Monday, August 19, 2013

IBS Special Seminar features GeneSoc Charter Member Dr. Leodovico Ilag

Last August 15 and 16, 2013, the Institute of Biological Sciences conducted two special lectures that featured one of The UPLB Genetics Society's charter members, Dr. Leodovico Ilag. In separate lectures, Dr. Vic Ilag talked about the biochemical aspects of diabetes and the phage display of antibodies.

Dr. Vic Ilag finished BS Biology and graduated magna cum laude in 1985. He obtained a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences in 1991. He did post-doctoral work in structural biology at Purdue University. He has been involved with early stage biotechnology companies worldwide with focus on recombinant antibodies. Dr. Vic Ilag is currently based at Melbourne, Australia.

The lectures were followed by an informal gathering attended by undergraduate, and graduate students, as well as faculty members of the Institute. The event coined as  the first "Kapihan" session was held last September 9.

(1) Reference: UPCA 2010 Golden Jubilarian Profiles. Lina Luna-Ilag
(2) Photo Credits: World Congress on Biotechnology 2012

Saturday, August 10, 2013

SEARCA-BIC Primer on BT eggplant


Eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) is a vegetable with worldwide importance. It can have oval, elongated and round fruits that are striped or plain-colored, ranging from dark purple, light purple, green, yellow to white. The fruits are used in many cuisines. They are boiled, stewed, roasted, pickled, fried, or baked. In the Philippines, eggplant is a popular ingredient in dishes such as pinakbet, torta, sinigang, ensalada,and kare-kare.

SEARCA-Biotechnology Information Center Media Release
Released 12 July 2013

Eggplant is considered one of the most common and popular vegetable crop in the country. There are lots of Filipino dishes that use eggplant as its primary ingredient, such as the Ilokano pinakbet, tortang talong (eggplant omelette), and ensalada (referred to as puqui-puqui in the Ilocos region). In 2010, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics reported that the agricultural sector has produced over 60,000 metric tons of eggplant.
Farmers like Mr. Gil Mercado from Nueva Ecija and Mr. Manuel Espiritu from Isabela earn profits by growing eggplants. Mr. Manuel’s children have all in fact graduated thanks to the income earned from planting and growing eggplants.

However, one of the major problems that farmers face in growing eggplants is the fruit and shoot borer (FSB). This insect pest can reduce the eggplant yield by half and even up to 73 percent. Dr. Lourdes Taylo, an entomologist from the Institute of Plant Breeding, University of the Philippines Los Baños (IPB-UPLB), shares that the female moths usually deposit their eggs in the eggplant leaves. The leaves and shoots of the eggplant becomes the food of the young larvae once the eggs hatch. As the eggplants mature, the caterpillar bores inside the fruit, making the eggplants unfit to sell.

To combat these damages, most farmers like Mr. Mercado and Mr. Espiritu need to heavily spray chemical insecticides to kill the FSB caterpillars. But these insecticides are only effective if the FSB caterpillars have not yet tunneled in the eggplant fruit. The farmers are aware that two months after transplanting the eggplants, only one spray per week is needed. However, they do not want the pests to damage the eggplants further; thus, they spray it every other day which translate to additional input costs. The farmers know that they do have any alternatives in order to control these caterpillars. Mr. Mercado says that he knows the health risk of constantly spraying insecticides which is worsened by not using masks and other personal protective equipment.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Becoming part of the GENOME


by Jean Reni De Guzman, Editosome
Originally Published August 2012

At first it was just anxiety. 

Anxious - because I don't know what is going to happen. Fear of the unknown. Who will be my batchmates? Will I quit? Will I be able to finish my tickler? There were some of the questions running in my mind when I decided to join The UPLB Genetics Society (GeneSoc). 

Before I became a member of the organization, I only have two major reasons why I wanted to join GeneSoc. First my mom is a proud alumna of GeneSoc (Sylvia Briones-De Guzman, F1). Second, I think GeneSoc is the home of refined scholars who believes in scholastic excellence. Now that I could say excellence is all about GeneSoc, I have to say an inevitable reason - GeneSoc keeps on pushing your limits and never let expand your horizon alone.