RDG Conference Report of Irene A. Papa

Write up about the Conference

The conference was held at the beautiful auditorium of the Incubation and Research Building of I-Shou University Medical Campus in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. It was attended by almost 500 participants from all over the world. Among the international conferences I had the opportunity to attend with. I had the most memorable experience attending this one. I had a  very fruitful learning experience in all the oral papers presented and at the same time the most beautiful participation in all the social events the hosts organized for all of us every night during the conference. The registration fee of NTD 6000 was cheap with all the banquets and dinners the organizers accorded to us and the tour around Kaohsiung that was also included.

The welcome reception was the grandest and it was held at the E-DA Royal Hotel on the 2nd floor Royal Ballroom on October 28,2014. The dinne was great with the sumptuous food prepared for us. There was a variety of seafoods serve and all the delicious steaks and other special food for all the participants/ I had the chance to meet old friends and at the same time the invited speakers to the conference. I t was an enjoyable night to start the conference.

The second day (October 29, 2014) was registration of all the participants and welcome program. It was held at the Incubation and Research building of I-Shou University Medical Campus. The keynote speaker was Dr. John L. Hardwood, Deputy Director, School of Bioscience, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK. His topic was on “Dihomo-Gamma-Linolenic Acid:  A new Neutraceutical with health Benefits for Cardiovascular Disease”. After that, four break-out sessions were presented wherein participants got to choose what topic to attend namely: Industry, Medicinal and Functional Foods, Sustainable Agricultural Biotechnology and Annual Meeting Board of Intentional Society on Biocatalsis and Agricultural Biotechnology-Taiwan chapter. I and my co researcher Teofila O Zulaybar both attended the Medicinal and Functional Foods and Sustainable Agricultural Biotechnology because both topics are within our field of research.

The afternoon of October 29 was the presentation and judging of posters. Out of the 85 posters, my poster was one of the pre-selected posters to be presented and a Judge asked questions about my research. It was a great experience because not all posters were presented. It was already an honor for me. On the other hand, the poster of my colleagues entitled “Effectivity of Philippine Actinomycetes against Human and Plant Pathogens” wherein I am also a co-author, won as one of the Best Poster Paper Award in the conference. This award was a great honor to UPLB  and to the Philippines as a whole. All of us from the Philippines were very happy.

The third day of the symposium (October 30, 2014) was still presentation of research papers from invited speakers around the world. What inspired me was the talk of Dr. Ching T. Hou, the President of ISBAB from 2005-2004 and works at the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, USDA, Peoria, IL, USA. His topic was very interesting because it included 50+ years of fruitful professional career and research work on “Biocatalysis and Agricultural Biotechnology. Dr. Hou is an awesome man. Old in age (maybe 80 years old) but still very smart and intelligent. I even approached him if I can work in his laboratory  to train on the isolation of bioactive compounds from actinomycetes because I have an application under DOST-BCDA for funding and he is very welcoming. He mentioned also that a Philippine scholar(under 2014/2015 Fullbright Scholarship) is presently working in his laboratory (October, 2014) on identification of bioactive fatty acids from Philippine medicinal mushrooms.

The fourth day (October 31, 2014) was Study Tour of South Taiwan. It was an enjoyable trip again and an educational one learning the culture of the olden Taiwanese. We visited Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Center. Taiwan Indigenous People Cultural Park and Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park. We have our lunch at Hi-Lai Vegetarian Restaurant. The tour was very interesting. Fo Guang Shan Buddha was located in Kaoshiung which is one of the biggest and famous Buddha Memorial Center in Taiwan. Venerable Master Hsing Yun founded Guang shan Monastery in 1967 and then established Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Center in 2011. We also visited the Taiwan Indigenous People Park located in Pingdong County. The whole park is 82.65 hectares, above the sea leave from 145-220 meters, the topography is rather rugged, extremely pretty and rich change of the natural landscape as well as aboriginal culture. We also went to Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park. We visited the Joben Bio-medical Co. (JBM) which produces anti-cancer drugs from fungus.

Iam very thankful for the travel grant given to me by the OVPAA-UP Research Dissemination grant because I was able not just to attend and present my paper but at the same time learn new researches on biocatalysis and agricultural biotechnology, meet new friends who can be my future research collaborators and enjoy the culture of Taiwan. I hope in the future I can again avail this grant so I can attend other international conferences which  can help me updated in my field of research on agricultural and medical microbiology.

Feedback on paper presented

The poster paper I presented was one of the pre-selected posters among the 85 poster entries for final judging in the competition. Most of the posters presented were on medicinal plants with bioactivity  and anti-oxidant properties.

Future directions of research presented

The Antibiotics Laboratory of BIOTECH, UPLB has a collection of Actinomycetes stored in sterile soil and oil which are continuously assayed for bioactivity against plant and human pathogens. We have proposals submitted to DA-BAR and NRCP for further study of these actinomycetes and hopefully in the future will be able to produce antimicrobials for human and biocontrol agents for plant pathogens.

Potential foreign collaborators

Dr. Jer-Yiing Houng approached us during the conference and he is interested to collaborate with us at BIOTECH for the isolation and identification of the bioactive compound from Actinomycetes. He is working on plant extracts for novel bioactive compounds and enzymes.

Other important contacts and insights

We have communicated with Dr. Ching Hou of National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, USDA, Peoria, IL. USA for future trainings in his laboratory. He also informed us that we can request microorganisms from NRRL free of charge which we can use as standard organism.

Short write-up of one’s participation (to be used to feature/publicize the grantee’s participation in the conference)

The 10th ISBAB is one of the best conferences that I have attended abroad. The organizers really planed well for this conference. The papers presented were results of good researches. I have met new friends from other countries like the US, Japan and Korea who can be my collaborator in some of my researches at BIOTECH. The organizers also showcased the delicious food of Kaohsiung Taiwan. After a day of brain-draining technical discussions, all nights during the conference were reserve for entertainment showcasing the interesting culture of Taiwan. I would love to attend another ISBAB conference if funding will be available.