University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Recent publications
“Race” and “ethnicity” are socially constructed terms, not based on biology - in contrast to biologic ancestry and genetic admixture - and are flexible, contested, and unstable concepts, often driven by power. Although individuals may self-identify with a given race and ethnic group, as multidimensional beings exposed to differential life influencing factors that contribute to disease risk, additional social determinants of health (SDOH) should be explored to understand the relationship of race or ethnicity to health. Potential health effects of structural racism, defined as “the structures, policies, practices, and norms resulting in differential access to goods, services, and opportunities of society by “race,” have been largely ignored in medical research. The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) was expected to enroll a racially and ethnically diverse cohort of older women at 40 U.S. clinical centers between 1993 and 1998; yet, key information on the racial and ethnic make-up of the WHI cohort of 161,808 women was limited until a 2020–2021 Task Force was charged by the WHI Steering Committee to better characterize the WHI cohort and develop recommendations for WHI investigators who want to include “race” and/or “ethnicity” in papers and presentations. As the lessons learned are of relevance to most cohorts, the essence of the WHI Race and Ethnicity Language and Data Interpretation Guide is presented in this paper. Recommendations from the WHI Race and Ethnicity Language and Data Interpretation Guide include: Studies should be designed to include all populations and researchers should actively, purposefully and with cultural-relevance, commit to recruiting a diverse sample; Researchers should collect robust data on race, ethnicity and SDOH variables that may intersect with participant identities, such as immigration status, country of origin, acculturation, current residence and neighborhood, religion; Authors should use appropriate terminology, based on a participant’s self-identified “race” and “ethnicity”, and provide clear rationale, including a conceptual framework, for including race and ethnicity in the analytic plan; Researchers should employ appropriate analytical methods, including mixed-methods, to study the relationship of these sociocultural variables to health; Authors should address how representative study participants are of the population to which results might apply, such as by age, race and ethnicity.
Human activity is rapidly increasing the negative impact of artificial skyglow at even the most remote professional observatory sites. Assessment of the actual impact requires an understanding of the propagation as a function of source spectral energy distribution. The higher blue content of light-emitting diodes being widely used as replacement for sodium discharge lamps has greater impact closer to the source, and less impact for more distant mountain-top sites. All-sky cameras with moderate angular resolution provide data and metrics sufficient to model and remove celestial contributions and provide measures of artificial light contribution. The natural skyglow is significantly affected by solar activity, which must be accounted for in determining secular trends in the artificial component. With the availability of the New World Atlas of the Artificial Sky Brightness, a direct comparison is made of the modeled artificial contribution to the sites with the largest aperture telescopes, noting the possible systematic errors in individual cases. Population growth of the nearest urban centers allows a prediction of the change in that brightness over a decade. All site protections are effected primarily by national or regional regulation. A collection of worldwide regulations shows that most are leveraged off environmental protection statutes, while in the U.S., they are largely based on land-use zones. Particular examples are presented in more detail for Flagstaff, Arizona, and the Island of Hawai’i. The latest rapidly growing threat is that of reflected sunlight from large constellations of satellites in low-earth orbit. A snapshot is provided of that rapidly changing situation. In all cases, astronomers must become very proactive in educating the public about the cultural value of visual or naked eye astronomy as well as the science and the need for access to a dark night sky for astronomical research.
