USAID STRIDE exhibits UP research projects

Seven UP projects were part of the research showcase organized by the United States Agency for International Development–Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development (USAID STRIDE) Program on 10 March 2016 at the Peninsula Manila in Makati.

With the theme “Attracting Young Graduates into Careers in Science, Technology and Innovation,” the exhibit sought to promote the research capabilities and innovations of scientists and engineers from the different universities in the Philippines. Participants included the USAID STRIDE proponents, business sector, media, US-affiliated organizations and students.

The projects from UP represented different fields. Dr. Agapita Salces from the UP Los Baños Animal and Dairy Science Cluster developed a sustainable breed of dairy cattle for the livelihood of smallhold farmers. Dr. Hiyas Junio of the UP Diliman (UPD) Institute of Chemistry conducted a metabolite profiling of the Moringa olefeira (malunggay) and validated its therapeutic effects. Dr. Joyce Ibana from the UPD Institute of Biology utilized bacteria-derived host cells as innovative platforms for drug discovery. Dr. Bryan Pajarito from the UPD Department of Chemical Engineering studied the capabilities of expanded organo-bentonite nano-fillers (EO-BNT) as a cheaper and more efficient alternative to the conventional rubber fillers. Dr. Carla Dimalanta from the UPD National Institute of Geological Sciences applied multiple methods to identify gold mineralization markers; these proxies can be used as guides for a cost-effective exploration targeting of new deposits. Dr. Gavino Trono and Dr. Marco Montaño, both from the UPD Marine Science Institute characterized the potential of Halymenia durvillei (red seaweed) and scaled up the technology in the production of this seaweed for possible commercial-scale farming.

Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs (Research) Dr. Carla Dimalanta discusses with Mr. Jason Fischer the methodology of identifying gold mineralization markers

Other state universities across the country such as the Benguet State University, Western Philippines University in Palawan and Mindanao State University–Iligan Institute of Technology likewise received grants from the USAID STRIDE Program.

Also invited to this event were representatives from the American Innovation Roadshow led by the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State, Ambassador Mr. David H. Thorne. Mr. Thorne was accompanied by distinguished technopreneurs such as Mike Cassidy (vice president and project leader of Project Loon at Google), Jason Fischer (vice president and managing director for Asia Pacific at UL) and Deborah Magid (director of Software Strategy at IBM Venture Capital Group).

The first in a series of roadshows across Asia under the US–ASEAN Connect, the event enabled Filipino researchers to interact with the US delegates and discuss the possible integration of their studies which is vital for national development.

(Article by RWG)