Friday, July 17, 2015

IBS Profs among the awardees at NAST PHL 37th ASM

by Rency Raquid (Riboswitch)

Photo: National Academy of Science and Technology
(NAST), Philippines Facebook Page
Professors from the Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS) bagged several awards at the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST-PHL)  37th Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) held last June 8-9, 2015 at Manila Hotel.

Bearing the theme: “The Challenges of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs): Responding Through Multisectoral Action”, the annual activity focused on non-transmittable diseases and the role of agricultural, social, biological, mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences in its prevention and control.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Diamed-Illumina, PGC sponsor Agrigenomics sympo

by Jickerson Lado (Integrons)

The ‘-omics’ era is here.

With the leading global genome sequencing company, Illumina, exclusively distributed by Diamed in the Philippines, in partnership with the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) – Agriculture, a symposium on genomic advancements in agriculture was held in UPLB this July 10 at Umali Auditorium, SEARCA.

More than a hundred attendees coming from different institutions and agencies in and out of UPLB completely filled the venue. The program started with Dr. Rita Laude, PGC-Agriculture Program Director, welcoming the participants and emphasizing the on-going projects of PGC-Agri.

Dr. Cindy Lawley explaining the ubiquity of
sequencing and its applications.
Dr. Cindy Lawley, Senior Manager, Market Development of Illumina, opened the sympo proper by discussing genomic selection in agriculture species, stressing the significance of the approach in improving US dairy industry. It was followed by Dr. Zenaida Magbanua, DOST and UP Balik Scientist, explaining the use of next generation sequencing (NGS) for transcriptomics (total RNA) and miRNAomics (total miRNA) in studying the interaction of rice and its pest, bacterial panicle blight. Dr. Magbanua also serves as a consultant to the Coconut Genome Sequencing Project of PGC.

For the second half of the program, Dr. Lawley focused on agrigenomic technologies comparing sequence- and assay-based genotyping, and featuring Illumina NGS sequencers with notes on assembling and annotating sequence output to make sense of data. Dr. Lawley mentioned that this is also her first time in the Philippines and remarked that “Filipinos are smiling and courteous people.” An open forum ended the sympo proper.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

'OSA will be known as student-centered unit' says new director

by Merc Emil P. Matienzo (Riboswitch)

The newly appointed director of Office of Student Affairs, Dr. Nina Cadiz.
Photo Courtesy | Nadine Lutao
Former Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS) Director, Dr. Nina Cadiz finds her new home at the Office of Student Affairs after fruitfully serving the Institute for three years.

Dr. Leticia Afuang, the previous OSA Director, entrusted the official OSA seal to Dr. Cadiz in the turn over ceremony held last June 1, 2015 at the Makiling Hall, Student Union Building with Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Portia Lapitan.

Left to right: Dr. Leticia Afuang, Dr. Nina Cadiz, and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Portia Lapitan.
Photo: UPLB Office of Student Affairs - UPLB OSA Facebook page
"Under my term, I think OSA will be known as student-centered unit of UPLB," said Dr. Cadiz when asked about the future of the office under her directorship.

In an exclusive interview with the GENEWS Team, Cadiz admitted that she had mixed feelings upon knowing that she will be sitting as the new director. In fact, she told the team that she already started processing her sabbatical leave, but has to be stopped along the way because of the position.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

IBS holds Training Course on Basic Molecular Biology Techniques and Data Analysis

by Merc Emil Matienzo (Riboswitch), Jickerson Lado (Integrons)

Los Baños – Seventeen participants from state universities, private institutions and government agencies gather in UPLB to attend a week-long training course on basic molecular techniques and data analysis, organized by the Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (MBB) Laboratories and the Genetics and Molecular Biology Division (GMBD) of the Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS) this July 6-10, at the Molecular Genetics Laboratory of IBS.

Among the participants, 15 came from Luzon and one each from the Visayas and Mindanao. Luzon participants include 5 from Laguna (Maria Renina Nissa Agcaoili, Darwin Landicho, Laurie Salumbides, Aldwin Mendoza and Aleli Marasigan), 4 from NCR (Jenny Lyn Chua, Christine Eden Cortez, Kris Ortizo and Joshua Vacarizas), 2 from Cavite (Vanne Christine Angus and Jonathan Digma), and 1 each from Pampanga (Gerald Salas), Albay (Maria Lara Balingasa), Romblon (Eddie Fetalvero), and Sorsogon (Ma. Victoria Hadap). Edgar Hortillosa and Lowell Aribal are from Iloilo City and Bukidnon, respectively.

