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Pioneering microbiome science aims for breakthroughs at UH center

A national center of excellence at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is doing much more than groundbreaking biomedical research. The Integrative Center for Environmental Microbiomes and Human Health (ICEMHH) is building infrastructure and capacity to better Hawaiʻi’s human, environmental and economic health.

“We’re designated a center of excellence for microbiome research. It means that people are really looking to Hawaiʻi to make the next vanguard discoveries in this field,” said Principal Investigator Anthony Amend, a professor with the Pacific Biosciences Research Center. “We’re making incredible discoveries about microbiomes—symbiotic microbes, things like bacteria, fungi, viruses that are inside living hosts, including us—and this underpins life on Earth as we know it.”

Utilizing two grants from the National Institutes of Health Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) totaling more than $21 million, ICEMHH has also developed three state-of-the-art “cores”—an insectary, a microbial genomics laboratory and a microscopy imaging center—for cross-disciplinary public impact research beyond how microbiomes impact human health.

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