University of the Philippines Los Baños

UPLB is a university known for its numerous contributions to science, so much so that UPLB has become the go-to institution when it comes to scientific know-how. This has been ingrained in UPLB’s image for as long as we can remember.

However, within the walls of UPLB lie gems in the field of the arts. Artists inspired by the refreshing environment of Mt. Makiling thrive within the University. If you are an arts enthusiast and frequenter of exhibits and plays in campus, chances are you have encountered the ‘artsier’ side of the UPLB crowd. Among these gems, none probably shines brighter than Prof. Layeta P. Bucoy, associate professor V at the Department of Humanities of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS).

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UPLB College of Agriculture’s Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB) awarded its two newest breeds of Hibiscus to two exemplary women. These included the Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Pia S. Cayetano’ to Philippine Senator and lawyer Pia S. Cayetano (Women in Public Service) and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Patricia B. Licuanan to Dr. Patricia B. Licuanan, chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education, on Aug. 28 at the UP Executive House in UP Diliman, Quezon City.

The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Pia S. Cayetano, has fuschia-colored flowers that are simple and regular with dark purple eyes. The leaves are simple, discoid, ovate and glossy, and arranged alternately. The plant is shrubby, vigorous, semi-erect, and tall. It is also a fast grower and very floriferous, blooming all-year round, peaking from May to December.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Patricia B. Licuanan has simple and regular flowers that have solferino purple color and ruby red eye surrounded by gray halo. The leaves are simple, ovate and glossy, and arranged alternately. The plant is shrubby, vigorous, and erect. It is a fast grower and very floriferous, with the bracts blooming all-year round, peaking from May to December.

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Pages of history of both the University and the country were revisited when UPLB officials welcomed the members of the prominent Laurel clan on Sept. 2 for the launching of the Jose Sotero Laurel III Professorial Chair in Agribusiness.

The 1.5 million-peso grant is named after Amb. Jose Sotero Laurel III, the second child of the late president Jose P. Laurel (Second Philippine Republic, 1943-1945). Mr. Francis C. Laurel, son of Amb. Laurel and president and chief executive officer of YKK Philippines, conceptualized of and sponsored the said professorial chair in honor of his father on his centennial birth anniversary. The chair, which recognizes his father’s contribution to business and management, aims to support lectures on persistent and emerging issues in agribusiness development.

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Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora, director of the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH) was awarded the Outstanding Science Administrator Award or DL Umali Medal, which recognizes S&T or R&D administrators from the academe, private sector, or government. These administrators have made significant contributions to science and technology through effective management and implementation of plans and programs.

From July 2010 to July 2013, BIOTECH streamlined its research agenda, implemented a significant number of projects, increased its research funds, and enhanced its operational efficiency. To implement all these, Dr. Ebora acknowledges the support of the BIOTECH personnel, University administration, and the DOST, DA, and DENR.

BIOTECH streamlined its research agenda to establish interdisciplinary programs, focusing on agricultural productivity, environmental protection, food security and safety, health promotion, and the prudent use of natural resources. Consequently, it reorganized and renamed its research programs.

At present, the Institute is implementing 120 projects under its various biotechnology programs on agriculture and forestry; food, feed and specialty products; environmental and industrial biotechnology; bioinformatics and drug discovery; communication and technology utilization; and its services units.

To fill the gap in research, the Institute established new laboratories, the Bioinformatics Laboratory and the Nanotechnology Laboratory, and strengthened the Genetics and Molecular Biology Laboratory.

Under Dr. Ebora’s leadership, external funding support for BIOTECH projects increased by 225% in 2011 and by 170% in 2012, bringing in additional research funds of more than PhP 45M in 2011 and over PhP 116 M in 2012.

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Her researches have helped us build our defenses against environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, and increased vulnerability to environmental risks and hazards.

Hence, for Dr. Damasa “Demi” Magcale-Macandog, professor at the Institute of Biological Sciences, the 2014 Environmental Science Award of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) is well deserved.

In particular, Dr. Macandog was recognized for leading a multidisciplinary research program that looked into various issues on the linkage between environmental degradation of the country’s largest freshwater body, Laguna de Bay, and food and human health.

The Laguna LakeHEAD Program on Managing Environmental Risks for Sustainable Food and Health Security in Watershed Planning in Laguna Lake Region found that pollution caused by urbanization and development have degraded the environment in Laguna Lake. Hence, she and her team have recommended strategies to rehabilitate the lake and to address the problem to prevent dire impacts on public health and food security.

Currently, a project component of the nationwide program “Detailed Resources Assessment Using Light Detection and Ranging (Phil-LiDAR-2)” is keeping Dr. Macandog busy.

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