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Ch a n cel lo r ’ s R ep o r t 2011–2012


On the cover Examining the role that marine microbes play in sustaining a habitable planet is the focus of research at the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. The first of its kind to focus on microbes, C-MORE’s research covers a broad range of topics, from biodiversity and genomes to studies of the ocean’s carbon cycle. Pictured are three microbes currently being studied by C-MORE scientists, from top, Trichodesmium Puff, TrichodesmiumRichelia and Dinoflagellate. These microorganisms were photographed using a Nikon AZ100 fluorescence microscope aboard the R/V Kilo Moana. Photographer/scientist: Grieg Steward, C-MORE.


the University of Hawai‘i at M¯ anoa Chancellor’s Report 2011–2012 Table of Contents From Inspiration to Innovation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Health and Life Sciences A Study in Diversity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mesothelioma Warrior. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . No Small Threat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Healthy Collaboration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Saving Lives Through Simulation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Solving an Image Problem. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Innovative Tools of Healing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


5 5 6 6 7 8 8

Earth Sciences Shaking Things Up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Trash Talk. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Ocean Sciences Linking Genomes to Biomes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Testing Tsunami Loads. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Mining the Deep Blue Sea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Sky Sciences Unparalleled Views. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Charting New Frontiers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14


Renewable Energy Fueled by a Cell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 A Million-Dollar Idea. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Sustainability Sustaining Seafood. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Three Gems of Sustainability. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Breaking Down Plastics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

International Connections


Lights, Camera, International Action. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Reconstructing the Past . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Crazy about Kabuki . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . All Things Hawaiian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A Pledge of Support. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

19 20 20 21 21

About UH M¯anoa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Ch a n cel lo r ’ s R ep o r t 2011–2012


From Inspiration to Innovation Aloha! The University of Hawai‘i at M¯anoa is truly a jewel created over the past century by the people of Hawai‘i. Our global leading research university is proud of its role in both solving society’s problems and generating new opportunities, while being a respectful, inclusive community that welcomes and nurtures the diversity that is a hallmark of our Aloha State. UH M¯anoa researchers are tackling international challenges and creating scientific innovations in the areas of Health and Life Sciences; Earth, Ocean and Sky Sciences; Renewable Energy; and Sustainability. This productive research enterprise continues to be a world leader while generating over $1 million per day through increasing partnerships with UH institutions, local businesses, national and international entities, and government agencies. All join together in creating careers for this University’s most treasured assets—our graduates. All the while, UH M¯anoa continues to build on our strong International Connections with partners around the globe, while cultivating an appreciation for the Native Hawaiian culture that makes these islands a place like no other. Clearly our Pacific-Asian connections are long term and represent major strengths in UH M¯anoa programs. On this flagship campus of the 10-campus University of Hawai‘i system, Inspiration to Innovation happens every day. Much has been accomplished and an exciting future full of advances lies ahead—and accomplishing that future depends on our working together to ensure progress for all. Mahalo nui loa!

Chancellor Virginia S. Hinshaw


University of hawai‘i at m¯ anoa

health and life sciences

A Study in Diversity 200,000-plus research subjects of varied ethnicities step forward in the quest for cancer’s cure


awai‘i’s impressive ethnic diversity makes it an ideal living laboratory for international research. Couple that with cancer’s deadly reputation worldwide, and the research undertaken by the UH Cancer Center is even more critical. A stellar example of how diversity and the study of minority populations are combining to save lives is the Center’s largest research project, the Multiethnic Cohort Study (MEC). It follows more than

215,000 men and women primarily of African-American, Japanese, Latino, Native Hawaiian and Caucasian origin, including approximately 70,000 Asians and Pacific Islanders living in Hawai‘i. Funded by the National Cancer Institute in 1993, MEC is being conducted at the waterfront Center on O‘ahu’s south shore, and at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. Every cohort member completed a specially designed, 26-page baseline questionnaire on entry to the MEC study between 1993-96, answering questions on diet, background and medical info, medication, physical activity, and reproductive history for females. By examining over time both genetic susceptibility (an inherited tendency to react more or less strongly to a variety of chemical and other exposures) and lifestyle risk factors, especially diet and nutrition, the hope is that their relation to the causation of cancer will become clearer. “No other study of this type encompasses such diverse ethnic populations,” says principal investigator Dr. Laurence Kolonel. “The knowledge we are gaining will help reduce the burden of cancer here in Hawai‘i and globally.” Contact Kolonel at or see the website at

Mesothelioma Warrior


r. Michele Carbone, director of the UH Cancer Center in Kakaako, is considered an expert on one of the world’s deadliest cancers, mesothelioma. Its malignant cells line the chest and abdominal cavities so aggressively, and are so difficult to treat, that the median survival time from diagnosis to death is a mere 12 months. Now a $3.58 million gift from an anonymous donor will support the mesothelioma research of Carbone and UH Cancer Center colleagues, who include Drs. Haining Yang and Giovanni Gaudino. The contribution will have significant impact worldwide, from the tropical, balmy climes of the Pacific to dry, dusty towns in Turkey. For more than a decade, the Carbone-led research team has unearthed significant findings from studies conducted in the villages of Capadoccia, a region of Turkey. Living in what are dubbed “death villages,” nearly 50 percent of the area’s residents develop and die from exposure to a mineral fiber called erionite, a naturally occurring mineral found in rock formations and homes built of rock material that is even more potent than asbestos in causing mesothelioma. The team’s startling findings have led the Turkish government to build the villagers new homes and a regional health center to specifically conduct screening and treatment of one of the world’s deadliest cancers. Contact Carbone at or see the website at http://www. Dr. Michele Carbone

