UP, Ateneo, PRRI scientists honored in 1st virtual Science & Technology Awards



a group of people posing for the camera: The University of the Philippines’ Dr. Cynthia Saloma (Philippine Genome Center) and Dr. Rachel June Gotanco (Marine Science Institute), Dr. Erwin Enriquez of the Chemistry and Materials Science & Engineering at the Ateneo de Manila University, and Dr. Roel Suralta of the Philippine Rice Research Institute were awarded cash prizes in the virtual awards led by DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña.


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The University of the Philippines’ Dr. Cynthia Saloma (Philippine Genome Center) and Dr. Rachel June Gotanco (Marine Science Institute), Dr. Erwin Enriquez of the Chemistry and Materials Science & Engineering at the Ateneo de Manila University, and Dr. Roel Suralta of the Philippine Rice Research Institute were awarded cash prizes in the virtual awards led by DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña.

JUST IN: Filipino scientists from the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, and the Philippine Rice Research Institute have been honored in the first virtual National Science and Technology Week Science & Technology Awards.

The annual awards given by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST Philippines) gave recognition to four scientists and their teams for exemplifying outstanding achievements in science and technology, namely: University of the Philippines’ Dr. Cynthia Saloma (Philippine Genome Center) and Dr. Rachel June Gotanco (Marine Science Institute), Dr. Erwin Enriquez of the Chemistry and Materials Science & Engineering at the Ateneo de Manila University, and Dr. Roel Suralta of the Philippine Rice Research Institute.

The Filipino scientists leading the innovative researches were honored at the NSTW S&T Awards during the Opening Program of the NSTW on November 23, 2020.

The 2020 batch of awardees for the three NSTW awards for Outstanding Research and Development Award for Basic and Applied Research (Eduardo A. Quisumbing Medal & Julian A. Banzon Medal), and Outstanding Science Administrator Award (Dioscoro L. Umali Medal).

The 2020 NSTW S&T Awardees are:

Outstanding Science Administrator Award or the Dioscoro L. Umali Medal

DR. CYNTHIA P. SALOMA, Executive Director of the Philippine Genome Center (PGC)



graphical user interface: DR. CYNTHIA P. SALOMA


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DR. CYNTHIA P. SALOMA

Dr. Saloma is recognized for her contributions as Executive Director of the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) of the University of the Philippines (UP) System.

Dr. Saloma is credited for “her proactive management approach and extensive experience, coupled with her unwavering mentorship of young scientists, has paved the way for the creation of PGC’s Satellite Facilities in UP Visayas and UP Mindanao as well as the generation of many research grants and projects, which capitalized on building the capacity and capability of researchers to undertake genomics research in health, agriculture, fisheries, biodiversity, forensics, and ethnicity.

Dr. Saloma led the institution towards the utilization and appreciation of genomics for the benefit of Filipinos and of humanity.

Among the contributions of the PGC to provide solutions addressing the COVID 19 pandemic include the first Philippine-made RT-PCR test kit from the University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health, helping in the accreditation of testing centers, and the setting up of satellite genome centers in UP Visayas and UP Mindanao.

Dr. Saloma is receiving the Dioscoro L. Umali Medal, plaque, and cash prize of PHP 200,000.00.

Eduardo A. Quisumbing Medal or Outstanding Research and Development Award for Basic Research.

DR. RACHEL JUNE R. GOTANCO, with co-author: Andrew F. Torres

Common Coral in Western Philippine Archipelago



graphical user interface, text: DR. RACHEL JUNE R. GOTANCO


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DR. RACHEL JUNE R. GOTANCO

Dr. Gotanco is an Associate Professor at the Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines Diliman.

The UP MSI professors are recognized for their outstanding scientific research on the “Rarity of the common coral Pocillopora damicornis in the western Philippine archipelago”.

Dr. Gotanco and her partner’s research highlights the need to revisit the distributional limits of the extensively studied coral species and the necessity of using genetic information for taxonomic identification where morphological identification is unreliable.

The coral is difficult to identify just by its appearance. The research used a tech-based approach to correctly identify the coral species and its actual value to the protection of the marine environment.

Dr. Gotanco and her partner are receiving the Eduardo A. Quisumbing Medal, plaque, and cash prize of PHP 100,000.

DR. ROEL R. SURALTA, with co-authors: Jennifer M. Manangkil, Jonathan M. Niones, Jerwin R. Undan, Mitsuhiro Obara, Teodora E. Mananghaya, Rachelle P. Mallari, Maybell DM. Banting, Sherilyn B. Estrada, and Mark Philip B. Castillo

Rice Growing Environments with Limited Nitrogen



graphical user interface: DR. ROEL R. SURALTA


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DR. ROEL R. SURALTA

Dr. Suralta is a Career Scientist II at the Philippine Rice Research Institute.

Dr. Suralta and his team are recognized for their outstanding scientific research on “Quantitative Trait Loci Associated with Root Elongation Ability of Rice under Nitrogen-deficient Condition”.

Their research identified putative quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with root elongation, which can be used for further validation and/or development of marker systems useful in breeding cultivars with improved adaptation to rice-growing environments with limited Nitrogen (N).

Dr. Suralta and his group are receiving the Eduardo A. Quisumbing Medal, plaque, and cash prize of PHP 100,000.00.

Julian A. Banzon Medal or Outstanding Research and Development Award for Applied Research

DR. ERWIN P. ENRIQUEZ, with co-authors: Sarah May Sibug-Torres, and Isagani D. Padolina

Fingerprinting of Herbal Materials



graphical user interface, application: DR. ERWIN P. ENRIQUEZ


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DR. ERWIN P. ENRIQUEZ

Dr. Enriquez is a professor of Chemistry and Materials Science & Engineering at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Dr. Enriquez’s team is recognized for outstanding scientific research o “Field-ready tools for fingerprinting of herbal materials for the medicinal plant industry”, which demonstrated the development of an objective Pharmacopeia-based thin-layer chromatography (TLC)-based system for the identification and quality assessment of herbal medicinal materials.

The production of such a cost-effective, rapid method allows community-based suppliers to effectively manage and pre-screen their materials, potentially reducing rejection rates and improving the supply of quality herbal medicinal raw materials.

Dr. Enriquez and his group are receiving the Julian A. Banzon Medal, plaque, and a cash prize of PHP 200,000.00.

The DOST says it hopes this year’s batch of awardees will serve as an inspiration to all scientists to continue using science and technology in creating the progressive Philippines.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS to the Filipino scientists and researchers from the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, and the Philippine Rice Research Institute for being honored at the NSTW Science & Technology

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