University of Hawai'i
(808) 956-8856 Telephone
For Immediate Release:
April 23, 1999
|Contact: Donnë Florence, PIO, 956-7522, firstname.lastname@example.org|
ARCS Awards for 1999 announced
Scholarships of $5,000 each have been awarded to eleven University of Hawai'i graduate students by Achievement Rewards for College Scientists, a philanthropic organization dedicated to the support of promising scientists and science students (fact sheet on ARCS follows this release). The scholars were honored at an ARCS dinner Saturday evening in Honolulu, where UH Associate Professor of Geology and Geophysics David Bercovici was named ARCS Honolulu Chapter Scientist of the Year.
Scientist of the Year
David Bercovici is "one of the stars of the UH School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology" (SOEST), according to the ARCS Recognition Dinner program. He has won multiple grants and awards from the National Science Foundation, NASA, Sea Grant, and the UH Research Council for his work on convection, the fluid circulation that occurs in the Earth's interior over geological time scales. Bercovici was the first to show how Earth's plates are formed from basic fluid. His largest project involves physical theories on how convection causes plate tectonics (continental drift)-one of the most difficult and fundamental issues in geophysics. In addition to being an extremely productive and international recognized researcher, Bercovici is an outstanding teacher and advocate for undergraduate education at UH.
The graduate students honored with 1999 ARCS Scholarships are:
Scholar of the Year
Christopher Robinson Mullis - Institute for Astronomy
Christopher Mullis uses data from an X-ray telescope in orbit around the Earth to search for clusters of galaxies, which he then observes with telescopes on Mauna Kea. Maps of these clusters give a three-dimensional view of the universe, which astronomers mine for clues as to how the smooth, hot gas that was created by the Big Bang has turned into galaxies, stars and planets. Mullis's work with his mentors Patrick Henry and Isabella Gioia of the Institute for Astronomy was featured in a January 1999 issue of The New York Times. Christopher Mullis receives the Helen Jones Farrar ARCS Scholarship in Astronomy; he is also honored as ARCS Scholar of the Year.
Spencer V. Nyholm - Department of Zoology, College of Natural Sciences
Spencer Nyholm has been instrumental in developing techniques for exploring a new model system for animal-bacterial interactions, specifically the association between the Hawaiian seploid squid, Euprymna scolopes and its marine bacterial partner Vibrio fischeri. He is exploring the microenvironment created by the host that serves to nurture the bacteria and maintain the symbiosis in a stable stage. His research was published as a cover story in the October 1998 issue of the Biological Bulletin. Nyholm's scholarship sponsor is the Honolulu Chapter of ARCS.
Rebecca A. Randell - Department of Botany, College of Natural Sciences
Rebecca Randell's research is on hybridization between endemic and naturalized species in Hawai'i. Her focus is a population of putative hybrids between an endemic raspberry Rubus hawaiensis and a naturalized thimbleberry R. rosifolius, discovered in Kipahulu Valley, Maui. The goal of Randell's study is to characterize this natural hybridization event, investigate the mode of hybridization and determine the male fertility of the hybrids. Her work has the potential to make a substantial contribution to our understanding of conservation biology in Hawai'i. Randell receives a Maybelle Felker Roth ARCS Scholarship in Conservation Biology.
Rebecca A. Rundell - Department of Zoology, College of Natural Sciences
Rebecca Rundell is investigating the hardy Succineid land snail, found in a wide variety of Hawai'i habitats. While much of Hawai'i's land snail population has been subject to extinction, the Succineids have remained abundant. Rundell hopes to use molecular techniques to elucidate the evolutionary relationships of Hawaiian Succineid land snails and pinpoint their distribution across the islands. Her project will serve as the foundation for future conservation of this unique group of Hawaiian land snails. Rundell receives a Maybelle Felker Roth ARCS Scholarship in Conservation Biology.
David S. Matus - Department of Zoology, College of Natural Sciences
David Matus is investigating the evolution of biodiversity in invertebrates' immune systems. Work on marine sponges at the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology has shown the existence of rejection responses in invertebrates similar to graft rejection in humans. Matus hopes to define the nature of some of the molecular processes that sponge immunocyte-like cells use to regulate their recognition responses. He will use molecular clones to characterize diverse features of the signaling systems in primitive sponges, and compare them with the well-documented reactions in humans and other vertebrates. Matus receives the Frederick M. Kresser ARCS Scholarship.