Background Native Hawaiians are disproportionately affected by type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM), a chronic metabolic, non-communicable disease characterized by hyperglycemia and systemic inflammation. Unrelenting systemic inflammation frequently leads to a cascade of multiple comorbidities associated with DM, including cardiovascular disease, microvascular complications, and renal dysfunction. Yet few studies have examined the link between chronic inflammation at a cellular level and its relationship to standard DM therapies such as diabetes-specific lifestyle and social support education, well recognized as the cornerstone of clinical standards of diabetes care. This pilot study was initiated to explore the association of monocyte inflammation using epigenetic, immunologic, and clinical measures following a 3-month diabetes-specific social support program among high-risk Native Hawaiian adults with DM. Results From a sample of 16 Native Hawaiian adults with DM, monocytes enriched from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of 8 individuals were randomly selected for epigenomic analysis. Using the Illumina HumanMethylation450 BeadChip microarray, 1,061 differentially methylated loci (DML) were identified in monocytes of participants at baseline and 3 months following a DM-specific social support program (DM-SSP). Gene ontology analysis showed that these DML were enriched within genes involved in immune, metabolic, and cardiometabolic pathways, a subset of which were also significantly differentially expressed. Ex vivo analysis of immune function showed improvement post-DM-SSP compared with baseline, characterized by attenuated interleukin 1β and IL-6 secretion from monocytes. Altered cytokine secretion in response to the DM-SSP was significantly associated with changes in the methylation and gene expression states of immune-related genes in monocytes between intervention time points. Conclusions Our pilot study provides preliminary evidence of changes to inflammatory monocyte activity, potentially driven by epigenetic modifications, 3 months following a DM-specific SSP intervention. These novel alterations in the trajectory of monocyte inflammatory states were identified at loci that regulate transcription of immune and metabolic genes in high-risk Native Hawaiians with DM, suggesting a relationship between improvements in psychosocial behaviors and shifts in the immunoepigenetic patterns following a diabetes-specific SSP. Further research is warranted to investigate how social support influences systemic inflammation via immunoepigenetic modifications in chronic inflammatory diseases such as DM.
This meta-analysis synthesizes 30 years of empirical work examining the impact of product crises on consumer evaluations. Prior research suggests that a product crisis will negatively affect consumer responses to that product. Extending this stream of research, we show that the magnitude of negative information effects is dependent on characteristics of the crisis, the product, and target consumers. Specifically, the deleterious effects of product crises are more pronounced when threat severity is high, the product failure is performance-related, consumer health is at issue, the product is directly involved in the incident, and the crisis occurs in a high power distance or high uncertainty avoidance cultures. We discuss theoretical contributions and practical implications of these findings for both marketing scholars and brand managers.
A hydroponic vertical greening system (HVGS) for disposal and utilization of pre-treated blackwater was developed. Orthogonal experiment L 9 (3 3) was applied to select the optimum operating conditions. Moreover, the microbial communities in each group were researched. Experimental results indicate that the highest treatment efficiency was obtained when using 3 cm zeolite as filler substrate for treatment of blackwater under 65 L/m 2 ⋅d wastewater loading with 49, 34, 33, and 44% of COD, TN, TP, and NH 4 +-N, respectively. Significant microbial community diversity was observed between nine groups, which had a remarkable effect on the removal of pollutants. This system has good performance in low running cost, effective nutrients, wastewater reuse, and promoting positive ecological effects and landscape superiorities; it would be conducive to popularize this and apply it in the near future.
Coral reefs worldwide are exposed to increased levels of thermal stress due to global warming. A coral reef at the remote island of Kapou (Lisianski) in Papahānaumokuākea experienced an unprecedented level of heat stress in 2014, which resulted in coral bleaching and subsequent mass mortality that resulted in nearly 100 % loss of live coral cover. Here, we describe successional changes in benthic communities occurring on the reef from 2014 to 2021 based on our surveys utilizing underwater photogrammetric techniques. Despite having > 85 % Montipora live coral cover before the bleaching event, the newly available substrata created by the loss of coral were quickly colonized by the green macroalga Halimeda, along with an ephemeral bloom of the green macroalga Boodlea in 2016. While Halimeda continued to increase in benthic cover, other algae (Neomeris, Asparagopsis and unidentified filamentous red and green algae) also started colonizing the reef between 2017 and 2021. Erosion of the reef substrata was evident in both in-situ and three-dimensional surveys in 2015 following the bleaching event and has continued to progress through time. The high abundance of Halimeda may indicate a slow process of coral recovery, but the overall benthic diversity increased in 2021 due to the presence of other algae and an increase in hard substrata and turf algal cover. New colonies of Montipora coral were also observed during annual surveys following the bleaching-induced mortality. Future monitoring efforts should continue to track coral and algal communities and survey herbivorous fish and reef binders that play important ecological roles in algal control, reef erosion and sediment binding. Such efforts should reveal interactions among these different ecological processes that enable reef succession following mass coral mortality.
