UH Med Now

Dr. Marla Berry honored for 15 years as CMB Chair; Takes on Precision Nutrition role

Date: December 1st, 2019 in Faculty, JABSOM News, Research    Print or PDF

Dr. Marla Berry portrait

Pictured: Dr. Marla Berry, Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology

By UH Med Now

Dr. Marla Berry of the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) has been selected to submit University of Hawaiʻi‘s next Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) application, due in January 2020. The focus is “Precision Nutrition”, formerly described as Personalized Nutrition.

“The idea is that, instead of generalized nutrition guidelines for everyone, how can health be improved when we focus on individual nutrition guidelines that take into account environment, culture, food availability, lifestyle and activity, genetics, potential food-drug interactions, and other factors,” Dr Berry explained. The COBRE grants have significant mentoring components, extending synergies with Dr. Berry’s current role as Director of the Investigator Development component of the Ola Hawaiʻi grant, on which JABSOM Dean Jerris Hedges and Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work Dean Noreen Mokuau are Principal Investigators.

Graphic Dean photographing Marla and Mahalo Cake[

Dean Hedges snaps photos as coworkers ask her to pose with a “Mahalo” cake.

Dean Jerris Hedges hosted a celebration recently for Dr. Berry and her co-workers to recognize the 15 years she served as Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB) Chair. During Dr. Berry’s term as chair, CMB retained Dr. Mariana Gerschenson, an expert in
mitochondrial mechanisms of metabolic, cardiovascular and neurological diseases, and our current Associate Dean for Research and Dr. Peter Hoffmann, Professor, whose lab is interested in revealing mechanisms by which dietary selenium influences inflammation and immunity. She worked with the previous CMB Chair Dr. Rebecca Cann in recruiting Dr. Olivier Le Saux, whose work has investigated how the ABCC6 gene encodes a transmembrane protein that influences ectopic calcifications in cardiac and vascular tissues, and who is Dr. Berry’s successor as CMB Chair. Dr. Berry also recruited Dr. Robert Nichols, a neuroscientist whose lab is investigating Alzheimer’s Disease, and who also runs the Hawaiʻi state INBRE program for undergraduates interested in research and supports junior investigators.

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