CTAHR NEWS
Go Fish! 18 April 2022

Go Fish!

Join Cody Ching’s thesis defense on Hawaiʻi’s native goby

Hawaiʻi is home to the ʻoʻopu nākea, a freshwater goby that exhibits an amphidromous life history, meaning the adults mate in freshwater and lay their eggs near stream mounts. Once the larvae hatch, they swim to the ocean and stay there for a few months before migrating back upstream to freshwater, where they will complete their adult lives.

Student Spotlight 18 April 2022

Student Spotlight

TPSS grad student featured in national newsletter

“I’m excited that TPSS is being featured on a national scale,'' says Myles Ritchie, when asked how he feels about being featured in the latest publication of the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) newsletter. Myles was recognized as one of the top horticulture student researchers in the nation when he was featured in last month’s ASHS graduate student spotlight. 

Albert Peter Martinez 18 April 2022

Albert Peter Martinez

Plant pathologist taught here 1967-87

Albert Martinez, who worked as an Extension Specialist in Plant Pathology from 1967-1987, passed March 26. During his time with CTAHR, he also continued his work with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture before retiring to Dunnellon, FL, where he and wife Barbara spent their time involved with their family, their church, community volunteer opportunities, gardening and square dancing. A celebration of life will be held June 28 at the United Methodist Church in Dunnellon.

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.

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