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Bennett, First ASM Young Ambassador to the Philippines

Last May 2013, a cohort of young science students and scientists from different countries were invited by American Society for Microbiology (ASM) International Affairs Office to represent the first set of American Society for Microbiology Young Ambassadors. Of the 30 participants, a UST Graduate School Biology alumnus, Reuel M. Bennett was appointed as the first ASM Young Ambassador to The Philippines. Bennett is a faculty member of the College of Nursing and a research assistant at the UST Collection of Microbial Strains. He will soon pursue his PhD in Biology at the University of Johannes Goethe in Frankfurt, Germany under the supervision of Prof. Marco Thines, PhD. He will be working on the “Phylogenomics and Chemical Diversity of Oomycetes from Mangrove Leaves.” His PhD studies will be funded by the Katholischer Akademischer Ausländer-Dienst(KAAD) for three years.

Bennett was invited by ASM International Affairs Office to participate in the 15-day seminar retreat at ASM headquarters, Washington D.C. and also at the 114th General Meeting at Colorado International Convention Center, Denver, USA. During his stay at Washington D.C., Bennett along with other ASM-YAs participated in various round table discussions with top US government officers, academicians, and science policy makers from the Office of Science and Technology Policy at White House Conference Center, US Department of State, National Academies of Science, National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity of the National Institutes of Health and Science Committee members at the US House of Representatives. The round table discussions focused US science ecosystem, science policies and policy making, global challenges, ethics on research methodologies and publication, and scientific communication.

While in Colorado, he presented the 3-year Hexavalent Chromium Bioremediation project of the UST Environmental and Applied Microbiology group (USTeam) at the ASM International Lounge Area together with Prof. Gina R. Dedeles, PhD of the College of Science. Another graduate student companion, Ms. Jovy Ann Casamorin, who earned her MS Microbiology March 2013 also presented her work on the “Biosorption of Cadmium (II) by Yeasts from Ripe Fruit Peels. Mr. Bennett, Prof. Dedeles and Ms. Casamorin were among the few delegates from the Philippines who attended the ASM meeting. At present, Bennett is actively promoting the science of ASM by giving talks to undergraduate and graduate students interested in the field of Microbiology. He also serves as the bridge to further increase networking and collaborations of scientists and other international young ambassadors to the Philippines.

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