May 2016

UH Mānoa is a microbiome powerhouse! With a shout out to our lab!

On May 13, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced a new National Microbiome Initiative (NMI), a coordinated effort to better understand microbiomes—communities of microorganisms that live on and in people, plants, soil, oceans and the atmosphere—and to develop tools to protect and restore healthy microbiome function. This initiative represents a combined federal agency investment of more than $121 million.

For years, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has been making substantial investments—through faculty hires, endowments and facilities—and plans to continue to build capacity in the emerging field of microbiome research.

“UH Mānoa is a powerhouse in the realm of microbiome research,” said UH Mānoa Vice Chancellor for Research Michael Bruno. “There are few, if any, universities with the number of world leaders in this domain—UH Mānoa has three members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) who specialize in this field.”

UH projects and expertise

Numerous internationally recognized faculty at Mānoa actively contribute to this field of discovery. A sampling of some of these faculty and their research emphasis are listed below:

  • Rosie Alegado(C-MORE): Influence of bacteria on animal origins
  • Anthony Amend(Botany): Environmental and biogeographic processes that shape the composition of symbiotic microbial communities and how differences impact hosts
  • Gordon Bennett(Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences): Microbe-insect symbioses in native Hawaiian and pest insect systems
  • Edward DeLong(C-MORE): Develops and applies advanced genomic and robotic technologies to study dynamics of marine microbial communities from surface waters to the deep-sea
  • Ruth Gates(Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology): Microbiomes of reef corals and their contribution to coral health and response to environmental stress
  • Michael Hadfield(PBRC): Mechanisms by which surface microbial films induce the settlement of invertebrate larvae and thus strongly influence sea floor ecosystems
  • Wei Jia(University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center): Microbe-host interactions in the human gut microbiome that underlie the development of gastrointestinal cancer and metabolic disorders such as diabetes
  • Dave Karl (C-MORE): Microbial processes that determine how energy, nutrients and chemicals cycle through the open ocean
  • Margaret McFall-Ngai(PBRC): Uses simple invertebrate model systems to study how microbiomes colonize the surfaces of animal epithelia, the most common type of host-microbe interaction
  • Ned Ruby(PBRC): Mechanisms underlying microbe-microbe and microbe-host communication

Read full article here


Aka Beebe & Ryan Ueunten graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Global Environmental Sciences this Spring. 

Aka Beebe & Ryan Ueunten graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Global Environmental Sciences this Spring. 

Heʻeia Science Night, May 19th, 6-8pm