UH Med Now

Hawaiʻi Neuroscience Research Summer Internship underscores the importance of teamwork

Date: September 5th, 2018 in Collaboration, External News, JABSOM News    Print or PDF

The HPN summer graduation photo

Pictured: Interns, faculty, mentors, poster judges and keynote speakers at the graduation for the 2018 summer internship.

By Deborah Manog Dimaya, UH Med Now

The Hawaiʻi Neuroscience Research Summer Internship Program creates an extraordinary learning opportunity for some of Hawaiʻi’s brightest  young minds. Not only do the kamaʻāina interns get to work alongside some of the state’s top researchers at the Hawaiʻi Pacific Neuroscience (HPN) Clinical Research Center, but they also team up in small groups to work on capstone research projects.

What’s especially unique about this program is that the interns range from undergraduate and graduate college students, medical students, residents and exceptional high school students.

This synergy between the neuroscientists and the interns, Dwayne Manzanillo says, was a novel concept for him, but one he prefers.

“Why compete? Why not collaborate?” said Manzanillo, an intern from UH Mānoa. He adds, “I learned the importance of collaboration, setting aside our varying points of view and finding the balance between work life and social life.”

During the eight weeks, the interns were also exposed to clinical work and spent time with patients face-to-face.

“I now see research as not just a science-centered career but as a people-centered one too,” said Daniel Omura, an intern from Wheaton College.

Dr. Kore Kai Liow, HPN Director and Principal Investigator, says that the program’s goal is for the students to discover the potential in neuroscience and “what a great difference it can make for somebody with Alzheimer’s, with Parkinson’s, or with stroke or with seizures.” He adds, “and show them what research can do to help the lives of patients with neurological disorders.”

(One of the projects the students worked on is currently recruiting family members of those with Alzheimer’s Disease to see if they qualify for a potential Alzheimer’s Prevention Study. For more information call 808-564-6141 or email study@hawaiineuroscience.com).

This year’s 27 interns are currently studying at educational institutions across the nation, including the University of  Hawaiʻi (UH) at Mānoa, the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine, John Hopkins University and UC Berkeley.

2018 Summer Internship Program Graduation
At the end of the program, the interns present their findings to a panel of faculty judges, which was headed this year by Jason Viereck, MD, PhD, Neurology.

The 2018 Hawaiʻi Neuroscience Research Poster of the Year went to “Hypertension as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease: A Bivariate Logistic Regression of Patient Demographics in Hawaiʻi,” presented by Tamara Ohta, Geetika Patwardhan, Daniel Omura, Sheaffer Rafto, Raelynn Chu and Ann-Janin Bacani. Their research was based on their work at the Memory Disorders Center.

Tamara Ohta served as team leader (fourth from the left) of the winning poster group.

Meanwhile, the study “Presentation of Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures in Hawaii’s Ethnoculturally Diverse Patients” has been accepted for national presentation at the 2018 American Epilepsy Society Meeting in New Orleans, LA. The work of Richard Ho, Jasen Ocol, Carol Lu, Shelby Dolim; Michael Yang, DO; Alexander Kaplan, MD, MPH; Christopher Wilson, DO and Eric Lee was done at the Video-EEG Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) and Comprehensive Epilepsy Center.


About Hawai’i Pacific Neuroscience
Hawaiʻi Pacific Neuroscience is one of the leading and largest providers of neuroscience care in the state of Hawaiʻi. HPN’s mission is to give back, to mentor, to guide and to nurture others in the community. HPN is involved in groundbreaking research and clinical trials the state of the art Clinical Research Center (808-564-6141), delivering the most advanced neurological care and research treatment to patients in a compassionate setting. HPN also serves as a teaching site to residents, medical students as well as students pursuing their bachelor’s, graduate and post-doctorate degrees. HPN has campuses in Honolulu at St. Francis Liliha and in Windward next to Adventist Health Castle.
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First-year med student’s dementia study places first at 2017 Hawaiʻi NEURO event

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