Lela DeVine

Youth Leadership Council Member

Lela DeVine is a rising senior at Waiakea High School from Hilo, Hawaii, and is a lab member at the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. As an advanced open water SCUBA diver with NAUI Worldwide, Lela has been diving for more than 6 years, where she has first-handedly experienced the changing marine environment and the issues that come with it. She has been conducting research for 5 years through a combination of marine biology and environmental sciences. More recently, Lela has shifted her course of research to marine pharmacology, where she studies potential marine anticancer based pharmaceutical compounds. Her most recent research titled "Compound and Antiproliferative Analysis of FM1005: A Marine Source Derived Endophytic Fungal Strain" focused on utilizing high-performance liquid chromatography to analyze the presence of anticancerous compounds residing from endophytic fungal strain Xylaria sp. prominent in Sinularia Densa (Dense Leather Coral) Collected in Hilo, HI. Lela has placed focus on marine sources that specifically have prominent antiproliferative effects against prostate and ovarian cancer cell lines, in addition to utilizing both HPLC and PCR methodology for compound quantification and strain identification. This research advanced Lela to become a Regeneron ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair) Finalist.

She has received over 30 awards for her research in her time competing in science fairs at the district and state levels from organizations such as the Society for In-Vitro Biology, the US Tripler Army Medical Center, and the Office for Naval Research. She is an alumnus of the Society for the Science and the Public, where she competed in Broadcom Masters and was ranked top 300 nationally for junior research before entering high school, and most recently through being an ISEF finalist. She has set her goals on emphasizing the importance of utilizing the environment in a positive way and finding a balance between environmental source-based research and conservation through targeting, prioritizing, and addressing environmental dangers and weaknesses in certain areas of the reef. Lela has experience in public speaking through being a semi-finalist and competitor in the Pacific Symposium for Science and Sustainability for the past 3 years and is part of HOSA Future Health Professionals, ranking top 10 for public speaking in the state where she has brought light upon marine-based environmental issues and the medical field.

Lela is currently getting her research published and is representing Youth STEM 2030 as a panelist for the upcoming World Ocean’s Day 2020, where she will share her experiences and talk with the public at the Global Youthathon about the marine environment, diving, environmental issues, and what she has learned through her research over the years. Lela is the secretary and fellow writer for Ka Leo Ke Koa, Waiakea High School’s newspaper, where she runs the “Go Green” section that focuses on environmental issues and awareness in Hawaii. She is the executive researcher and upcoming 2020-2021 president of her school’s debate club, part of her class council, and is a board member of the Waiakea High School Lions Club, where she helps chair community events and participate in beach clean-ups. Lela has advocated and voiced environmental issues through artwork and writing, placing top in-state and island for several of these projects.

In her free time, besides diving, she is an all style dancer and choreographer for a variety of student-run shows, plays the guitar, bass, and ukulele, and enjoys taking bike rides down the coast and watching the ocean waves from above. She really hopes to make a difference through the science community and advocating for environmental conservation and restoration, and is extremely thankful to have been offered this position on the Youth Leadership Council for EarthEcho. She is very excited to see what's in store for the future and to make a positive change for the lives of others!