Cecilia Y. Kato - Department of Plant Molecular Physiology, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Cecilia Kato is studying the ACC synthase gene during the ripening of papaya, one of the major crops of Hawai'i's diversified agriculture, with an eye to lengthening the shelf life of the fruit in markets. Kato has cloned the ACC synthase gene and is using advanced molecular techniques to improve the understanding of the elements that control the expression of the gene. Kato receives the ARCS Honolulu Chapter Scholarship in Horticulture.
Kevin M. Shiramizu - John A. Burns School of Medicine
Kevin Shiramizu has been actively involved in research throughout his three years at the John A. Burns School of Medicine. As a participant in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Summer Research Fellowship Program for Medical and Dental Students, he was involved in HIV research at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He continued his HIV research back in Hawai'i in the Retrovirology Laboratory of the UH Pacific Biomedical Research Center. After his second year of med school, Shiramizu was accepted in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute-NIH Research Scholars Program, which allowed him to work for a year on tumor immunology research at the National Cancer Institute. Shiramizu's future plans include pursuing special training in ophthalmology as well as research in immunology. Shiramizu receives the ARCS Honolulu Chapter Scholarship in Medicine.
Ann M. Tarrant - Department of Oceanography, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology
Ann Tarrant is studying natural and anthropogenic "environmental estrogens" in coral reef ecosystems. While working on her master's degree at UH, she developed techniques to measure estrogens and testosterone in coral eggs and tissue, and described seasonal cycles of these hormones. In her doctoral work she will measure estrogen uptake into corals and determine the response in gametogenesis. Her work can be applied to the management and preservation of healthy reefs. Tarrant receives the ARCS Honolulu Chapter Scholarship in Oceanography.
Caron Hong - Cancer Research Center of Hawai'i
Caron Hong is researching neuroblastoma, a tumor of the sympathetic peripheral nervous system. Hong's work has potential both in the prognostication and therapy of neuroblastoma, one of the most common solid tumors in children. She has succeeded in mapping sites of DNA protein interaction within a promoter that appears to mediate its transcriptional downregulation by RA. She has shown that a functionally significant point mutation within one of these sites is associated with resistance to RA in vitro. Hong is the recipient of the Ellen M. Koenig ARCS Scholarship in Medical Research.
Ronald R. Bozak - Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
Ronald Bozak has been studying electrodeposition in tropical marine environments since 1995, when the federal Sea Grant Program recognized the novelty and importance of his work with a research grant. Bozak is studying the feasibility of using electrodeposition in seawater as a means of constructing engineering artifacts or submarine structures. Two very practical applications of this work are the development of artificial reefs and the construction of near-shore submerged shoals to control beach erosion. Bozak receives the Bretzlaf Foundation ARCS Scholarship in Mechanical Engineering.
Robert J. Thornton - Department of Physics and Astronomy, College of Natural Sciences
Robert Thornton's engineering background brought his attention to the design and construction of sensitive instruments to be mounted on large telescopes atop Mauna Kea and Haleakala. He has contributed to the design of electronic cameras and spectrographs for four different telescopes, including the University's 2.2-meter telescope, the NASA Infrared Telescope and Gemini on Mauna Kea and AEOS on Haleakala. The last of these, a combined infrared and optical spectrograph, will form part of the Maui Space Surveillance Complex and will allow UH astronomers to obtain extremely detailed spectra of gases in planets, stars and galaxies. Thornton receives the ARCS Honolulu Chapter Scholarship in Physics.
Achievement Rewards for College Scientists
What is ARCS national?
ARCS was founded in Los Angeles in 1958. It has 12 chapters nationwide:
Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Lubbock (TX), Metro Washington DC, Northern California, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle.
The ARCS Foundation is dedicated to helping meet our country's need for scientists and engineers by providing scholarships to academically outstanding students who are United States citizens in need of financial assistance to complete their higher education. The Foundation thus contributes not only to the advancement of science, but also to the material and intellectual welfare of all people.
Total support nationwide: Over $21 million.
What is ARCS Honolulu Chapter?
ARCS Honolulu Chapter was founded 24 years ago, and has 100 members, all women. The chapter raises funds year-round to provide scholarships of $5,000 each for University of Hawai'i graduate students in science and engineering.
Since 1974, ARCS Honolulu Chapter has awarded over $1 million to nearly 500 students studying at UH in the fields of Medicine, Civil & Mechanical Engineering, Oceanography, Zoology, Geology & Geophysics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Entomology, Conservation Biology, Physics and Astronomy. Honolulu Chapter honorees for 1999 are identified in the preceding release.