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Science internationalization agenda beefed up

travel around world 2The internationalization agenda of the College of Science continues to beef up as shown through a linkage with international universities, faculty mobility, and academic as well as research collaborations.

On November 12, 2015, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the University of Santo Tomas (College of Science) and Academia Sinica (Institute of Physics), Taiwan, R.O.C. In the pipeline is the partnership with Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Japan and Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea.

Science faculty is also felt in international conferences as they serve as participants, poster presenters, and speakers. Asst. Prof. Josefino Castillo, MA attended the British Educational Training and Technology (BETT) Asia Leadership Summit 2015 held at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore on Nov. 17 – 18, 2015.

On Nov. 18 – 21, 2015, Prof. Dr. re. nat. Thomas Edison dela Cruz presented the paper, “Updates, Challenges, and Opportunities of Slime Mold Research in the Philippines” during The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) 13th General Conference and 26th General Meeting held at Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria. The event was organized by Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria. Earlier, in the same month, he represented the Philippines in the World Science Forum, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary on Nov. 4 – 7, 2015. He was nominated by the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines and sponsored by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Assoc. Prof. Allan Patrick G. Macabeo presented the posters, “Cytotoxic tetrahydrobisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids from Polyalthia sp.,” and “Tetrahydroxanthone derivatives and other secondary metabolites from two endophytic fungi of the Philippine Uvaria species” during the 20th Annual Convention of the Natural Products Society of the Philippines that focused on “State of Natural Products Research in the Asia-Pacific Region”. It was held Dec. 1 – 2, 2015 at the University of Santo Tomas.

Prof. Christina A. Binag, Ph.D. of the Department of Chemistry acted both as oral presenter and plenary speaker of the 16th Asian Bioethics Conference held Nov. 4-8, 2015 at St. Paul University, Quezon City and De La Salle University, Manila. She focused on “Virgin Coconut Oil as Health Food: The Philippine Coconut Authority Study” organized by Asian Bioethics Association. Prof. Corazon A. Menguito, Ph.D. of the same department participated in the same conference.

Also invited as speaker was Prof. Maribel G. Nonato who talked about “Evaluation of Anti-diabetic Activity and Chemometric Differentiation of Selected Philippine Pandanaceae Species” during the 8th Asian Network of Research on Anti-diabetic Plants (ANRAP) International Seminar 2015 on Nov. 23-25, 2015 at Grand Bluewave Hotel, Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia. On Dec. 9, 2015, she also delivered a talk which highlighted the “Updates on Philippine Pandanus” during the International Natural Products Symposium 2015 at Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Faculty members from the Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Chemistry served as either visiting researchers or PhD student in international universities. From the Department of Biological Sciences, the following visited international universities/institutions as visiting researchers: Assoc. Prof. Mary Beth Maningas in a training program on Hemapoietic Cell Culture Technology at the Department of Comparative Physiology, Uppsala University, Sweden on Nov. 16 – Dec. 13, 2015. She was financed by Bridging the Human Resource Competency Gaps in Support of the National R & D Agenda (BCDA), Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development – Department of Science and Technology (PCIEERD-DOST); Prof. Grecebio Jonathan D. Alejandro, Ph.D. in 2015 Singapore Genomics Road Show, Pan Pacific Hotel, Singapore, Nov. 27 – 28, 2015 funded by Macrogen, Korea; and Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Thomas Edison dela Cruz who was in DAAD Re-invitation Programme – Research Training on Computer-based Assessment of Myxomycetes Ecology, Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology, Ernst Moritz, Arndt University, Greifswald, Germany on Sept. 12 – Nov. 8, 2015 and Research Training on Secondary Metabolic Profiling as a Tool in Species Identification, Marine Biodiversity Center, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom on November 10 – Dececember 2015. His travel was funded by German Academic Exchange Service/ Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD)and BCDA, PCIEERD-DOST, respectively.

From the Department of Chemistry, Prof. Maribel G. Nonato, Ph.D. visited Academia Sinica and Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan on Dec. 8 – 10 while Assoc. Prof. Karen S. Santiago and Asst. Prof. Jolleen Natalie I. Balitaan visited Chung Yuan Christian University, Taiwan as a faculty researcher and a Ph.D. student in a research training. They were hosted by Prof. Ju-Ming Yeh, Department of Chemistry. The visit was funded by MECO-TECO.

There were academic foreign visitors who visited the College. These are the collaborators of Assoc. Prof. Rey Donne S. Papa, Ph.D. in two of his projects. They are Dr. Terrence Gosliner, Senior Curator, Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Sciences, California Academy of Science, U.S.A.; Dr. Kent Carpenter, Researcher, Old Dominion University, U.S.A.; and other researchers from the California Academy of Science, U.S.A. They are Dr. Meg Burke, Dr. Dave Catania, Dr. Chrisie Piotrowski, and Dr. Rich Mooi. They work together on a research grant by USAID-NSF-PEER Grant on “Lake Taal: Sustaining native biodiversity in the face of aquaculture, climate change, and non-native species”.

Likewise, his collaborators on the research, “Biodiversity-driven Nutrient Cycling and Human Well-being in Social-ecological Systems,” through the E-REC Project – RIHN (Research Institute for Humanity and Nature), Japan came. They are Noburo Okuda, Project Leader, Yuki Kobayashi , Takuya Ishida, Yoshitoshi Uehara, all Post Doctorate Fellows of RIHN, and Chia-Ying Jessie Ko, Post Doctorate Fellow, Academia Sinica, Taiwan.

During the 2nd UST-TUMSAT Aquatic Biotechnology Symposium chaired by Assoc. Prof. Mary Beth Maningas, Ph.D. which was held at USTHS Auditorium, Prof. Ikuo Hirono of Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT), Japan served as the speaker.

