Centers & Institutes

In 2005, we opened the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the new Kaka‘ako waterfront campus with a revived dedication to biomedical research.

We are successfully building an exciting basic, clinical, and translational research capacity that will benefit from our special location, our multiethnic population, and our growing cadre of nationally recognized scientists. Our laboratories pursue investigations of local concerns, such as vog and jelly fish stings, and are part of the global search for deeper understanding, and better treatments, for the most common and devastating disorders including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia, and AIDS. We are training the next generation of researchers in our graduate programs and connecting the international efforts of scientists around the Pacific Rim as well as the globe. Our medical students, residents, and fellows benefit from having cutting-edge science in their curriculum. Our islands provide their own special resources to one of the great endeavors of humanity in this modern age – to understand the biology of human disease and develop strategies to improve human health.


research student working in the lab

Center for Cardiovascular Research

The Center for Cardiovascular Research (CCR) is a focal point for cardiovascular research in Hawaiʻi. The CCR is committed to developing tomorrow’s research leaders and educating the community. The CCR aims to enhance the understanding of cardiovascular biology and develop new treatments for disease. Research conducted by CCR investigators includes investigating heart and blood vessel diseases, developing new therapies, and studying diseases relevant in Hawaiʻi. The CCR also trains new investigators and clinicians, and offers educational opportunities to current high school teachers.

Contact: Ralph V. Shohet, MD | | (808) 692-1469

clinical skills students working with doctorsCenter for Clinical Skills

The Clinical Skills Program runs through the first and second years of the curriculum. Medical students spend one-half day each week seeing patients under the supervision of practicing physicians. Students have the opportunity to practice the skills of medical interviewing, physical diagnosis and diagnostic reasoning under the supervision of their faculty. These patient care experiences are supplemented with large group clinical skills laboratories and a number of standardized patient learning experiences. Standardized patients are volunteers recruited from throughout the community who agree to be trained to portray patients with specific medical histories or health problems. These volunteers provide medical students with the unique opportunity to practice and develop their medical interviewing and physical examination skills in a safe and supportive environment. Standardized patients are also used for testing purposes. All JABSOM students must successfully complete a number of multi-station standardized patient examinations as a graduation requirement. This attention to teaching and assessing its medical students’ skills in the art and science of communication and physical diagnosis ensures that JABSOM graduates will be caring, competent and highly-skilled physicians.

Contact: Dr. Damon Lee | | (808) 692-0941
Contact: Ms. Kelli Morikuni | | (808) 692-0963

minor honoring senior for Center for Native and Pacific Health Disparities ResearchCenter for Native and Pacific Health Disparities Research

The Center for Native and Pacific Health Disparities Research is located in the Department of Native Hawaiian Health (DNHH) at the John A. Burns School of Medicine. The Center is currently in its 12th of 15 years of continuous funding awarded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to support biomedical and behavioral research on Cardiometabolic Health Disparities in its priority populations of Native Hawaiians, Pacific Peoples, Filipinos and other Pacific-based Native Peoples (Alaska Natives, New Zealand Maori).The overall goals of the Center is to both FOCUS and COLLABORATE. This center aims to fully embrace the community in scientific studies and activities related to Metabolic Syndrome while at the same time collaborating with other Hawaiʻi health disparities research groups.

Contact: Marjorie K. Mau, MD | | (808) 692-1075

piko students and staff digging and planting rootsCenter for Pacific Innovations, Knowledge, and Opportunities (PIKO)

With funding from the Institutional Development Award Networks of Clinical and Translational Research (IDeA-CTR), the Center for Pacific Innovations, Knowledge, and Opportunities (PIKO) was established to foster the development and implementation of innovative and evidence-based clinical and translational projects aimed at improving the health of Indigenous Pacific People, defined as Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and Filipinos and other underserved populations in Hawaiʻi. The PIKO collaborative, which represents a partnership between the University of Hawaiʻi, Hawaiʻi Pacific University, Chaminade University of Honolulu, and a large statewide network of 18 practice-based organizations and other community-based organizations, will develop new and leverage existing resources to ensure real-world impact.

