The delegates of the e-Asia Project Implementation Workshop on Pulmonary Infectious diseases induced/associated with influenza and TB.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) hosted the e-Asia Project Implementation Workshop on Pulmonary Diseases induced/associated with Influenza and Tuberculosis in Asia last 17-18 October 2016.

The two-day workshop commenced with project visits organized by the Philippine Influenza and Tuberculosis teams led by Dr. Marilla Lucero of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and Dr. Jaime C. Montoya of PCHRD, respectively. Project teams from Japan and Viet Nam were able to observe the project developments of studies conducted at RITM and at the Tuberculosis - Directly Observed Treatment Shortcourse (TB-DOTS) Center in San Juan, Batangas through the research collaboration.

Member-countries presented their respective project progress reports and research outcomes during the second-day of the workshop. On behalf of Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development, DOST Assistant Secretary for International Cooperation, Dr. Leah Buendia delivered a message of support to the goal of the project – improving health outcomes in East Asia, particularly on influenza- and TB-induced diseases mitigation. “With the e-Asia project, we are closer to the time when tuberculosis and influenza will no longer be a public threat… I am very positive that all our research efforts will lead to a better health status for the East Asian region, particularly in alleviating influenza and tuberculosis prevalence,” she quoted.

e-Asia Project Leader Dr. Kazuo Suzuki of Teikyo University presented the research activities conducted by the teams since the project launched. Through the e-Asia project, member-countries were able to assess the rate of influenza and tuberculosis prevalence in their country. Detection of different strains of the viruses was also improved.

Japan tuberculosis team member, Dr. Naoto Keicho of the Research Institute of Tuberculosis JATA Tokyo, introduced some latest advancements in TB research – advanced spoligotyping softwares and next generation sequencer. Viet Nam influenza team leader, Dr. Phung Thi Bich Thuy, also shared how the e-Asia project promoted capacity building for the Viet Nam Children's Hospital staff in the detection and culture of the influenza virus.

The delegates of the e-Asia Project Implementation Workshop on Pulmonary Infectious diseases induced/associated with influenza and TB

As of September 2016, the Philippine influenza team reported that more consultations/admissions were reported in public health centers (66%) than in hospitals i.e. UP-Philippine General Hospital (26%) and Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (8%). Meanwhile, Dr. Anna Maria Lena Lopez of the University of the Philippines reported the findings of the Philippine tuberculosis team and reported a low prevalence of TB in children in San Juan, Batangas. The annualized TB notification rate for the disease has also gone up from 170 to 210 per 100,000 population. The surveillance study also led to the commencement of a TB study on children from San Juan, Batangas to Los Banos, Laguna.

The e-Asia project on pulmonary infectious diseases is set to end this 2016. Future plans of the project teams include request to continued research pursuits on influenza and TB mitigation as well as on other diseases that need to be addressed in the East Asian region e.g. non-communicable diseases, cancer, and lifestyle diseases.

QUEZON CITY, Metro Manila- The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), along with other government agencies, will celebrate the 2016 National Biotechnology Week (NBW) on 21-25 November 2016 at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), Department of Agriculture.

With the overall theme “Bioteknolohiya: Kaagapay ng Mamamayan sa Kaunlaran, Yakapin ang pagbabago, Biotek na tayo!,” NBW highlights the use of modern biotechnology as one of several means to achieve and sustain food security, equitable access to health services, and sustainable and safe environment.

As part of the celebration, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), in partnership with the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), will conduct the Health Forum 2016 on 24 November 2016to discuss the latest developments in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), drug discovery and development, genomics, and nutrition.

Expected speakers are Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana, University of the Philippines (UP) Manila Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Director, Prof. Gisela Padilla-Concepcion, UP Diliman Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Ms. Mildred Udarbe, and FNRI experts.

A weeklong exhibit of programs, projects, and technologies on biotechnology will also be held.

Other participating agencies for this year’s NBW celebration are Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and Commission on Higher Education (CHED). 

ALABANG, Muntinlupa City- Dr. Jaime Montoya, Executive Director of the Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), is the newly elected president of the Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science and Technology (PhilASST).

Other elected PhilASST officials are as follows:

  • Dr.  Reynaldo Ebora- Division A (Agricultural Sciences) Vice President
  • Dr. Ester Ogena- Division B (Economics & Social Sciences) Vice President
  • Dr. Eva de la Paz- Division C (Medical & Biological Sciences) Vice President
  • Dr. Corazon Menguito- Division D (Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics) Vice President
  • Dr. Benjamin Austria- Division E (Geology and Earth Sciences) Vice President
  • Dr. Alvin Culaba- Division F (Engineering & Industrial Sciences) Vice President
  • Dr. Reynaldo de la Cruz- Division G (Environmental Sciences) Vice President
  • Engr. Alex Sy- Division H (Information Technology) Vice President

New directors are Atty. Froilan Bagabaldo of the Philippine Pharmacists Association, Inc., Dr. Christina Binag of the University of Santo Tomas (UST), Dr. Diane Ignacio of the DOST Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI), Dr. Sonia de Leon of the Foundation for the Advancement of Food Science and Technology (FAFST), Engr. Edgar Garcia of the DOST Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI), and Ms. Luningning Samarita-Domingo of the DOST National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).

The election was conducted during the 65th PhilASST annual convention last 22 to 23 September 2016 at Sequoia Ballroom, Acacia Hotel Manila. ■

METRO MANILA- The first batch of scholars of the MD-PhD in Molecular Medicine Program passed the recent physician board exam held 10 September 2016.

Results from Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) last 21 September 2016 showed that Maria Llaine Callanta, Maragaille Capiroso, Fresthel Monica Climacosa, Ruby Anne King, John Carlo Malabad, Jonnel Poblete, Bobbie Marie Santos, Charles Patrick Uy, and Pia Regina Fatima Zamora, all MD-PhD scholars, passed the board exam.

The MD-PhD Molecular Medicine Program is a joint initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), through PCHRD, and UP Manila, through the College of Medicine, to train aspiring physician-scientists for careers dedicated to the advancement of health through biomedical research.

Being the first and pioneering degree program in the country which offers dual MD-PhD course, the MD-PhD Molecular Medicine Program prepares scholars to assume key leadership roles within the academic community and mentor physician-scientists in training.

Recently, PCHRD and UP Manila renewed their partnership through the signing of another MOA for the MD-PhD Molecular Medicine Program. The 7th batch of the program also inked agreement with the Council.

ALABANG, Muntinlupa City- Dr. Antonio Laurena, an alumnus of the University of the Philippines Los Baños College of Agriculture, consistently pursued researchers for the improvement of economically important crops in the country. In a recent convention supported by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, he was the recipient of the Leads Agri Award.

Leads Agri is a Filipino-owned corporation that has steadily produced excellent products and customer-centered programs aimed at improving the lives of Filipino communities. The award acknowledged Laurena’s expertise on the fields of agricultural plant science, analytical chemistry, and chemical biology.

Laurena is one of the pioneer researchers on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the country. He is instrumental in the development of the delayed ripening papaya, one of the ‘Pinoy GMOs’ being developed by the Institute of Plant Breeding at UPLB.

Together with his colleagues, Laurena developed and instituted the undergraduate curricular program on agricultural biotechnology, the first in the country.

His achievements were also recognized by various award giving institutions including the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) Outstanding Achievement Award for Research, UPLB Outstanding Research Team Award, and 1995 National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) Outstanding Young Scientist Award. ■