UOG Faculty Share Cutting-Edge Genetic Research Approaches in Hong Kong


University of Guam Marine Laboratory (UOGML) faculty and Guam Ecosystems Collaboratorium (GEC) Researchers, Dr. Sarah Lemer and Dr. David Combosch recently presented at the University of Hong Kong’s Swire Institute of Marine Science about their ongoing efforts to characterize the bleaching resilience of Guam’s reef corals. 

hgk sl dc

Held on October 16, 2017 and organized by Dr. Dave Baker at the University of Hong Kong’s School of Biological Sciences, the special guest seminar focused on Drs. Combosch and Lemer’s participation in the GEC and their scientific approaches to exploring the complex question of coral resiliency to environmental stress. Drs. Combosch and Lemer discussed their approach of implementing a combination of research strategies that includes fieldwork, molecular species differentiation, phylogenomics, population genomics, and experimental gene expression assays.
“We’re using cutting-edge genomic tools and we’re asking questions that have not been asked here before,” said Dr. Lemer. “With our newly implemented genomic facility, we are now able to do everything on island, from sample collection, data generation and analyses. Also, we enable students and our colleagues at the UOG Marine Laboratory to use those tools and approaches for their own work.”

“The questions that we’re asking are highly relevant and urgently required for local conservation and management,” said Dr. Combosch. “For example, we study the dispersal scales of marine organisms, which has important implications for the resilience of local populations and ecosystems and their ability to recover after disturbances, which is fundamental for an informed design of marine protected areas.”

The GEC was formed in 2015 in the aftermath of the island experiencing its largest coral bleaching event in 2013. At the time researchers had noted a difference in bleaching susceptibility among the affected coral species and populations. Today GEC Researchers seek to understand what accounts for the differences observed by studying the genetics of coral species around Guam. This insight will inform local, regional, and global conservation efforts and coral research and is made possible through the University of Guam’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program, a $6 million grant award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

UOG Students and Faculty Attend Nation’s Largest Multi-Cultural Science Conference

uog at sacnas 2017
uog at sacnas 2017 banner
UOG delegation of students and faculty at 2017 SACNAS-The National Diversity in STEM Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah along with SACNAS Executive Director Dr. Antonia Franco (center left) and SACNAS President Dr. Lino Gonzalez (center right)

University of Guam students and faculty returned this week from 2017 SACNAS – The National Diversity in STEM Conference, one of the largest and most diverse gatherings in the U.S. for underrepresented minority students and professionals in fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The 44th annual conference hosted by the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) was attended by nearly 4,000 students and professionals from October 19-21 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

uog student j casila sacnas 2017

Joseph Casila, a UOG undergraduate student in the College of Natural & Applied Sciences (pictured right with his winning scientific poster), plans to pursue a doctoral degree in biomedical engineering. Casila won an award for the best research poster in the Life sciences/Genetics category. He said, “winning at the SACNAS conference was confirmation that my training at UOG is preparing me for a successful career in science.” He added that the conference, “had endless resources and people willing to reach out and help you succeed.”

UOG was recognized at the conference for establishing one of the newest SACNAS Chapters to bring science to local communities through educational outreach events and scientific symposia year-round. UOG SACNAS Chapter Advisor, Dr. Austin Shelton, said “exposing and connecting our students to a national network of leading scientific organizations and mentors opens a wide door to STEM opportunities.” Dr. Shelton shared that the students represented Guam well, and, “they came away with an understanding of what it takes to get doctoral degrees and to eventually become leaders in science and technology careers.”    

Travel funding for the UOG delegation of 11 attendees was provided by the National Science Foundation-funded Guam Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) at UOG, the UOG College of Natural & Applied Sciences, SACNAS, the Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard, and University of Hawaii Hilo PIPES. 

Guam EPSCoR’s Guam Ecosystems Collaboratorium Seed Funding

p2210123 t2 10ma

For: Guam EPSCoR’s Guam Ecosystems Collaboratorium Seed Funding

Submission Deadline: November 5, 2017
 Guam EPSCoR’s Guam Ecosystems Collaboratorium is seeking proposals from junior and newly recruited research faculty for seed funding opportunities for 2017-2018. Guam EPSCoR seed funding will include experimental project costs for collaborative projects in the areas of oceanography, coral genetics, bioinformatics, genomics, and Integrated Digitized Biocollections (iDigBio), and can include support for travel for training or support that is directly linked to the implementation of research and/or advancing the competitive nature of proposed EPSCoR goals. Funding for travel to scientific meetings is acceptable if the researcher is presenting EPSCoR related research. Competitive seed funding proposals should outline how the proposed work clearly advances the research areas listed above as it is related to Guam EPSCoR strategic goals.

Multiple seed funding awards of up to $10,000 will be awarded to researchers that have submitted a proposal in areas related to Guam EPSCoR research goals. Successful proposals will be selected based on the research quality and on the demonstrated potential to achieve significant results that lead to peer reviewed publications and future grant proposals. Funded proposals are expected to be completed by July 1, 2017, unless otherwise noted or advised. 

Applicants should submit a one page proposal, timeline for planning and research, and budget breakdown no later than November 5, 2017. 
Proposals should be submitted to guamepscor@gmail.com.

For more information you may visit www.guamepscor.uog.edu or contact:

Dr. Terry Donaldson, Guam EPSCoR PI/PD

Mellani Lubuag, Guam EPSCoR Program Manager

Alisha Gill Thesis Proposal

alisha gill thesis proposal flyer
alisha gill thesis proposal flyer

Alisha Gill


Alisha’s study will consider differential rates of egg predation from and courtship interruption by planktivirous damselfishes. Damselfish densities are greater at the spawning aggregation site compared to the haremic mating sites because of fish feeding by snorkelers and divers, so egg predation rates and reproductive success are expected to differ. Possible compensation at spawning aggregation sites because of increased mating opportunities may offset egg loss and courtship interruption effects.

