Nā Kānaka ʻEpekema

Hoʻohanohano ʻia, ma lalo nei, kekahi mau hoa ʻepekema o kou mea kākau i launa mua ai a hōʻeuʻeu ʻia ai nō hoʻi.


Kiana Frank

Currently an assistant professor at the Pacific Biosciences Research Center at UH Mānoa and a postdoctoral fellow in The Kohala Center’s Mellon-Hawai‘i Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, Frank recounted how she would go to the marsh as a child and taste different muds in hopes of finding the magical sweet mud. “I tasted red mud, green mud, black mud,” she recalls, “and while I never found the sweet mud, I did notice differences between them. Why does the black mud smell bad? Why does red taste like rust, and why does green sort of taste like limu (seaweed)?”

“A potential advisor at Washington University actually tried to recruit me to study gut microbes and tried to make the argument that the gut was essentially an aquatic environment in a sac,” Frank said. “There comes a time in your life when you have to choose between poop and mud, and I chose mud. So I ended up going to Harvard and studying deep-sea microbes in hydrothermal vents. When I got my Ph.D. and moved back to Hawai‘i, I started gathering microbial data in coastal sediment. I’d essentially come full circle, doing exactly what I did and dreamed of doing during my childhood.”


Clifford Kapono

E nānā ʻia kēia wikiō nei no kahi kānaka kaulana o ka ʻepekema heʻenalu:



Alika Maunakea

His alternative health education started early, while he was growing up in Waianae, in Honolulu County. When his throat was sore, his great-grandmother didn’t head to the pharmacy for anti-inflammatory medication; instead, she headed to the garden. In high school, Maunakea studied his grandmother’s remedy and found the properties of the plant she had used were similar to those of drugstore antibiotics. (One of his high school science projects examined the effects of a Hawaiian plant on cancer cells.) This lead him to blend modern studies with health-related ancestral knowledge. “Epigenetics spoke to my own upbringing,” he says. “The perspective of my great-grandmother was that the environment plays a large role on our lifestyle and our health.”


Rosie Alegado

Ultimately, Alegado hopes to translate her findings from modeling microbial community dynamics to understanding the impact of land use in fragile Hawaiian estuarine and marine wetland ecosystems.  Wetlands play crucial roles in decreasing the export of nutrients to downstream ecosystems and microbial communities, and control biogeochemical transformations important for improving water quality. By leveraging her training in classical microbial genetics with experience in evolutionary biology to model microbial community dynamics, Alegado will carry out both lab-based experimental modeling and field-based sampling of microbial populations in coastal environments such as He‘eia Fishpond. This work promises to yield discoveries not only germane to the goals of the coastal sustainability initiative, but is the first of its kind to model the microbial processes underlying indigenous Native Hawaiian sustainability practices.


Keolu Fox

He aloha ʻāina maoli kēia e paio nei no ka pono “genomic” o nā Hawaiʻi pū me ka poʻe ʻoiwi a puni ka honua.


Nathan Nakatsuka

I loko o ka laha ʻole o kāna hana, he Hawaiʻi maoli kēia e kilo nei i ka neʻekau ʻana o nā lāhui kānaka likeʻole.  ʻO ka poʻe ʻInia kekahi, ʻo ka poʻe Polonekia nō hoʻi kekahi e kilo nei ʻo ia.  Eia, ma lalo nei, kāna hana no ka neʻekau ʻana o ka poʻe ʻInia (ʻo ia wale nō ka i paʻi ʻia nona i loko o ka nui ʻino o kāna hana).



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