Posts Tagged ‘University of the Philippines


Dr. Leah Marquez-Curtis – A Passionate Mentor and Researcher

Lady Scientist

An avid reader of medical thrillers and Christian fiction, a loving wife and mother, a passionate mentor and researcher—that’s Dr. Leah Marquez-Curtis.

This lady scientist is currently a senior research assistant at the Research and Development Division of the Canadian Blood Services, working on blood stem cell transplantation.  No she’s not tweaking embryonic stem cells but adult stem cells, particularly hematopoietic (blood-making) stem cells.

Dr. Curtis’s research has great impact on cancer treatment.  Her team makes it possible for blood cells to develop into normal cells by collecting stem cells from the blood of a patient before undergoing chemotherapy.  These cells were formerly collected from the bone marrow in an invasive manner.  (Chemotherapy surely compromises the blood-making functions of the bone marrow and make them susceptible to infections.)  Now, Dr. Curtis’s team manages to collect the cells from the blood and preserve them.

The beauty of the procedure, according to Dr. Curtis, is that “after chemotherapy, these same cells are transfused back to the patient, and by some mechanism, the stem cells go home to the bone marrow, where they begin to develop into normal blood cells, which rescues the normal blood-making functions in the patient.”

Dr. Curtis graduated from the University of the Philippines Los Banos with a degree in chemistry (cum laude) and obtained her doctorate degree in chemistry from the University of Alberta in Canada.


Perla D. Santos-Ocampo, MD – President of the National Academy of Science and Technology

Perla D. Santos-Ocampo, MD

As a well-known pediatrician, Dr. Santos-Ocampo doesn’t just take care fo babies.  She’s a mother to countless children who grow up healthier and smarter.  That’s because she devotes her time and efforts on how to control and manage diarrhea and malnutrition.  By understanding the factors that cause such disease, she emphasizes the importance of oral rehydration and proper nutritional guidance for suffering children.

Dr. Santos-Ocampo was born in Dagupan city, Pangasinan on July 25, 1931.  She studied and earned a medical degree from the University of the Philippines in 1955.  She went on post-graduate pediatrics training at UP-Philippine General Hospital, and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

She was credited for the conceptualization and establishment of the National Institutes of Health in UP Manila through Republic Act 803.  She also founded the National Telehealth Center, which led to the creation of the Information Technology complex in UP-PGH.  These efforts make critical public health services more efficient.

The Philippine Science Heritage Center in Bicutan science complex is another achievement that Dr. Santos-Ocampo helped realize.  She was one of its chief advocates.

Dr. Santos-Ocampo is currently the President of the National Academy of Science and Technology, the highest and most prestigious scientific body in the country.

Dr. Santos-Ocampo is a recipient of numerous national and international awards, plaques, certificates, honors, and citations.  These include UP Outstanding Researcher, IBM Science and Technology Award from PGH, a special citation from Gen. Carlos P. Romulo for “pushing the frontiers of science”, most distinguished alumna from UP Alumni Society.  In 1999. The Civil Service Commission awarded her the prestigious Lingkod Bayan Award, in recognition of her long and remarkable service in public health system.  –Rodel G. Offemaria


Emiliana N. Bernardo – Exploring the World of Insects

Emiliana N. Bernardo - Exploring the World of Insect

The world of insects is what she explores.  And so she’s called an entomologist.

Meet Dr. Emiliana N.  Bernardo is one of the most recognized scientists in the field of entomology.  She received a number of awards for the notable research papers she has done.  One of her most important works was on “Host Plant Resistance to Insect Pests.”

Dr. Bernardo’s formal introduction to entomology started when she worked as a student assistant at the Department of Entomology of the University of the Philippines in Los Banos (UPLB).  Her work involved taking care of insects.  When she finished her BS Agriculture degree, she taught at the Department of Entomology at UPLB.

She further boosted her knowledge on entomology by taking up higher studies.  In 1958, Dr. Bernardo received a scholarship grant from the International Cooperative Administration-National Economic Council for a Master of Science degree in  Entomology.  She was also given the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship Award in 1965 to pursue studies leading to the degree in Doctor of Philosophy, also in Entomology.  She completed both her masters and doctorate degrees at Kansas State University in the United States.

Dr. Bernardo now serves as an adviser at the DA-BAR National Corn Research and Development Network and co-chair of the DA-BAR Scholarship Committee.  She also helps edit technical papers for publication in the scientific journal,  The Philippines Entomologist. – John Brian Cia



Think Tank’s Prime Mover

Dr. Romel D. Gomez

For a Filipino to be recognized as a prominent teacher in the proverbial land of milk and honey is something Dr. Romel D. Gomez was cited as an influential educator in the 2001.  Celebrating Teachers Program of the University of Maryland’s Center for Teaching Excellence in the United States.

Dr. Gomez, who has already migrated to the US, has definitely not forgotten his native land.  He is a prime mover for the Philippine-American Academy of Scientists and Engineers (PAASE), a group that is comprised of world-class experts in the diverse areas of physics, biology, mathematics, economics, medicine, chemistry, agriculture, and engineering.

As a professor at the University of Maryland’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.  Dr. Gomez can offer his expertise to the Philippines through the programs mapped out by PAASE and by finding opportunities for aspiring scientists to conduct research in the US.

