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Nhu collecting Suillus lakei in beautiful Colorado. Nhu H. Nguyen
Associate Professor of Soil Microbial Ecology
Principal Investigator
Office: 221 Sherman Laboratory
Office Phone: 808-956-6593
Lab Phone: 808-956-2634
Email: nhu.nguyen@hawaii.edu


Rick in the field

Ricky Lewis

Rick has a broad interest in soil microbes and soil agroecosystem function. He is developing high-throughput molecular methods to characterize soil biodiversity, and understand how different agricultural management systems soil biodiversity.

Graduate Students

Ishwora in the field

Ishwora Dhungana

Ishwora's thesis work examined how different crop species and their root exudates interacts and changes microbial communities structure and functioning in soil. Her current dissertation research is focused on Sunn hemp, a useful covercrop in the tropics. She is studying how Sunn hemp roots and their interactions with soil microbes and how these interactions change belowground ecosystem functions.

Christian Fullmer

Christian Fullmer

Chris' thesis work is looking deep into the interaction between microbe, especially fungi, that live at depth in andic soils and how these microbes interact with mineral associated soil organic matter. He uses molecular ecology and biogeochemistry methods to understand these interactions.
Karen Parada, she loves pink!

Karen Parada

Karen's dissertation work is examining the intimate interactions among fungi and bacteria across a natural to urban soil gradient. She uses various 'omics techniques to tease apart the fundamental mechanisms driving these interactions.

Undergraduate Students

Sophia Lee profile photo

Sophia Lee

Sophia is developing high-throughput methods for cultivating bacteria associated with soil fungi and characterizing them using molecular methods.
Andrew Lin profile photo

Andrew Lin

Andrew is applying traditional cultivation techniques to isolate and modern molecular methods to identify antibiotic resistant bacteria in the soil across the Waimea watershed.
Makana Ioh profile photo

Makana Ioh

Makana is applying bioassay techniques to study antibiotic resistance in soil bacteria across the Waimea watershed.

Visiting Scholars

Maya Montoya-Pimolwatana

Maya Montoya-Pimolwatana

Maya is a guest intern in the lab. She is analyzing the gut microbiomes (fungi and bacteria) of arthropods that occur across our Waimea watershed model ecosystem.

Former Lab Members

By order of appearance...

Roxanne Main profile photo

Roxanne Main

Roxanne used molecular methods to barcode the lab's mushroom collection, with a particular focus on the fungi of Hawaiʻi.
Ashlyn Takamiya profile photo

Ashlyn Takamiya

Ashlyn worked in the lab for 2 semesters as an intern for her undergraduate program. She used molecular methods to identify bacteria responsible for nitrogen mineralization in various soils in the state.
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.
Christopher Kim

Christopher Kim

Christopher explored topics in symbiotic relationships between soil fungi (including mycorrhizal fungi) and bacteria, and how these symbioses impact the soil ecosystem.
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.