Our Mission

Microbiology, one of three basic fields in the biological sciences, is an extremely diverse and complex field. It is essential to the fabric of medicine, the allied health sciences, agriculture, ocean sciences, and the vital growing biotechnology industry (genetics, cell and molecular biology, etc.) of the present era.

The Department of Microbiology (College of Natural Sciences) at the University of Hawaii, Manoa has concentrated on highly essential areas vital to the State of Hawaii, such as general and applied microbiology (including biotechnology), microbial genetics, microbial physiology (molecular biology), medical microbiology, microbial ecology, and bioremediation, food microbiology, immunology, animal virology (includes marine animal virology) and cell biology.

Our primary objectives are to:

  1. Produce highly qualified and competent majors in the selected microbiology areas
  2. Develop and maintain a strong and supportive research program to complement our teaching.
  3. Be a center of excellence and information resource in microbiology for Hawaii, the Pacific region, S.E. Asia and Asia.

Overall, we strongly believe that we had been successful in achieving these objectives. In the instructional area, the Department offers programs which meet with the standards approved by the American Society for Microbiology in microbiology. Four degree programs are available: BA, BS, MS, & Ph.D. Opportunities to specialize in the areas of immunology, prokaryotic genetics, environmental microbiology, microbial biotechnology, and virology are not available at any other institution in the State. Many of our graduates who have obtained advanced degrees in the Department are leading successful careers in academia, industry, governmental laboratories, and in private practice, both domestically and abroad.

In addition to the microbiology courses offered to our majors which are also accessible to students in the allied health sciences, agriculture, TIM, and engineering, essential service courses are also provided to students in nursing, dental hygiene, medical technology and humanities.

Research conducted by our faculty is a vital part of our responsibilities and contributes significantly to our graduate program. Several research projects have received national and international attention and are supported by Federal, State, and private agencies. (We are extremely proud of two of our instructional faculty who had won the UH Reagents’ Excellence in Research Award: Professors Maqsudul Alam (2001) and Philip C. Loh (1965). In regard to student enrollment, the Department’s programs are consonant with the Strategic Plans of the University and the State of Hawaii. A significant 85% of undergraduates and 39% of graduate majors are from Hawaii. As many as 39.5% of our graduates are located in Hawaii, several holding key positions in State and municipal governmental agencies.

A majority (91.4%) of our non-residential majors are from Asia (including India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) and the Pacific region. In recent years, we have had an increase of 23% in total course enrollment, a trend we expect will continue.

During the last two years, while the numbers of undergraduate majors have remained constant, the total numbers of graduate majors have increased by 34.5% (29 to 39), indicative of the growing interest of the importance of microbiology and biotechnology in today’s society. Microbiology plays an important role in the State of Hawaii in several vital areas, such as maintenance and development of our ocean and terrestrial resources, in biotechnology, in health related activities, etc. It is important to repeat that 85% of our undergraduate majors and 39% of our graduate majors are from Hawaii.