Currently, Dr. Gomez’s research is centered on the exploration of magnetism at the molecular level and the development of innovative magnetic imaging techniques.  He has written more than 40 papers, a book chapter, and holds two US patients.

Dr. Gomez obtained his Ph.D (Condensed Matter Physics and Surface Science) from the University of Maryland in 1990, his Master of Science degree from Wayne State University in 1984, and his bachelor’s degree from the University of the Philippines.


University of Maryland Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Lee-Chua.  Queena.RP-US Science Meet.


Carmen C. Velasquez

Born in Bayambang, Pangasinan, Dr. Velasquez was conferred the National Scientist Award in 1983.  She earned her degree from the University of the Philippines and University of Michigan, majoring and mastering in Zoology in 1934 and 1937, respectively.  In 1957, the she received her doctorate in Parasitology, also from UP.

As a professor emeritus of Zoology, scientist and scholar, she holds the distinction of being the first Ph.D graduate of Parasitology.  Her pioneering research efforts have resulted in the publication of 47 basic and 45 scientist papers of value particularly in public health and conservation.

Her book “Digenetic Trematodes of Philippine Fishes,” the first in Southeast Asia, provides a reginal reference to fish parasitology and aquaculture management. – Rea Hebron


Protecting the Mangroves

Dr. Jurgenne H. Primavera

Dr. Jurgenne H. Primavera

She fell in love with the mangroves.  And since then she protected the mangroves like a true knight protecting his king.

Dr. Jurgenne H. Primavera spent her time studying mangroves and discovered why mangroves population in the Philippines was declining—the major culprit is the conversion of mangrove areas to brackish water fishponds.  According to Dr. primavera, the greatest mangrove loss has been due to large-scale development of bangus (milkfish) ponds at 4,000 to 5,000 hectares per year from the 1950s to the 1960s.  also, coastal communities, as well as bakeries and wood-fired sugar mills, depend on mangroves for fuel.  Mangrove areas are also converted to agriculture and salt ponds or cut down to give way to reclaimed lands for ports and commercial areas.

Because of her stand on mangroves, Primavera became the only Filipino scientist to receive an honorary doctorate degree from the Stockholm University in Sweden, capping more than 10 years of mangroves studies.  Since 1997, Primavera has worked on two mangrove sites in Aklan as field laboratories.  These are the patches of mangroves in Ibajay town and Buswang in Kalibo town.

She wrote more than 60 scientific articles, review papers, manuals, book chapters and technical reports, and co-authored 20 papers.  Many of the subjects touched on impacts of fish and shrimp farming, the ecological value of mangroves, marine conservation and management, and livelihood opportunities from mangroves.

Dr. Primavera is currently a researcher at the Aquaculture Department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center in the Philippines.  She holds a doctorate degree in marine Science from the University of the Philippines.


Visual source:  seafdec


A World-class Filipino Physicist

In a country like the Philippines where there are less than a hundred doctorate degree holders in physics,  Dr. Arnel Salvador stands as a beacon to aspiring young scientists.  He is living proof that even with the lack of viable graduate schools in the country, one can still make a mark in his or her chosen profession.  If you work hard for it, you can be someone your nation will be proud of.  You can be an Arnel Salvador.

Dr. Salvador led a team of scientists from the Research and Extension, National Institute of Physics (NIP), who made breakthroughs in the field of fiber optic communications.  The team produced unique semiconductor materials like gallium arsenide (GaAs) and aluminum-gallium arsenide AIGaAs). By using a process called molecular beam enable faster and superior data transmission over conventional copper wires found in usual cables.

Dr. Salvador’s team won the converted Most Outstanding Research and Development Award given by the Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology-Department of Science and Technology (PCAS-TD-DOST).

Dr. Salvador earned his bachelor’s degree in Physics, cum laude, from the University of the Philippines in May 1983.  He earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in December 1993 in the United States.  He is now the Associate Director for Research and Extension, National Institute of Physics (NIP, University of the Philippines).


► Filipino physicists share Einstein’s drive.


Jose A. Marasigan, PhD. Mathematician

2Not many students and people are fond of mathematics.  But Dr. Marasigan has liked math most his life.  He has in fact made it a personal mission to raise the level of mathematics education in the country.  He also works to help create a climate of public opinion that values excellence and appreciates the importance of intellectual work especially in mathematics.

Dr. Marasigan earned his BS Mathematics degree from Ateneo de Manila University in 1962, Diplom-Mathematic in 1067, and Dr.rer.nat (Mathematics) in 1971 both from Technische Hochschule Daarmstadt in former West Germany.  He also received fellowship from Deutcher Akademischer Austauschdienst (1962-67, 1969-710), DAAD post doctoral fellow (March-June 1979), and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science exchange scientist at Sophia University (1982), Tokyo Institute of Technology (1982), Osaka University (1990 and 1995), Osaka Kyoiku University (1991), and Hirosaki University (1993).  HE ALSO WENT TO Australian National University (March-June 1984) as fellow of Australian Universities’ International Development Program.

Dr. Marasigan has taught mathematics at AdeMu since 1962.  He was also deeply involved in faculty development program in pure and applied mathematics among teachers on AdeMu, Dela Salle University, and University of the Philippines.  He led a group that drafted Policies and Standards for Mathematics, a joint project of Department of Education, Culture, and Sports, and Science Education Institute of the Department of Science and Technology.

Photo courtesy:

July 2020

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