Ch a n cel lo r ’ s R ep o r t 2011–2012


Health and Life Sciences

No Small Threat A research center confronts the burgeoning global resurgence of infectious disease spread by the tiniest of organisms


ow’s this for an unnerving statistic? Infectious diseases kill more people worldwide than any other single cause, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Thus, it’s no surprise that, after a dengue outbreak in Hawai‘i in 2001 and a global resurgence of vector-borne and zoonotic infectious diseases, nearly all originating in Asia, the Pacific Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Research was established in 2003. The Center’s existence is even more relevant today. Hawai‘i’s strategic location as a prominent international port and its geographic proximity and strong ties to institutions within Asia and the Pacific provides an ideal setting from which to monitor the emergence and spread of newly recognized infectious diseases, and to investigate other microbial threats. Although the myriad factors responsible for the alarming global resurgence of infectious diseases are not fully understood, demographic and soci-

Dr. Richard Yanagihara

etal changes are likely responsible. Also, the rapid movement of people, animals and commodities via jumbo jet and bullet train, along with an insidious breakdown of the public health infrastructure and a misplaced emphasis on curative rather than preventive medicine, have all contributed to the regional and worldwide resurgence of infectious diseases. The NIH-funded center, led by Dr. Richard Yanagihara, is a pillar program that draws on the complementary strengths and multidisciplinary expertise within the John A. Burns School of Medicine and the College of Natural Sciences. The Center’s overall vision is to become a regional translational science center of excellence for new, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. Its mission—to develop and deploy improved rapid diagnostics, effective low-cost treatments and affordable vaccines for tropical infectious diseases, which disproportionately affect underserved ethnic minority and disadvantaged communities in the Asia-Pacific region Contact Yanagihara at or see the website at

Healthy Collaboration


unique exchange program between the Office of Public Health Studies (OPHS) and Wuhan and Fudan Universities—two of the most prestigious Schools of Public Health in China—is helping to foster groundbreaking research on a variety of topics covering public health and environmental sciences. The program, which started in 2007, provides an opportunity for graduate students from the three institutions to perform research either in Hawai‘i or China two or three times a year. More than 50 percent of faculty members from OPHS have also gone on to teach or perform research in China. Yuanan Lu, a professor of environmental health, and Jay Maddock, director Chinese public health exchange students visit of OPHS, co-founded the expanding program, which now has a long waiting list of high-cali- the State Capitol. Photo courtesy of Kaunana. ber candidates eager to participate. Students spend four to six weeks at the respective universities conducting research that includes laboratory and data analysis, study design and gathering results. “The UH-China Public Health Partnerships program has had a positive impact on all three schools increasing the ability of faculty and students to work in multi-country settings to address global health issues,” said Maddock. He and Lu expect the thriving program to produce more promising research that will benefit and enhance the Hawaii-China connection. Contact Lu at and Maddock at and see the website at


University of hawai‘i at m¯ anoa

Health and Life Sciences

Nursing students gain practical experience working on Sim Man, a high-fidelity manikin. Photo by Reese Moriyama

Saving Lives Through Simulation Nursing students enhance their skills at the new Sim Center


n entering the patient’s room to check on Mr. Kahui’s vital signs, a student nurse notices that he is having trouble breathing—then goes unconscious. The student immediately activates the rapid response team, the inter-professional group that determines treatment and begins administering to Mr. Kahui, who is clinging to life. A day at the hospital, trauma center or emergency room? Actually, it’s a day in class for these nursing students, who are working on Mr. Kahui, a high-fidelity manikin aka Sim Man. The School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene is home to several such tools to enhance practical learning. The new $8 million UH Translational Health Science Simulation

Center, opening in January 2012 in Webster Hall, will serve as a campus hub for interdisciplinary translational health science research, simulation and research education. The Center provides a venue for students to learn in a range of care delivery settings, including a simulated operating room, intensive care unit, labor and delivery suite, ambulatory, and day home setting. “This is very important to our nursing students,” says Lorrie Wong, director of the Sim Center. “Our students will have real-life experiences that cover all aspects of healthcare.” The 7,000-squarefoot, state-of-the-art facility will be used for clinical simulation for students, educators, practicing healthcare providers and researchers. Through this initiative, the existing simulation labs among the UH Nursing Programs on Maui, Kauai and the Big Island of Hawai‘i will be linked. Embraced by Hawai’i’s healthcare community as a shared resource, founding partners of the Center are UH Mānoa, HMSA Foundation, Hawai‘i Pacific Health, The Queen’s Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente Hawai‘i. Contact Dr. Wong at or see the website at

Ch a n cel lo r ’ s R ep o r t 2011–2012


Health and Life Sciences

Solving an Image Problem A physicist leads the effort to make MRI scans more effective and patient-friendly


nyone who’s ever had a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan knows the daunting procedure. If too much movement occurs during the scans, the images become so blurry that they are not interpretable by radiologists, meaning patients must return the next day to undergo sedation or full anesthesia before trying the process again. With the cost of an MRI billed at approximately $1,000 an hour, degraded, unacceptable images result in U.S. hospitals chalking up more than $1 billion annually in lost revenues. Enter Thomas Ernst, a physicist at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), and his research associates in the U.S. and Germany. They have invented a revolutionary system to allow MRI machines to compensate for a patient’s slight movement—making the procedure less intimidating and more effective in diagnosing medical problems. Ernst’s team, part of a joint venture with The

Thomas Ernst of JABSOM poses with a young patient at the advanced 3-Tesla MRI scanner at The Queen’s Medical Center. Inset, a close-up view of the small, custom-developed marker. Photos courtesy of The Queen’s Medical Center.

