Saturday, April 30, 2016

GeneSoc to host PalaCASan 2016

by Dale Joseph Diño (Phagemids)

Get your sneakers ready and raise the banners of your organization as this coming academic year 2016-2017, PalaCASan 2016 - the annual sports event of College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)-based organizations - will be hosted by The UPLB Genetics Society (GeneSoc). Students representing their respective organizations compete in events that showcase their inner athletic spirit. Aside from showcasing their wits and skills, PalaCASan aims to build and strengthen the camaraderie and promote sportsmanship within and among organizations.

The GENEWS Team got a chance to have a one-on-one interview with GeneSoc’s PalaCASan 2016 ad hoc Committee Head, Mr. Gabrielle Angelo P. Cortez, to share some updates about the preparation for the most-awaited annual sports event:

Genews: What is it like to be the next host of the annual sportsfest of CAS-based organizations?
Mr. Cortez: Nakakakaba na nakakaproud. Exciting kasi nabigyan tayo ng chance na ipakita ang galing ng GeneSoc and be able to leave a mark on history ika nga.

Genews: What preparations have GeneSoc made for this event?
Mr. Cortez: Sinubukan talaga namin i-ensure na swak sa budget para sa event pero hin-di bababa ang quality. Learn from previous hosts and try to bring a new spin on things.

Genews: For the coming academic year’s PalaCASan, what will we expect from the host organization?
Mr. Cortez: Hopefully smoother ang flow from BuCASan to WaCASan. Minimize din ang sakit ng ulo para sa participating orgs at syempre sa host.

The annual event mainly consists of three parts: BuCASan, the formal opening of PalaCASan; the game proper which lasts semester long and; WaCASan the awarding ceremony and formal closing of the event. While GeneSoc is still in the process of organizing the event, CAS-based organization heads have been scouting for the upcoming sports competition.

“Yung expectation lang namin ay mas magiging challenging yung PalaCASan next year kasi every year naman ay ganun eh tsaka may mga players din kaming gagraduate na so kailangan namin mag-adjust. Pero yung goal naman namin ay mag-enjoy lagi sa mga games”, said Mr. Regin Rey Dungca, PalaCASan 2015 Head of Philobioscientia: The UPLB Life Sciences Society.

GeneSoc is getting revved-up to host PalaCASan 2016 on its 33rd year. Five months from now, another chapter of the PalaCASan timeline would be imprinted, and another history will be made as different organizations compete to be hailed champion for PalaCASan 2016. So gear up and score your way to the top to be crowned the champion of PalaCASan 2016.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Prof Montecillo joins GeneSoc Outstanding Teacher Awardee Pool

By Rency Raquid (Riboswitch)

Photo Courtesy: Institute of Biological Sciences - UPLB

Assistant Professor Andrew Montecillo officially joins the mob of The UPLB Genetics Society after being lauded with the Outstanding Teacher Award (OTA) for Biological Sciences (Junior Category) at the Makiling Ballroom Hall, Student Union Building, UPLB, last March 4. IBS grabbed the same award for Senior Category with Dr. Vachel Gay Paller, a Professor at the Animal Biology Division and former Deputy Director of the Institute.

Keeping the streak

Montecillo, nominated by IBS and CAS, bested other shortlisted candidates from different colleges and institutes of the university considered in biological science field namely, College of Agriculture, College of Human Ecology, College of Forestry, College of Veterinary Medicine, and School of Environmental Science and Management.

UPLB OTA is annually given to deserving faculty members as part of the foundation celebration of the university. Other categories include Physical and Social Sciences. The screening process starts at nomination from the institute to the college level. Respective colleges will then forward their nominees to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA) that shall form the Screening Committee for each category. This committee shall forward their shortlisted nominees to the UPLB Screening Committee for final evaluation. Criteria for judging include student and peer evaluations, teaching materials, and actual classroom management and teaching skills.

Passion for teaching and learning

Montecillo is a Professor of the Microbiology Division of the Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS) where he is teaching introductory microbiology, microbial identification techniques, and microbial genetics.

It’s in the genes

Upholding the legacy of passion and excellence, Montecillo is the newest addition to GeneSoc pool of outstanding teacher awardees. Other GeneSoc awardees in UPLB include Dr. Merlyn Mendioro, IBS director and current Senior Adviser of the organizaton, Dr. Ma. Genaleen Diaz (F1), Prof. Neilyn Ona-Villa (Polytenes), and Mr. Jickerson Lado (Integrons). Prof. Juanaldo Mantiquilla (Replicons), professor at UP Mindanao, also received an equivalent Gawad Tsanselor award.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Genetics Camp to unmask biodiversity, exhibit DNA Barcoding to the next level

By Merc Emil Matienzo (Riboswitch)

This April 23-24, 2015, the annual gathering of future geneticists will transcend the tradition of learning as the 11th Genetics Camp of The UPLB Genetics Society conquers the summer once more.

As the theme “StrateGENE: Unlocking the mysteries of Biodiversity through DNA Barcoding” proclaims, the eleventh installment of the camp will focus on DNA Barcoding as a tool in understanding biodiversity.

