Undergraduate student awarded the Douglas S. Yamamura Scholarship

December 8, 2021

Lauryn Liao, a fourth-year honors student studying Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, was awarded the prestigious Douglas S. Yamamura Scholarship by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. Mentored by the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center’s Interim Director, Dr. Joe W. Ramos, Liao competed with UH undergraduate students and emerged as the top STEM applicant this cycle. The award will further fund her research on melanoma at the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center.

Lauryn Liao
Lauryn Liao

Established with a generous endowment from the estate of Paul T. Yamamura, the scholarship is granted to extraordinary undergraduate students in any field of study who are involved in research and creative work.

Liao, in her reaction to the award, said, in part, “When I saw the email, I jumped out of my seat with excitement! I feel very grateful to receive this honor and scholarship. It is a humbling reflection of all the hard work and long days I have put into my research project thus far. My dream is to become a physician-scientist, and I feel like I am one step closer to achieving that.”

Her mentor, Dr. Joe W. Ramos of the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center, notated, “Lauryn is a fantastic UH undergraduate student who has been doing important research at the Cancer Center for more than a year. She started in our Summer Research Internship where she identified potential new mechanisms involved in melanoma development and progression using bioinformatics resources. This award allows her to continue that work. We congratulate Lauryn and look forward to more great work from her here at the Cancer Center!”

Liao will be utilizing the scholarship funds to complete her honors thesis, and contribute to the vital research taking place at the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center regarding melanoma—a type of skin cancer. She has identified a new protein that is important in melanoma development and is determining whether it can be useful in the development of new treatments or diagnostics to improve survival from the most aggressive forms of this cancer.