MBB Laboratories staff and GMBD faculty and facilitators together with the participants.
Photo Courtesy | Prof. Ria Alcabedos

The week-long training course started with an overview of the program and lectures on introductory molecular biology and nucleic acid isolation techniques, followed by hands-on activities on the use of micropippetors, genomic DNA Isolation, agarose gel electrophoresis, and DNA quantitation. First day ended with demonstration on new technologies like Qubit ® Fluorometer and Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

IBS holds testimonials for Class of 2015

by Merc Emil Matienzo (Riboswitch)

The Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS), UPLB conducted this year’s testimonial ceremony for graduating undergraduate (BS Biology, BS MST Major in Biology), and graduate students last Friday, July 03, 2015 at IBS Lecture Hall Main.

The event was organized by IBS Socials Committee in cooperation with the UP Cell Biological Society (UP CELLS) and The UPLB Genetics Society (GeneSoc); hosted by Prof. Rose Ann G. Franco and Prof. John Daniel P. Ong from Microbiology Division.

Among this year’s 137 BS BIO fresh graduates, 20 marched with honors, headed by Jeremiah V. Reyes (Ecology).  Reyes also delivered an inspirational message to the graduates in the latter part of the program.

BS Biology Class of 2015 with Latin honors

The ceremony started with the doxology and Philippine National Anthem led by UP Cell Biological Society followed by the welcome remarks addressed by IBS Officer-In-Charge (OIC) Director Dr. Merlyn S. Mendioro.

Dr. Mendioro, pointing out that the BS Biology program in UPLB is the best in the entire UP System, reminded the graduates to never forget honor and excellence wherever they go.

Dr. Felino P. Lansigan, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, also delivered an inspirational message emphasizing that being an “Iskolar” is not just a privilege but also a responsibility.

BS Biology Class of 2015 was introduced together with the Faculty and Staff per division which served as the main highlight of the event. An intermission number by The UPLB Genetics Society’s ‘The Plasmids’ followed before the special awards were given to selected BSBIO students.

Special awards which included Dr. Drina Sta. Iglesia Outstanding BS Thesis, IBS Gawad Karangalan in Ecology and Field Biology, and Red Cross Youth Voluntary and Humanitarian Service Award were given to students whose efforts in their field of specialization were remarkably exceptional.

The Dr. Drina Outstanding BS Thesis awardees include John Ruben C. Valeza (Zoology), Christian C. Lucañas (Ecology), Maria Emilia Ruth V. Eusebio (Genetics), Vanessa Gail L. Borja (Cell and Molecular Biology), Ann Clarisse SV. Siababa (Microbiology), Jonard C. Valdoz (Plant Biology), and Angela Marie M. Villareal (Systematics). Dr. Drina Sta. Iglesia is a charter member of The UPLB Genetics Society.

The IBS Gawad Karangalan in Ecology and Field Biology was awarded to six students out of thirteen nominees who received P10,000.00, P6,000.00, and P4,000.00 in cash and plaques of recognition for first, second, and third places respectively.  The recipients were Christian C. Lucañas (1st Place), Joseph B. Rasalan (2nd Place), and Jeremiah V. Reyes and Whizvir O. Gustilo (3rd Place).

A response from a parent, Mr. Resty L. Hernandez and closing remarks by Dr. Lucille C. Villegas, OIC Deputy Director of the Institute, concluded the IBS testimonials for BSBIO Class of 2015.

‘UP Naming Mahal’ sang by The Plasmids of GeneSoc formally ended the program.

GeneSoc Class of 2015

The UPLB Genetics Society Class of 2015

A total of 26 GeneSoc members marched their way to the platform of success yesterday as the 43rd UPLB Commencement Exercises pushed through, despite the partial collapse of the dome caused by heavy rain hours before the graduation ceremony started.

