HPU Student Scholar Receives Grant to Research HNF4a Gene

HPU Student Scholar Receives Grant to Research HNF4a Gene

HPU Student Scholar Andy Yu

HPU alumnus Andy Yu has received a grant to research the mutated gene Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 4 Alpha (HNF4a) that may be partly linked to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Yu will be conducting research with HPU Biology Professor Christopher Capaldo, Ph.D., throughout the course of the year.   

“I’m studying a widespread disease that no one really knows the cause,” said Yu. “It’s partly genetically influenced. The grant from HPU will help me better understand the pathogenesis of IBD in patients that have mutations in this gene.” 

Yu was chosen for the $3,000 research grant by the HPU Undergraduate Infrastructure Student Research Center (HUI SRC). The HUI SRC was established in 2020, and Yu was among just two scholars to receive the grant for student research. 

“My goal is to be a general physician,” said Yu. “I’m currently studying for the MCAT examination and will be applying to medical school for the 2022 enrollment. I currently work as a medical scribe, which is great experience for a career in medicine.” 

Yu graduated from HPU in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in biology. Raised in Oahu, Yu attended Kapolei High School and believes the education he received at HPU helped him bloom as a researcher. 

“HPU’s smaller classroom sizes really helped when it comes to working with professors,” said Yu. “Some students – like me – do not really like being face-to-face with a lot of people. So being in smaller classrooms provides the opportunity for professors to select students to work in labs. This would not have happened at a larger university. The professors at HPU can really get to know their students.”  

Yu’s research on HNF4a is novel and exploratory. He expects to generate and analyze the data this year and see what results he and Capaldo produce.  

“We are not sure yet what the results will tell us in the end, but it is exciting to have an opportunity to work on this exploratory research.” said Yu.