MHIRT program sends college scientists across the globe to conduct research

Related News Articles


The University of Hawaiʻi (UH) is working with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to increase the diversity of those in the science profession by inspiring minority college students to pursue a career in biomedical research. Every summer, the Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training (MHIRT) program based at the John A. Burns School of Medicine, sends undergraduate college students across the globe to conduct research.

The year-long MHIRT program prepares undergraduate students to spend their summer learning hands-on lab techniques and shadowing foreign mentors in laboratories abroad. Landon Negrillo, a double major in communications and biology at UH Mānoa, traveled solo to India to study the gut microbiota in HIV-infected children. He applied to the MHIRT program to determine if research was truly his “calling.”

Twelve undergraduate trainees in the 2018 MHIRT program flew to Cameroon, India, Laos, Thailand and for the first time– Liberia.

Upon their return, the trainees showcased their research theses and cultural snippets of their travels at the annual E Hoʻoulu Haumāna (“The growth of students”) presentation for their families, friends and faculty.

During the fall semester, the trainees will continue to work and analyze their results, to be presented at a symposium in the upcoming spring semester.

Principal investigator of the MHIRT program at UH Mānoa JABSOM is Dr. Vivek Nerurkar, Chair of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology. Learn more about MHIRT at

In this video, hear from Negrillo and Jasmine Padamada, one of six in the MHIRT “Team Thailand” cohort.