lauryn liao
Lauryn Liao

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa fourth-year honors student Lauryn Liao was recognized for her vital research on melanoma at the UH Cancer Center, earning her the Douglas S. Yamamura Scholarship from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

Established with an endowment from the estate of Paul T. Yamamura, the scholarship is granted to extraordinary undergraduate students in any field of study who are involved in research and creative work.

Liao, a molecular biosciences and biotechnology major, will use the scholarship to further fund her research to complete her honors thesis. Under the mentorship of Interim Director Joe W. Ramos of the UH Cancer Center, she has identified a new protein that is important in melanoma development. She is determining if it can be useful in the development of new treatments or diagnostics to improve survival from the most aggressive forms of this cancer.

“When I saw the email, I jumped out of my seat with excitement! I feel very grateful to receive this honor and scholarship,” said Liao. “It is a humbling reflection of all the hard work and long days I have put into my research project thus far. My dream is to become a physician-scientist, and I feel like I am one step closer to achieving that.”

“Lauryn is a fantastic UH undergraduate student who has been doing important research at the cancer center for more than a year,” said Ramos. “She started in our summer research internship where she identified potential new mechanisms involved in melanoma development and progression using bioinformatics resources. This award allows her to continue that work. We congratulate Lauryn and look forward to more great work from her here at the cancer center!”

This recognition is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Enhancing Student Success (PDF) and Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF), two of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.