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Nhu collecting Suillus lakei in beautiful Colorado. Nhu H. Nguyen
Assistant Professor
Principle Investigator
Office: 221 Sherman Laboratory
Office Phone: 808-956-6593
Lab Phone: 808-956-2634
Email: nhu.nguyen@hawaii.edu

Graduate Students

Ishwora in the field Ishwora Dhungana
Ishwora is studying how different crop species and their root exudates contributes to modifying microbial communities in the soil. She uses high-throughput sequencing to characterize fungal and bacterial communities under these plants and uses classical cultural methods to test how quality of rhizosphere exudates influence bacterial growth.

Christopher Kim Christopher Kim
Christopher is working on symbiotic relationships between soil fungi (including mycorrhizal fungi) and bacteria, and how these symbioses impact the soil ecosystem.
Christian Fullmer Christian Fullmer
Christian will be joining the lab in the fall of 2020. He is interested in soil warming and microbial community functional changes associated with experimental warming of tropical soils.

Undergraduate Students


Sophia Lee profile photo

Sophia Lee

Sophia joined the lab in Spring 2020. Currently she is helping with various projects in the lab and learning to do research. She is interested in how root exudates interact with soil organisms.

Previous Lab Members

By order of appearance...

Raphaela Che profile photo

Raphaela Che

Raphaela joined the lab for a semester as an intern for her undergraduate program. She learned to prepare high-throughput Illimuna sequencing libraries to characterize the fungal diversity across different Hawaiian soil types and land use. Her work will contribute to our understanding of soil health. She graduated in Spring 2020 and continued onto nursing school.
Talyssa cradleing a harvest of cacao beans

Talyssa Topacio

Talyssa was a visiting summer 2019 REU student. She worked working on yeasts associated with cacao fermentation and whether the fermentation process reduces phenolics in cacao pods. Her work contributed to the understanding on how microbes might contribute to the terroir of Hawaiʻi grown chocolates. Talyssa started graduate school at UC Riverside in Fall 2019.
Cade sampling nectar from Hibiscus kokio

Cade Justad-Sandberg

Cade was a visiting summer 2019 REU student. He worked on nectar yeasts of native and non-native Hibiscus species, with a focus on characterizing native yeast species using DNA. He continued onto an internship with NASA after graduation.
Brennan Hee

Brennan Hee

Brennan worked on inventorying litter arthropods of Waimaea Valley. The microbiome from these organisms eventually was sequenced to understand the diversity of microbes in Waimea Valley.

Conor Palmer

Conor worked on developing a system for growing an edible tropical mushrooms using locally sourced substrate. He worked with various genotypes of the fungus to produce a Hawaiʻi relevant strain that maximizes production.
Steven in the field

Steven Heisey

Steven was the first graduate student in the lab. He used integrated molecular microbial and biogeochemical techniques to study the nutrient flow associated with organic and inorganic soil amendments. Steven contributed to the lab's toolbox to use network analysis to hypothesize interactions across different domains of life, and developed high-throughput sequencing primers to effectively assess nematode biodiversity in diverse Hawaiian soils. He wore a relevant lei while defending his MS Thesis. He graduated with an MS degree August 2019, and after a couple of months of working in the lab as a tech, joined the greater workforce.

Jon Abe

Jon was one of the first undergraduates to join the lab, starting March 2017 where he conducted research characterizing the diversity of rhizobia in native and non-native legumes in Hawaiʻi. He isolated and used molecular methods to identify legume-nodulating bacteria, created a culture collection, and produced a protocol to inoculate native wiliwili (Erythrina sandwicensis) seedlings. His research was partially supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) and culminated in a Senior Honors Thesis, a Senior Honors Project Award for best thesis in the natural science category, a provisional patent, and a peer-reviewed publication! Jon graduated in Spring 2020 and continued on to medical school afterwards.

Madi Miyamura

Madi joined the lab in Spring 2017 as an intern. She learned basic molecular techniques and graduated in Fall 2017. She continued onto graduate school in Botany.