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Frederick P. Bellinger, Ph.D. ~ Associate Researcher

Area of Expertise ~ Trace metals in brain function and disorders/neurophysiology

Our current research focuses on the different roles of members of the selenoprotein family in brain physiology and neurological disorders. Selenoproteins are proteins that contain the strong antioxidant element selenium in the form of selenocysteine, 21st amino acid. We have reported changes in these proteins in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and investigated their possible roles in these disorders. We are currently examining the roles of selenoproteins in regulating neurophysiology.

Link to Lab website and Publications list

Marla J. Berry, Ph.D. ~ Professor and Chair

Research Interest / Area of Expertise ~ Selenium and selenoprotein roles in metabolic and neurological processes

Dr. Berry’s research focuses on the roles of selenium in metabolism and neurobiology. Her major contributions to selenium biology include identifying RNA and protein requirements for selenoprotein synthesis. She has mentored 40 graduate students and 20 postdocs, and has been funded by the NIH since 1993.

Link to Lab website and Publications list

Pietro Bertino, Ph.D. ~ Assistant Researcher

Research Area / Area of Expertise ~ Cancer immunotherapy

My interest in malignant mesothelioma (MM) started when I was a Ph.D. student at the University of East Piedmont in Italy. Nearby industries manufactured asbestos-made products until 1994 and this caused an increase of MM incidence among the local population. In my laboratory, we conduct studies to develop novel therapeutic and preventive immunotherapies for MM.

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Mariana Gerschenson, Ph.D. ~ Professor

Area of Expertise ~ Mitochondrial etiology of adult and pediatric diseases

Dr. Gerschenson is a tenured Professor. She leads a translational research program to understand the mitochondrial mechanisms of cardiovascular and metabolic disease (including lipoatrophy, insulin resistance, diabetes, and hepatic steatosis) and neurological diseases, e.g. peripheral neuropathy and dementia.

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David S. Haymer, Ph.D. ~ Professor

Area of Expertise ~ Molecular genetics and forensic analysis of DNA

I am a Professor at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, School of Medicine, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. I do research in Genetics and Evolutionary Biology. I also do consulting for forensic investigations involving DNA testing, and I am the DNA consultant for the Hawaii Chapter of the Innocence Project, part of a national program to identify and correct wrongful convictions.

Link to Lab website

Peter R. Hoffmann, Ph.D. ~ Professor

Area of Expertise ~ Inflammation, immunology, cancer biology

Our research interests include, but are not limited to, the role of selenium and selenoproteins in immunity; calpains/calpastatin in regulating inflammation. Also, Dr. Bertino has initiated several novel and exciting projects related to cancer therapy.

Link to Lab website and Publications list

Nicholas G. James, Ph.D. ~ Assistant Researcher

Area of Expertise ~ Neurodegeneration, metabolic, and biophysics

Our lab focuses on characterization of protein-protein and protein-membrane dynamics utilizing advance biophysical methods. Specifically, we have been utilizing fluorescence fluctuation microscopy combined with biochemical methods to investigate how Parkinson’s disease mutations alter the properties of LRRK2.

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David M. Jameson, Ph.D. ~ Professor

Area of Expertise ~ Protein-Protein interactions and endocytosis

My laboratory primarily utilizes fluorescence spectroscopy to study protein-protein interactions, both in vitro and in live cells. In addition to classical in vitro fluorescence methodologies we use state-of-the-art fluorescence microscopy techniques such as Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging. Some of proteins we study include the large GTPase dynamin and Arc/Arg3.1.

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Olivier Le Saux, Ph.D. ~ Professor

Area of Expertise ~ Skin and cardiovascular diseases, ectopic calcification

My laboratory focuses on ectopic calcification in skin and cardiovascular tissues in related disorders with similar phenotypes, pseudoxanthoma elasticum and generalized arterial calcification of infancy and associated genes ABCC6 and ENPP1. We also study how ABCC6 affects atherosclerosis and cardiac functions.

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Robert A. Nichols, Ph.D. ~ Professor

Area of Expertise ~ Alzheimer’s Disease, molecular and cellular neuroscience

Our laboratory is investigating neuroprotection by non-toxic fragments from beta amyloid as a means to develop novel therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease via a collaborative team involved in compound synthesis, molecular modeling, neurotoxicity screening, extracellular recording and behavioral testing.

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Jun Panee, Ph.D. ~ Associate Researcher

Area of Expertise ~ Substance use and research ethics

I am a transnational researcher, trying to characterize the health consequences of marijuana use on energy metabolism and cognition, and to understand the underlying molecular mechanisms.

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Matthew W. Pitts, Ph.D. ~ Assistant Researcher

Area of Expertise ~ Selenoproteins in nervous system development and function

My research investigates the role of selenoproteins in two populations of neurons, parvalbumin (PV)-expressing interneurons and leptin receptor-expressing hypothalamic neurons. Redox imbalance in these two cell types has been implicated as key contributing factors to schizophrenia and obesity, respectively.

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Lucia A. Seale, Ph.D. ~ Assistant Researcher

Area of Expertise ~ Selenium nutrition and energy metabolism

Assistant Researcher. M.Sc. in Human Physiology/Endocrinology (University of São Paulo, Brazil); Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa). Lab focus: selenium nutrition and its role in the endocrine control of energy metabolism and obesity development.

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Steven E. Seifried, Ph.D. ~ Associate Professor

Area of Expertise ~ Biostatistics, bioinformatics, physical biochemistry

My current interests lie at the intersection of bioinformatics, biostatistics, and molecular biosciences. My focus is the understanding and implementation of modern information processing workflows, often using common computational biology tools and deposited or lab-supplied large datasets. My personal goal is to better understand the underlying statistical bases of the analyses, and to make these invaluable tools accessible to the student researcher, whether the student is fulfilling the role of bench scientist or as analyst.

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Alexander J. Stokes, Ph.D. ~ Assistant Professor

Area of Expertise ~ Ion channel regulation of diseases

Researchers in the lab are focused in three main disease areas: diabetes and metabolic syndrome, heart failure, and cancer immunology. We are specifically interested in the ion channels that regulate these disease, and therapies that target ion channels in these diseases.

Link to Lab website and Publications list

Cedomir Todorovic, Ph.D. ~ Assistant Researcher

Area of Expertise ~ Neurobiology of behavior

My initial work employed mouse models to study corticotropin-releasing factor and cholecystokinin systems in the context of memory, anxiety and depression. My current work is focused at components of JNK (c-Jun N-terminal kinase) signaling pathway in the central nervous system, with an emphasis on molecular processes that are engaged by JNK and its scaffold proteins JIPs in memory deficits and autism.

Link to Publications list

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