NREM alumna on NPR 27 April 2021

NREM alumna on NPR

NREM alumna, Julia Rowe, was on NPR Monday morning talking about her work with fighting buffel grass invasion in Arizona as an expert on invasive species at Tucson's Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. .


Link to the full broadcast: https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2021/04/26/apr-26-2021-hn-two

The story starts at 26:20, Julia starts at 27:55.


Article on Julia's work:


Anti-Obesity Therapy? 19 April 2021

Anti-Obesity Therapy?

MBBE researchers identify a natural, critical biochemical target

It may not grab headlines the way Covid has, but obesity is one of the most serious public health problems of the 21st century. More than 600 million adults and 100 million children in 200 countries are considered obese. There are very few safe pharmaceutical interventions, but in a new study from the Dept. of Molecular Biosciences and BioEngineering, researchers have taken a small yet solid step toward developing a natural supplement that could reduce obesity. In the world of natural products, dihydromyricetin (DHM), also called ampelopsin, is known to exert antidiabetic effects. However, the biochemical target of this isolate from the herbal plant Ampelopsis grossedentata is unknown. For this study, the primary goal of principal investigator Qing Li was to identify that biochemical target.

The team, which included C.Y. Hu of the Dept. of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences, as well as several MBBE students and visiting scholars to CTAHR, was successful and found that the chemical DHM can reduce lipid droplet formation in adipocytes. They also found DHM has direct interaction with a protein called “78-kDa glucose-regulated protein” (GRP78) – the object of their search.

“It was crucial to identify the biochemical target of DHM, and show how DHM is able to reduce lipid droplet formation in 3T3-L1 cells through a mode of action that is plausibly associated with direct interactions between GRP78 and DHM,” says Qing. “Now we can be elucidating GRP78’s physiological function and therapeutic value.”

He adds, “It is quite exciting because the work shows how ampelopsin works as an anti-obesity agent, and is a step forward in determining potential applications of DHM as an anti-obesity agent. This study brings us a step closer to further development of this natural supplement in the clinical setting for combating obesity.”

Read the full study, “Dihydromyricetin imbues anti-adipogenic effects on 3T3-L1 cells via direct interactions with 78-kDa glucose regulated protein,” which appears in the latest issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

Taste Test TODAY 19 April 2021

Taste Test TODAY

Try some breadfruit cookies 12:00-3:00 THIS AFTERNOON and support a FSHN capstone project

For her senior Food Science Capstone project, Trisha Nagasawa has baked up an interesting new treat: breadfruit shortbread cookies. The purpose of the study is to see if a tasty and well-liked product can be made utilizing breadfruit flour. Today, 12:00-3:00 p.m. in AgSci 223, you are invited to stop by, taste a sample cookie, fill out a survey, and help Trisha fulfill her project. Now that’s what I call a Win Win! To reserve a preferred time period, visit here. For questions, contact Trisha. Please note, the cookies contain eggs and dairy.

Enabling Nutrition 19 April 2021

Enabling Nutrition

CHL will help SNAP coordinate data systems and program efficiency

New funding that aims to coordinate the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) with other programs in combatting childhood hunger includes a grant for CTAHR’s Children’s Healthy Living Center of Excellence (CHL). Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, with support from the American Public Human Services Association, will invest nearly $2 million with six SNAP agencies, including Hawaiʻi. The initial goal is to track trends in co-enrollment, identify the characteristics of vulnerable populations that don’t enroll in eligible programs, and guide future programs and policies. Ultimately, the initiative hopes to streamline policy, programs, and resources that impact children and families.

During the 18-month project, CHL will provide technical assistance in data integration and analytics. Following the grant period, CHL will continue to help link data systems and evaluate existing nutrition programs. The project is rooted in the ‘Ohana Nui framework, which seeks to end intergenerational poverty by addressing the needs of multigenerational households.

“This grant helps us form an important collaboration for coordinating data systems on food, nutrition and health-related programs,” says Rachel Novotny of CHL and the Dept. of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences. “This will enhance program efficiency and effectiveness for Hawaiʻi’s children and families.”

GoFarm… Maui Style 19 April 2021

GoFarm… Maui Style

NIFA’s Ag Workforce Training grant brings the award-winning program to the Valley Isle

UH Maui College has years of experience in food manufacturing education, and now they will be sharing that knowledge with aspiring farmers. With a new 3-year, $500,000 grant from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, GoFarm Hawaiʻi will continue its partnership with UH Maui College to offer its beginning-farmer training program through the Agriculture & Natural Resources program, and will add an intensive value-added food production training course so students can consider revenue diversification options. The goal is to help the Valley Isle develop its workforce by providing production, business, and leadership skills to those looking to enter the food and agricultural industry.

“We are excited to further collaborate with UH Maui College,” Janel Yamamoto, GoFarm Hawaiʻi director who was instrumental in landing one of only 19 Agricultural Workforce Training grants awarded across the country.

“Value-added products can increase the economic value of agricultural commodities and help farmers attain higher revenues and margins,” she adds. “We are looking forward to recruiting for our next cohort in May and adding food manufacturing to the curriculum!”


Agricultural Workforce Training grants are part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative and are designed to provide community, technical or junior college students with the skills and tools necessary to secure industry-accepted credentials in order to join the workforce.

This work is supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative-Agricultural Workforce Training Priority Area, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.


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