Well-known jellyfish toxins expert and researcher from the University of Hawaii Dr. Angel Yanagihara has been selected as a Fulbright Specialist by the J. William Fulbright Council for International Exchange of Scholars on behalf of the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.
The Fulbright Specialists Program, sponsored by the U.S. government, supports highly qualified American professionals with expertise in specific disciplines to engage in collaborative projects that focus on unmet needs and challenges.
Dr. Yanagihara is an Assistant Research Professor at the John A. Burns School of Medicine and the Békésy Laboratory of Neurobiology of the Pacific Biosciences Research Center within the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawaii. Her work and products have been used from ocean goers from Diana Nyad to the U.S. Navy SEALs. Nyad and the American special forces credit Dr. Yanagihara in helping them deal with the potentially fatal stings of the box jellyfish.
Outside of channel swimming and military needs, Dr. Yanagihara’s expertise and commercialized technologies have been long sought out by myriad entities and individuals including researchers at the National University of Ireland in Galway. “I first met the National University of Ireland Galway research faculty member and fisheries researchers after they requested that I be invited to participate in a Canadian Broadcasting Channel and BBC documentary titled ‘Jellyfish Rule.’
We actually did some novel experiments at that time under the auspices and with the funding support of the two broadcast networks. This research project is an outcome of that pilot work.”
As a new Fulbright Specialist, Dr. Yanagihara will travel to Ireland where she once gave a presentation at the Global Open Water Swimming Conference in Cork. She will collaborate with her local Irish hosts on research aimed at the Lion’s Mane jellyfish. “There is a critical need to mitigate the negative economic and public health impacts of increasing numbers and frequencies of jellyfish blooms in coastal zones of Ireland. I look forward to sharing the expertise and breakthrough technologies I developed at the University of Hawai’i, in collaborative efforts to address the serious impacts of jellyfish blooms.”
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