Contact: Keaweʻaimoku Kaholokula, PhD | and Neal Palafox, MD, MPH |

mariana Gerschenson holding specimen for diabetes researchDiabetes Research Center

The Diabetes Research Center (DRC) is a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence focused on Diabetes Mellitus (DM) and Insulin Resistance. In Hawaiʻi and the US, the prevalence of diabetes is on the rise and disproportionately affects individuals from ethnic minorities such as Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. The goal of the DRC is to foster and support both basic and clinical research in diabetes and related metabolic disorders with the ultimate purpose of translating findings into opportunities to prevent these diseases and to improve clinical care and outcomes. Our multidisciplinary Center spans departments and crosses campus borders to promote research aimed at improving the metabolic health of the people of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific region. It builds upon the strengths of Hawaiʻi’s spirit of collaboration, intrinsic ethnic and cultural diversity, and existing strengths in diabetes research; and links basic science mechanisms that underlie diabetes and aims to advance science through translational research.

Contact: Mariana Gerschenson, Ph.D. | | (808) 692-1509

jabsom student conducting laboratory research for AIDSHawaiʻi Center for AIDS

The Hawaiʻi Center for AIDS (HICFA) is an academic program in HIV with clinical, translational, and laboratory research studies in HIV and a clinic providing care to HIV infected patients. HICFA includes the Hawaiʻi AIDS Clinical Trials Unit (HACTU), 2 research laboratories – Hawaiʻi HIV Immunobiology and Vaccine Laboratory (HHIVL) and the Clint Spencer Clinic. HICFA focuses on HIV education, research and service, working together to reduce the burden of HIV infection and to find a cure for HIV. The Hawaiʻi Center for AIDS is located at the University of Hawaiʻi John A. Burns School of Medicine. HICFA is a UH Board of Regents approved Center of Excellence for HIV research, training, and care. It includes an HIV clinical trial unit, two HIV research laboratories, and an HIV medical care clinic. HICFA conducts research in HIV treatment, management, and complications, with increased focus on HIV cure and prevention research.

Contact: Cecilia M. Shikuma, MD | | (808) 692-1328

echo logoHawaiʻi IDeA Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Clinical Trials 2 (HIPACT2)

The Hawaiʻi IDeA Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Clinical Trials 2 (HIPACT2) builds upon the success of HIPACT1 and is a continuing partner in the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) IDeA States Pediatric Clinical Trials Network (ISPCTN). HIPACT2 will increase opportunities for faculty development, participate in collaborative multicenter clinical trial research, and engage underserved communities to improve health outcomes in Hawaii and across the nation.

Contact: Venkataraman Balaraman, MD |

underserved students working together on medical projectHawaiʻi and Pacific Basin Area Health Education Center

The purpose of the Hawaiʻi and Pacific Basin Area Health Education Center (AHEC) is to improve the health of the underserved through collaborative regional training initiatives across Hawaiʻi and US protectorates in the Pacific, an underserved region spanning millions of square miles of ocean with scattered and isolated island clusters. This area has some of the highest health workforce shortage ratings and greatest health and educational disparities in the US. The needs to be continually addressed include the lack of health career awareness and preparation, limited health careers training opportunities, minimal continuing education opportunities and difficulty recruiting and retaining providers. The HPB AHEC serves over 5,650 individuals per year through recruitment activities, community-based training for health professions students and providers and innovative retention activities.