Three-dimensional (3D) habitat complexity is a primary driver of organism distribution and community structure across ecosystems. Identifying the specific metrics and spatial scales at which complexity is functionally important for communities is therefore a critical component in forecasting ecosystem function. Here we pair fish species traits with multiple metrics from habitat photogrammetry to evaluate the most important measures and scales of 3D complexity driving ecological functions within one of the most structurally diverse ecosystems on the planet: coral reefs. From May to July 2019, we collected high-resolution (1 cm) large- and small-scale intra-habitat (25 m²) structural complexity data across eight reefscapes (∼2500 m²) and conducted co-located fish functional group surveys in the Florida Keys, FL, USA. We used a hierarchical clustering analysis to group 80 observed fish species by four traits related to habitat use (social level, body size, crypsis, activity period) and feeding guild to generate mechanistic predictions about fish-habitat relationships. Evaluating relationships between the resulting trait-based functional groups (k = 9) and four metrics of intra-habitat complexity (large-scale vertical relief, and small-scale vector ruggedness [VRM], VRM deviation, and profile curvature) revealed that trait groups respond independently to the various measures and scales of reef complexity. While large-scale complexity (relief) is strongly related to the presence of solitary, cryptic, nocturnal carnivores, likely due to prey availability as well as day-time refuge opportunities, herbivore abundance is unaffected by increasing vertical relief, potentially due to predator avoidance. Instead, gregarious (i.e., schooling) herbivores increase with small-scale complexity measured by VRM and VRM deviation across reefscapes, while less gregarious herbivores only respond to small-scale complexity when these same measures occur in low-relief habitat, possibly due to a tradeoff between grazing resource availability and predator visibility. Our results reveal how unique elements of complexity provided by both biotic benthic communities as well as large-scale habitat features like vertical relief are differentially important to fish functional groups. The general relationships we identified using traits provide a framework for predicting fish community responses to changes in specific measures of structural complexity on coral reefs globally. Our work illustrates how preserving 3D habitat complexity by protecting or augmenting (e.g., via restoration) structure-forming organisms can support diverse organismal communities and overall ecosystem productivity.
Landfalling tropical cyclones (LTCs) are the most devastating disaster to affect the U.S., while the demonstration of skillful subseasonal (between 10 days and one season) prediction of LTCs is less promising. Understanding the mechanisms governing the subseasonal variation of TC activity is fundamental to improving its forecast, which is of critical interest to decision-makers and the insurance industry. This work reveals three localized atmospheric circulation modes with significant 10–30 days subseasonal variations: Piedmont Oscillation (PO), Great America Dipole (GAD), and the Subtropical High ridge (SHR) modes. These modes strongly modulate precipitation, TC genesis, intensity, track, and landfall near the U.S. coast. Compared to their strong negative phases, the U.S. East Coast has 19 times more LTCs during the strong positive phases of PO, and the Gulf Coast experiences 4–12 times more frequent LTCs during the positive phases of GAD and SHR. Results from the GFDL SPEAR model show a skillful prediction of 13, 9, and 22 days for these three modes, respectively. Our findings are expected to benefit the prediction of LTCs on weather timescale and also suggest opportunities exist for subseasonal predictions of LTCs and their associated heavy rainfalls.
