Apr 192021

In this talk, Dr. Gao will give an overview of Biological Directorate at National Science Foundation and the research funding opportunities on computational biology and bioinformatics across different directorates. She will also introduce the project evaluation process, recent changes of the programs, and some new programs.

Jean X. Gao, PhD
Program Director in the Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI) at the National Science Foundation
Professor, Dept Computational Science & Engineering
University of Texas at Arlingtom

Zoom Information
Date and Time: April 22, 2021 12:00-1:00 pm HS

Zoom Link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84777852584?pwd=bzh6Vm 1MQUFKakFMNkxwbi9PUy9yUT09
Meeting ID: 847 7785 2584
Passcode: 172723


Feb 022021
Photo of poster session with rows of poster boards and people walking and discussing the posters

The Annual Biomedical Sciences & Health Disparities Symposium attracts some of the top health science research and ideas from throughout academia in Hawaii.

Medical Students, Residents, Medical Fellows, Graduate Students, Post-Doctoral Fellows and Undergraduates are invited to present their work. Research Associates and Faculty are encouraged to attend. The Symposium will virtual this year. Both presenters and non-presenter attendees must register to obtain the Zoom links.

Abstract submissions will be due March 1. The abstract portal will be open on February 1, 2021.

For registration instructions go to: Biomedical Sciences and Health Disparities Symposium

Jun 222020
Jonna Ocampos headshot

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.

Jonna 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.”

Jun 222020
Ashley Fukuchi headshot

Ashley Fukuchi, University of Hawaii at Hilo

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

Collaborator: Jennifer R. Honda, PhD, National Jewish Health, Denver, Colorado

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:

  1. Antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of natural products against community-acquired Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and bacteria infections.
  2. Antimycobacterial activity of Hawaiian Medicinal Plants and marine algae against Nontuberculous Mycobacteria such as Mycobacterium chimaera isolated from Hawaii.
  3. Phytochemical evaluation of tropical plants/crops for bioactive components as potential functional foods.
  4. 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.

Feb 112020

Hawaii INBRE welcomes Alaska INBRE to the University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine. The Alaska External Advisory Committee met in Hawaii on February 11, 2020 for their biannual meeting. The Hawaii INBRE Executive Committee and Core Directors hosted an informal breakfast for the Alaska group to discuss and share overall programmatic aims and activities. Both programs look forward to collaborative discussions to support biomedical research opportunities for undergraduate students, junior investigators, and the indigenous communities.

Nov 042019
INBRE Faculty, Staff, and Students

The Top 4 INBRE IV Poster Presenters from the 2019 Biomedical Sciences & Health Disparities Symposium held on April 26, 2019 at the University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine, attend the NIH IDeA Western Regional Conference on October 7-9, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada, to showcase their scientific posters on October 7-9, 2019. More photos of the event are available on Flickr.

Sep 182019

On May 21-22, 2019, the EPSCoR/IDeA Foundation, National Association of IDeA Principal Investigators (NAIPI), and Van Scoyoc Associates hosted nine students for the second “Take Your IDeA Science to Capitol Hill” day. Ms. Destiny Mabalot, INBRE Undergraduate Student from the University of Hawaii at West Oahu, was selected as the Hawaii INBRE student ambassador. The purpose of the visit was to provide students the opportunity to illustrate the importance of their IDeA INBRE experiences and thank their senators and representatives for supporting the EPSCoR/IDeA programs. For more details, read the EPSCoR/IDeA Fall 2019 Newsletter here.

Aug 232019

Nineteen INBRE students at Leeward Community College presented a variety of their summer research projects on August 8, 2019.

May 012019

The INBRE Program Meeting and Biomedical Sciences & Health Disparities Symposium on April 26, 2019, was a great success with students expanding upon their academic activities. We had many faculty comments about the impressive quality of research and the manner of professional presentation – INBRE students you did yourself proud!

The scores are in for the Top 4 INBRE Undergraduate Student Poster Presentations. These students are invited to attend and participate in the NIH IDeA Western Regional Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 6 – 9, 2019. Registration, airfare, and lodging expenses will be covered by the INBRE program. The Top 4 scores are:

  • Terezie Cernosek, Chaminade University
  • Yaeko Tagami, University of Hawaii at Hilo
  • Nandini Bickel, Windward Community College
  • Maria Steadmon, University of Hawaii at Hilo

Well done and congratulations to all participants! We look forward to having you in the Student Research Experience program next semester or seeing you at graduation! Much success to you all.