The National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) is actively searching nominees for the following NAST and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) awards:


    1. Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) Awards
    2. TWAS Prize for Young Scientist in the Philippines (Biology)
    3. NAST Talent Search for Young Scientists
    4. NAST Environmental Science Award
    5. Outstanding Scientific Paper Awards
    6. Outstanding Book and/or Monographs Awards


    1. Outstanding Technology Commercialization Award (Gregorio Y. Zara Medal)
    2. Outstanding Research and Development Award
    3. Outstanding Science Administrator Awards (for Basic and Applied researches)
    4. Magsaysay Future Engineers/Technologist Awards  (MFET)


All deadline for nominations is on the last working day of November 2013, except for MFET, which has a deadline on June 15, 2014. Please visit for more information.

The National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), Philippines, through its project, entitled, “Evaluation and Improvement of the Research Publication and IP Productivity of DOST R&D Institute,” is searching possible entries for its International Publication Awards.

Deadline for submission of nomination is on 15 November 2013. Visit to download nomination form.

Singarilyas, balatong, kamote

Aside from their popular use on Filipino dishes, Sigarilyas, balatong, and kamote hold bioactive peptides that could help in treating hypertension, as recent studies revealed.

Dr. Mary Anne Torio from the Institute of Chemistry, University of the Philippines Los Baños shared her pioneering research on anti-hypertensive activity of locally available vegetables, during the 62nd annual convention of the Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science (PHILAAS).

Dr. Torio focuses on hypertension, a condition characterized by abnormal high blood pressure, which may block the flow of blood and result into heart attack. The condition can also break weakened blood vessels and cause a bleeding in the brain, which leads to stroke. According to World Health Organization (WHO), one out of three adults has high blood pressure, causing half of all deaths from stroke and heart disease.

In pursuit of potential treatment for hypertension, Dr. Torio and her team examined the components of vegetables such as winged beans (sigarilyas), mongo beans (balatong), and sweet potato (kamote).

These vegetables were found to contain bioactive peptides, components with 2-9 amino acid residues which must be removed from the bigger protein to be biologically active. While bioactive peptides are known for being antioxidant and antimicrobial, bioactive peptides from local vegetables also show potential on lowering blood pressure by inhibiting an enzyme (known as angiotensin-converting enzyme or ACE), which could decrease the tension of blood vessels and help arteries to relax.

Among the local veggies, bioactive peptides from sigarilyas have the highest percent of inhibiting activity which is 91.82% after purifying it. While peptides from balatong have 83.95% inhibition, sweet potato’s peptides display 77.39% inhibition.

These biologically active peptides from readily available sources have great potential for medicinal studies, which could also increase the commercial value of plant sources in the country, as Dr. Torio emphasized.

Dr. Torio expressed her gratitude to the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) for funding her research.

Medical journal editors in the Asia Pacific unite to advocate ethical and quality journal publishing through the Tokyo Declaration on Research Integrity and Ethical Publication in Science and Medicine in the Asia Pacific Region.

The declaration was a response of the Asia Pacific Association of Medical Journal Editors (APAME) during its Annual Conference in Tokyo, Japan last 2-4 August 2013 to address the allegations of frauds in published journal articles on Novartis-manufactured drug, valsartan, which recently headlined in Japan.

Although valsartan was first marketed as an anti-hypertensive drug, studies published in different journals supporting claims of its therapeutic benefits for heart and stroke patients made it a well-known heart and stroke medication, eventually raising its sales in countries where it was being sold. However, allegations of fraudulent data manipulation cast doubts to the studies’ truthfulness leading to separate probes of five Japanese universities and the Japan’s Health Ministry.

Early this year, the European Heart Journal retracted its published article after the investigations unanimously concluded that the data on the study were fabricated. This lead to APAME’s drafting of the Tokyo Declaration, pushing for quality journal publishing  and truthful a scientific research among its members. The Tokyo Declaration commits APAME members to abide by ethical standards to maintain integrity of published articles in the Asia Pacific.

In this regards, publishers and editors in the region are encouraged to concurrently publish the declaration in their respective journals.

As the Philippines continue to fight malnutrition, functional foods are promoted as healthier alternatives to conventional foods but challenges on its regulations remain.

Functional food is generally defined as a product similar in appearance to conventional food, which contains health benefits to reduce chronic disorders beyond basic nutritional function. Consumption of this food helps in meeting the nutritional needs of individuals and eventually, helps in reducing malnutrition.  Some of these functional foods could be found in the Philippines such as brown rice, soybean spread, and chips and tea made from natural herbs containing vitamins, fiber and anti-oxidants.

In Japan, a regulatory system known as Foods for Specified Health Use (FOSHU) is responsible to approve effectiveness and safety of functional foods through scientific assessment. As displayed on the FOSHU website, FOSHU requires potential functional foods to prove effectiveness on human, use ‘nutritionally appropriate ingredients’, show guarantee of compatibility with product specifications by the time of consumption, establish quality control methods, and most importantly, confirm the absence of safety issues.

Approved functional foods in Japan could claim physiological effects on human body like controlling blood pressure or cholesterol. It could also declare reducing certain disease risk only after getting FOSHU’s approval of its claims.

Director Mario Capanzana of Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), however, raised the lack of regulations to support the production of functional foods in the Philippines, during the 62nd annual convention of the Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science (PHILAAS). 

The Department of Health-Food and Drugs Administration (DOH-FDA) classifies some functional foods as dietary supplement. Foods which serve as supplement must not have therapeutic claims. If functional foods will have specific regulations, food products with deceptive health claims will no longer be displayed on websites or even local markets, as Dr. Capanzana emphasized. 

Though there is still no clear policy on functional foods in the country, Dr. Capanzana affirmed that there is a huge demand for functional foods. Thus, the government and the people must develop specific regulations in producing more functional foods with valid and competitive health claims.