The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of self-reported food allergy among university students in China. A cluster-random sampling population-based cross-sectional study using self - administrated questionnaire was conducted with 2538 college students recruited from 6 universities in China. The questionnaire included data on age, sex, weight, height, FA, comorbid allergic diseases, family history, and understanding food allergy. Data were analyzed by SPSS 25.0 statistical software. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to analyze the risk factors related to self-reported food allergy and estimate the odds ratio. A total of 2538 questionnaires were distributed to the undergraduate students and 2313 completely effective questionnaires were collected, the effective response rate was 91.1%. 834 males and 1479 females were recruited, and their age ranged from 18 to 25 years old. The prevalence of self-reported food allergy was 15.7%, and the rate of doctor-diagnosed food allergy was 8.4%. The leading food allergens included shrimp, shellfish, milk, egg, peach, mango, beef, and peanut, and the prevalence of shrimp allergy was the highest (5.8%). The main clinical manifestation included skin mucous membrane and respiratory symptoms. The prevalence of food allergy were statistically significant difference (P < .05) between different age groups, family history, sun exposure times, smoking, and antibiotic use. Over 45% college students know little about food allergy. The prevalence of self-reported food allergy among Chinese college students was high (15.7%). Shrimp was the main allergenic food, followed by shellfish, milk, egg, peach, and mango. Family history, sun exposure, obesity, and using antibiotics may be the influencing factors of food allergy. The Chinese undergraduates lacked the knowledge about food allergy. Thus, it is necessary to strengthen the health education program on food allergy for college students in China and other middle high-income nations.
Background Existing evidence marked a prevalent use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies in Lebanon that is concomitant with low rates of disclosure to health care providers and limited knowledge among the general public of safety and side effects of CAM use. Objectives To examine the perspectives of Lebanese CAM users, CAM providers, and health care providers (HCPs) regarding their understanding of CAM and of the Push and Pull factors that drive its use. Methods A qualitative research study was conducted using in-depth interviews, targeting Lebanese adults (CAM users; 18-65 years) (n=14), CAM providers such as yoga instructors, owners of CAM product outlets, herbalists, and religious figures (n=13); and HCPs including physicians, nurses, dietitians, and pharmacists (n=14). The topic guide covered, in addition to the understanding of CAM, the Push and Pull factors driving CAM use. The adults were recruited by convenient sampling, and CAM providers and HCPs using a purposive sampling approach. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and translated into English. Analysis was performed using a qualitative thematic approach. Similarities and differences in the perceptions of the participants with regards to factors that influence CAM use were charted and contrasted, using a triangulated approach. Results The three study groups exhibited a similar understanding of CAM, referring to non-conventional therapies used to prevent/treat diseases or to enhance wellbeing. CAM users and CAM providers identified “distrust in HCPs”, “lack of patient-centered care in CM”, and “limitations and side effects of CM” as important Push factors. All study groups highlighted the limited CAM knowledge of HCPs as a main reason for the lack of patient-centered care. All three groups also underscored the affordability and the social and cultural support for CAM as main enablers of its prevalent use. Unlike HCPs who were skeptical about the safety and effectiveness of CAM, CAM users and CAM providers indicated that most of CAM therapies are safe and efficient. Conclusions The triangulation of perspectives (CAM users, CAM providers, and HCPs) in this study allowed a comprehensive appraisal of CAM use and its drivers. Improving the HCPs’ CAM-related knowledge, promoting patient-centered care and fostering an open dialogue between HCPs and CAM providers are among the recommendations of the study.
Data sharing is required for research collaborations, but effective data transfer performance continues to be difficult to achieve. The NetSage Measurement and Analysis Framework can assist in understanding research data movement. It collects a broad set of monitoring data and builds performance Dashboards to visualize the data. Each Dashboard is specifically designed to address a well-defined analysis need of the stakeholders. This paper describes the design methodology, the resulting architecture, the development approach and lessons learned, and a set of discoveries that NetSage Dashboards made possible.