Queen’s Medical Center near downtown Honolulu, has developed a novel technique in which a small, custom-developed marker is placed on the body. This marker is read by a camera that tracks movement in real time at 100 snapshots per second and then relays that information back into the scanner. “So, as you move, the scanner locks itself on the marker, and the result is that the MRI scan has no blurring,” says Ernst. The Germany-born physicist heads up JABSOM’s Neuroscience and Magnetic Resonance Imaging Research Program, whose advanced 3-Tesla MRI scanner was funded by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a White House Office, and is located at The Queen’s Medical Center. The prototype is eliciting impressive early results and raves from radiologists, for its impacts ranging from medical to humanistic to economic—and all are important. “If you can make technology less expensive, you make it more accessible,” says Ernst, “which means more people can benefit from an MRI.” Contact Ernst at or see the website at

Innovative Tools of Healing


aculty at the College of Engineering and the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) are collaborating to produce a spectrum of new cutting-edge medical device technology. Microwave Stethoscope: Led by Magdy Iskander, director of the Hawaii Center for Advanced Communications at Engineering, the project is pursuing development of a low-cost, integrated microwave-based system that can monitor human vital signs with minimal discomfort. Iskander is working with Drs. Benjamin Berg of JABSOM and Larry Burgess of Kalino LLC. Contact Iskander at Doppler Radar Physiological Sensing: Husband-wife electrical engineers Victor Lubecke and Olga Boric-Lubecke (pictured at left) are researching the use of non-contact radar systems for unobtrusive medical, emotional and cognitive assessment. Clinical studies conducted with Dr. Todd Seto, associate professor of medicine, involve the non-invasive assessment of respiratory and cardiac flow and volume, blood pressure, post-operative crisis and sleep disorders for at-risk medical patients. Contact Lubecke at or BoricLubecke at Biophysical Interactions between Corticosteroids and Lung Surfactant: Yi Zuo, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is collaborating with Dr. Charles R. Neal, associate Photo by Reese Moriyama professor of pediatrics and medical director of the newborn special care unit at the Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women and Children. Their focus is improving the efficacy of inhaled steroid therapy in treating premature babies with a high-risk of chronic lung disease. Contact Zuo at 8

University of hawai‘i at m¯ anoa

earth sciences

Shaking Things Up A marine geophysics professor heads up an international seismogenic experiment of massive proportions


he year was 1944. The place: Tonankai, near the south coast of western Honshu. The event: A historic 8.1 magnitude earthquake that killed at least 1,200 people and destroyed more than 73,000 homes. A catastrophic event like this spurred scientists like marine geophysics Professor Gregory Moore (pictured) to research the Nankai Trough, a subduction zone south of Honshu, Japan, where two tectonic plates are colliding, pushing one plate down below the other. The grinding of one plate over the other in such a subduction zone leads to some of the world’s largest earthquakes. Why was this part of the seafloor, near the southwestern coast of Japan, particularly prone to generating devastating tsunamis? The answers are being sought in Moore’s Nankai Trough Seismogenic Zone Experiment or NanTroSEIZE, a large international effort using a variety of oceanographic studies to understand the region within the Nankai Trough that has a 2,000-year recorded history of large earthquakes and tsunamis. The behavior of the Nankai Trough is similar to regions off Sumatra and northeast Honshu,

where recent devastating earthquakes have occurred, and is akin to the region offshore of Oregon and Washington where scientists expect a major earthquake to occur one day. Thus far, the project has characterized the region and local structure of the rocks and sediments with this zone. Moore’s group has used a new Japanese drilling ship to bore several holes and obtain samples from the upper mile below the seafloor. The current phase involves drilling a deep hole into the region to a depth of about 4.5 miles below the seafloor, which is 1.5 miles deep (thus, the total depth below the sea surface is about 6 miles).

Moore has been involved since 1987 in characterizing the features of this submarine region, first joining an expedition in 2007 with D/V Chikyu in the NanTroSEIZE area. Stage 2 of NanTroSEIZE took place from June to October 2009, and Stage 3, which began in 2010, is scheduled to continue until 2012. Moore’s work offshore Japan is actually part of a regional early-warning system that gives the Japanese a few minutes warning of approaching earthquake waves and tsunamis. He adds that such instrumentation has not yet been deployed around the United States, but Moore’s hope is that it will lead to this development. The findings from the NanTroSEIZE experiment will help to explain what causes these types of tectonic-plate-colliding earthquakes, how to better effectively plan for their occurrence, and help scientists assess the risk of giant tsunamis in other regions of the world. This kind of life-saving research is earth-moving stuff. Contact Moore at gmoore@ or see the website at

A petroleum industry ship collects 3D seismic data.

Ch a n cel lo r ’ s R ep o r t 2011–2012


earth Sciences

Trash Talk

Projections of where marine debris might be heading are under study at the International Pacific Research Center


hen a huge tsunami triggered by the 9.0 Tohoku earthquake in 2011 destroyed coastal towns near Sendai, Japan—washing houses and cars into the swirling sea—the amount of marine debris generated from that single event was comparable to a full-year input from the entire North Pacific. Projections of where this Sendai debris are heading have been made by Nikolai Maximenko and Jan Hafner at the International Pacific Research Center. Their research is now a central part of a multiagency effort, led by the Environmental Protection Agency, to respond to issues arising from tsunami-generated debris. Maximenko has developed a model based on the behavior of drifting buoys deployed over years in the ocean for scientific purposes. Model simulations suggest that the majority of land-and sea-based debris, which survive multi-year travel in the North Pacific, drifts toward an area between Hawai‘i and California. The pattern of time-averaged surface currents in this “patch” corresponds to a large spiraling vortex, rotating clockwise. The model predicts that the debris will spread eastward from the Japan Coast in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. In a year, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument will see pieces washing up on its shores; in two years, the remaining Hawaiian Islands will see some effects; in three years, the plume will reach North America’s West Coast, sparing California and most of Oregon but likely affecting Washington state, Alaska and British Columbia.. The debris will then drift into the famous North Pacific Garbage Patch, where it will wander around and break into smaller pieces. In five years, in 2016, Hawai‘i shores can expect to see another barrage of debris that is stronger and longer-lasting than the first one. Much of the debris leaving the North Pa-


