Twelve University of Hawaii Doctoral Students Receive Awards from ARCS-Honolulu

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    BY CYNTHIA HUNTER – Shogo John Miyagi, a student in the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine was named the 2010 Scholar of the Year by the Honolulu chapter of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation for his work on liver disease in children.

    Accumulation of hepatic fat occurs in 10 percent of children worldwide and can lead to liver inflammation, cirrhosis and death. Miyagi hopes his work can help in designing strategies for managing, curing or reversing damage caused by pediatric non-alcholic steatohepatitis.


    A PhD candidate in the Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology, he received the ARCS-Honolulu Ellen M. Koenig Award in Medicine. Eleven other UH doctoral students received 2010 ARCS-Honolulu awards, which provide $5,000 each for use in furthering their research. The recipients are:

    Tiffany Anderson, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, received the ARCS Award in Geology and Geophysics. Analyzing surveys to quantify shoreline recovery after storm-caused erosion, the Kaua‘i native and UH Hilo graduate has identified a persistent component that may influence long-term impact.

    James Baker, College of Engineering, received the Bretzlaff Foundaiton Award in Engineering. The decorated Marine Corps veteran and licensed amateur radio operator is working on a compact high frequency antenna for use with surface wave radar in the Hawai‘i Center for Advanced Communications.

    Brendan P. Bowler, Institute for Astronomy, received the Columbia Communications Award in Astronomy. Using direct imaging to search for giant planets around nearby low-mass stars—the first survey in this range. His observations of the frequency of giant planets around high-mass stars challenge current models of planet formation.

    Lukasz Grabarek, College of Natural Sciences, received the Doris and Robert Pulley Award in Mathematics. His work in complex analysis describes a new class of non-linear operators that preserve the reality of zeros. The multi-lingual Poland native aims to describe non-linear rearrangements of coefficients and to study the non-linear operators that define them.

    Jeremy M. Kowalczyk, College of Natural Sciences, received the Doris and Robert Pulley Award in Physics. A former Silicon Valley denizen, he works on novel laser optics and electron cathode improvements, using UH’s free-electron laser in solar cell manufacturing and analysis.

    Lisa A. Mandle, College of Natural Sciences, received the ARCS/Maybelle Roth Award in Conservation Biology. She has worked in projects in the United States, Madagascar and Ghana, currently focusing on the effects of wild palm leaf harvest, livestock grazing and fire on plant population dynamics and species diversity in India.

    Deborah J. Mattheus, School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, received the ARCS Award in Nursing. The mother of two and a pediatric nurse practitioner is studying whether oral health promotion visits in pediatricians’ offices can stem the epidemic of childhood caries and serious health effects that accompany it.

    Kenneth C. McKell, College of Engineering, received the ARCS Shelagh Kresser Award in Engineering. The outdoors enthusiast is merging distributed control theory (which uses algorithms to dictate the actions of agents in networks) with game theory (used in mathematics and economics to predict and describe the outcome of self-controlling entities) to design a distributed control system.

    Christopher P. Nold, College of Natural Sciences, received the Sarah Ann Martin Award in Chemistry. He is using computational studies to investigate the dehydrogenation mechanism of alane, or aluminum hydride, to assess its potential as an efficient storage material for hydrogen fuel. He spent a year in China through the International Laureate Scholars Program.

    Mark L. Stillwell, College of Natural Sciences, received the Sarah Ann Martin Award in Information and Computer Sciences. He is exploring a novel approach, called Dynamic Fractional Resource Scheduling, to share computing platforms among competing jobs, optimizing a user-centric metric of performance and fairness to share node resources in a precise and controlled manner.

    Devin Takara, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, received the Helen Jones Farrar Award in Bioengineering. He is examining Pennisetum purpureum, high-yield, fast-growing banagrass, as a dual source of ethanol for biofuel production and a juice medium for cultivating aquaculture feed.

    About ARCS–Honolulu: For 50 years, ARCS Foundation, Inc. has been dedicated to helping meet the country’s need for scientists and engineers by providing awards to academically outstanding U.S. citizens pursuing graduate education in the sciences, engineering and health. Every dollar raised by the Honolulu chapter supports students at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.