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Angel Yanagihara

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researcher Angel Yanagihara has been selected as a Fulbright Specialist by the J. William Fulbright Council for International Exchange of Scholars. Yanagihara is an assistant research professor at the John A. Burns School of Medicine and the Békésy Laboratory of Neurobiology in the Pacific Biosciences Research Center.

Her expertise and innovative technologies were specifically sought in a newly approved Fulbright project proposed by researchers at the National University of Ireland in Galway.

Said Yanagihara, “I first met the National University of Ireland Galway research faculty member and fisheries researchers after they requested that I be invited to participate in a Canadian Broadcasting Channel and BBC documentary titled Jellyfish Rule.”

“We actually did some novel experiments at that time under the auspices and with the funding support of the two broadcast networks. This research project is an outcome of that pilot work,” she said.

Angel Yanagihara in Cork, Ireland. (photo credit: Michael O’Donoghue)

Taking her jellyfish expertise to Ireland

Yanagihara will travel to Ireland again to work with faculty and students on research efforts aimed at addressing dangerous stings of the lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata). Increasing numbers of lion’s mane jellyfish in Dublin Bay have led to beach closures and have been linked to serious Irukandji syndrome symptoms in swimmers.

Yanagihara will also test innovative new approaches to prevent salmon deaths in offshore fisheries following exposure to massive jellyfish blooms.

“There is a critical need to mitigate the negative economic and public health impacts of increasing numbers and frequencies of jellyfish blooms in coastal zones of Ireland. I look forward to sharing the expertise and break through technologies I developed at the University of Hawaiʻi, in collaborative efforts to address the serious impacts of jellyfish blooms,” she said.

As a Fulbright Specialist, Yanagihara will be considered for additional future overseas assignments that require her unique expertise during the next five years.

UH News video on Yanagihara’s research

New experiments determine effective treatments for box jelly stings, January 19, 2016

Box jellyfish research breakthrough by Mānoa biochemist, December 12, 2012

More on the Fulbright program

As the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, the Fulbright Specialists Program is designed to support highly qualified U.S. faculty and professionals with expertise in specific disciplines. They engage in collaborative projects that focus on unmet needs and challenges, and build and strengthen capacity in curriculum and faculty development at institutions of higher education in more than 100 countries.

—By Tina Shelton

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