Recently announced research developments at the University of Hawaiʻi include two papers on findings related to work involving viruses and bacteria—good, innocuous and bad.
Yuanan Lu, UH Mānoa professor of epidemiology and environmental health, reports on the successful use of sensitive and effective new protocols for detecting viruses in recreational water. Yu and his colleagues were able to detect human noroviruses, a leading cause of non-bacterial gastroenteritis, in ocean waters. The laboratory protocols could lead to more reliable monitoring of recreational waters. Current water testing relies on detection of fecal indicator bacteria, which haven’t been linked to disease and may be present in the natural environment.
Yun Kang, a UH Mānoa postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Microbiology, contributed to a significant breakthrough in development of a novel technology to investigate global gene-expression in a single bacterium. This technology will aid studies of prokaryotes (microbial cells lacking a nucleus), which are important in analyzing the function of beneficial human microbes, targeting bacterial pathogens, developing novel vaccines for bacterial infections and understanding microbes that live in extreme environments.
Kang worked with Associate Professors Tung T. Hoang and Stuart P. Donachie and colleagues at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Maryland. Their results were reported in the June issue of Genome Research. Read the UH news release or the journal abstract.
A provisional patent has been filed for the new technology.