Contact: Kelley Withy, MD, PhD | | (808) 692-1060

lab monitor and patients in hyperberic treatment centerHyperbaric Treatment Center

Located on the campus of Kuakini Medical Center in Honolulu, the Hyperbaric Treatment Center focuses on treatments for SCUBA divers with decompression illness, and medical patients who may benefit from hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy. HBO is the use of 100% oxygen at a pressure higher than normal atmospheric pressure. HBO enhances healing in conjunction with the other medical care a patient may be receiving. HBO is beneficial in the treatment of poorly healing wounds, including skin ulcers and some surgical wounds. HBO is effective in enhancing the healing of irradiated tissue, including soft tissues and bone. Emergency conditions treated with HBO include: arterial gas embolism, carbon monoxide poisoning, decompression sickness (bends), crush injuries, gas gangrene, and necrotizing fasciitis.

Contact: Kurk Jamison | (808) 587-3425

volunteer for an MRI researchMagnetic Resonance Core

The UH/QMC MRI Research Center is a collaboration between the University of Hawaiʻi, Queen’s Medical Center, and the greater community of the State of Hawaiʻi to explore cutting edge MRI technology to better understand diseases that effect the people of Hawai‘i as well as the world. The center is located at the Queen’s Medical Center in downtown Honolulu. It is equipped with a state-of-the-art 3T Siemens MAGNETON Prisma Scanner. For more information, please visit our website.

Contact: V. Andrew Stenger, PhD | | (808) 691-5159
Address: UH JABSOM Dept. of Medicine 1356 Lusitana Street, 7th Floor Honolulu, HI 96813

Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence ceremony decorNative Hawaiian Center of Excellence

The Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence (NHCOE) seeks to improve the healthcare status of the Hawaiian community through educational initiatives. This program trains academic faculty of Hawaiian descent, and develops programs designed to educate Hawaiʻi and Hawaiians about the richness of their medical heritage.

Contact: Winona Lee, MD | | (808) 692-1022

researchers looking for microbial threats under microscopePacific Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Research

The Pacific Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Research is a multi-disciplinary center of excellence for research on new, emerging and re-emerging microbial threats of regional concern and global importance. This center aims to develop and deploy improved rapid diagnostics, effective low-cost treatments and affordable vaccines for tropical infectious diseases, which disproportionately affect underserved ethnic minority and geographically isolated communities in the Asia-Pacific region.


Dylan and Violet at health fair for the pacific disabilities centerPacific Disabilities Center

For more than 30 years, staff at the Pacific Disabilities Center have worked to improve the lives of persons with disabilities in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific Basin. This is accomplished through research and evaluation, training, mentoring, community development, entrepreneurship, advocacy, and more. PDC identifies gaps in knowledge and unmet needs and provides the expertise, personnel and innovative ideas needed for resolution.

Contact: Violet E. Horvath, PhD | | (808) 692-1374


student working in the Institute for Biogenesis ResearchInstitute for Biogenesis Research

The major focus of the Institute for Biogenesis Research (IBR) research is reproductive and developmental biology, with an emphasis on assisted reproductive techniques (ART). IBR faculty use ART as a model to understand mammalian reproduction and development, and to develop new transgenic models for biomedical research. We also use animal models of ART to investigate and improve current ART usage in fertility clinics. Our research includes a wide range of studies from basic DNA structure to post-fertilization effects of ART on human embryonic development.

Contact: W. Steven Ward, PhD | | (808) 956-5189

simtiki3.jpgTelehealth Research Institute (TRI) and SimTiki Simulation Center

TRI is the home of SimTiki, the technology enabled learning simulation center at the John A. Burns School of Medicine. SimTiki supports excellence in simulation based education for healthcare students and professionals through teaching and operation of an academic simulation center. SimTiki promotes improvement in Teaching, Educational Research, and Training for Patient Care Best Practices. As a community resource, SimTiki serves broad training needs, ranging from High School Students through Medical Students & Residents to practicing physicians, first responders, nurses, military personnel and allied health professionals. SimTiki thrives on alliances locally, nationally, and in the Asia Pacific region. International programs are focused on faculty development and cross cultural healthcare curriculum development. TRI serves a Telehealth leadership role in the Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center.

Contact: Benjamin W Berg, MD | | (808) 692-1093