Dr. Rob Verpoorte, Emeritus Professor, Leiden University and Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Ethnopharmacology (Elsevier), The Netherlands served as the Plenary Lecturer during the 20th Natural Products Society of the Philippines (NPSP) Convention during the Department of Chemistry Lecture Series. Dr. Holger Steinbrenner, Research Fellow, Friedrich Schiller University, Germany and Dr. Atsushi Nakayama, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tokushima University served as resource persons.

Dr. Shiny John Vairamon, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Stella Maris College, Chennai, India visited for academic and research collaborations. Those who visited for the same purpose are Ting-Kuo Lee, Director, Institute of Physics, Academia Sinica, Taiwan and the research fellows Hoi Lai Yu, Shang-Fan Lee, and Chii-Dong Chen. From the Deparment of Physics, National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan are Hsiang-Lin Liu, Chair, and Chia-Ming Kuo, Professor. Li-Chu Tsai, Professor, National Taipei University of Technology, Taiwan also paid a visit to the University and the College.

Other seminars conducted with foreign speakers are as follows: 20th Natural Products Society of the Philippines Convention, State of Natural Products Research in the Asia-Pacific Region (co-organized by the Department of Chemistry), held Dec. 1 – 2, 2015 at BGPOP Bldg., University of Santo Tomas with the following speakers and their topics: Dr. Ibrahim Jantan, Professor, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia - “Integrated Approaches in Natural Products Research for Discovery of New Immunomodulating Agents;” Dr. Rob Verpoorte, Professors Emeritus, Leiden University, The Netherlands - “Natural products research: Quo Vadis?;” Dr. Atsushi Nakayama, Tokushima University, Japan - “Total Synthesis and SAR Studies of Anti-tumor agent, LL-Z-1640-2;” and Dr. Yoshinori Asakawa, Professor, Tokushima Bunri University - “Phytochemicals of Liverworts: Chemical Diversity and Biological Activity”.

The Department of Math and Physics as it held the Fr. Ciriaco Pedrosa Memorial Lecture during the Second Joint International Symposium on Mathematics and Physics with the theme, “Strengthening Ties, Integrating Differentiated Resources” held Nov. 13, 2015 invited the following speakers: Prof. Ting Kuo Lee, Director, Institute of Physics, Academia Sinica Taiwan who talked about “Three Dimensional Structures - X-ray Microscopies;” Prof. Hsiang –Lin Liu, Chair, Dept. of Physics National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan who spoke about “Optical Properties of two dimensional Materials;” and Prof. Chia-Ming Kuo, Professor, Department of Physics, National Central University, Taiwan, Researcher at CERN, Switzerland whose speech was titled, “Hunt for Point-like Particles with the world’s largest machine”.

Jake A. Tan, Ph.D. student, Institute of Atomic and Molecular Science, Academia Sinica, Department of Chemistry, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan International Graduate Program, delivered the talk, “Coupling of Intermolecular Proton Bond (IPB) Stretch with C-O Stretch in Zundel Dimers of Me(OH)2H+ and (Me2O)2H+” on November 6, 2015.

Ongoing collaborations include “Nanostructured Electrocatalyst Composites for Direct Ethanol Fuel Cell: Preparation, Characterization, and Performance Evaluation,” with Assoc. Prof. Bernard John V. Tongol, Ph.D. as the project leader whose research runs from Nov. 13, 2015 to Nov. 12, 2016 funded by Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development – Department of Science and Technology (PCIEERD-DOST). The Department of Energy Systems Engineering, Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology, Republic of Korea served as the cooperating agency. Tongol is working in collaboration with Prof. Hasuck Kim; “Fabrication of Supercapacitors Using Indigenous Textiles as Electrode Materials,” with Prof. Christina A. Binag, Ph.D. as the project leader in cooperation with the Department of Energy Systems Engineering, Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST), Republic of Korea with Prof. Sangaraju Shanmugam as the research collaborator. The research runs from March 1, 2015 to Feb. 28, 2017. The Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development – Department of Science and Technology (PCIEERD-DOST) funded the research.

Asst. Prof. Felicidad Christina G. Ramirez, UST B.S. Chemistry alumna and Ph.D. Chemistry student and thesis advisee of Dr. Binag is now at DGIST, South Korea for a research training on supercapacitor characterization. The training started on January 18 and will last on April 9, 2016.
Dino Tordesillas, UST B.S. Biology alumnus and Ph.D. Biology student and thesis advisee of Dr. Papa spent three months as an international research student at the University of Shiga Prefecture in Japan. His dissertation is part of the USAID-NSF-PEER Grant. He is a DOST ASTHRDP Scholar. Other scholars include Erica Silk Dela Paz and Mark Louie Lopez who are both graduates of B.S. Biology and M.S. Biology students with Dr. Papa as the thesis adviser and who were both awarded Tonolli Fund Postgraduate Fellowship in Limnology last Nov. 2015.

Daniel Vicario is now in the process of earning his Ph.D. in Experimental Physics at RWTH Aachen University, Germany with scholarships from European Commission Erasmus Mundus EXTATIC Joint Doctorate Program (RWTH Aachen University, University College Dublin Ireland and Military Technical University Warsaw Poland) through a UST Study Grant covering the period, 2015 – 2018. 

Asst. Prof. Glenda delos Reyes, who likewise availed of UST Study Grant, 2009 – 2014, with scholarships from the Alberta Ingenuity Technology Future Graduate Student Scholarship finally earned her Ph.D. in Physics, Condensed Matter Physics at University of Alberta, Canada.

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