The PBRC research portfolio is determined by the interests and funding of the various faculty members. Whenever possible, PBRC research emphasizes topics that are best studied in Hawaii’s unique environments and ecosystems. Our “mountains to the sea” approach can be seen in many of the individual faculty research projects. We also strive to design research studies that address sustainability and promote the cultural heritage of Hawaii.
Nine PBRC researchers are involved with the Center for Microbiome Analysis through Island Knowledge & Investigation (C-MĀIKI). C-MĀIKI is a University-wide initiative with a mission is to perform cutting-edge microbiome research by leveraging the unique ecology, geography and cultures of Hawaiʻi to better understand and model microbiome dynamics.
Traditionally, the research at PBRC has been centered in three programs:
- Bekesy Laboratory of Neurobiology
- Center for Conservation Research and Training
- Kewalo Marine Laboratory
PBRC research is now evolving toward broader, more collaborative, themes. Current areas of research emphasis in PBRC are:
- The contributions of the microbiome to organismal physiology and population ecology (COBRE – Microbiome).
- The biochemistry and physiology of selenium (Selenium Lab).
- Precision nutrition and human health (COBRE – Precision Nutrition).
- The health and diversity of the marine environment, with particular emphasis on coral reefs (Kewalo Marine Laboratory).
PBRC faculty also work with government and non-government entities on challenges facing Hawai‘i — including conserving natural resources, developing sustainable land use practices, reducing dependence on food and energy imports, and maintaining a healthy population — by developing new approaches to translational research to solve real world problems. Some research within PBRC focuses on assessment of potential threats to human and ecosystem health, implementation of new management policies complemented with research to monitor results, and education and training of stakeholders.