Campus Life


Written By Gregory Fischbach

October 14, 2022
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Alana Espinosa is one of five HPU students awarded a grant this summer.

Alana Espinosa is one of five HPU students awarded a grant this summer..

HPU’s Undergraduate Infrastructure Student Research Center (HUI SRC) has funded five student researchers at the University with $2,000 grants to better position them for the prestigious 2022 Health Research Concept Competition (HRCC) $5,000 grant that is awarded three times per year. HUI SRC’s goals are to leverage entrepreneurial research and to prepare students for graduate school, linking them into the scientific workforce.

“Every bit of investment in our students will position them better for research entrepreneurship and innovation that will positively impact our communities,” said HPU Dean of the College of Health and Society Halaevalu Vakalahi, Ph.D.

This year’s $2,000 grant winners and faculty mentors are:

  • Kailei’a Duriano; faculty mentor: Carmella Vizza, Ph.D.; project title: Determining Potential Triggers of Avian Botulism
  • Alana Espinosa; faculty mentor: Dr. Carmella Vizza, Ph.D.; project title: The Effects of Nutrient Pollution on Water Chemistry and Microbial Communities
  • Abigail Lorber; faculty mentor: Yena Kim, Ph.D.; project title: Antibody responses during HIV infection 
  • Eli Russo; faculty mentor: Yena Kim, Ph.D.; project title: A Mathematical Model of the Transmission Dynamics of Staph Infection
  • Emma Aspen Pawlowski, faculty mentor: Jessica Jacobs, Ph.D.; project title: Detection of Brucella ceti, a Zoonotic Disease, in Stranded Hawaiian Cetaceans

Congratulations to this year’s winners and best of luck in receiving the prestigious HRCC $5,000 grant. All interested HPU students are eligible to join the HUI SRC. You do not need to have a background in science or medicine. Students from all backgrounds are encouraged to join the Center.

To learn more about HUI SRC email Dean Halaevalu Vakalahi, Ph.D., at, or Blaize Soakai at

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