Curiosity of simple things, like observing creatures in the garden or watching the leaves change their color, can make a scientist out of a person. Such curiosity and passion for what one does can bring out discoveries that can improve the quality of life, not just our own but other beings are well. Dr. Helen T. Yap is one scientist with such ideals.
Dr. Yap cares passionately for the marine environment. She started her research on how temperature, light, and other conditions, in the environment affect the growth of hard corals—the organisms that build reefs. She believes that starting from the corals, other ecosystems can be protected and rebuilt, including the species and their habitats.
The Philippine government, recognizing Dr. Yap’s pioneering studies on the marine environment, specially the coral reefs, honored her in 1992 as one of the Outstanding Young Scientists. Dr. Yap’s efforts led to a fuller understanding of the ecology of marine ecosystems. Her exceptional ability in marine research has helped build international recognition for the marine scientists in the country.
Dr. Yap believes that pursuing a career in science is one way to help the country earn a proud place among the nations of the world, she reminds her students to always be observant, meticulous, and patient.
At present, Dr. Yap works as an associate professor of marine biology at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, and also serves as member of the editorial board of the Journal of Marine Environmental Engineering, a United States Publication.
Dr. Yap obtained her undergraduate and master’s degrees from UO Diliman. She completed her doctorate degree in Marine Biology from the Wilhelm Pieck University in Rostock, Germany in 1987.