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Community Forum in Chemistry, Spring 2010


Header for Community Forum in Chemistry
Windward Community College
45-720 Kea'ahala Road
Kane'ohe, Hawai‘i 96744

This project is coordinated by Leticia U. Colmenares Ph.D. Associate Professor in Chemistry - 236-9120. The forum is co-sponsored by Windward Community College and the American Chemical Society-Hawaii Section.

Picture of Amy TamHealth Effects of Pesticides

by Kazu Fujioka, Ph.D.

1:30-2:30 pm, Thursday, April 15, 2010
Hale ‘Imiloa 111 (view map of campus)

Pesticides are chemical compounds used to control insects, weeds, fungi, and other injurious pests. In 2001 alone, approximately 1203 million pounds of pesticides was used in the US. Although pesticides are strictly regulated, they can potentially affect health if inappropriately used. This presentation will focus on the toxicology and health effects of the organophosphorus and neonicotinoid insecticides.

Dr. Fujioka obtained his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry from University of California at Davis in 2005, with specialization on quantification and identification of small molecules using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS). He did his postdoctoral research at the Environmental Chemistry Toxicology Laboratory at UC Berkeley on the neurochemistry, toxicology, and metabolism of organophosphorus pesticides. In 2007, Dr. Fujioka joined Cardax Pharmaceuticals as a Research Scientist where he develops bio-analytical methods for prodrugs, performs bio-analytical/pharmacokinetic studies, and maintains analytical instrumentation.  Dr. Fujioka has authored 16 scientific publications and has more than twenty patents.

This forum is co-sponsored by Windward Community College and the American Chemical Society-Hawaii Section.

Picture of Amy TamVolcanic Air Pollution

by Dr. Elizabeth Tam

Monday, March 15, 2010, Imiloa 111 (view map of campus)

This presentation will discuss the determinants of volcanic air pollution, including emissions, humidity, wind speed and direction. It will also look into the main differences between vog, fog, smog, smoke, and bioaerosols and describe how they differ in likely health consequences.

Dr. Tam is Professor and Chair of Medicine at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine in Honolulu. She is also the interim director of the University of Hawaii Clinical Research Center, and has been PI on NIEHS and CDC funded grants on the respiratory effects of vog. Her research is on environmental and genetic interactions of asthma.
She graduated from Kalani High School, attended UH before transferring and graduating from UC Davis. She received her MD from UCSF, completed her internal medicine residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She completed her clinical and research requirements in pulmonary and critical care at the Combined Respiratory Program of Brigham and Beth Israel Hospitals in Boston, and a Parker B. Francis Research Fellowship at the Cardiovascular Research Institute and UCSF. Dr. Tam was an Assistant Professor of Medicine at UCSD before joining the faculty of John A. Burns School of Medicine, Department of Medicine.

This forum is co-sponsored by Windward Community College and the American Chemical Society-Hawaii Section.

Chemical Terrorism: Lessons Learned from a Tactical Perspective

1:30-2:30 pm
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
, Hale Imiloa 111 (view map of campus)

Stewart Taylor, Lt. Col.

How do terrorists use chemical agents to achieve their goals?  Despite the relative ease in acquiring and producing chemical agents, why are there very few successful cases of chemical terrorism?  What are some of the challenges and limitations that terrorists encounter when planning the use of chemical agents? These are only some of the questions that the presentation will attempt to address.  The presentation will also discuss (1) cases of toxic chemical releases due to negligence and their drastic effect on communities, and, (2) some of the danger that we live through everyday that terrorists could exploit.

Lieutenant Colonel Stewart Taylor’s area of interest lies in the field of Chemical, Biological, Radiation, Nuclear and Explosives (CBRN-E).  LTC Taylor has served around the world in multiple combat areas and with the Department of Defense (DOD) special response units.  His duties include being Commander of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Weapons of Mass Destruction Disablement Team (Iraq) where he was part of the Iraqi Survey Group (ISG) which conducted Sensitive Site Exploitations (SSE) on WMD facilities; Commander of the Delta Company, U.S. Army Technical Escort Unit (Washington, D.C.) which is the first response unit for national WMD incidents; Commander, 71st Chemical Company (Hawaii) - PACOM chemical defense unit; Liaison Officer for Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Afghanistan  (CJSOTF-A) to ISAF Commander and Chief of the Joint Non-Lethal Effects Section for CJSOTF-A .  LTC Taylor is a graduate of the Sam Houston State University, Texas with a degree in Civil/Industrial Engineering and is working towards his graduate degree in Homeland Security (WMD/Terrorism).

This forum is co-sponsored by Windward Community College, American Chemical Society-Hawaii Section.


Biomonitoring of Mercury in Hawaii

Wednesday, January 27, 2010, Hale Imiloa 111 (view map of campus)
1:30-2:30 pm
Barbara Brooks, Ph.D.

In Hawaii, fish is a traditional staple protein food for Native Hawaiians and an integral part of island culture. Fish is also a favorite among other Pacific Islander and Asian peoples living in Hawaii. Fish consumption is promoted by the HDOH because of its health benefits. However, several of the popular types of fish (i.e. ahi) consumed in Hawaii contain levels of mercury that may be harmful to the developing brain. To characterize mercury exposures in Hawaii, HDOH is measuring mercury in hair in women of childbearing age and young children. Biomonitoring of mercury in women and young children living in Hawaii will be discussed in this forum.

Barbara Brooks is the State Toxicologist with the Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office, Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH). She received her Ph.D. in Toxicology from Cornell University and conducted postdoctoral work in molecular biology at St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, England and the University of California, Los Angeles. She joined the HDOH in 1997. Her current focus is to enhance the environmental public health tracking of diseases related to environmental exposures. She is currently supervising two integral projects related to environmental public health tracking including surveillance using the State’s Pesticide and Heavy Metal Poisoning database and human biomonitoring for arsenic and mercury in hair.


What is the Community Forum in Chemistry?  

• Its goal is to increase learning in chemistry for all students (and community members).

• A practicing professional discusses a chemistry related topic that is relevant to everyday lives.

• During the forum audience participate by asking questions, sharing views and comments.

• Serves as a bridge between classroom and real-world applications.

Picture of people doing chemistry

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Co-sponsored by the American Chemical Society
- Hawaii Section