Nalu Scientific awarded $300,000 for sensors used in particle physics

A Hawaii startup is building cutting-edge tools to help scientists explore the fundamental components of our universe.
Nalu Scientific, founded in October 2015, was awarded two $150,000, nine-month grants from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs under the Department of Energy (DOE).
The first award will fund the design and testing of a beam diagnostic tool used in particle accelerators. The second will bolster the company’s efforts to develop a low-cost, low-power electronic processing microchip that can support both scientific research as well as commercial applications like medical imaging and self-driving cars.
“Modern sensors with applications in measuring fundamental properties of matter require modern day electronics for fast processing of data,” explains Isar Mostafanezhad, founder and CEO of Nalu Scientific. “Future basic science, engineering and medical discoveries depend upon novel tools like ours that can provide more precise measurements.”
Nalu Scientific was among the recipients of $31 million in the first release of SBIR/STTR funds for 2019. 
“U.S. small businesses are a crucial aspect in driving innovation and creating jobs in our economy,” U.S. DOE Secretary Rick Perry said in a statement. “The SBIR and STTR programs are an excellent way for small businesses and the federal government to team up to advance scientific research and development, creating a more secure energy future for America.”
Specifically, the Nalu Scientific SBIR awards will support:
  • Design, implementation, and testing of a single-detector Time Resolved Beam Halo Monitor (TR-BHM), built with high performance strips of diamond integrated with Nalu Scientific’s data processing microchips.
  • Design, development, and commercialization of the AODS, a fast measurement tool that can detect the properties, momentum, and direction of charged particles and photons in particle and high energy physics experiments.
Mostafanezhad estimates that both projects could each generate $6 million in sales and licensing revenue in the first decade of commercial availability.
These latest SBIR/STTR awards follow two $1 million grants received by Nalu Scientific in September of 2017 and September of 2018 to build a microchip with similar applications.
The SBIR/STTR programs are designed to increase private sector commercialization of technology developed for research and development (R&D), stimulate technological innovation in the private sector, encouraging participation by women-owned and minority- owned small businesses, and improving the return on investment from federally-funded research for economic and social benefits to the nation.
Nalu Scientific, based at the Mānoa Innovation Center, has developed in house technology and methods for simulation, analysis and design of advanced micro-electronics. The company has benefitted from a good working relationship with the Department of Physics of the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.
About Nalu Scientific, LLC
The Nalu Scientific team has over 60 years of commercial and academic experience in high-performance electronics and related technology. In addition to his entrepreneurial pursuits, founder and CEO Dr. Isar Mostafanezhad has experience in high speed electronics, Radio Frequency work, computer engineering and interfacing. For more information, visit

UH researcher develops heat resistant Ebola vaccine

Axel Lehrer
There is more positive news to report about the Ebola subunit vaccine candidate developed by University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa scientist Axel Lehrer.

In his scientific article, Thermostable Ebola virus vaccine formulations lyophilized in the presence of aluminum hydroxide, Lehrer demonstrates his vaccine can sustain immunogenicity, the ability to provoke an immune response in the body, after being stored at 104°F for up to 12 weeks.

“None of the other Ebola vaccines under development have the ability to withstand high temperatures, which is an ongoing concern in areas of the world where Filoviruses are endemic,” said Lehrer, assistant professor, in the Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology at UH Mānoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine.

“The ability to stabilize our vaccine candidate to retain immunogenicity may not only have an impact on logistics, but also has the potential to reach more persons in need with fewer vaccine doses. This would be a tremendous advantage, especially in endemic areas, increasing the number of people receiving sufficient doses of the vaccine to protect them from disease.”

Lehrer said he and his team are very encouraged by these preliminary results and look forward to their continuing collaborations with Soligenix, a late-stage biopharmaceutical company based in New Jersey and Lehrer’s Hawaiʻi-based Ebola subunit vaccine collaborator Hawaii Biotech Inc. to further develop vaccines for Ebola and the filovirus.

The paper was published in the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics.

Bishop Museum Acquires Significant New Hawaiian Carving

Bishop Museum is honored to announce the recent acquisition of a carved wooden ki‘i (image) representative of the Hawaiian god Kū. The ki‘i was purchased by Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne from the collection of Pierre and Claude Vérité through a public auction held at Christie’s Paris in November 2017.

“We felt strongly that this ki‘i belonged in Hawai‘i, for the education and benefit of its people,” said Marc Benioff. “As a part of Bishop Museum’s permanent collections, the ki‘i will be cared for in perpetuity and will be shared with future generations of the people of Hawai‘i.”

The carving was part of the collection of Claude Vérité, a Paris-based art dealer, who received it from his father, the art connoisseur and collector Pierre Vérité. According to the family’s history, Pierre obtained the image in the 1940s. There is no further historical record of the carving, or how it may have made its way to Paris and into the hands of the Vérité family.

Standing 20 inches tall, the ki‘i is a human figure in a warrior pose, knees bent and calves flexed, hands clenched at the back of the thighs. The open mouth has clearly delineated teeth while the jaw thrusts forward. A headdress, typical of Kū images, is draped over the head and hangs around the shoulders. The ki‘i exhibits all of the features of the classic “Kona style” of images, generally attributed to carvers who worked in the Kona area of Hawai‘i Island during the reign of Kamehameha I, up until the overthrow of the ‘Ai kapu, a system of religious, political, and social laws that governed Hawai‘i until 1819. The carving exhibits considerable technical finesse, such as the fine faceting of the surface made by repeated cuts with a small adz. The carving bears a close resemblance to another wooden ki‘i in the collection of the British Museum in London, obtained by British missionaries visiting Kona in 1822. There are also differences between the two images, including the presence of what appear to be bracelets around the wrists of the ki‘i. The hands of the ki‘i in the British Museum are missing.

