The National Women’s Month Celebration every March is part of the worldwide observance of the International Women’s Day (IWD) which brings together global governments and organizations under the same cause. The Department of Science and Technology held its celebration of women's month on March 23 at the Philippine Science High School Gymnasium, Quezon City to honor women’s rights movement and to celebrate achievements of women in science.

Women of Science

In celebration of IWD 2018, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development honors outstanding women of the Balik Scientist Program (BSP). BSP is an initiative of DOST encouraging Filipino scientists to return to the country and aid in strengthening the country’s S&T.

BSP awardees in health research are Dr. Georgina Cruz, Dr. Annabelle Villalobos, Dr. Rose Eva Constantino, Dr. Cheryl Andam, and Dr. Doralyn Dalisan. The awardees are distinguished scientists in their feild of expertise and have made valuable contributions in health research and development.

As women and torch bearers of progress in S&T, the awardees were asked to answer the question “How will you continue to #PressforProgress in health research?”

“I relish the opportunity to continue to mentor women and men on science and health by helping them discover new and easily available drugs with due diligence and market-driven output. Encourage and guide them to engage in collaborations with experienced groups to bring safe, quality and efficacious drugs to the market.

Dr. Anabelle Villalobos’ field of expertise is on Biochemistry, Analytical Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, and Biopharmaceutical R&D. She assisted in the functional and operational organization of the Natural Products Research and Development Center (NPRDC).

In health research, I would like to see greater support for basic research, including those that are high-risk, low-yield research programs that seek to address more fundamental questions in the field. This is how I would press for progress in health research.”

Dr. Georgina Cruz assisted in the translation of brain-based research into strategies for Philippine science and technology education. Aside from this, she worked on the Philippine Normal University Brain-Based Research and Educational Neuroscience Program by conducting neuroscience workshops and scientific and technical consultations.


As a DOST Balik Scientist at University of San Agustin, I have inspired young scientists to pursue career in science and technology. I am now mentoring eleven young women, research assistants and faculty members of University of San Agustin who are currently enrolled in MS Pharmacy, MS Biology, MS Chemistry and MS Biochemistry program.

Dr. Doralyn Dalisay is an expert on Microbiology and Natural Products Chemistry. She mentored USA Pharmacy Faculty Members on teaching strategies and research, conducted workshops on “The Art of Preparing Oral and Poster Research Presentation," and established linkage between USA and Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore.

“Health research programs and initiatives should encompass both fundamental/basic and translational questions that integrates human health, animal health and the environment. With my background in environmental and clinical microbiology and genomics, I will continue to elucidate the evolutionary and ecological factors underlying disease emergence, distribution and transmission.”

Dr. Andam is currently a Professor of Microbial Ecology at the University of New Hampshire, USA where she and her research group worked on investigating environmental microbes that have public health and medical importance.

To continue to Press for Progress in Health Research in the Philippines, Dr. Constantino believes that she has to go back to the Philippines and finish her project on “The HEARTS of Older Filipino in Manila.” This is important because almost 40% of older persons in the Philippines are burdened with insecurity, poverty, and poor health thus posing a great challenge to the economic, welfare and healthcare system.

Dr. Constantino drafted a full research proposal for the Ethics Committee review on “The HEARTS of Older Filipinos in Manila”, which will be extended to “The HEARTS of Older Persons in Pittsburgh.” She also conducted seminars and workshops on Forensic Nursing, Partner Violence, and GPS on Health.


This year’s theme for the IWD campaign is #PressforProgress which is a call to press forward and progress gender parity fueled by other campaigns such as #MeToo and #TimesUp. These global initiatives serves as a beacon for all women that there is still hope for a society with equal rights and opportunities for all gender.

Furthermore, it is a call-to-action to unite everyone to do their part in creating a more gender inclusive environment by thinking and acting progressively towards gender equality.

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to honor the achievements and successes of women from all backgrounds and fields of study while underlining the importance of women’s right and gender equality. Now more than ever, we must #PressforProgress for us to become a force of positive change and social empowerment.

The APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (“ASPIRE”) is an annual award which recognizes young scientists who have demonstrated a commitment to both excellence in scientific research, as evidenced by scholarly publication and cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies.

The ASPIRE Prize supports APEC’s mission to:

  • Strengthen international science and technology networks;
  • Enhance economic growth, trade and investment opportunities in harmony with sustainable development, through policies, innovative R&D and technologies, and knowledge sharing;
  • Improve linkages and efficiency between research and innovation.

ASPIRE 2018: Smart Technologies for Healthy Societies

Each year, the chairing APEC member economy provides a theme for the ASPIRE Prize. In 2018, Papua New Guinea selects "Smart Technologies for Healthy Societies” as the ASPIRE theme. This theme focuses on how scientists are capitalizing on smart technologies and digital platforms to provide better health care access and services across the APEC region.

Candidates should demonstrate a commitment to excellence in scientific research and cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies in subjects such as: biomedical technology, healthcare supply chains, pharmaceutical technology, point-of-care systems, wearable technology, self-help devices, artificial gene fusion, medical Informatics, cell surface display techniques, robotics, nanomedicine, 3D printing and continuous manufacturing, blockchain technology and other relevant fields.