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cific Garbage Patch eventually ends up on Hawai‘i’s reefs and beaches. Maximenko’s long-standing work on ocean currents and transports predicted that there are five major regions in the world where debris collects if it is not washed up on shores, sinks to the ocean bottom, deteriorates, or is ingested by marine organisms. These regions turn out to be “garbage patches.” The North Pacific Garbage Patch was recognized in the late 1990s, the North Atlantic Patch was fixed some years ago, and patches in the South Atlantic, South Indian Ocean and South Pacific have just been found, guided by the map of Maximenko’s model that shows where floating marine debris should collect. Tracking will be important in determining what happens to different materials in the tsunami debris, for example, how the composition of the debris plume changes with time, and how the winds and currents separate objects drifting at different speeds. It will also help to guide clean-up efforts of these giant garbage patches on the high seas. Contact Maximenko at and Hafner at Personnel from the Russian ship STS Pallada hoist up a Japanese boat, which was registered to Fukushima Prefecture, in September 2011 in the Pacific Ocean. The Japanese boat is presumed to have washed out to sea during the March 11, 2011 tsunami. Photo courtesy of the Pallada.

Ocean sciences

Testing Tsunami Loads

Linking Genomes to Biomes A new center on campus is a huge national name in microbes


t may be one of the “newer kids on the block,” but the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE) in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology has already established itself as a leader in designing and conducting novel research. It is one of only 17 National Science Foundation-sponsored Science and Technology Centers across the nation, and the first to focus on microbes. Established in 2006, C-MORE facilitates comprehensive understanding of the biological and ecological diversity of marine microorganisms. Studies range from the genetic basis of marine microbial biogeochemistry, including the metabolic regulation and environmental controls of gene expression, to the processes that underpin the fluxes of carbon, related bioelements and energy in the marine environment. C-MORE Hale, the newest research facility to join C-MORE, was dedicated in 2010. It houses 30,000 square feet of state-of-the-art scientific equipment used in conjunction with an existing modern fleet of research vessels to study the vital role that marine microbes play in sustaining planetary habitability. Another integral component of C-MORE is its implementation of educational and outreach programs. All of its activities are dispersed among five partner institutions: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, University of California at Santa Cruz and Oregon State University. C-MORE brings together teams of experts—scientists, educators and community members—who usually have little opportunity to interact, facilitating the creation and dissemination of a new understanding of marine microbes. Research is organized around four interconnected themes: (Theme I) microbial biodiversity; (Theme II) metabolism and C-N-P-energy flow; (Theme III) remote and continuous sensing and links to climate variability; (Theme IV) ecosystem modeling, simulation and prediction, with the primary mission of linking genomes to biomes. See the website at


ivil and environmental engineering doctoral student Yuriy Mikhaylov’s (pictured) research on tsunamiresistant structures is now more important than ever given the destruction of the March 2011 devastating tsunami and earthquake in Japan. His research involves the design of six prototypical buildings, built under the International Building Code 2006, in several locations of varying seismicity and soil types. The structures are being subjected to tsunami loads in modeling studies that consider eight kinds of forces, including hydrodynamic and debris damming forces, to analyze the buildings’ behavior when confronted with such natural forces. The goal is to learn if so-called tsunami-resistant structures are truly so, while conforming to the current building code. And, if they aren’t, Mikhaylov’s mission is to rectify that. Doctoral student Mikhaylov and College of Engineering Professor Ian Robertson have also teamed up to analyze precious video footage and physical evidence in Japan to better understand what happened when the tidal wave hit. It may all lead to a proposed set of guidelines for tsunami-resistant designs that can be established and incorporated into modernized building codes in anticipation of withstanding that next giant wave. Contact Mikhaylov at mikhaylov. and Robertson at or see the website at

Photo by Reese Moriyama

Ch a n cel lo r ’ s R ep o r t 2011–2012


ocean Sciences

Mining the Deep Blue Sea Two scientists have been patiently studying marine minerals over the course of three decades


onsumption of energy and materials is at an all-time high, prompting an increase in demand for minerals, metals and fossil fuels. Yet the exorbitant cost and demanding infrastructure required to mine these vast deposits often hamper efforts to obtain them. According to the Society of Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration, almost three-quarters of global mineral resources are in or under the sea, and are virtually undeveloped. These immense, untapped deposits present much in the way of opportunity and research. At the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, faculty members Gary McMurtry and John Wiltshire have been studying marine minerals in different capacities over the course of 30-plus years. McMurtry is an associate professor in the Department of Oceanography, with an area of expertise of marine mineral formation and resources. Wiltshire is associate chairman of the Department of Ocean and Resources Engineering, and is knowledgeable in marine mineral deposits, marine mining and processing, and submersible technology. McMurtry and Wiltshire have jointly taught classes on marine mineral resources engineering and mineral and energy resources of the sea. They study the three major marine mineral deposits— sulfides, nodules and crusts—and are fascinated by another type of deep-sea element called rare earth, which ironically, is relatively abundant. The recent discovery of huge deposits of rare earth elements in


