Research Project Leader

Image of Kiana Frank

Kiana Frank

Assistant Professor
Pacific Biosciences Research Center
School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology
Phone: (808) 539-7300
Fax: (808) 539-7310
Instagram: @labhuiofrank
Twitter: @labhuiofrank
I study the microbial dynamics (who they are, how many of them there are, what they eat, what factors control them and how they impact their ecosystem) of Hawaiian ecosystems (water and earth) as a mechanism to better understand the connectivity between land and sea, with respect to ecosystem function and traditional management.

My ICEMHH project focuses on studying human pathogens (Staphylococcus and Leptospira) in Hawaiian watersheds, across a variety of environments from pristine to urbanized areas, to determine their structure within microbial communities. I am also interested in understanding the influence of environmental features, such as nutrients and particulates, on pathogen abundance and activity. Lastly, through experimental manipulation, I intend to unfold the complex relationship between pathogens and environmental changes, such as the affect of an increase in temperature and pathogen load.

The direction and scope of my work is driven by the input and needs of ‘āina-based community organizations and stakeholders. My research helps to understand the connectivity of ahupuaʻa – from microbe to meaʻai – to promote the restoration, sustainability and resilience of Hawaii’s agricultural and coastal marine resources. Moreover, my work leverages traditional ʻike (knowledge) to guide the design of experiments and analysis of scientific results.
Frank 5