Prior to the auction, Christie’s arranged for the wood to be identified and for a small sample taken from the base to be radiocarbon dated. The wood is of the genus Metrosideros, or ‘ōhi‘a, found throughout the islands of Hawai‘i and Oceania. Kū images were often carved of ‘ōhi‘a wood. The radiocarbon data obtained by Christie’s has four possible calendar age ranges, because radiocarbon dating in this time period is imprecise due to “wiggles” in the curve used to convert radiocarbon ages to calendar dates. The two most likely age ranges for the ki‘i are AD 1798-1891 and AD 1717-1780. The Bishop Museum plans to carry out additional tests in an effort to more precisely date the ki‘i.

“This ki‘i is a remarkable piece and a tremendous addition to the Museum’s collections,” said Melanie Ide, Bishop Museum’s president and CEO. “We’re incredibly grateful to the Benioffs for their extraordinary generosity and look forward to sharing the ki‘i and its many stories with the world.”

The image will be a centerpiece in a new exhibition at Bishop Museum opening in February 2019, following the close of the Hawaiian season of peace known as Makahiki. Museum researchers will continue to study the carving while planning for the exhibition, which will explore the multiplicity of stories surrounding the ki‘i. In addition, the Museum plans to hold a carving workshop and symposium prior to the exhibition, during which contemporary artists, scholars and the community will engage with the ki‘i and other images in the Museum’s collections to increase awareness, scholarship and understanding of Native Hawaiian history, culture and practices.

Hawaiian Cultural Practitioner and Bishop Museum Board Member Danny Akaka Jr. said, “Over the years, many of Hawai‘i’s cultural treasures have resided outside of Hawai‘i. Some have returned home, others not yet. Today we can celebrate the arrival of this ki‘i to Hawai‘i and to the Bishop Museum where it will serve as a symbol of great cultural pride as well as a reflection of Hawai‘i’s spiritual past.”

About Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum:

Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum’s mission is to inspire our community and visitors through the exploration and celebration of the extraordinary history, culture, and environment of Hawai‘i and the Pacific. The Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in memory of his wife Bernice Pauahi Bishop, a royal descendant of King Kamehameha I. Today, the Museum is widely regarded as the world’s premier institution for Hawaiian and Pacific materials and an important community educational resource. Its vast collections of more than 25 million objects represent nine disciplines and include more than 22 million biological specimens, 2 million archaeological artifacts and samples, 77,000 cultural objects, 115,000 historical publications, and one million photographs, films, works of art, audio recordings, and manuscripts. These collections tell the stories of the cultures and biodiversity of Hawai‘i and the Pacific as well as the proud legacy of scholarly research spanning more than 125 years. Bishop Museum serves more than 200,000 visitors each year, including more than 20,000 schoolchildren. To learn more about the Museum’s research, collections, exhibits, and programs, visit, follow @BishopMuseum on Twitter and Instagram, become a fan of Bishop Museum on Facebook, visit Bishop Museum’s YouTube channel, or call (808) 847-3511. Bishop Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Lime suspends Honolulu scooter rentals

Official statement from LimeBike:

Yesterday, the City offered us a rationale behind impounding our scooters, citing our low-speed electric scooters classify as mopeds. As a result, we have decided to temporarily suspend our service out of respect for the city, our riders, and local team-members, while we review the relevant code and evaluate our next steps.

We hope to be able to work collaboratively with City leaders to establish a sensible regulatory framework around this new shared scooter model so that we can return to serving the City & County of Honolulu.

Nearly two thousand riders in Honolulu have already relied on our scooters as their convenient, affordable transportation option, and we are eager to bring our scooters back to the City soon.

Lime aims to improve urban mobility, transportation, and cities by transforming the way people get around them and eliminating traffic congestion. We hope to do the same for Honolulu, as we have in the 60 other markets where we operate.

HPU unveils new logo, designed by Sig Zane

Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) unveiled its new logo today, designed by the legendary Hawaiian artists and storytellers of Sig Zane Designs, during a brand launch event for students, faculty and staff at Aloha Tower Marketplace. The new logo accompanies an overall rebranding of HPU, providing a cohesive, impactful and professional representation of the university’s values, priorities, and purpose.

“We saw an opportunity to better tell our university’s story particularly how we transform lives with our personalized hands on approach to education,” said John Gotanda, president of HPU. “Our new brand speaks to our core beliefs and embodies the innovation and uniqueness of Hawaii Pacific University.”

HPU enlisted the help of one of the nation’s leading higher education market research and creative firms, SimpsonScarborough, to develop the new brand based on interviews with alumni, local business executives and prospective students and parents, among others. The new brand is founded on six strategic drivers: hands-on experiential learning through a personal tailored approach, a close-knit and supportive learning environment, a focus on robust academics and our strength of locations and diversity and cross cultural environment.

Desiring a fresh logo design representative of the University’s commitment to Hawaii, its local community, and the Hawaiian values of Pono, Kuleana and Aloha, HPU sought the talents of legendary local artist, Sig Zane. “We are passionate about design, sharing Hawaii’s culture and practices through storytelling, and approaching every project from a native perspective,” said Zane. “HPU wanted a logo that captured the deep traditions and values of our islands, so we wove elements together into a story speaking to the rich history of our aina and created a logo that would be a clear and lasting representation of HPU’s roots in Hawaii.”

Hawaii Pacific University believes the new branding and logo will increase unity and pride within the institution’s community while providing powerful messaging to the world reflective of HPU’s exceptional place in the higher education landscape. From new brochures, a refreshed website, video commercials and other materials utilizing the new brand and logo, HPU is further positioning itself as a leader who empower students to get up close and personal with the subjects they’re passionate about.