University of hawai‘i at m¯ anoa

The HURL Pisces submersible

the deep sea near Hawai‘i presents an array of possibilities, since they are commonly found in popular products like hybrid cars, photovoltaic panels and cell phone batteries, and are used in semiconductor industries. China is currently the world’s leader in producing rare earth elements from its mineral deposits. Much of SOEST’s research into ocean mineralization takes place through the Hawai‘i Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL), of which Wiltshire is the director. HURL is one of six national laboratories comprising the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Undersea Research Program, with a mission of studying deep water marine processes in the Pacific Ocean. It operates two deep diving (2,000 m) submersibles, the PISCES IV and PISCES V, and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). The submersibles, ROV and their mothership conduct a wide range of engineering and science research activities focusing on deep-sea geology and ecosystems, and their contribution to global climatic and ecosystem changes. Future HURL research projects include the geology and biology of emerging and subsiding islands, marine product and fishery assessments, and processes of submarine mineral accumulations on seamounts, volcanoes, and islands. Contact McMurtry at and Wiltshire at, or see the website at

sky sciences

Unparalleled Views The Aloha State is known for its sun, surf, hula— and astronomy


awai‘i has become a worldrenowned home for large ground-based telescopes, whose construction has been strongly promoted by the Institute for Astronomy (IfA), one of the leading astronomical research centers on Earth. Soon new telescopes will be built at two observatory sites in Hawai‘i: the 3,000-meter peak of Haleakalā on Maui and the 4,200-meter peak of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawai‘i. Both high-altitude sites are known for their remarkable clarity, dryness and lack of atmospheric turbulence. “With excellent facilities already existing on Mauna Kea and Haleakalā, and with the next generation of the world’s most powerful telescopes expected to arrive soon, Hawai‘i will maintain an international leadership role in

astronomy,” says IfA Director Günther Hasinger. First to arrive will be an addition to the existing Pan-STARRS telescope, PS1, which has been conducting survey operations since December 2009. PS1 is the most powerful survey system yet built with an optical design that provides sharp images over an exceptionally large field of view. Meanwhile, in early 2013, a second Pan-STARRS telescope, PS2, will be installed on Haleakalā. Its features will allow astronomers to survey the entire visible sky in four nights to detect “killer asteroids,” supernovae and other transient objects. The ultimate goal of the Pan-STARRS project is to build the PS4 observatory, expected to replace the 40-year-old UH 2.2-m telescope on Mauna Kea, the first large telescope built in Hawai‘i. PS4 will employ four optical systems and will help detect billions of stars and galaxies, and millions of asteroids. Solar scientists are always trying to predict how the sun will influence global changes on Earth. “Our best models of what the sun is doing don’t work,” said IfA astronomer Jeff Kuhn, explaining why the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) should be built on Haleakala in 2018. The project, funded by the National

Science Foundation, is a collaborative effort involving researchers from IfA and scientists from 22 other institutions around the world. The ATST will be the largest solar telescope ever built, and the largest single advance in solar research capabilities since the days of Galileo. Also scheduled for completion later this decade, atop Mauna Kea, is the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). Building on the success of the 10-meter twin Keck telescopes—now the world’s largest—the 30-meter primary mirror will be composed of 492 segments, giving the TMT nine times the collecting area of today’s largest optical telescopes. The TMT will enable astronomers to detect and study light from the earliest stars and galaxies and test many of the fundamental laws of physics. The TMT is a joint partnership involving the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy. The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Department of Science and Technology of India, and National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences are also participating in the project. Such impressive partners. No wonder things are always looking up at IfA, in more ways than one. Contact Hasinger at or visit the website at

The Pan-STARRS PS1 telescope atop Haleakalā captures celestial objects above Hawai‘i with its unique Gigapixel Camera and sophisticated computerized system. Photo by Rob Ratkowski © 2010 PS1 Science Consortium

Ch a n cel lo r ’ s R ep o r t 2011–2012


sky Sciences

Charting New Frontiers Planetary researchers remain actively involved in space exploration


hile NASA’s space shuttle program may have come to an end, the excitement has not dwindled for UH Mānoa researchers and faculty actively involved in the exploration of the Solar System for more than 30 years. The planetary and remote sensing programs within the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology’s Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) have long worked with NASA to send robotic spacecraft to explore the planets, including missions to Mercury, Moon and Mars. Several HIGP faculty members are currently members of the science teams of spacecraft in orbit. For example, Jeffrey Taylor, an expert on the geochemistry of planets, compares compositional differences of Mars and the Moon to see how those worlds

Kilauea volcano provides a spectacular opportunity for students to learn about volcanic processes that have also shaped the Moon, Mars and Venus.


University of hawai‘i at m¯ anoa

differ from the Earth. “Researchers search for signs of former water on the surface of the Red Planet, investigate the geologic processes in the earliest parts of the history of the planet Mercury, and map impact craters and volcanic rocks on the Moon,” says HIGFP Director Peter Mouginis-Mark. “HIGP is actively involved in designing new instruments that might fly to the Moon within the next decade, as well as fly instruments in Earth orbit to study analog terrains.” Central to HIGP’s planetary mission is the ability to study rocks from space. Using world-class facilities in the W.M. Keck Foundation’s Cosmochemistry Laboratory, faculty and students study the isotopic composition of meteorites from the asteroids and Mars. Finding meteorites is another aspect of planetary research, with HIGP members serving as discoverers of hundreds of meteorites in Antarctica over the last two decades. All of that adds to research, while also contributing significantly to the national collection of samples from space and the study of the new frontier. Contact Mouginis-Mark at or see the website at

renewable energy

Fueled by a Cell A state-of-the-art test lab is making it possible to use a fuel that doesn’t pollute and will never be depleted


he Hawai‘i Fuel Cell Test Facility (HFCTF), operated by the Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute (HNEI), opened its doors in 2003 to help turn the 50th State into a world leader in hydrogen power. Mission accomplished. Today, the secure 4,000-square-foot facility hosted by the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) ranks among the best academic laboratories in the nation—concentrating on the testing of fuel cells for commercial and military applications. A fuel cell, according to HNEI Director Rick Rocheleau, is an electrochemical energy conversion device that directly converts chemical energy into electricity without the need for combustion. “Fuel cells are similar in many ways to a battery,” explains Rocheleau. “In both, electrons generated at one electrode, circulate in an external circuit to the other producing electrical power which can drive, for example, an electric motor. However, while battery electrodes are consumed in the process, the fuel and oxidant for fuel cells are supplied from an external source allowing continuous operation.” HFCTF primarily focuses its efforts on the Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell, which operates on hydrogen and air or oxygen. PEM fuel cells are currently used for automobiles, for small stationary applications such as back-up power, and defense applications that include unmanned aerial and undersea vehicles. HFCTF has continued to expand its facilities and capabilities with funding support from the Office of Naval Research and the Department of Energy and continuing support from its partner, HECO. The test facility started with two test stands in 2003 and now houses a dozen test stands including several for testing of small stacks (ca 5kW) and one for high speed dynamic testing. Researchers at HNEI have just completed a large project to understand the impact of fuel contaminants on fuel cell performance, and