National Science Foundation Awards University of Guam $300K

2017 uog grow 1200
includes banner 900 0

The University of Guam (UOG) was awarded $299,976 from the National Science Foundation to conduct the NSF INCLUDES Launch Pilot project, GROWING STEM. The project will address the grand challenge of increasing Native Pacific Islander representation in the nation’s STEM enterprise, particularly in environmental sciences. Culturally-relevant and place-based research will be used as the framework to attract, engage, and retain Native Pacific Islander students in STEM disciplines. The full science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) pathway will be addressed from K-12 to graduate studies with partnerships that include the Guam Department of Education, Humåtak Community Foundation, the Pacific Post-Secondary Education Council, the Guam Science and Discovery Society, the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. 

photo 2 uog grow john peterson 2

The GROWING STEM project will be led by the UOG Center for Island Sustainability, UOG Sea Grant Program and the Guam EPSCoR Program. Dr. John Peterson (pictured left), Dr. Austin Shelton, Else Demeulenaere and Dr. Cheryl Sangueza will serve as lead investigators. Pilot activities include summer internships for high school students, undergraduate and graduate research opportunities through UOG’s GROW Plant Nursery and the Humåtak Community Foundation Heritage House. STEM professional development activities will be offered through conference participation and student research presentations in venues such as the Guam Island Wide Science Fair, UOG Island Sustainability Conference and the SACNAS National Conference. UOG School of Education Faculty and UOG TRiO Programs will lead the development of a mentoring protocol for the project participants. Community outreach activities will expand public understanding in environmental sciences from the GROWING STEM project. 

“This grant is a great example of the University of Guam’s impact on our island and its important role in developing future local professionals and problem solvers.”

UOG President Robert Underwood

“We have an exciting opportunity to put our local students on a pathway to attain doctoral degrees in science. Everything is centered around practical scientific research experiences aimed at improving the health of our land and ocean.”

Dr. Austin Shelton, co-Principal Investigator

Hita I Hanom

hita e vite 01
hita e vite 01

Join Guam EPSCoR at the Chasing Coral Mini Expo at 2PM on Saturday, September 9th at the Guam Museum

This event will include the Chasing Coral film viewing (2PM), a panel discussion (3:40PM), and exhibits by participating organizations and programs (4:00PM) including the Guam Department of Agriculture (DAWR), Guam Community Coral Reef Monitoring Program, UOG Sea Grant, Micronesia Conservation Coalition, the Center for Island Sustainbility and the University of Guam Marine Laboratory.

For more information contact Dr. Austin Shelton at shelton@triton.uog.edu.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

nsf logo transparent

NSF EPSCoR is hosting webinars for those interested in learning more about the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). Please join us for one of these informative sessions by clicking a link in the table below and calling in. 

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program provides a prestigious award that supports research-oriented students in a wide range of STEM and social science fields during graduate school. This webinar will provide an overview of the GRFP and program updates for the FY 2018 competition (incl. deadlines, application and review processes) and other program activities. 

The intended audience is students, faculty and university administrators. No registration necessary. For more GRFP information visit www.nsfgrfp.org. Login instructions for the webinars are below.

Date (Guam)Time (Guam)Direct LinkAccess Code
Tuesday, August 29, 20171:00 am ChSThttp://tinyurl.com/yboy2rdy743 986 952
Wednesday, August 30, 20174:00 am ChSThttp://tinyurl.com/ybg7pwd7748 804 468
Friday, September 1, 20173:00 am ChSThttp://tinyurl.com/ycouj77c743 306 800
Note: This virtual meeting/webinar will consist of both an audio portion via teleconference and a visual component via WebEx. In addition to a computer connection for the visual part of the meeting, you will need a separate phone connection to participate in the teleconference.

Audio Component – Teleconference

Direct Call-in Number:    1-415-655-0002 (Use Access Code from table above to connect to your meeting) 

The meeting will be open 15 minutes prior to the start time for you to login/call-in. You are encouraged to login/call-in early to ensure connectivity.

Visual Component – WebEx

To join the meeting directly through WebEx:

  1. Click the link (above) for the meeting you are attending.
  2. When requested, enter your name and email address.
  3. Click “Join.” 
  4. You are now in the “web” portion of the webinar.

WebEx will automatically setup Meeting Manager the first time you join a meeting using WebEx. To save time, we strongly encourage you to setup prior to the meeting to ensure connectivity. To set up the meeting manager, click this link: https://nsf.webex.com/nsf/meetingcenter/mcsetup.php.

If you cannot access the direct login link for the webinar, you can still login through WebEx.

To join the online meeting through the WebEx Website:

  1. Click NSF WebEx link: https://nsf.webex.com.
  2. Enter the WebEx Meeting ID (Access Code from the table above), then click “Join Meeting.” 
  3. When requested, enter your name and email address and passcode; it is EPSCoR17!4. Click “Join”

Administrative Support

If you have any questions about WebEx meeting access, please contactLiz Lawrence at least 24 hours prior to the webinar (Email: elawrenc@nsf.gov; Phone: 703-292-8997)

For Technical Assistance

  1. Go to https://nsf.webex.com/nsf/mc.
  2. On the left navigation bar, click “Support”.

The playback of UCF (Universal Communications Format) rich media files requires appropriate players. To view this type of rich media file in the meeting, please check whether you have the players installed on your computer by going to https://nsf.webex.com/nsf/systemdiagnosis.php

Skip to content