First Quarter Issue

NRCP-DOST Research Achievers

The country’s top 12 researchers in 2006 were honored for their unique contributions in their specializations during the research achievement awards ceremony held in time for the 74th annual convention of the National Research Council of the Philippines, a collegial body attached to the Department of Science and Technology at the Manila Hotel on March 8, 2007.

National Economic Development Authority Secretary Romulo L. Neri was keynote speaker and joined DOST Secretary Estrella F. Alabastro and NRCP President Fortunato T. de la Peña in giving the plaques of recognition and cash prizes to the top researchers.

The awardees were selected among NRCP’s 2,968 members and include:

Wilson Garcia
Dr. Wilson O. Garcia, [physics]-a photonics researcher selected for his research in laser-produced plasma, laser technology development, and non-linear photonic processes.  His original contributions in the field of optics extend to future application of laser technology cited by the international scientific community.  His research involves generating, controlling, and detecting photons particularly in visible light and near infrared spectrum.
 
Carmelita Domingo Dr. Carmelita F. Domingo, [medical sciences] - a pediatrician by education, she was chosen for her medical researches on the early diagnosis of cretinism (a condition of severely stunted physical and mental growth due to untreated congenital deficiency of thyroid hormones), which saved many children from a life of diminished intellectual capacity and limited option.  She is acknowledged as a prime mover of newborn screening.  Her researches on school children especially those in highly depressed areas showed the risks of high exposure to lead on their mental and physical development.  The results were consequently used by other research groups to focus on the correlation of leaded gasoline to the levels of lead in blood that eventually became the basis of new policies on sealing milk cans.
 
Gerald Penecilla Dr. Gerald L. Penecilla, [pharmaceutical sciences]--this phytochemist is lauded for pioneering the use of microtiter assay in the Philippines.  Microtiter assay is a laboratory protocol used in quantifying activities of adherent cells.  He used this technique in determining the anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties of indigenous plants like banaba, tsaang-gubat, guava, and kalachuchi.  Data from his researches that used this novel laboratory technique now constitute a database that would enable the country to develop products for health maintenance like anti-microbial soaps, anti-fungal shampoos, and antibacterial creams.
 
ClaroSantiago Dr. Claro M. Santiago, [biological sciences]--as plant geneticist, he is commended for his research breakthroughs on the improvement of genetic improvement of straw mushroom, Volvariella violacea, through protoplast fusion (a laboratory method used to produce new plant breed).  His research effort led to the isolation of various high yielding strains of edible fungi with application for food security and medicine.  Another research achievement credited to him is the production of non-woven medical bandage from mushroom mycelium, the hat-like mushroom head.
 
CeferinoMaalala Dr. Ceferino P. Maala, [agriculture]—this doctor of veterinary medicine is hailed for his research that demonstrate the important link between the basic animal anatomy and applied veterinary medicine.  He distinctively characterized different kinds of domestic and wild animals through microscopic characterization of hair cuticles and medulla (the inner or central portion of an organ).  This research has potential function in the prevention of illegal animal trade and poaching of endangered animal species.   He has also pioneered works on muzzle and palatine printing in cattle and water buffaloes to identify those that are disease carriers, which has great potential application in forensic veterinary.
 
Marible G. Nonato Dr. Maribel G. Nonato, [chemical sciences]—as a phytochemist, she is lauded for pioneering chemical studies on alkaloids (medicinal properties) that occur in plant species under genus Pandanus, (pandan).  She has isolated and characterized the structures of compounds present in the different species of pandan, and established their potential as chemotaxonomic markers (the chemistry and taxonomy of each species under genus Pandanus) and as natural sources of medicinal products.
 
Carla Dimalanta Dr. Carla B. Dimalanta, [earth and space sciences]—she is a geologist/geophysicist known for her significant contribution in the study of ophiolites (oceanic plates), adakites (rocks formed from melted lavas), crustal thickness, and Philippine tectonics (geological structures).  Her researches on Philippine geology contributed to the understanding of the evolution of the Philippine archipelago, and mineralization and natural hazards resulting from associated geologic processes.
   
Romulo Virola Dr. Romulo A. Virola, [mathematical sciences]—praised for his scholarly works in statistics and actuarial science (a field of knowledge that deals with mathematical insurance including probabilities) that enhanced the quality of statistics and raised the role and stature of the Philippine Statistical System.
   
Dr. Milagros C. Guerrero Dr. Milagros C. Guerrero, [social sciences]--a historian, she is recognized for her holistic synthesis of historical materials that drew and nurtured the interest of students and colleagues in the systematic study and explanation of past events and issues.
   
Allan De Guzman Dr. Allan B. de Guzman, [education]--recognized for his outstanding achievements and leadership as an educator and researcher.  He is also a member of various international scientific journals, author of internationally acclaimed publications, reviewer of scholarly articles in various fields of education such as pedagogy (the art of teaching), school-based management, educational technology, library science, etc.  He has played critical role in popularizing different qualitative research methods such as doodling, portraiture, life story, appreciative inquiry, story network analysis, bibliometrics, narrative biographical and diary analysis in education studies–all published in widely read international journals.
   
Aura Castillo Matias Dr. Aura Castillo Matias, [engineering and industrial research]--honored for her outstanding achievements in research and extension work for government, academe, and industry specializing in ergonomics (human factors engineering) particularly in work measurement, productivity, optimization, quality management, and occupational safety and health.  She played a key role in the establishment of the Philippine Institute of Industrial Engineers in 1998, and Philippine Ergonomics Society in 2003.
   
Elena Rivera Mirano Dr. Elena Rivera Mirano, [arts and culture]—as a musicologist (specialist in the study of music and its history, forms, and methods), she is renowned for her insightful knowledge on kumintang, awit, pasyon, and subli as well as for multidisciplinary achievements as scholar, musician, and pedagogue that brought her to national and international prominence.
   
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