Rick Rocheleau Photo by Reese Moriyama

another to detect the impact of localized non-uniformities in membrane electrode assemblies originating from manufacturing variations. If that’s not enough, future projects include development of fuel cell power systems for unmanned undersea and aerial vehicles and new techniques to understand the transport of reactants within the porous electrodes of the fuel cell. U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye is credited for helping to jump-start the facility as part of his position with the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. Over the years, he has continued to back the program along with U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, both of whom are instrumental in supporting the U.S. Department of Energy and the Office of Naval Research to allow funding of these valuable research efforts. Contact Rocheleau at or see the website at

Ch a n cel lo r ’ s R ep o r t 2011–2012


renewable energy

A Million-Dollar Idea Research efforts to turn waste into energy will help conserve our natural resources over the next decade


he sustainability movement is pushing forward in new directions, with innovative concepts being developed by researchers around the globe. Among them is Michael Cooney, an associate researcher with the Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute (HNEI), who is leading the effort to develop a simple and relatively cost-effective way to convert solid and liquid waste into energy and useful products, such as soil amendments. The research group’s efforts will help enrich soils and conserve natural resources over the next 10 years. Cooney and faculty from Michael Cooney various UH Mānoa departments won a $1 million sustainability on-campus competition that will advance a two-fold venture to create pathways for local companies through incorporation of UH developed technologies producing energy and soil enhancers. The two-year project, “Water, Energy and Soil Sustainability,” will help support research to evaluate the treatment of liquid

waste streams through application of high-rate anaerobic digestion and solid waste through the application of flash carbonization. The two processes will also be integrated to produce treated biochar, or agricultural waste turned into a soil enhancer that holds promise to aid soils for growth of energy crops and food crops. In one component of this project, field soils on Maui are currently supporting high yields thanks to Jatropha curcas, an energy crop that is receiving serious consideration among researchers and farmers in Hawai‘i. The fast-growing, drought-resistant, tropical oil-bearing plant is rich in fatty oils that can be converted to biodiesel. These results are currently being used in greenhouse trials on corn to evaluate how best to apply biochar to less productive soils as a means to duplicate the field trials. “Preliminary characterizations of the soil supporting this productivity are suggesting that the attractive yields are due to water and nutrient retention capacity of the soil,” says Cooney. “It is our hope we can show that treated biochar added to poor soils can actually support growth leasing to yields that compete with those currently achieved on Maui with the Jatropha crop.” Contact Cooney at or visit the website at

Corn growth trials evaluating treated and untreated biochar against a control. Left pair: Corn grown on soil plus fertilizer and no biochar; center pair: corn grown on soil plus fertilizer plus untreated biochar; and right pair: corn grown on soil plus fertilizer plus treated biochar. 16

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Sustaining Seafood What better place to research the best in aquaculture than in the middle of the Pacific?


H Mānoa scientists and researchers are developing new techniques and activities to fulfill the high demand for aquaculture products worldwide. At the Hawai‘i Institute for Marine Biology, Director Jo-Ann Leong reports that colleagues are focusing on targeted sectors for greater development in aquaculture, based on the industry’s track record to date. They

include high-value seafood products such as opihi, macroalgae or seaweeds for food or specialty chemicals, year-round production of specific pathogen-free broodstock and seedstock, marine and freshwater aquarium species for export, and offshore and openocean production of fish and pearl oysters. Meanwhile, funding support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is enabling Sea Grant College Director Gordon Grau to develop feeds for fish that help them grow optimally with the mildest impact on ecosystems. Grau is striving to design feeds without fishmeal that promote efficient growth with minimal loss of nutrients. He works in collaboration with colleagues at a USDA lab at Auburn University in Alabama to compound the feeds for tilapia, which are then evaluated by both his lab, and university and government partners in the U.S. and Japan In the Aquaculture Research

and Extension Unit at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, aquaculture specialist Clyde Tamaru (pictured) and team members are engaged in a variety of aquaculture research and extension activities. For example, Tamaru is principal investigator of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration supported project on how to improve the hatchery output of the Hawaiian pink snapper or opakapaka, a favorite of many locals. His research hinges on the species ability to naturally spawn from captive broodstock held at Coconut Island. Contact Leong at joannleo@, Grau at grau@hawaii. edu, and Tamaru at ctamaru@ See the websites at the Hawai’i Institute for Marine Biology at http://www.hawaii. edu/himb, Sea Grant College at, and the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at

Three Gems of Sustainability


he Harold L. Lyon Arboretum in Ma¯ noa Valley is the only university botanical garden in the nation located in a tropical rainforest. Consisting of almost 200 acres in the beautiful valley of Ma¯ noa on the island of O‘ahu, the arboretum is dedicated to the rescue and propagation of rare and endangered native Hawaiian plants, such as the Brighamia also commonly known as a¯ lula. See the website at The Waikiki Aquarium features over 127 species of coral, a collection unrivaled in the Western Hemisphere. Internationally renowned as a pioneer and leader in coral propagation, the Aquarium has successfully maintained live corals since 1978 and now houses the largest and oldest collection in the U.S., including the pictured Soft Coral from Lagoon Communities Exhibit. The corals in the Aquarium’s collection are a unique and important resource for UH researchers and other scientists who wish to study them. See the website at Researchers from the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology, along with scientists from the Smithsonian Institution, have created the world’s first frozen repository for Hawaiian corals at Coconut Island. The frozen bank protects, preserves and restores the biodiversity among corals—including the Fungia scutaria, otherwise known as mushroom coral. This world-renowned marine research institute within the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology is situated in Kane‘ohe Bay. See the website at http://www.hawaii. edu/HIMB. Ch a n cel lo r ’ s R ep o r t 2011–2012



