Student highlights

UP Diliman students top Chemical Engineering, Interior Design Licensure exams 

UP Diliman student Hazel Dorothy Flores Cesar topped the Chemical Engineering exam with a percentage score of 85.40.  According to the Professional Regulatory Commission, 78 out of 85 examinees from UPD, or 91.76%, passed the licensure examination, making UPD the top-performing school for this examination period. 

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All 32 examinees of the UPD College of Home Economics’ BS Interior Design program passed the October 2104 Interior Designer Licensure Examination, with three examinees entering the top 10: Martha Dorothy A. Panelo topped the exam, with a rate of 86.15 percent. Wesley Ronzon E. Soriano, fifth place (85.10%) and Mai-Rim Nollaine N. Santuico, sixth place (85.00%) were also in the top ten.

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UPD-DMBL posters win awards at Seoul conference on Molecular and Cell Biology

Kenneth Roquid and Jolo Ferrer from the Disease Molecular Biology and Epigenetics Laboratory (DMBEL) were 2 of 38 (out of some 1200 posters) conferred the Sigma-Aldrich Best Poster Award at the 26th International Conference of the Korean Society for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Gangnam, Seoul, Korea held October 21-23, 2014. They share the honor with their research assistants and co-authors who are all graduate students in the lab: Lorenz Chua, Josh Malapit, Brandon Sy and Fidel Serrano. 

The winning posters are:

“MicroRNA Regulation of the Putative Competitive Endogenous RNAs PTEN, DNMT3B and TET3” by Kenneth Anthony Roquid, Mia Baquirin, Robert Lorenz Chua, Joshua Reginald Malapit, Brandon Mitchell Sy and Reynaldo Garcia.

“CRNDE Overexpression in HCT116 and Associated Changes in Transcript Levels of Stemness and Chemoresistance Markers” by Jose Lorenzo Ferrer, Robert Lorenz Chua, Joshua Reginald Malapit, Brandon Mitchell Sy, Fidel Emmanuel Serrano and Reynaldo Garcia. 

Other students of DMBEL who gave excellent poster presentations include Martin Qui, Liezel Tamon, John Rigor, Ada Agupitan, Arlou Angeles, Alvin Bello, Yana Manongdo, Vince Arafiles and Lech Tizon.


4 UP students in 5-man PH delegation to international biotech workshop in Basel, Switzerland in August 2014.

Manila, August 2, 2014 – The five young Filipino scientists who will represent the country in the Novartis International Biotechnology Leadership Camp (International BioCamp) were surprised by the judges decision since only one or two are usually sent.  However they had all so impressed the judges with their desire to hone their scientific knowledge and skills in order to uplift the health and lives of their countrymen, that the judges found it too difficult to decide.   

Four of these young scientists are from UP.  The five are:  Arjelle Agupitan and Alvin Bello – graduates from the University of the Philippines with degrees in Molecular Biology and BiotechnologyJortan Tun – BS Biology graduate from UP Baguio and a graduate student at the UP Marine Science Institute; Kin Israel Notarte – a Siliman University graduate working on a masters degree in microbiology at the University of Sto. Tomas; and Gerald Ryan Aquino – a research associate at the Molecular Toxicology Research Laboratory of the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology.  All completed their undergraduate degrees with latin honors (either Cum Laude or Magna Cum Laude).

The top five were selected from some 60 participants based on academic excellence and professional experience.  After the screening process, each presented a 10-minute business pitch of the current or previous research work they have done in front of a panel of judges.  

Arjelle’s research paper, which she co-wrote with two other students, attempted to determine the epigenetic basis of the varying responses of patients to first-line tuberculosis treatment that could pave the way for “personalized” TB treatment.  The paper received the 2014 Leticia Shahani Award for Best Undergraduate Thesis from the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in UP Diliman.  It also won first place in the Youth Scientists Forum held in 2013 during the 40th Annual Convention of the Philippine Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

A full scholar in college and class valedictorian in high school, Gerald was his high school’s Most Outstanding Researcher and the recipient of the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Academic Excellence and Leadership Award. He is a Member of the Phi Sigma International Honor Society for Biological Sciences. Gerald is skilled in molecular biology techniques including RNA/DNA extraction, cloning techniques, primer design, microbiological characterizations, and bioinformatics.

Alvin was a consistent scholar in college and honor student in high school. He was the class salutatorian in elementary school. Alvin currently works as a laboratory instructor in the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of the Philippines – Diliman.

Jortan’s undergraduate thesis “Identification of quantitative trait loci associated in yield traits of rice” was adjudged the Best Thesis at the Molecular Genetics Laboratory of the Philippine Rice Research Institute. He is a scholar of the DOST Accelerated Science and Technology Human Resource Development Program. Jortan, who works as a Research Associate at the Marine Natural Products Laboratory, Marine Science Institute, UP Diliman, and is part of the Influenza Vaccine Project, presented their research on the de-antigenization strategy, an innovative solution in creating a “universal” influenza vaccine. Currently, he is also involved with the lab’s In-house Project, Philippine Mollusk Symbiont-International Cooperative Biodiversity Group Program, and Philippine Pharmaseas Drug Discovery Program.

The panel of judges consisted of Dr. Jaime Montoya, Executive Director of the DOST’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Development; Dr. Francis Domingo, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of Novartis Philippines; and Atty. Ricardo Blancaflor, Director General of Intellectual Property Philippines.

The five will join 65 other young scientists from around the world participating in the International BioCamp, which will be held on August 24-27, 2014 at the Novartis Campus in Basel, Switzerland.

BioCamp is a pioneering annual biotechnology seminar for entrepreneurial, postgraduate students in science or business who are interested in pursuing a career in biotechnology. First held in the Philippines in 2006, the Local BioCamp is a joint initiative of Novartis Healthcare Philippines and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in partnership with the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), Intellectual Property Office Philippines (IP Philippines), and the country’s first biotechnology consulting firm Hybridigm Consulting Inc.

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