Welcome to the Pacific Biosciences Research Center (PBRC) of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa!
Since its designation as an Organized Research Unit by the University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents in 1960, PBRC has engaged in leading biological research that has focused on marine sciences, neurobiology, ecology, evolutionary and developmental biology, conservation and sustainability science. These research activities have also enabled PBRC’s researchers to provide intensive laboratory training of undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students in these relevant areas. Research training opportunities have been afforded to Native Hawaiian and Pacific Island students and PBRC’s research expertise has allowed its faculty to interact with Hawaiʻi’s local and the Pacific Island communities on environmental and conservation issues of local and regional importance.
For PBRC, 2013 was an especially significant year that marked a major turning point. Given the charge by the then relatively new Chancellor Tom Apple, PBRC’s faculty and select staff produced an impressive 166-page Self Study Report on its research, training and outreach activities. The Self Study can be viewed on our website here. This document and a site visit by a panel of extramural reviewers in June 2013 served as the basis for an external review of PBRC. I am very pleased to report that the outcome of the panels’ evaluation was highly positive. The panel noted PBRC’s impressive accomplishments in research, research training, and outreach, all of which pointed to a promising future. This much-desired outcome led Chancellor Apple and Interim Vice Chancellor for Research Brian Taylor to decide to maintain PBRC and its associated off-campus Kewalo Marine Laboratory as an active ORU, and to support PBRC as it moves forward in the future.
The year 2013 also saw the initiation of the first search for a new tenure-track faculty member in ten years. This effort culminated successfully in the hiring of Dr. Joanne Yew from the Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory of the National University of Singapore. Dr. Yew will begin to set up her laboratory located in the PBRC/Békésy building on the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa campus in the Spring of 2015. Joanne is returning home to Honolulu after a long tenure on the US mainland, Europe, and Singapore. We welcome her to the PBRC ʻohana and look forward to fruitful and exciting research and training collaborations in the future. A search for a new permanent Director of PBRC will commence soon. Dr. Andrew Rossiter, Director of the Waikīkī Aquarium, will lead this effort, which will be conducted through VC Taylor’s office with the aid of PBRC’s faculty and staff. It is expected that this effort will conclude in the fall of this year.
Strong research training and diverse community outreach activities, which have long been hallmarks of PBRC, continue unabated. These activities provide outstanding training experiences for both undergraduate and graduate students at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and PBRC’s expertise in marine and land ecosystem management continue to be a valuable resource to a wide-variety of Hawaiʻi’s community organizations.
Although there is much work to accomplish in the upcoming years, PBRC has a bright and promising future as a vibrant and leading bioscience research element of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa! Stay tuned for more exciting developments in the evolution of PBRC as they unfold in the future!
Alan F. Lau, Ph.D.
PBRC Interim Director