The UPLB Genetics Society Class of 2015 are Veronica Grace Adan (BSBIO, Microbiology), Chembie Almazar (BSBIO, Genetics), Hannah Grace Apondar (BSMST, Biology), Ben Henry Baang (BSBIO, Genetics), Nerissa Joyce Bea (BSBIO, Genetics), Donnalyn Biel (BSMST, Biology), Princess Collin Borromeo (BSBIO, Zoology), Jose Capuz IV (BSBIO, Genetics), Zared Patricia de Padua (BSBIO, Microbiology), Maria Quita Guevarra (BSBIO, Cell & Molecular Biology), Precious Guevarra (BSABT, Food Biotechnology) Alissa Carol Ibarra (BSABT, Crop Biotechnology), Irene Joan Madridano (BSBIO, Genetics), Kyla Grace Magno (BSBIO, Microbiology), Mary Abigail Malabanan (BSBIO, Genetics), Jansel Reem Marteja (BSBIO, Genetics), Richelle Mojares (BSBIO, Cell & Molecular Biology), Ian Christine Oca (BSBIO, Zoology), Kraniel Roda Papera (BSABT, Animal Biotechnology), Gessa Marie Ramos (BS Nutrition), Jemaureen Fe Refuerzo (BSBIO, Microbiology), John Paolo Rodil (BSBIO, Zoology), Rea Camille Ruiz (BSBIO, Zoology), Charlene Mae Teodoro (BSBIO, Genetics), Juan Rodrigo Vera Cruz (BSA, Agronomy) and Chino James Sison (BS Chemical Engineering).

In his speech, Class Valedictorian Paoloregel B. Samonte (BS Development Communication) challenged the graduates, who are now degree holders of the premier university in the country, to take part in promoting equality and fight all gender-related abuses not just for the LGBT Community but for everyone involved.

“For what good is a UP Diploma if we, UP graduates, don't stand up for equality?” Samonte said.#

Saturday, July 4, 2015

"She for We" Exhibit and Career talks by Pinay Scientists at 2015 DOST NSTW


Chosen for their outstanding scientific contributions, Filipina scientists and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) scholars will be featured in an exhibit during the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) scheduled this July 24-28, 2015 at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia, Pasay City. 

Entitled “She for We: Highlighting the Role, Life and Achievement of Filipina Scientists in the Local and International Scientific Community,” the exhibit is a celebration of the contributions of Filipina science scholars and scientists in the country and the world.

Why the Filipina scientists? 

The exhibit proponents, DOST agencies namely Science Education Institute (SEI), PSHS System and the National Academy of Science & Technology,  rationalize that the science community has been, at different points in time, regarded as a male-dominated body with women relegated to the sidelines.  Despite the vast contributions that the female scientists and engineers have given mankind, they are overshadowed by the gender bias that often favors their male counterparts, the proponents said.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Dr. Merlyn Mendioro apppointed as 9th IBS Director

by Ryan Pascual (Regulon)

Dr. Merlyn S. Mendioro,
9th IBS-UPLB Director

Photo: Facebook/A Cagalawan

Starting Midyear 2015, a new director takes the helm of the Institute of Biological Sciences. With her recent appointment, Dr. Merlyn S. Mendioro is the first Genetics and Molecular Biology Division (GMDB-IBS) professor and ninth faculty to hold the post. 

Dr. Mendioro started to teach in UPLB in 1985 and since then she has been greatly known for her discipline, diligence and dedication. She handles the general education course NASC4 (The World of Life), the Genetics course (BIO 30) and other advance Genetics courses in UPLB. In 2006, Dr. Mendioro was recoginzed as CAS and UPLB’s Most Outstanding Teacher in the Biological Sciences -  a recognition she first received in 1992. She was also one of the Ten Outstanding Young Scientist in 1995. In 2011, she was appointed UP Scientist 1 (2011-2013) under the University of the Philippines Scientific Productivity System. This was later renewed for another two years in 2014. 

IBS Directors from 1983-2015. In its 32 years of existence, eight faculty
members have headed the IBS. (Screen cap from IBS Institutional Video)

Aside from being a former head of the Genetics and Molecular Biology Division (GMDB-IBS), Dr. Mendioro is an honorary member and current senior adviser of The UPLB Genetics Society, and co-founding faculty adviser of  Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health (VYLH) - Philippines.

Dr. Mendioro with the members of The UPLB Genetics Society (c. 2014)
Selection and Transition

Early this year, the search committee was organized and headed by the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM-UPLB) Dean Dr. Loinda Baldrias. Candidates for directorship namely Dr. Mendioro and former Office of Student Affairs (OSA) Director Dr. Leticia Afuang of the Animal Biology Division, presented their mission and vision statement last May. In her presentation, Dr. Mendioro emphasized the need to maintain the AUN Accreditation and face the challenges of ASEAN integration.