Honolulu Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation selects three JABSOM student researchers for awards in medicine

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The Honolulu Chapter of the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation, Inc. is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that provides financial support to outstanding University of Hawai‘i (UH) students pursuing graduate studies and conducting research in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health.

ARCS are awarded to Ph.D. level graduate students who excel in their research and education.  This year, 20 ARCS awards were awarded to UH Mānoa graduate students.

Three ARCS awards were awarded to JABSOM graduate students and each student was awarded $5000. Additionally, one of the JABSOM graduate students was awarded the ARCS Scholar of Year Award for overall best presentation for an additional $1000. These funds are to support the academic endeavors of the students.      

Nicholas Kawasaki was awarded the 2022 Guy Moulton Yates ARCS Award in Medicine and the ARCS Scholar of the Year Award. Kawasaki is studying to obtain a PhD in the JABSOM Developmental and Reproductive Biology Graduate Program. Kawasaki’s research is on understanding local injury models for cells, mirroring the conditions of a heart attack in an ex vivo setting, and creating a 3D rendering of a heart affected by a heart attack using magnetic resonance imaging. A successful study in this project will provide new diagnostic methods and therapeutic approaches to prevent heart failure and heart attack. Advising Kawasaki is Takashi Matsui, MD, PhD, chair and professor of the JABSOM Anatomy, Biochemistry, and Physiology department. Kawasaki plans to complete his PhD and pursue a career in medicine and continue to study cardiovascular health. His goal is to understand the relationship between ferroptosis (a newly discovered type of iron-dependent cell death) and the cell death propagation pattern that exists after a heart attack.

Aneesa R. Golshan was awarded the 2022 Kai Bowden ARCS Award in Medicine. Golshan is studying to obtain a PhD in the JABSOM Tropical Medicine Graduate Program. Golshan’s research examines how iron oxide nanoparticles can be used as vaccine delivery vehicles with adjuvant-like properties to increase the immunogenicity of highly-engineered vaccines. Iron oxide nanoparticles increase vaccine immunogenicity by stimulating dendritic cells, a type of immune cell whose activation is vital for a successful immune response to a pathogen or vaccine. This research will aid in the timely development of vaccines that are both effective and safe for those who have underlying immune conditions, such as pregnant women, young children, the elderly, or individuals with immune disorders. Golshan’s advisor is malaria vaccine researcher George Hui, PhD of the JABSOM Tropical Medicine and Medical Microbiology Department. 

Katie Lee was awarded the 2022 George Orton and Mona Marie Elmore ARCS Award in Medicine. Lee is pursuing her Ph.D. in the Cell and Molecular Biology graduate program. She  has previously earned a UH Mānoa Regents Scholarship for high school graduation and won the American Chemical Society Organic Chemistry Award in 2018. Lee’s research is on isozymes switching after a heart attack. This may have profound effects on maintaining energy production in an injured and hypoxic environment. Dr. Ralph V. Shohet is Lee’s advisor, a renowned cardiologist and director of the Center for Cardiovascular Research. Lee has co-authored two peer-reviewed publications with Dr. Shohet. She says her education and career objective is to make a novel discovery that will shape the way we treat disease with a focus in treating metabolic diseases as her passion.