Curiosity Sparked by Ukraine Case
Who would think that an assignation attempt in the Ukraine, more than 7,700 miles away from Honolulu, could spark the investigative curiosity of researchers nestled in Kaimuki and lead to insights into the effects of dioxin compounds upon the human immune system?

 A team of Chaminade researchers, including a recent alumna of Chaminade’s Forensic Sciences master’s program, have published a review paper in the internationally-recognized Journal of Applied Toxicology, addressing the physiological implication of worldwide exposures of human beings to dioxins. By products of incineration and other industrial processes, dioxins are toxic by-products of industrialization that are fat-soluble and break down slowly and tend to accumulate in animal tissue, which then can be ingested by humans. There are about 70 compounds considered dioxins.  The research paper looked at the effects of these compounds on the human immune system.

Noel Rysavy, who graduated from Chaminade with a masters’ degree in Forensic Sciences in 2011, took up the charge at Chaminade when she learned about the assassination attempt against former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, in which he ingested hazardous amounts a most potent form of dioxin.

“I became interested in these compounds after studying the alleged dioxin poisoning of Yuschenko during my Forensic Toxicology class at Chaminade,” said lead author Rysavy.  “We were able to develop this interest into a piece of scholarly work.”

The work became an international collaboration since the other author in the paper is Dr. Kristina Maaetoft-Udsen, a researcher from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, who visited Chaminade to perform six months of research in the laboratory run by Dr. Helen Turner, the dean of Chaminade University’s Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division and one of the authors of the paper.

“The publication of this paper is exciting” said Dr. Turner. “It’s very impressive to see our students develop their scholarly records even before they graduate. Many scientists wait much longer in their careers to become published authors.”

Noel Rysavy and Dr. Usden are embarking on their careers as scientists, and this publication is now available online. Go to:

Educating students for life, service and successful careers, Chaminade University is a Catholic/ Marianist university offering programs of study grounded in the liberal arts with day, evening, online and accelerated courses. A Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander serving institution, Chaminade is located at 3140 Waialae Ave., Honolulu, HI 9681, which is its main campus. It also has nine satellite locations around Oahu. Chaminade University is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council and looks forward to increased opportunities to promote environmental sustainability. For more information, visit the Chaminade Web site at or call (808) 735-4711. ###

Media Contact: Kapono Ryan
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