Severe thermal stress events occurring on the backdrop of globally warming oceans can result in mass coral mortality. Tracking the ability of a reef community to return to pre-disturbance composition is important to inform the likelihood of recovery or the need for active management to conserve these ecosystems. Here, we quantified annual, temporal changes in the benthic communities for the three years following mass coral mortality at Jarvis Island—an uninhabited island in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. While Jarvis experienced catastrophic coral mortality in 2015 due to heat stress resulting from the 2015/16 El Niño, significant annual shifts were documented in the benthic community in the three years post-disturbance. Macroalgal and turf dominance of the benthos was temporary—likely reflecting the high biomass of herbivorous reef fishes post-bleaching—giving way to calcifiers such as crustose coralline algae and Halimeda, which may facilitate rather than impede coral recovery. By 2018, indications of recovery were detectable in the coral community itself as juvenile densities increased and stress-tolerant genera, such as Pavona, exceeded their pre-disturbance densities. However, densities of Montipora and Pocillopora remain low, suggesting recovery will be slow for these formerly dominant taxa. Collectively, the assemblage and taxon-specific shifts observed in the benthic and coral community support cautious optimism for the potential recovery of Jarvis Island’s coral reefs to their pre-disturbance state. Continued monitoring will be essential to assess whether reassembly is achieved before further climate-related disturbance events affect this reef system.
We review recent observations and modeling developments on the subject of galactic cosmic rays through the heliosphere and in the Very Local Interstellar Medium, emphasizing knowledge that has accumulated over the past decade. We begin by highlighting key measurements of cosmic-ray spectra by Voyager, PAMELA, and AMS and discuss advances in global models of solar modulation. Next, we survey recent works related to large-scale, long-term spatial and temporal variations of cosmic rays in different regimes of the solar wind. Then we highlight new discoveries from beyond the heliopause and link these to the short-term evolution of transients caused by solar activity. Lastly, we visit new results that yield interesting insights from a broader astrophysical perspective.
Flow-direction-dependent (FDD) dispersivity in coastal aquifers may strongly affect the inland extend of seawater intrusion and the accompanying vertical salinity distribution. FDD dispersivity may predict greater inland intrusion of the saltwater wedge, but less vertical spreading of salinity than does the classical flow-direction-independent (FDI) dispersivity, the standard currently employed in most numerical coastal aquifer (CA) models. Dispersion processes play a key role in the seawater intrusion (SWI) process and directly affect CA pumped water quality. Constant FDI dispersivities may be inappropriate in representing mixing processes due to large differences between depth and horizontal salinity transport scales, and due to typical structured heterogeneities in aquifer fabrics. Comparison of FDI and FDD model forecasts for the classical Henry steady-state seawater intrusion problem (HP), based on a new HP semi-analytical solution with FDD and on a numerical FDI model modified to additionally represent FDD, highlights the theoretical types of differences implied by these alternative dispersivity assumptions and exactly how each parameter affects the solution. Large differences between FDI and FDD dispersivity forecasts of time-dependent SWI in large scale heterogeneous aquifers occur in a typical CA (Akkar CA, Lebanon). The FDD model forecasts that future salinities in pumping wells will exceed the potable water limit, whereas the FDI model greatly underestimates the historic inland intrusion of the saltwater wedge and forecasts no impact on future Akkar CA potable water supply. These results indicate the importance of employing the appropriate dispersion process representation when creating model-based SWI forecasts, especially for developing effective CA management strategies.
We report a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of coronary artery disease (CAD) incorporating nearly a quarter of a million cases, in which existing studies are integrated with data from cohorts of white, Black and Hispanic individuals from the Million Veteran Program. We document near equivalent heritability of CAD across multiple ancestral groups, identify 95 novel loci, including nine on the X chromosome, detect eight loci of genome-wide significance in Black and Hispanic individuals, and demonstrate that two common haplotypes at the 9p21 locus are responsible for risk stratification in all populations except those of African origin, in which these haplotypes are virtually absent. Moreover, in the largest GWAS for angiographically derived coronary atherosclerosis performed to date, we find 15 loci of genome-wide significance that robustly overlap with established loci for clinical CAD. Phenome-wide association analyses of novel loci and polygenic risk scores (PRSs) augment signals related to insulin resistance, extend pleiotropic associations of these loci to include smoking and family history, and precisely document the markedly reduced transferability of existing PRSs to Black individuals. Downstream integrative analyses reinforce the critical roles of vascular endothelial, fibroblast, and smooth muscle cells in CAD susceptibility, but also point to a shared biology between atherosclerosis and oncogenesis. This study highlights the value of diverse populations in further characterizing the genetic architecture of CAD. To overcome limitations of previous genome-wide association studies of coronary artery disease, this study incorporates a cohort of individuals containing large fractions of Black and Hispanic individuals to provide a wider view of the genetic landscape of this disease.