Breaking Down Plastics A chemical engineer is creating a biodegradable plastic that may soon be available to the masses


Jian Yu

n a world where plastic bags and plastic bottles are consumed in the millions annually, the fight to reduce such waste seems unwinnable. Consumers are doing their part by becoming more socially aware about environmental issues and making a conscientious effort to buy products and technology that are sustainable and eco-friendly. Now comes Jian Yu, an associate researcher with the Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute, and his team members, who are creating new technology to contend with the societal scourge of plastic bags. Yu’s research has led to the creation of thermoplastic materials from renewable feedstocks, such as agricultural wastes and food processing byproducts. The bio-based plastics, called PHA bioplastics, are completely biodegradable and biocompatible, whereas their petroleum-based counterparts are


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not. Petroleum-based plastics eventually find their way to the open seas, killing hundreds of thousands of birds, fish and other marine animals every year. “Compared to the conventional plastics, bioplastics consume less fossil energy and release much less greenhouse gases as indicated by numerous lifecycle analysis,” says Yu. A chemical/biochemical engineer by training, Yu was excited by research that could lead to new technologies to bring down the high cost of producing biodegradeable plastics. His PHA bioplastics technology consists of three parts: (1) pretreatment of feedstocks into suitable substrates for a special type of microbial organism, (2) high-cell density fermentation for biosynthesis of biopolyesters, and (3) solvent-free recovery and purification of biopolyesters to make the final product of bioplastics. At the end of the fermentation process, the microbial cells under controlled conditions can form and accumulate a large amount of biopolyesters (6070% of cell mass) in a form of tiny granules. In order to purify the biopolymer for bioplastics, the rest of the 30-40% of residual cell mass must be removed in a cost-effective way. One conventional technology relies on organic solvent extraction, which is not only expensive but also environmentally unfriendly. The technology shows real potential. Yu already has a commercialization plan in place and has filed two patents on the technology, which is being used in a pilot plant in Europe. The company that operates the plant has invested $2 million to establish a central testing center in Honolulu that will provide characterization and analysis service to its global manufacturing and markets. Maybe one day in the future, in supermarkets everywhere, shoppers will be asked, “Paper, plastic, or bioplastics?” Contact Yu at or see the website at

international connections

At left, Anne Misawa (back row, left) with ACM students. Below, outtakes from the omnibus film, “Destiny, Fortune, Love,” shot in Shanghai, China, in June 2011. Photo by Reese Moriyama

Lights, Camera, International Action Students from Hawai‘i and China show their works at respective film festivals


niversity students from the Academy for Creative Media (ACM) and across the Pacific Ocean at Shanghai University’s School of Film and Television Arts have discovered that filmmaking is truly an international art. Twice a year, since 2006, student filmmakers from both campuses have traveled to and from Shanghai and Honolulu as guests of each other’s filmmaking programs. In Mānoa, participants in the Student Media Art (SMART) Exchange Program have had their films shown at either the Shanghai International Film Festival or the Hawai‘i International Film Festival, further enriching their experiences as the next generation of career professionals behind the camera. “This is the only program internationally where students from both programs make films together in China and Hawai‘i,” says ACM Chair Tom Brislin. “Just as important is that both film festivals have a dedicated program for student films.” For senior Lana Dang, one of six ACM students

who participated in the program in Summer 2011, the exchange program was life-changing. For three weeks, Dang and her classmates worked alongside counterparts from Shanghai University to produce three short films. “It forces participants to stretch personal boundaries and, in many cases, opens a student’s eyes as an artist,” she marvels. “Shooting a film is a very stressful yet invigorating experience. Now add the element of filming in a different country where the majority of the crew speaks a different language and you multiply that experience by ten.” ACM Professor Anne Misawa glows with pride at her students’ progress in 21 short days. “These are transformative experiences for them,” says Misawa. “I have seen them blossom, not only as filmmakers, but as individuals who gain greater confidence and self-knowledge about what they want to do with their talents and how they want to contribute and interact with their global community.” Contact Misawa at or see the website at

Ch a n cel lo r ’ s R ep o r t 2011–2012


international connections

Reconstructing the Past A Korean-American anthropologist digs into the earliest peopling of East Asia


hat’s your five-year plan?” The question is occasionally a stumper when asked in job interviews, on college applications, and even during beauty pageants. But for Christopher J. Bae, an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and member of the Center for Korean Studies, the answer is easy—to use a $1.2 million research grant to conduct paleoanthropological (human evolution) research in East Asia through the year 2015. Awarded the prestigious grant by the Academy of Korean Studies in South Korea in 2010, Bae began conducting fieldwork in Korea in 2011 in his quest to reconstruct the past. The award is one of only six proposals in the world funded by the Academy’s Korean Studies Promotion Service (KSPS) division. Titled “The Earliest Peopling of the Korean Peninsula: Current Multidisciplinary Perspectives,” Bae’s $1.2 million project is developing an active long-term research program in Korea to facilitate a more comprehensive understanding of eastern Asian human evolution during prehistory. “In particular, this project will integrate datasets from different social and natural science fields to reconstruct a synthetic view of human evolution in the region,” he explains. While his main focus was initially Korea, Bae has since expanded his focus to address a variety of questions about East Asian paleoanthropology, with his field work and laboratory research expanding to Japan and China as well. A man of diversity, he has been carrying out collaborative research on an array of projects in all three countries. Contact Bae at


University of hawai‘i at m¯ anoa

Christopher Bae looks for hominin fossil sites during a survey in Guangxi Province, China, in 2008.

