Turning potentially fatal poisons into substances that are used to probe the delicate processes in the brain is just one of the exceptional feats attributed to Dr. Lourdes J. Cruz.
Among her prominent researches are those that concern neuropeptides from Conus snails and antituberculosis compounds. Her studies on the biochemistry of toxic peptides extracted from Conus marine snails let to:
1. The characterization of over 50 biologically active peptides from Conus venom naturally used by marine snails to stun, paralyze, or kill fish that they prey upon.
2. The development of conotoxins as biochemical probes to observe the activities of the brain. One of the substances derived from her research, w-conotoxin, is now among the most widely used tools in evaluating neuronal calcium channels. Another substance, u-conotoxin is used by neuroscientist when they need to control muscular activity in examining the processes that occur at the gaps between nerve cells.
For these and other achievements, Dr. Cruz was elected to the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST). She has also received other commendations and awards, which include NAST Outstanding Young Scientist Award (1981), the NCRP Achievement Award in Chemistry (1982), and the Outstanding Women in Nation’s Service Award in (Biochemistry, 1986).
Dr. Cruz earned her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of the Philippines (UP) in 1962, and her masters and doctorate from the University of Iowa in the United States. She is a professor at the Marine Science Institute (UP)_ as well as a research professor at the University of Utah. She is also the president of the Center for Biomolecular Science foundation, Inc.
►National Academy of Science and Technology. http://www.nast.dost.gov.ph/pro_cruz.htm
►Yahoo Answers. http://answer.yahoo.co/question/?qid=20060627060121AAhp0L0