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Community Forum in Chemistry, Spring 2013


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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  Frank WilliamsPromises and Pitfalls: Investigating The Future of Global Personalized Medicine

by Frank Williams, MD

1:00-2:00 pm, Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Hale ‘Imiloa 111 (view map of campus)

The future of medicine holds much promise as our understanding of the functioning of complex human biological systems increases through a diverse array of new and evolving biotechnologies.  What are these breakthrough technologies? How will human health be impacted from a global perspective? What are obstacles that lie in the path of our advancing and improving the health of humankind?

Dr. Frank Williams received his medical degree from Howard University and completed his Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. He was later certified as a Diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners and American Board of Internal Medicine.  He has served as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine with the John A. Burns School of Medicine at University of Hawaii and was later elected to the American College of Physicians.  Dr. Williams was a Certified Instructor in Advanced Cardiac Life Support with The American Heart Association for over 20 years.  Dr. Williams is a member of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, American Association for Clinical Chemistry (CASSS) an international separation science society. Dr. Williams is the Executive Editor, Writer, Producer, and Program Director of The Hawaii Institute of Molecular Education Symposiums.

picture of  Pratibha NerurkarHealing Powers of Nature

by Pratibha Nerurkar, PhD

1:00-2:00 pm, Wednesday, February 26, 2013
Hale ‘Imiloa 111 (view map of campus)

Food forms the foundation in maintaining health. “We are what we eat”. Chronic overnutrition or eating the wrong kinds of fats in excess can lead to diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and/or cardiovascular diseases. On the other hand, certain fruits and vegetables may reduce the disease burden due to their medicinal properties. At this forum, the medicinal properties of bitter melon or goya and noni to treat diabetes will be discussed.

Dr. Pratibha Nenurkar was born and raised in Mumbai, India where she completed her B.S. and M.S. in the field of biochemistry, and completed her Ph.D. (University of Bombay) in the field of oral cancer. She completed her postdoctoral training at National Institutes of Health in Washington, DC, during which she focused on how certain chemicals in the meat, specifically red meat, can cause cancer.  In 2001, she joined the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) of the University of Hawaii. Currently, an Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering, she teaches undergraduate and graduate biochemistry courses.  The overall goal of her laboratory is to assess the medicinal value of locally grown agricultural plants that will offer cost-effective interventions to prevent and/or reduce diabetes, and also generate agricultural revenues and provide economic boost for Hawaii and other nations in the circum-Pacific.

picture of Robert RichmondDr. Dolittle meets CSI on a Coral Reef

by Robert 'Bob' Richmond, PhD

1:00-2:00 pm, Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Hale ‘Imiloa 111 (view map of campus)

Coral reefs throughout the world are being degraded, resulting in ecological, economic and cultural losses. The problem with most coral reef assessment and monitoring efforts has been the inability to determine exact causes of coral reef losses at sublethal levels, when management intervention can yield positive results. Emerging technologies blended with traditional ecological knowledge can help us understand reef stress from a coral's perspective. By "listening" to corals and coral reefs, we can better guide activities to manage the human behaviors responsible for coral reef losses.

Bob Richmond is a Research Professor and Director of the University of Hawaii's Kewalo Marine Laboratory. He received a B.S. in Biology/Geology with High Distinction from the University of Rochester in 1976, an M.S. in Marine Environmental Sciences from the Marine Sciences Research Center, SUNY at Stony Brook, in 1982, a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the Dept. of Ecology and Evolution, SUNY at Stony Brook, in 1983, and a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Since then, he has spent most of his professional career studying coral reef ecosystems in both the Caribbean and the Pacific, including the Virgin Islands, the Grenadines, the Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, Japan and throughout Micronesia. He is the President of the International Society for Reef Studies, the Science Advisor to the All-Islands Committee of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force and a science advisor for the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative, and is a member of the Science and Policy Advisory Committee for the Palau International Coral Reef Center. He received an award for "Outstanding Scientific Advancement of Knowledge" from the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force in 2003, an Aldo Leopold Fellowship in Environmental Leadership in 2004, and a Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation in 2006. He works closely with community-based organizations, elected and traditional leaders, and stakeholders, and has trained over 50 Pacific Islanders in his laboratory over the years. Bob has been the P.I. or Co-P.I. on over $16 million in research grants from NSF, NIH and NOAA. His research interests include coral reef ecology, marine conservation biology, ecotoxicology, bridging science to management and policy, and the integration of traditional ecological knowledge with modern approaches to resource use and protection.


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