ʻOpihi Tank 5 April 2022

ʻOpihi Tank

Students leverage crowdfunding to continue their research

If anyone questions whether CTAHR students can think outside the box, Exhibit A for the defense surely goes to Angelica Valdez. The grad student in the Dept. of Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering, who is conducting studies on the endemic ʻopihi, was initially stymied when project funding ran out. She applied to the feds for grant support, but was told those monies were ‘temporarily’ earmarked for Covid research.

Rather than give up, Angelica contacted the Experiment Foundation, which works with companies, government agencies, and the general public to fund scientific research. Notably, actor Robert Downey, Jr., recently gave the foundation $250,000.

Broiler Breeders 5 April 2022

Broiler Breeders

Enhancing the reproductive efficiency of hens

NIFA just funded 14 new projects in animal reproduction, and $184,000 of that investment is going to Birendra Mishra of the Dept. of Human Nutrition, Food, and Animal Sciences.

The focus of this AFRI Animal Reproduction Program is on enhancing gonadal function, evaluating transcriptomics in sperm, and improving estrus response to enhance overall fertility in livestock species – and this aligns well with Transcriptional regulation of egg formation in the oviduct of broiler breeder hens,” Birendra’s proposed project.

“High-quality external and internal egg traits influence embryo development and hatchability; the oviduct provides the biological environment for egg formation and undergoes dynamic changes during the reproductive cycle,” he explains. However, “Obesity/overweight primarily impairs the follicular recruitment and ovulatory process and decreases the egg-laying persistency in broiler breeder hens.”

Birendra’s goal is to identify and substantiate the oviductal genes and biological pathways involved in egg albumen biosynthesis and eggshell biomineralization, and relate the findings with egg quality. This fundamental knowledge will provide further precision regarding their roles in quality egg production and could potentially be used for the genetic improvement of broiler breeders.

“Poultry meat is one of the most affordable and acceptable sources of animal protein for human consumption,” he notes, “and as the consumer demand for chicken meat increases, it is important to increase the laying persistency with fertilizable egg production for the sustainability of the broiler industry.”

Read the full proposal.

Freaks and Monsters 5 April 2022

Freaks and Monsters

Pushing the boundaries of fashion

What does fashion have to do with the odd, bizarre, and taboo? To answer that question, Andy Reilly of the Dept. of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) teamed up with Kathryn Hoffmann of UH Languages and Literature of Europe and the Americas to co-chair a two-day symposium, “Fashion and…Freaks and Monsters.”

The venue was the annual “Fashion and…” series, originating from the University of Minnesota, which features a different topic each year and where fashion scholars can gather to share their work.

This year’s symposium was hosted online March 9-10 and explored fashion and its connections to the outcasts and misfits who exist on the margins of modern societal standards.

The two keynote presentations, “Harry Styles:  Fashion’s Gender Changeling” and “Occupying Masculinities on the Edge: Crip Dressing and Desiring Disability,” set the tone for a wildly interesting and diverse range of topics, including meat dresses, women’s shapewear and changing norms, fashion and Jewish men, freaky footwear, prosthetic limbs, fashioning sex dolls, and augmented reality. The speakers hailed from Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Hungary, New Zealand, and the United States.

“This was a great opportunity to collaborate across colleges with Kathryn,” says Andy. “Despite the challenges of the past two years, we were able to still gather to share our work and share our aloha with the world.”

Likewise, “Working with Andy on a symposium that brought together such a diverse group of scholars from UHM and around the world was a true pleasure,” says Kathryn. “I am particularly happy that CTAHR and CALL students had the opportunity to see innovative scholarship that crosses the boundaries of fashion, performance, nutrition, gender studies, art, marketing, and the history of technology. I hope it will inspire our students to see their own learning in interdisciplinary ways.”

Several UH Manoa professors also presented at the symposium, offering their unique perspectives on the ever-changing world of fashion:

  • Jinan Banna of the Dept. of Human Nutrition, Food, and Animal Sciences presented “Challenging Diet-related Norms Though Consumption of Okara Food Waste.”
  • Lori Yancura of FCS presented “Brandy and Summer Gloves: Advanced Style as Defiance of Old Age.”
  • Chris Beaule of General Education spoke about “Pishtacos, Colonial Traumas, and Encounters with Threatening Whites in Indigenous Andean South America.”

“I really enjoyed presenting and interacting with people from so many different disciplines” said Jinan. “It’s great to consider how our interests overlap.”

Lori added, “Participation in this conference was a great way for me to stretch my intellectual wings. I learned from the other speakers and hope to submit my presentation to a peer-reviewed journal within the next few months. Multi-disciplinary work is not only possible, it's professionally enriching and enjoyable.”

Photo by John Smith, courtesy of Jordan Wolfson and David Zwirner.

Promoting Food Sustainability 5 April 2022

Promoting Food Sustainability

The ‘Food Systems Working Group’ forum is April 14

Passionate about sustainable food production? CTAHR’s Food Systems Working Group is holding a virtual forum to discuss how we can tackle food sustainability from a holistic perspective.

Speakers from CTAHR will briefly explain their current projects on food sustainability, followed by a moderated discussion to identify opportunities to work toward food sustainability on our UH campuses. If you’re interested in learning about how CTAHR projects bring people together to promote food sustainability, the forum will be held April 14th on Zoom starting at high noon (12:00 p.m.)

The forum will feature: 

  • Food Systems Network Analysis Preliminary Findings (Noa Lincoln)
  • Citizen Science for Seeds (Marielle Hampton)
  • Ag Producer Training (Janel Yamamoto)
  • Language Access Among Food Producers (Emilie Kirk)
  • Aquaculture training project (Andre Seale)
  • Aquaponics Projects in School and Back Yards (Ilima Ho-Lastimosa)

“Please join us!” says Sothy Eng. “Your participation is part of the solution! Specifically, students, if you are interested in food, health, and environmental sustainability, this Forum is the place for you to build your social network with our faculty, extension agents, researchers, and specialists, providing you with various opportunities for project/research collaboration, service-learning, civic engagement, and UROP funding mentorship support.”

For more information about the Forum and your interest in being part of the Food Systems Working Group, please contact Sothy at sothy@hawaii.edu. The meeting ID is 829 8985 2070 and passcode is 368839.


CTAHR’s Food Systems Working Group was established in 2016 to answer the question, “How can CTAHR Extension build a healthier and more sustainable food system in Hawaiʻi?” The group developed a framework to guide CTAHR’s food systems activities and strategies. As a result of the group’s efforts, we have identified areas of the food system addressed by existing CTAHR activities. Find out more at Food Systems Working Group.

Last Chance! Rainbow Bazaar 5 April 2022

Last Chance! Rainbow Bazaar

Fashion students fundraise for Vogue 56

Stop by the Rainbow Bazaar for second-hand clothing, accessories, and shoes!

  • April 7th (that’s tomorrow!) 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Campus Center Courtyard (by the ATM)

All proceeds will support Vogue 56, UH Mānoa’s Annual Fashion Show set for May 1.

“The Fashion Show Production team has been collaboratively working since January to make this show a success, putting in hours both on and off campus to help prepare for the event – you can help by picking up some second hand clothing, accessories, and shoes at our last Rainbow Bazaar of the semester before the Fashion Show! We can't wait to see you this Thursday!” says Allison Parten, a design student in the Fashion Design and Merchandising program of the Dept. of Family and Consumer Sciences.


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