Alika Maunakea

Name: Alika Maunakea
Affiliation: JABSOM, Department of Native Hawaiian Health
Position: Assistant Professor
Degree: Ph.D.
Phone: 808-692-1048
Fax: 808-692-1255
Address: 651 Ilalo St., BSB 222K

Description of research:
Dr. Alika Maunakea is a Native Hawaiian biomedical researcher who has conducted epigenetic research in mammalian systems for over 15 years. During this period, he has made several important contributions that have helped advance the field of epigenetics. In particular, he has developed and applied novel high-throughput, genome-wide technologies that survey DNA methylation and histone modifications, both central components of epigenetic processes, and has discovered novel roles for DNA methylation in regulating alternative promoter usage and in pre-mRNA splicing. Currently, as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Native Hawaiian Health, Dr. Maunakea is interested in applying epigenomic information toward understanding the mechanistic relationships of gene-environment interactions that underlie the development of disease, including neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. In addition, Dr. Maunakea is playing a leading role in understanding how the environment interacts with epigenetic processes that may underlie diseases of health disparities, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, in hope that these translational research efforts will contribute to the development of more effective targeted diagnostic, preventative, and therapeutic strategies to improve the health of underserved communities.

Selected Publications:

  • Maunakea AK, Nagarajan RP, Bilenky M, Ballinger TJ, D’Souza C, Fouse SD, Johnson BE, Hong C, Nielsen C, Zhao Y, Turecki G, Delaney A, Varhol R, Thiessen N, Shchors K, Heine VM, Rowitch DH, Xing X, Fiore C, Schillebeeckx M, Jones SJ, Haussler D, Marra MA, Hirst M, Wang T, Costello JF. Conserved role of intragenic DNA methylation in regulating alternative promoters. Nature. 2010 Jul 8;466(7303):253-7.
    Ching TT*, Maunakea AK*, Jun P, Hong C, Zardo G, Pinkel D, Albertson DG, Fridlyand J, Mao JH, Shchors K,
  • Weiss WA, Costello JF. Epigenome analyses using BAC microarrays identifies evolutionary conservation of tissue-specific methylation of SHANK3. Nature Genetics, 2005 Jun;37(6):645-51. *authors contributed equally to this work.
  • Maunakea AK, Chepelev I, Zhao K. Epigenome mapping in normal and disease states. Circ Res. 2010 Aug 6;107(3):327-39.
  • Maunakea AK, Chepelev I, Cui K, Zhao K. Intragenic DNA methylation modulates alternative splicing by recruiting MeCP2 to promote exon recognition. Cell Res. 2013 Aug 13. doi: 10.1038/cr.2013.110
  • Kraushaar DC, Jin W, Maunakea A, Abraham B, Ha M, Zhao K. Genome-wide incorporation dynamics reveal distinct categories of turnover for the histone variant H3.3. Genome Biol. 2013 Oct 31;14(10):R121.
  • Fu H, Maunakea AK, Martin MM, Huang L, Zhang Y, Ryan M, Kim R, Lin CM, Zhao K, Aladjem MI. Methylation of histone H3 on lysine 79 associates with a group of replication origins and helps limit DNA replication once per cell cycle. PLoS Genet. 2013 Jun;9(6)
  • Tao Y, Xi S, Shan J, Maunakea A, Che A, Briones V, Lee EY, Geiman T, Huang J, Stephens R, Leighty RM, Zhao K, Muegge K. Lsh, chromatin remodeling family member, modulates genome-wide cytosine methylation patterns at nonrepeat sequences. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Apr 5;108(14):5626-31. Epub 2011 Mar 22.
  • Silber J, Lim DA, Petritsch C, Persson AI, Maunakea AK, Yu M, Vandenberg SR, Ginzinger DG, James CD, Costello JF, Bergers G, Weiss WA, Alvarez-Buylla A, Hodgson JG. miR-124 and miR-137 inhibit proliferation of glioblastoma multiforme cells and induce differentiation of brain tumor stem cells. BMC Med. 2008 Jun 24;6:14