee Chang’s laboratory in the past.
Mentor: Leng Chee Chang, PhD, MS, The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, UH Hilo, Hawaii
Research Title: Evaluation of natural products-derived from medicinal plants as potential antimicrobial agents against non-tuberculosis mycobacteria
In recent years, the number of nontuberculous
mycobacterial pulmonary disease cases have increased globally, surpassing
tuberculosis in some countries. Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) is common in
the environment found in water and soil. People can come into contact with NTM
bacteria through simple, daily activities, such as showering or gardening.
Exposure to this aerosolized bacteriacan leads to NTM entering the lungs. In
some people, the bacteria infects the airways and lung tissue leading to
increased risk of getting NTM lung disease (NTMLD). Hawai‘i has been identified
as the state with the highest prevalence of NTMLD when compared with the
national average, and NTM is found to be common in the Hawaii environment.
Epidemiological studies show Mycobacterium chimaera, a slow-growing
NTM and member of the Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), predominates
in the Hawaiian environment and is the most frequently isolated NTM from lung
samples among Hawai‘i NTM patients. NTM is often associated with biofilm formation,
contributing to antibiotic resistance. Treatment for NTMLD is challenging
because treatment times are lengthy, a combination of drugs are needed, and
relapses following therapy are common resulting in substantial morbidity and
mortality. In addition, FDA-approved drugs that specifically treat NTMLD does
not exist at the current time. Thus, there is a need for novel treatment
approaches for NTM.
This project posits that phytochemicals
obtained from Hawaiian medicinal plants could represent novel treatment
approaches. Traditional medicine has a long history of treating human diseases,
including respiratory and lung infections. For example, active ingredients
extracted from the medicinal plant, ‘uhaloa, is used to treat sore throat,
asthma, and cough. Morinda citrifolia (fermented noni ) has been used
in traditional medicine for treating asthma, cough, tuberculosis, and
infectious diseases. This application proposes to examine traditional medicinal
sources as antimycobacterial agents to control NTM. We hypothesize that
natural products from Hawaiian medicinal plants may show antimicrobial activity
against Hawai‘ian derived NTM isolates.
The project goal is 1) Test the anti-NTM
activity of several medicinal plant extracts against M. chimaera. 2)
To identify major antimicrobial compounds from one most promising crude extract
that might be found in aim 1. This study will lead to the identification of
promising leads. Extracts and possibly compounds will be subjected to further
mechanisms of action in vitro studies.
Research Topic Areas:
Antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of natural products against community-acquired Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and bacteria infections.
Antimycobacterial activity of Hawaiian Medicinal Plants and marine algae against Nontuberculous Mycobacteria such as Mycobacterium chimaera isolated from Hawaii.
Phytochemical evaluation of tropical plants/crops for bioactive components as potential functional foods.
Evaluation of natural products as anticancer agents (NF-kB as Molecular Targets). To isolate and identify natural products-derived from medicinal plants and marine algae with potential anticancer activity.