College of Pharmacy, Marine Science team up to produce winning senior thesis

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Date: Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

A University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo student has won a best senior thesis award for her research on Hawaiian macro algae, or seaweed, conducted with faculty from the College of Pharmacy and Department of Marine Science.

Ellen Kromkowski Posner, from Suttons Bay, Michigan, was awarded the Michelle Hayes Outstanding Senior Thesis Research Award for 2011 presented by MARE. Her winning thesis is entitled, “In vitro antioxidant activities of 30 species of Hawaiian macro algae using the FRAP assay.” A final research paper is currently in production.

Her research was conducted with Dr. Karla McDermid Smith, professor of marine science, Dovi Kelman, post-doctoral research associate in pharmaceutical sciences and Dr. Anthony D. Wright, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences.

“Students graduating from programs like marine science are potential future Pharm.D. students or applicants to our new Ph.D. program, so we’re pleased to give them the experience of working in our laboratories,” Wright said. “Many discoveries that come from the ocean have the potential for application in the pharmaceutical industry. It is a natural collaboration and we’re excited to lead the effort.”

Instructors for the MARE thesis course were Department Chair Dr. Marta deMaintenon and Assistant Professor Dr. Jason Adolf.

“Marine natural products, and the broader field of marine biotechnology, are important and growing fields of marine science in which many of our students are interested,” Adolf said. “Collaborations between MARE and Pharmacy will give them flexibility to explore it.”

Kromkowski Posner graduated this year with a bachelor’s degree in marine science and will be a leader this summer at a children’s nature camp in Waimea focusing on teaching basic science concepts and respect for the Earth, including native Hawaiian flora and fauna.

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