CTAHR NEWS
Art-Science Fusion 22 June 2021

Art-Science Fusion

PEPS Extension agent participates in Mexican film festival

I was invited to collaborate in creating an art-science fusion for the 2021 ALEPH Art-Science Film Festival in Mexico – and I thoroughly enjoyed this experience!

The theme of this interdisciplinary film festival was “Medicine and Its Borders” and our film, Through the Looking Pill, begins as a Zoom conversation between patient, medical doctor, academic PhD and narrator. The patient is describing her symptoms and both doctors recommend a pill that is “art.”

But from there, the film takes on a very ‘Alice in Wonderland, through the looking glass’ feel. The audience follows the journey of the art pill through the patient’s body. It explores different ideas about the interaction and negotiations of medicine with our cells, using metaphors and parallel images of the outside world to describe parts of the human body. The film is completely in Spanish and the narrator’s tone is that of a soccer commentator, giving the film a relaxed and comical feel! It ends with the patient having gained a new relationship with and vision of her body (hopefully, the viewer feels this, too).

My role in development and pre-production involved concept development, creating storyboards and overall aesthetics of the film. I also contributed to the narrative structure and dialogue. My collaborators included actress Fernanda Vizzuet, and Ana-Karen Barajas, Ilana Boltvinik and Rodrigo Viña from University Veracruzana in Mexico as the actors and narrators.

This experience was very different for me. This was the first fictional film I’ve ever worked on. It was hard to develop without being able to meet in person due to the pandemic. We had to creatively problem solve and tailor the design of our film to compensate.

As a scientist with a PhD in entomology, it was refreshing for this opportunity to combine art and science. These two seemingly different disciplines share a common ground in that both require creativity and curiosity. This project allowed for a space where artists and scientists could come together and share their unique perspectives and insights. I found that learning how my peers utilized the scientific and creative methods led to enhanced learning. It has led to examining my current perspectives and assumptions, which have bled over into my scientific research program. I believe such experiences help us to keep an open mind when presented with new information. I would jump at the opportunity for other art-science collaborations.

Impatiens (Downy Mildew) is Not a Virtue 22 June 2021

Impatiens (Downy Mildew) is Not a Virtue

TPSS agent is featured in horticulture news

When the fungal disease ‘Impatiens Downy Mildew’ hit the floriculture industry a decade ago, sales of ‘Impatiens wallerina’ dropped – and the need to fill that market niche still exists. After a global search to collect Impatiens species, hybridize the resistant ones with common ones, and develop new IDM-resistant plants that are seed propagated for commercial breeding, James Keach left Cornell University to join CTAHR. Meanwhile, the research carried on, and in the summer of 2020, some exciting results occurred: “Our research demonstrated there is polygenic inheritance to IDM resistance with our impatiens hybrids,” James writes. “This kind of inheritance indicates that two or more nonallelic genes are involved collectively in determining inherited resistance to IDM. What this means is resistance to IDM will possibly be greater than those resistant hybrids that are currently available.”

Read all about it in the latest Horticulture Daily World News that features James’ article, Breeding a more disease-resistant impatiens.

To Market and For Breeding 17 June 2021

To Market and For Breeding

The Maui 4-H Youth Livestock Show is a success

June is an important month for Maui 4-H. For decades, keiki and their families gather for the annual Maui 4-H Youth Livestock Show and Auction. Once part of the Upcountry Fair, the event merged with Maui County Farm Bureau’s ‘Maui AgFest’ but continues to take place in June so Maui winners can travel to O‘ahu to showcase their animals in the statewide show and competition. Although Covid shut down all other major events in the county, our 4-H livestock show had to go on. Managing and raising livestock is a must-have opportunity for our keiki. They gain life skills, learn to accept responsibility, value hard work, think critically, make decisions, and communicate well. We felt we had to support our future leaders by allowing them to complete their projects and validate their hard work and determination!