Any citizen of an APEC member economy is eligible to be nominated for the ASPIRE Prize. He/she must be living at the time of his/her nomination and be under the age of 40 as of 31 December of that year (i.e., all 2018 nominees must be under the age of 40 as of 31 December 2018).


Each APEC member economy, through its representative in the APEC Policy Partnership for Science, Technology and Innovation (PPSTI), is invited to nominate one young scientist under the age of 40 to be considered for the ASPIRE Prize.

Individually qualified applicants are encouraged to complete the “Local Nomination Form” and send it to PPSTI Program Director Ms. Zhongzhen LIU (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by 13 April 2018 so it may be directed toward local economy reviewers.

Once nominations are received, PPSTI members rank the nominees through a selection ballot to determine the winner. PPSTI members are asked to judge the nominees based on how well they have demonstrated:

Excellence in scientific research, as evidenced through scholarly publication;
Commitment to cooperation with scientists from other APEC member economies;
Contribution to the 2018 ASPIRE theme of “Smart Technologies for Healthy Societies.”
The winner will be recognized at an award ceremony during the 12th APEC PPSTI Meeting in Papua New Guinea scheduled for August 2018.


Wiley and Elsevier, two of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly scientific knowledge, have committed to funding USD25,000 in prize money.

For more information, please visit 

To promote health research dissemination in the country, the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) showcased the features of HERDIN and explained to more 250 pharmacy students its use during Adamson University’s 6th Pharmacy Research Forum.

Representing the council was Ms. Judy Ann Bacud who explained how the Health Research and Development Information Network (HERDIN) database, the country’s national health research repository, gives its users free access more than 4,000 full-text articles on health research and 50,000 citations and bibliographic health research information.

Two other speakers graced the yearly forum attended by students of Manila universities, Dr. Alberto Amorsolo who discussed the journal peer-review process and the threats of predatory journals, and Mr. Julius Velasquez who gave a presentation on event-based surveillance and response.

To invite HERDIN to visit your university, please send a letter addressed to PCHRD Executive Director, Dr. Jaime C. Montoya about your invitation, and for more information about HERDIN, please visit

Rabies remains to be a public health problem in the country, accounting for 200 to 300 deaths each year. With the declaration of March as Rabies Awareness Month (Republic Act 1948), the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development and various health institutions take part in raising people’s consciousness to the dangers of infectious viral diseases like rabies.

The Council is one of the many institutions promoting innovative ideas and research-based solutions to combat public health problems. PCHRD extends funding for researches on public health which are aligned with National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA) and National Harmonized Research and Development Agenda (NHRDA)

NUHRA summarizes the health research and development directions and priorities of the country for a six-year period. These research priority areas are the following: Diagnostics, Tuklas lunas (Drug discovery and development), Functional foods, Hospital equipment and biomedical devices, Information and communication technology for health, Dengue and other arboviruses, Disaster risk reduction, Climate change adaptation, and Omic technologies for health.

Some of the rabies related projects and researches that were supported by the Council are “Canine Rabies Vaccination Outcome Monitoring and its Implication to Rabies Control and Prevention Program in Pampanga,” “Comparison of the Different Brain Collection Techniques and Evaluation of the Spinal Cord and Brain Tissues as Specimen for Rabies Diagnosis,” and “Bioluminescent Enzyme Immunoassay for the Rapid and Specific Detection of Rabies Virus.”

Most reported cases of rabies are caused by domestic pets such as cats, dogs, and rabbits. The virus usually comes from their saliva but can also be transmitted into humans through biting and scratching. While there is a small amount of people who have survived rabies, it remains as a fatal disease.

As a reminder, PCHRD encourages individuals to practice responsible pet ownership by having your pets vaccinated by your veterinarian, keeping them safe whether inside or outside the house and reporting stray animals to local government authorities.

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and Tohoku University Collaborating Research Center for Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases celebrated 10 years of partnership through a conference on 20 February 2018 at the RITM Training Center.

The anniversary conference is the culmination of a decade of research partnership led by research group head, Dr. Hitoshi Oshitani and RITM Director, Dr. Socorro Lupisan. The event featured the collaborating center’s achievements through the decade and presented discussions about the future direction of collaborative research.

Dr. Lupisan gave the keynote lecture on childhood pneumonia in the Philippines, citing the improvement in the treatment, control, and decrease in mortality of pneumonia cases over the years. She said that this improvement is the result of the development of better strategies in addressing pneumonia through improved investigations of the cause for the disease.  

Sixteen (16) researchers from RITM and Tohoku University presented their studies during the sessions of the event. The sessions featured discussions on respiratory infections, bacterial infections, acute gastroenteritis, other infections such as rabies, dengue, and chikungunya, and a session on ongoing research projects under the collaboration program.

A poster exhibit was also held to showcase abstracts of RITM-Tohoku researchers over the years.

The RITM-Tohoku Collaborating Research Center for Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases was launched in 2008 to establish sustainable infectious disease control programs in the country through research with local hospitals and institutions.

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine is a distinguished partner institution of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development in infectious diseases research.  The Council has supported RITM projects on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and infectious disease, among others, throughout the years.