Category Archives: Uncategorized

Tropical Medicne graduate students participate in the 2014 WGEA conference

Trop Med poster WGEATropical Medicine graduate students Brooks Mitchell, Jourdan Posner and Nelson Lazaga and Tropical Medicine faculty Kenton Kramer and William Gosnell presented a poster entitled “Use of Visual Displays to Teach Medical Microbiology in the Preclerkship Years” at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) 2014 Western Group on Educational Affairs (WGEA) Regional Meeting hosted by the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) from March 23 – 25, 2014.  Their “Parasite of the Week” series, which familiarized medical students with medically important parasites, was very well received and provided an opportunity for interaction between JABSOM medical and graduate students.


Jellyfish research featured in Florida schools


Angel Yanagihara (photo by Keoki Stender, University of Hawaiʻi Dive Safety Office)

Angel Yanagihara, a researcher at the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa, and William Gillan, an educator atBoynton Beach High School, have produced an educational video, The Science of the Sting, featuring Yanagihara’s research program on the box jelly and a discussion of her experience as a research scientist.

Developed with funding from theMary and Robert Pew Public Education Fund, this outreach project promotes STEM education—science, technology, engineering and math—in public schools and is targeted for middle school students (grades 6–9).


Tropical medicine study finds most rapid way to detect dengue

International Biomedical Research Training for Minority Students

Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) Program National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities,NIH (T37MD008636)


Application deadline is extended till January 17, 2014, 11:59 PM.


APPLY BY MID-JANUARY: Undergraduate opportunity to shadow researchers in Thailand, Cameroon



PhD Candidate Winifrida Kidima Completes her Dissertation Defense

imageTropical Medicine PhD candidate Winifrida Kidima successfully defended her dissertation on December 11, 2013. Winifrida’s research project, entitled “Malaria-Associated Changes in Fetal Syncytiotrophoblast Function”, was carried out under the mentorship of Dr. Diane Taylor, Professor in the Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology & Pharmacology, JABSOM.  Upon completion of her degree, Winifrida will be returning to her home country, Tanzania, to begin a position in the College of Natural and Applied Science, Department of Zoology, University of Dar es Salaam. Winifrida was a Fulbright and Delta Kappa Gamma Society International scholar for two years at the University of Hawaii during which she studied the influence of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) on the immune response to malaria in pregnant women in Cameroon.  Her PhD research focused on the disease pathogenesis of placental malaria.

Celebrated Anna Babakhanyan’s successful defense of her PhD dissertation

Anna's DefenseDr. Taylor’s lab celebrated Anna Babakhanyan’s successful defense of her PhD dissertation entitled “Antibody Response to VARF2CSA in Pregnant Cameroonian Women.”  Anna is now a Fogarty Global Health Fellow working in Cameroon.

Tropical Medicine PhD Student, Samuel Tassi Yunga, Receives 2013 ASTMH Elsevier Clinical Research Award

Samuel Tassi Yunga, PhD student in the Department of Tropical Medicine,Sam Elsevier Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii was selected for the third place award for the prestigious American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) Elsevier Clinical Research Award at the ASTMH 62nd Annual Meeting held in Washington, DC on Wednesday November 13, 2013. Samuel, who conducts research under the mentorship of Dr. Diane W. Taylor, received this award for his excellent oral presentation on the influence of prenatal exposure to malaria parasite antigens on susceptibility to malaria during infancy. The Elsevier Clinical Research Award recognizes excellence in clinically-oriented research presented by students at the ASTMH Annual Meeting.

Picture of Samuel Tassi Yunga receiving Elsevier Clinical Research award from M. Patricia Joyce, President of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene clinical group.


2013 Hokama Award Recipient

Jessi Tsukayama, a senior chemistry major at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Yoshitsugi Hokama Research Award for Fall 2013. Jessi was presented with the award on October 3rd, 2013 by JABSOM Dean Jerris Hedges and Dr. Sandra Chang, Hokama Endowment administrator. This $5000 scholarship award will give Jessi the opportunity to pursue an Honors Research Project under the mentorship of Dr. George Hui and guidance of Ms. Danielle Clements in the Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology, and Pharmacology at JABSOM. Also present at the award ceremony were Kiana Shiroma, Honors Advisor at UH Manoa and Jeffrie Jones, JABSOM Director of Development and UH Foundation representative.2013 Hokuma award

Jessi was homeschooled for her elementary education and attended Hawaiian Mission Academy for grades 9-10. She then obtained her GED and enrolled in Leeward Community College from 2010-2013, graduating with an Associate of Science degree in Natural Science with a concentration in Physical Science. She is currently majoring in chemistry at the University of Hawaii at Manoa with the goal of obtaining an MD degree. She is active in Japanese cultural activities and organizations and participated in an exchange program in Japan in the summer of 2013. She volunteers in the Pharmacy department at Kaiser Medical Center, Moanalua, the Next Step homeless shelter, and the Institute for Human Services. In her free time she enjoys dancing, playing sports, karaoke, and barbecuing with friends.

 Photo credit: Arnold Kameda.

Third Biennial Western Regional IDeA Scientific Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii, October 6-8, 2013

Several students and faculty from the Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology, and Pharmacology participated in the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) Scientific Conference held in Honolulu this week.  The conference, with the theme of “One Biology”, brought together participants from Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming.  The program is sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, NIH.

iDeA conference

Presenting at the conference were the following department members.  Kelsey Roe, a Tropical Medicine PhD student, received the Best Poster Award in the Infectious Diseases-Parasites and Vectors section.

Dr. Mukesh Kumar: “Integrated analysis of microRNAs induced by West Nile virus infection and their disease related targets in mouse brain” and “Type 2 diabetes in mice impairs immune cell infiltration and neuroinflammation after West Nile virus infection”

Mr. Nelson Lazaga: “Development of a Human Polyomavirus JC Infection Model Using Humanized NSG Mice”

Prof. Sandra Chang: “Development of pattern recognition receptor ligands as malaria vaccine adjuvants”

Prof. Wei-Kung Wang: “Dengue immune status of host affects the binding avidity and neutralizing potency of cross-reactive anti-envelope antibodies”

Dr. Apichai Tuanyok: “Structural analysis and innate immune responses of the atypical O-antigens in Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis”

Ms. Madhuri Namekar: “Comparison of a New Commercially Available Enzyme Immunoassay and In-house MAC-ELISA for Detection of Anti-Dengue Virus IgM Antibodies” and “Luminex-based Microsphere Immunoassay for Rapid and Sensitive Detection of Acute and Recent Dengue Virus Infection during Hawaii 2011 Dengue Outbreak”

Dr. James Kelley: “Mechanisms underlying dengue virus-induced vascular leakage and mononuclear cells migration across human endothelial cells transwell permeability model”

Dr. Pakieli Kaufusi: “Characterization of West Nile Virus-induced membrane structures reveals a novel role for NS1 protein in induction of vesicle packets for viral RNA synthesis”

Ms. Kelsey Roe: “West Nile virus infection-induced expression of TREM-1 modulates innate immune responses”,  Recipient of Award for Best Poster Presentation in Infectious Diseases: Parasites & Vectors.

Dr. Se Hun Gu: “Phylogenetically divergent hantaviruses harbored by insectivorous bats in Côte d’Ivoire and Vietnam”

Ms. Alex Gurary: “Molecular and Cellular Immunology Core at the Pacific Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Research”

Dr. John Chen: “A Collaborative Model of Biostatistical Support at UH JABSOM”

Dr. Marc Le Pape: “Advancing collaborative biomedical research and promoting core research facilities through an open source laboratory informatics solution and semantic search application”