Maui 4-H Livestock offers two types of projects: Market and Breeding. Market projects in beef cattle, sheep, and swine entails the 4-H member raising, feeding and finishing an animal to proper market weight for harvest. Breeding projects allow the 4-H member to raise cattle and goats as breeding stock, which they can either market to local ranchers interested in genetic improvement or retain ownership of the animal to start their own herds.

At the final show, an expert judge evaluates the livestock for their potential as either breeding or market animals, provides a critique for each animal in the class, and compares the ‘form’ of the animal with the ‘purpose’ it is intended to serve. The judge for 2021 was Mitch Magenheimer from Canby, Oregon, who brings two decades of agribusiness and livestock judging expertise. He worked really well with our kids during the show, and afterward, gave them a talk relating their current 4-H experiences to life after high school, discussing opportunities in both college, industry, and life.

This year’s show was limited to 4-H members, their families, and livestock industry leaders. The event was a small gathering outdoors,. A big Mahalo to Ken Miranda and the Rice Family of Kaonoulu Ranch for allowing the Maui 4-H Livestock Program use of the Oskie Rice Arena. We also extend thanks to the Maui Cattlemen’s Association for their continued support of the 4-H program and help with sponsoring our official judge.

Maui 4-H looks forward to bringing back the auction portion when the event returns to the War Memorial Special Events Arena as part of Maui AgFest 2022.

Photo caption: I want to celebrate the high school graduation of two of our most dedicated 4-H youth leaders: Alexis Camara and Kaylee Silva. These ‘seasoned veterans’ of the Livestock Program have represented Maui County in state and national 4-H skill development contests and were always there to mentor the younger 4-H. These young women are exceptionally driven, hard-working individuals, and great role models for our youth. Alexis and Kaylee are strong academically and very organized, maintaining a healthy balance between work, extramural activities and community service. I wish you both congratulations as you pursue your college programs!

A Whale of a... Papaya 17 June 2021

A Whale of a... Papaya

Richard Manshardt is interviewed on KHON2

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oʻahu resident David Day bought a papaya tree from a nursery in Waimanalo, and planted it in his yard. Fast forward to last Friday, when his daughter, KHON2 reporter Lauren Day, brought into her TV studio the fruits of his labor, literally. With just a one-hour heads up before the KHON2 afternoon news broadcast, Richard Manshardt of the Dept. of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences graciously agreed to be interviewed live, and the rest is television history. “It's not often that papayas make the news, or that ‘papaya experts’ are asked for their opinions, so it's nice to have a record of it!” Richard wrote to Kacie Ho, of the Dept. of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences, who taped the segment.

Watch the on-air interview with Richard.

Feral Chicken Guts 17 June 2021

Feral Chicken Guts

HNFAS sequences the bird’s intestinal microbiota

In Hawaiʻi, the number of feral chickens is relatively high, and it is not unusual to see chickens on roads and in parking lots. They are descended from the Red Junglefowl, likely the first breed brought by Polynesian settlers, and more recently, European-derived breeds brought to Hawai?i for food production and cockfighting. These feral chickens are of scientific interest, as they can give us some good clues about the modern-day chicken’s biology. But until now, there was limited or no knowledge of the gut microbiota of these feral birds. So for the first time (to the best of our knowledge), we sequenced the intestinal microbiota of the Hawaiian feral chicken. We also explored the cecal microbiota profile of commercial chickens.

Since microbial populations are instrumental to their host’s health, we hope that our work will help determine what bacteria are dominant and what potential roles they play, either beneficial or non-beneficial. Knowing the healthy gut microbiota composition provides opportunities to develop strategies to modify it for improving host performance, immunity, and the food safety of meat animals. Also, studying the microbial community profiles for feral and commercial chickens will be instrumental in understanding the breed differences in development, health, digestion, nutrient absorption, and immunity.

The study, Cecal microbiome profile of Hawaiian feral chickens and pasture-raised broiler (commercial) chickens determined using 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing, appears in a recent Poultry Science. More information about poultry nutrition and gut health can be found at our Animal Nutrition Group website.

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