Background Amplicon sequencing (metabarcoding) is a common method to survey diversity of environmental communities whereby a single genetic locus is amplified and sequenced from the DNA of whole or partial organisms, organismal traces (e.g., skin, mucus, feces), or microbes in an environmental sample. Several software packages exist for analyzing amplicon data, among which QIIME 2 has emerged as a popular option because of its broad functionality, plugin architecture, provenance tracking, and interactive visualizations. However, each new analysis requires the user to keep track of input and output file names, parameters, and commands; this lack of automation and standardization is inefficient and creates barriers to meta-analysis and sharing of results. Findings We developed Tourmaline, a Python-based workflow that implements QIIME 2 and is built using the Snakemake workflow management system. Starting from a configuration file that defines parameters and input files—a reference database, a sample metadata file, and a manifest or archive of FASTQ sequences—it uses QIIME 2 to run either the DADA2 or Deblur denoising algorithm; assigns taxonomy to the resulting representative sequences; performs analyses of taxonomic, alpha, and beta diversity; and generates an HTML report summarizing and linking to the output files. Features include support for multiple cores, automatic determination of trimming parameters using quality scores, representative sequence filtering (taxonomy, length, abundance, prevalence, or ID), support for multiple taxonomic classification and sequence alignment methods, outlier detection, and automated initialization of a new analysis using previous settings. The workflow runs natively on Linux and macOS or via a Docker container. We ran Tourmaline on a 16S ribosomal RNA amplicon data set from Lake Erie surface water, showing its utility for parameter optimization and the ability to easily view interactive visualizations through the HTML report, QIIME 2 viewer, and R- and Python-based Jupyter notebooks. Conclusion Automated workflows like Tourmaline enable rapid analysis of environmental amplicon data, decreasing the time from data generation to actionable results. Tourmaline is available for download at github.com/aomlomics/tourmaline.
Nitrogen (N2) fixation by nature, which is a crucial process for the supply of bio-available forms of nitrogen, is performed by nitrogenase. This enzyme uses a unique transition-metal–sulfur–carbon cluster as its active-site co-factor ([(R-homocitrate)MoFe7S9C], FeMoco)1,2, and the sulfur-surrounded iron (Fe) atoms have been postulated to capture and reduce N2 (refs. 3–6). Although there are a few examples of synthetic counterparts of the FeMoco, metal–sulfur cluster, which have shown binding of N2 (refs. 7–9), the reduction of N2 by any synthetic metal–sulfur cluster or by the extracted form of FeMoco¹⁰ has remained elusive, despite nearly 50 years of research. Here we show that the Fe atoms in our synthetic [Mo3S4Fe] cubes11,12 can capture a N2 molecule and catalyse N2 silylation to form N(SiMe3)3 under treatment with excess sodium and trimethylsilyl chloride. These results exemplify the catalytic silylation of N2 by a synthetic metal–sulfur cluster and demonstrate the N2-reduction capability of Fe atoms in a sulfur-rich environment, which is reminiscent of the ability of FeMoco to bind and activate N2.
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1,228 members
Ghee T. Tan
  • College of Pharmacy
Paulo Marcos Gorresen
  • Hawaii Cooperative Studies Unit
Syed (Shawon) M. Rahman
  • Department of Computer Science
Francisco Perlas Dumanig
  • Department of English
Armando García-Ortega
  • College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management
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