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Tag Archives: Department of Microbiology

Exploring biofilms and the search for life on Mars

Green and purple biofilms hang from the walls of lava caves near Kīlauea caldera on Hawaiʻi Island. These, and other biofilms, may be similar to microbial life on early Earth and possibly an early Mars environment.

Rebecca Prescott, a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoamicrobiology student who recently received her PhD, has won a prestigious National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship award for her project, “Survival in extreme environments through cooperation: biofilms and looking for life on Mars,” under the program Broadening Participation of Groups Underrepresented in Biology. “We are interested in how cooperative behavior, through chemical communication in bacteria, may help microbes survive …

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UH contributes to the study of the evolution of multi-cellularity in animals

microscopic image of Chromosphaera perkinsii NK52, a new microbial eukaryote genus and species cultivated from Hawaiʻi

Scientists have long wondered how single-celled organisms evolved into the multicellular animals we see today, but addressing this has only recently become possible by comparing complete genome sequences of diverse organisms. A study that included newly discovered and known species from Hawaiʻi has provided insights into the evolution of multi-cellularity in animals. Recently published research from an international team that included Associate …

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Microbiology undergraduates supported with UROP awards

Seven University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa students in the Prisic lab are recipients of Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) awards. Jaymes Lonzanida, Jae Yun Lee, Brennen Yasuda, Sasha Canovali, Anna Scheiner, Janey Guo and Mattia Walter received support for their work with Sladjana Prisic, a Department of Microbiology assistant professor. “My research experience in Dr. Prisic’s lab was overall very rewarding,” …

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Jute fiber genomes could help improve production of natural fiber

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researchers based in the Advanced Studies in Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics (ASGPB) were part of a Bangladesh-led effort that sequenced and analyzed the genomes of two species of jute, a fiber crop primarily grown in India and Bangladesh. The project was initiated by the late Professor Maqsudul Alam of the Department of Microbiology, and garnered …

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Genome sequence of a new bacteria species published by UH Mānoa undergraduates

Biology majors Yen Nguyen and Jessica Thawley discovered a new bacteria species during their marine microbiology (MICR401L) lab in spring 2016. The new species belongs in a genus called Piscirickettsia. The only other known species in that genus causes disease in some fish, but the one Nguyen and Thawley discovered appears to be free-living. To help formally characterize the new …

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NSF funds undergraduate DNA and biodiversity research

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has received a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Through this award, undergraduates will use high-throughput DNA sequencing, phylogenetic methods and bioinformatics to study microbiomes and the identities and origins of Hawaiʻi’s endemic, native and introduced organisms. Mentorship will be provided by faculty from the UH Mānoa …

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Undergrad helps discover new bacterium on way to marine biology degree

A UH Mānoa undergraduate who conducted a research project on her way to earning a bachelor of science degree in 2014 in marine biology was instrumental in the discovery of a spiral-shaped bacterium that is the only known representative of a new genus and species. Vanessa K. Zepeda, 30, is the lead author of a paper published in the current …

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