R01/R21-type Projects

R01-type Projects

Social Immunoepigenetic Conditioning of Diabetes Disparities

PI:  Alika Maunakea, Ph.D.   

Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHs/PIs) experience a disproportionately higher prevalence and early onset of cardiometabolic health outcomes, including Type-2 diabetes mellitus (DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD), than other racial/ethnic groups. By using a population-based prospective study with viability preserved cells, we will have an unprecedented opportunity to examine the translational utility of epigenomic information in predicting clinically diagnosed DM, we anticipate an increase frequency of an immunoepigenetic signature predictive of DM outcomes, which would provide novel insight into the etiology of health disparities. Our goal is to advance the science of epigenomics focused on health disparities.

Monocytes and Macrophages in HIV Cardiovascular Risk

Multiple PIs: Lishomwa Ndhlovu, M.D., Ph.D., William Boisvert, Ph.D., Dominic Chow, M.D., Ph.D.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in HIV patients despite the advances in early diagnosis and treatment. HIV infections leads to a 1.5 to 2x greater increase in cardiovascular disease risk compared to non-infected populations. Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders (NHOPI) with HIV are 3x more likely to be hospitalized than Whites. Monocytes/macrophage (MO) plays an essential role in the formation of atherosclerotic plaque. We hypothesize the MO dysregulation is a critical aspect of HIV immune dysregulation responsible for the increased development of atherosclerosis in this population.

R21-type Projects

Building Strengths and Inspiring Hope among Youth and Their Communities

PI:  Deborah Goebert, Ph.D.    

Suicide death rates for indigenous Hawaiians are amongst the highest in the world for youth, taking a tremendous toll on local communities. Comprehension of local, community perspective of suicide and well-being enhances the knowledge of existing evidence that suicide determinants are valid for rural youth.  Our long-range is to integrate community wisdom with scientific methods to conduct youth suicide prevention research that mitigates health disparities and improve the wellbeing of indigenous Hawaii youth and their communities. This project will use a community engaged approach and cultural knowledge and practices to inform the selection, adaptation, development and evaluation of a viable multi-faceted youth suicide prevention strategy.

Selenium Recycling in Glucose Homeostasis

PI:  Lucia Seale, Ph.D.    

The role of selenium (Se) in metabolic disorders, particularly in type 2 diabetes (T2D), is controversial, with epidemiological studies pointing towards either a protective or deleterious role in disease incidence. Se is a micronutrient essential to life, and available as on over-the-counter dietary supplement in the USA. Our long-term objective is to understand the role of Se metabolism disorders involving glucose metabolism, specifically T2D, a health disparity that is prevalent among Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. The overall goal of this proposal is thus to investigate the role of Seclyase in glucose homeostasis.

Multiethnic Genome-Wide Association Studies and Gene-Environmental Studies of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes

PI:  Yan Yan Wu, Ph.D.    

Hawaii has the highest life expectancy at birth in the U.S.; however, health varies substantially within the State, as Native Hawaiians experience worse health outcomes, reflected by the higher prevalence of obesity, type-2 diabetes (T2D) and other chronic diseases. The prevalence of obesity and T2D for Native Hawaiians are 2.0 and 2.3 times that of Whites, respectively. This study of secondary data from a Multiethnic cohort of Diet and Cancer aims to identify genetically predisposed risk groups and modifiable behavioral risk factors among Native Hawaiians and other minority ethnic group living in Hawaii and California. The proposed study will provide a molecular basis for generating clinically useful classifications of obesity and T2D and will therefore contribute to identify new target for pharmaceutical or behavioral interventions.