Welcome to the UH Hilo Biology Department

Biology is one of the largest departments at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo with faculty expertise encompassing the disciplines of physiology, microbiology, molecular and population genetics, biostatistics, evolution, cell biology, botany, mycology, tropical forest ecology, conservation biology, marine ecology, and ichthyology. (About the Biology Department…)

News and Events

Biology's 2008 “Outstanding Senior Biology Major,” Melissa Johnson, publishes her M.S. research results

November 2015

Melissa Johnson, UH Hilo Biology Department alumna and "Outstanding Senior Biology Major 2008" has just published her first peer-reviewed, lead-author paper, "Postzygotic barriers isolate sympatric species of Cyrtandra (Gesneriaceae) in Hawaiian montane forest understories." The paper, which was coauthored by members of the Departments of Biology and Geography, is highlighted as an "Editor's choice" article in the November 2015 issue of the American Journal of Botany. The paper results from her M.S. thesis in UH Hilo's TCBES Graduate Program, which she defended in 2011. Currently, Melissa is continuing her studies on Cyrtandra as a Ph.D. candidate at Claremont Graduate University.


Biology senior Merritt Burch just returned from her NSF funded REU internship at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln

August 2015

Biology senior Merritt Burch just returned from her NSF funded REU internship at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln where she studied snRNA processing and miRNA regulation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Burch helped identify mutants defective in pollen and embryo development and showed the critical importance of C-terminal domain processing of snRNAs in the plant's development.

Burch in lab

Burch conference

UH Hilo's Student, Gary Sur, presents his research on Hawaiian Metrosideros at the BOTANY 2015 Conference

July 2015

Spring Biology graduate, Gary Sur, presented his research on Leaf Micromorphological Variation in HawaiianMetrosiderosat "Botany 2015" in Edmonton, Alberta, in July. Gary was one of just 12 undergraduates selected from across the country to participate in the Botanical Society of America's PLANTS program this year. He will continue research as a TCBES student this fall. Go Gary!



Biology alumni Megan Araujo and Mike Brigoli accepted into JABSOM

May 2015

Megan Araujo and Michael Brigoli, UH Hilo Biology Alumni, have been recently accepted into John A. Burns School of Medicine (U of Hawaii). Both will begin their pathway to medicine in Fall 2015. Megan graduated with a 4.0 GPA and received a BS in Biology this past Fall (2014). Mike was a returning student that put aside his firefighter career to achieve his life long go of becoming a physician. Congratulations to both of you!


Brandi Antonio and Chris Yakym take home 1st place prizes in Microbiology

April 2015

Brandi is an undergraduate senior Biology student that has been working in Dr.Awaya's lab for the past year. She attended the Biomedical Sciences and Health Disparities Symposium on April 17 at UH Manoa and received 1st prize in the Undergraduate Student Division. Her research is titled, "Characterization of a Novel Microbe in Iotrochota protea via Secondary Metabolite Production and Antimicrobial Activity". Brandi will be graduating this Spring and attending Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate program this Fall. Chris Yakym, a TCBES graduate student, received 1st prize in the MS category at the annual American Society of Microbiology Hawaii Chapter symposium on April 25th on Oahu. His research is titled, "Microbial Diversity Associated with Two Hawaiian Drosophila, D.sproati and D.ochracea,and their Host Plants,Cheirodendrontrigynum and Freycinetia arborea".


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