Meet our research team

  • Marjorie Mau
    Marjorie K. Mau, MD, MS, MACP
    Director and Principal Investigator, Center for Native and Pacific Health Disparities Research
    Myron P. Thompson Endowed Chair for Native Hawaiian Health
    Professor, Department of Native Hawaiian Health, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

    Interests:  

    Passion for health disparities research with a special emphasis on cardiometabolic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Also an advocate for conducting health research that is relevant to Native and Pacific Peoples as well as training the next generation of diverse investigators to be health disparity researchers.

    PubMed Publications Listing:  Mau, Marjorie

  • Mariana Gerschenson
    Mariana Gerschenson, PhD
    Deputy Director, Center for Native and Pacific Health Disparities Research
    Professor, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa



    Interests:  

    Dr. Gerschenson is the Chair of the Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Program which provides an integrated course of study for students seeking a PhD or MS degree in health-related research. Dr. Gerschenson also conducts local (community), national, and international clinical/translational mitochondrial studies/trials in adult and pediatric metabolic diseases (e.g. HIV and non-HIV diabetes, obesity), neurological, and immunological diseases.

    PubMed Publications Listing:  Gerschenson M

  • Cecilia M. Shikuma
    Cecilia M. Shikuma, MD
    Director, Research Core, Center for Native and Pacific Health Disparities Research
    Professor, Department of Medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
    Director, Hawaii Center for AIDS
    Edwin C. Cadman Endowed Chair
    Interests:  

    My personal interests are in HIV immunologic dysfunction and how they affect the chronic complications that typically occur with aging. The chronic complications include metabolic and cardiovascular dysfunction and neuroAIDS. In the metabolic area, my current research interests focus on the inter-relationship between glucose dysregulation and cardiovascular disease and immune dysregulation of monocyte phenotype and function.

    PubMed Publications Listing:  Cecilia Shikuma

  • Deborah Taira Juarez
    Deborah Taira, ScD

    Director, Training and Education Core, Center for Native and Pacific Health Disparities Research
    Professor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy

    Deborah Taira Juarez is a health economist. Her research has focused on medication adherence, cost-effectiveness of cardiovascular interventions, and health disparities, particularly involving Asian and Pacific Americans.

    PubMed Publications Listing:  Juarez DT  |  Taira DA

  • Tetine Sentell
    Tetine Sentell, PhD

    Assistant Professor, Office of Public Health Studies, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa


    Interests:  

    Dr. Sentell is interested in understanding racial and ethnic disparities in health care access, quality, and outcomes, particularly as they relate to health literacy, educational attainment, and English language ability.

    PubMed Publications Listing:  Sentell T

  • Kazuma Nakagawa, MD
    Kazuma Nakagawa, MD

    Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i, Honolulu, HI
    Staff Neurointensivist, The Queen’s Medical Center, Honolulu, HI



    Interests:  

    My two research interests are "Racial disparities in stroke risk factors and outcomes among the Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders who are living in Hawaii" and "Characterization and application of cerebral autoregulation measurements using transcranial Doppler ultrasound in patients with intracerebral hemorrhage".

    PubMed Publications Listing:  Nakagawa Kazuma

  • Dee-Ann Carpenter, MD
    Dee-Ann Carpenter, MD

    Assistant Professor, Department of Native Hawaiian Health
    Clinical Division Chief, Lau Ola Clinic, Dept. of Native Hawaiian Health
    Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine
    John A. Burn School of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

    Interests:  

    Dr. Carpenter is a Native Hawaiian Internist in the Lau Ola Clinic, the clinical practice of the Department of Native Hawaiian Health, at the University of Hawai‘i, John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM.) She is an Assistant Professor and Clinical Division Chief in the Department of Native Hawaiian Health and Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at JABSOM. She is the Vice-President of the ‘Ahahui o na Kauka (Association of Native Hawaiian Physicians) and the Founding President and present Treasurer of the Friends of Imi Ho‘ola. She is active in being part of the team that teaches the Cultural Competency Curriculum for medical students at JABSOM and interns in the Department of Family Medicine, has a clinical practice teaching medical students and Internal Medicine Residents, as well as being Co-Investigator in the Hanapu Study, a Comparative Effectiveness Research in the Center for Native and Pacific Health Disparities. She is the President of the Hawai‘i ADA Leadership Board and is on the national ADA Community and Volunteer Development Board. As in many Native Hawaiian families, diabetes is prevalent in her family as well, including both of her grandmothers and her father. She is interested in improving this health disparity among Native Hawaiians.

  • Joseph Keawe'aimoku Kaholokula
    Joseph Keawe'aimoku Kaholokula, PhD

    Associate Professor and Chair of Native Hawaiian Health, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
    Co-Director for the PILI 'Ohana Community-Academic Partnership


    Interests:  

    My research interest is in the study of biological, psychological, and socio-cultural factors (and their interplay) affecting the etiology and management of chronic diseases (and their risk factors) in Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders and in the designing and testing of behavioral interventions for primary and secondary prevention. My clinical interest is in behavioral assessment for clinical case formulation.

    PubMed Publications Listing:  Kaholokula J.K.

  • Denise Dillard
    Denise Dillard





  • Pratibha Nerurkar
    Pratibha Nerurkar, PhD

    Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences & Bioengineering, University of Hawai‘i Mānoa


    Interests:  See expanded profile.

    PubMed Publications Listing:  Nerurkar PV

  • May Okihiro
    May Okihiro, MD MS

    Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa


    Interests:  

    My interests are in the area of childhood obesity and early metabolic risk, especially among children in Hawai'i. I am interested in the development of obesity and ways we can address the issue from an clinical and community perspective.

    PubMed Publications Listing:  Okihiro May

  • Jun Panee
    Jun Panee, PhD

    Associate Researcher, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa


    Interests:  

    Research:  Investigate the mechanism and evaluate translational application of natural products in the prevention and treatment of obesity-associated diseases and breast cancer. Teaching:  Ethics in Biomedical Research

    PubMed Publications Listing:  Panee J

  • Todd Seto
    Todd Seto, MD

    Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa


    Dr. Todd Seto focuses on non-invasive cardiology and outcomes research. Dr. Seto has received continuous research funding from the National Institutes of Health since 2001, and maintains an active research program evaluating innovative ways to improve the quality of cardiovascular care and decrease racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes.

    PubMed Publications Listing:  Todd Seto  |  Seto TB