Breaking the tradition of classifying organisms through morphological analysis, DNA barcoding exemplifies the easiest way to resolve the dilemma of identifying species by obtaining barcodes from small amounts of tissues. It literally works like a supermarket scanner that distinguishes products using the black stripes of the product code.

According to the Barcode of Life, standard barcode regions to be studied are determined in the specific gene region of biological specimens. The latter are then identified by searching for the closest matching reference record in the database which is actually a public reference library of species identifiers.

Aside from the usual lecture symposia to be delivered by experts and researchers in DNA Barcoding and laboratory procedures, more interactive activities are in-store for our participants to keep the spirit of learning parallel with excitement and entertainment.

“We will have Amazing Race as an additional activity for this year’s camp, para nag-eenjoy yung participants natin habang natututo. We will also bring back the pageant (Mr. & Ms. Genetics Camp) as part of the Socials Night in order to showcase the phenotypic beauty and glamour of our dearest future geneticists,” Joshua Hernandez, Genetics Camp 2016 Steering Committee Head, enthusiastically shared.

Meanwhile, the memorandum from the Department of Education endorsing the said activity is expected to be released anytime before the actual day of the camp.

Loaded with new activities to challenge our future geneticists, the 11th installment of Genetics Camp will surely be a new adventure to remember. High school students and teachers all over the nation are still welcome to join Genetics Camp 2016.

So gather up and get your gears ready as GenCamp makes its way to a new decade of learning loaded with fun and excitement!

For more information, visitGenetics Camp Official Page
For registration inquiries, contactAmarie S. Aguirre Invitations Committee Head (0906 667 7192) 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

GENES IN ACTION: Med Mission Accomplished

GeneSoc members together with alumni doctors and volunteers during the recently conducted medical mission at
Brgy. Bitin, Bay, Laguna last April 2, 2016.
Last April 2, 2016, a total of 180 residents including senior citizens of Brgy. Bitin, Bay, Laguna benefited from the free general medical check-up and over 68 kids of the same community undergone circumcision as the annual medical mission of The UPLB Genetics Society pushed through. 

Several sponsors and some private guarantors have been part of the event by donating different boxes of medicine as well as lending surgery kits which were utilized during the day of the said event. 

Four licensed physicians, who are also GeneSoc alumni members, were present namely; Dr. Mary Rachel Reventar (Heteroplasmy); Dr. John David Comandante (Heteroplasmy); Dr. Mark Arnel Marquez (Cosmids), and; Dr. Camille Ramos (Gyrase)

Another GeneSoc alumna, Nicole Mariel Romero (Indel), along with six other volunteer students from UERM College of Medicine, attended the event to assist the circumcision surgery.

Aside from the free medical check-up and circumcision, a talk on importance of folic acid supplementation in the prevention of birth defects, and newborn screening was provided by VYLH Committee Head Patrick Cuenca (Riboswitch). The participants also received brochures about these health topics.

Spearheaded by Rochelle Sarmiento (Polylinker), Outreach Committee Head of The UPLB Genetics Society, the recently held medical mission was nothing but another successful event that will be imprinted in the organization’s history.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

FICTIONAL REALITY: Turning fiction into non-fiction

By Dale Joseph Dino (Phagemids)

In line with this year's BIO 30 week theme, Reeling Histones: Genetics, the brightest star in neo-noir,
GENEWS focus on the delightful side of  Genetics and its involvement in the mainstream media and pop culture.
From reel to real, we have seen on the big screen our mutant friends possessing the so-called X-mutations fighting for their existence. Recently, we have also came across this girl named Lucy who was able to harness 100% brain capacity, thus enabling her to turn herself into a supercomputer after accidentally ingesting a hypothetical potent substance called CPH4.. Popular culture has been constantly mixing itself with science; giving birth to the world of science fiction. Starting from George Mieles’ A Trip to the Moon in 1902, various story plots have emerged from creative minds, allowing us previews of the futuristic horizon; from  lightsaber duels of Star Wars to the genetic laboratory horrors of the Jurassic Park franchise, science fiction has transcended far from man’s earthly perceptions.

Popular culture, widely known as Pop culture or simply “pop”, humbly started as a movement in the 1950’s where anything that is appealing to the majority of the population or “mainstream” is adapted by the society. Pop culture has greatly influenced the thinking and way of living of the people in a particular part of time. This movement is present in every corner of the society from the music we listen to, clothes we wear, the jargons we use in our conversations and other common denominators that make a “buzz”. Needless to say, this would also cover movies that we love to share and talk about in social media sites through memes.

One arm of pop culture that has been a favorite since expeditions in the moon started is known as science fiction, or Sci-fis. Popular examples of sci-fi movies are E.T., Artificial Intelligence, and Men in Black. Traveling back in history when Mendel’s still growing his pea plants, science fiction is merely known. Maybe except for magic tricks and some form of sorcery or black magic, most people believe in an empirical point of view which requires evidence to be presented in order to prove the existence of something. It was really believed that science is a straightforward discipline. Apparently, philosophy had lived long enough to live by the question “how?” and “what if?”