Crazy about Kabuki


he concept that “it takes a village” rings true for putting on kabuki performances in Honolulu and, in particular, at UH Ma¯ noa. University students from all ethnic backgrounds have been performing kabuki plays dating back to 1924 and have continued to work with and learn from both skilled community artists and visiting troupe members from Japan. Kabuki, performed with highly stylized singing and dancing, has a performance history in Hawai‘i dating back to 1893, when a touring troupe entertained more than 20,000 Japanese immigrants in the islands. UH Ma¯ noa has the distinction of being the only university in the country that continues to stage English-language kabuki productions on a regular basis. For The Vengeful Sword in 2011, experts from Japan and Honolulu assisted in the training of students in the required specialized skills of percussion, voice, acting, dance and movement. Contact the Kennedy Theatre Publicity Office at or see the website at James Schirmer stands over Nicholas Murray Husted in a scene from The Vengeful Sword, a full-length kabuki performed in English by UH Mānoa students and directed by faculty member Julie Iezzi in April 2011. Photo by Reese Moriyama

international connections


hen UH Mānoa Dean Maenette Ah NeeBenham is asked about her vision for Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, she looks no further than Ka Papa Lo‘i O Kānewai, the brilliant-green taro patch located a stone’s throw away from Hawaiian Studies. “At any given time, there are many people, all kinds of people— from na keiki (children) all the way up to kūpuna (elderly)— working Dean Maenette Benham at the lo‘i,” Benham says. “Of course, we are also a university so we host classes from different disciplines like ethnobotany and soil science.” The hā (breadth) and hohonu (depth) of those who utilize Ka Papa Lo‘i O Kānewai parallels

All Things Hawaiian A new school, significantly situated next to a taro patch, nurtures roots of the native culture Benham’s mission for the school. As its inaugural dean, she sets the direction on a mission to pursue, perpetuate, research and revitalize all areas and forms of Hawaiian knowledge. This encompasses its language, origins, history, arts, sciences, literature, religion, education, laws and society, and political, medicinal and cultural practices. Hawai‘inuiākea is the youngest school at UH Mānoa, established in 2007 by combining the Departments of Hawaiian Studies and Hawaiian Language. Both academic units offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees that serve an estimated 200 students majoring in Hawaiian Language, with the same number majoring in Hawai-

ian Studies. An additional 1,600 students take classes within the program to fulfill general requirements for other majors. In four short years, there’s no question Hawai‘inuiākea has made great strides boosting the school’s extramural fund to $3 million in contracts and grants. Benham and staff also have greatly increased the number of community engagement activities, including Educational ‘Auwai, which builds pathways for Native Hawaiian students to think of the campus as their destination of choice. Contact Benham at hshk or see the website at

A Pledge of Support


usiness executive Judith Pyle has long appreciated the Native Hawaiian culture that permeates those islands. So in June 2011, the philanthropist and UH Foundation board trustee announced a $2 million pledge to establish an endowed dean’s chair at the Hawai‘inuia¯ kea School of Hawaiian Knowledge. “I was originally thinking of making this gift through my estate plan,” says Pyle, “but I became so excited about the impact it could have, I wanted to make it during my lifetime so I could see it in action.” The fund will help build a Knowledge Well of Hawaiian Knowing, as school Dean Maenette Benham puts it, specifically funding three exciting areas of development: 1) digitizing archived recordings, sheet music and other media; publishing song books and providing seed money to support the publication of a book series; and strengthening

community engagement and leadership development. Campus and community reaction to the $2 million gift flowed in with congratulations and overwhelming gratitude, led by Ma¯ noa Judith Pyle and husband, Wayne Pitluck Chancellor Virginia S. Hinshaw. “Judy has been a very special person in my life for more than 20 years. I know well her wonderful, giving nature,” says Hinshaw. “Her generous gift reflects passions that she and I also share—advancing Native Hawaiian culture, supporting women leaders and investing in higher education for Hawai‘i.” Ch a n cel lo r ’ s R ep o r t 2011–2012


About UH Mānoa Founded in 1907, the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa is the flagship campus of the University of Hawai‘i System. A destination of choice, students and faculty come from across the nation and the world to take advantage of UH Mānoa’s unique research opportunities, diverse community, nationally ranked Division I athletics program, and beautiful landscape. Consistently ranked a “best value” among U.S. colleges and universities, our students get a great education and have a unique multicultural global experience in a Hawaiian place of learning—truly like no place else on earth.

At a Glance • Location: beautiful Manoa ¯ Valley, just outside downtown Honolulu, Hawai‘i, on the island of O‘ahu • Campus size: 320 acres • University of Hawai‘i System motto: Maluna a‘e o n¯a l¯ahui a pau ke ola ke kanaka (Above all nations is humanity)

Academics • Average class size: 25 • Colleges: nine • Schools: nine • Degrees* o Bachelor’s degrees in 92 fields o Master’s degrees in 84 fields o Doctoral degrees in 51 fields o Professional degrees in three fields • Accreditation: Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)


University of hawai‘i at m¯ anoa

Research One of only 32 institutions nationwide to hold the distinction of being a land-, sea- and space-grant research institution, UH Manoa ¯ is ranked in the top 30 public universities in federal research funding for engineering and science and 49th overall by the National Science Foundation. UH Manoa ¯ is known for its pioneering research in such fields as oceanography, astronomy, Pacific Islands and Asian area studies, linguistics, cancer research, and genetics.

Alumni Nearly 170,000 alumni reside in all 50 states and more than 108 countries worldwide. *As of Fall 2010

Ch a n cel lo r ’ s R ep o r t 2011–2012


University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa homepage UH Mānoa Research UH Mānoa International UH Mānoa Media Resources UH Mānoa Facebook UH Mānoa Twitter uhmanoanews


Inspiration to Innovation: UHM Chancellor's Report 2011-2012  

A report on the University of Hawaii at Manoa's research activities and international connections