Potential game-changing research from three University of Hawaiʻi professors were highlighted at the UH Tech Showcase held on October 18 at the Bankers’ Club at First Hawaiian Center. Presentations from the fields of oceanography, tropical medicine and tropical agriculture were made to an invitation-only audience of more than 30 local investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders.
“These are three examples of the world-class research being continuously conducted at the University of Hawaiʻi that seek and engage the major issues facing us today,” said UH Vice President for Research and Innovation Vassilis L. Syrmos. “Through vehicles like this showcase, we hope to develop and strengthen community awareness and investment in the Hawaiʻi Innovation Initiative and its goal to help diversify the state’s economy through the creation of a thriving innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem based on UH research.”
Revolutionizing climate and ocean change research sensors
Associate Professor Brian Glazer of the UH Mānoa Department of Oceanography showcased his work on oceanographic technological innovations and solutions, which are low-cost, do-it-yourself embedded system sensors that would replace expensive and overly complex commercial sensors and equipment in his field. Glazer’s research could revolutionize the monitoring of environmental factors pertinent to climate and ocean change research by making sensors readily available, affordable and accurate.
Monitoring Zika virus infection
Professor Wei-Kung Wang described his development of a superior serodiagnostic assay capable of specifically identifying Zika virus infections from other related viruses. As microcephaly has become an international concern, Wang’s procedure can monitor the Zika virus infection during pregnancy for at-risk mothers. Wang is with the of the John A. Burns School of Medicine’s Department of Tropical Medicine.
Developing insecticides for specific pests
Professor Qing Li of the UH Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources highlighted his research on monoterpenoids from select essential oils for toxicity effects on agricultural, storage and household pests. His acquired data from testing compounds alone, in combination and at different concentrations and formulations, could be useful in the development of insecticides for specific pests.
The annual event, sponsored by the UH Office of Technology Transfer, the UH Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation and the UH Mānoa College of Engineering, was created to increase the awareness of UH’s cutting-edge research and is a component of UH’s efforts under the Hawaiʻi Innovation Initiative.