University of the Philippines Los Baños

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.

Enhanced funding support enabled BIOTECH to rehabilitate its pilot plant and acquire new equipment for the Philippine National Collection of Microorganisms (PNCM). The Pilot Plant will increase BIOTECH’s capability to produce its products in larger scale, while the PNCM will serve as a support facility to the UPLB-DOST Technology Business Incubator. BIOTECH also upgraded its electrical facilities and acquired other laboratory and office equipment.

BIOTECH also established the Technology Transfer and Business Development Unit to handle the agreements and business transactions relevant to the commercialization of its technologies. Some of its technologies that are now being commercialized are Bio N, an inoculant for rice, corn, and other crops that converts atmospheric nitrogen into a form that can be used by plants; Mykovam, a soil-based biological fertilizer; Animal Probiotics for animal health and nutrition; and Salmonella DAS kit, a detection tool for salmonella in food and feeds. BIOTECH continues to disseminate information through training courses, seminars, workshops, and in exhibits.

Staff development also benefited from Dr. Ebora’s leadership at BIOTECH. Eleven employees are pursuing advanced degrees, two of whom are working on their doctoral studies and nine on their MS degrees. Meanwhile, 82 employees attended 115 local trainings,workshops and conferences, while 43 attended 84 international trainings,workshops, and conferences. BIOTECH staff were able to bring home 31 awards in the last five years.

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.

Prior to his stint as BIOTECH director, Dr. Ebora had served as executive director of the DOST Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research and Development and deputy director and acting director of BIOTECH. He is the Philippine coordinator of the Program for Biosafety Systems, which works with stakeholders to develop and implement science-based, functional biosafety systems that ultimately expand producer choice, inspire consumer confidence, facilitate trade, and promote agriculture R&D.

Dr. Ebora has a PhD in Entomology from the Michigan State University and a MS Entomology (Insect Pathology/Microbial Control) degree from UPLB; an international post graduate course in microbiology and biotechnology at Osaka University, Japan; and a post graduate training on Intellectual Property Management and Technology Transfer at ISAAA AmeriCenter, Cornell University. He graduated with a BS Agriculture (Entomology) degree from UPLB.

The award is named in honor of National Scientist Disocoro L. Umali, father of Philippine Plant Breeding and who, as former dean of the UP College of Agriculture, led in the implementation of the UPCA 5-year development plan in the 1960s. (with information from Program for Biofasety Systems at http://pbs.ifpri.info/pbs-staff/reynaldo-v-ebora/ and BIOTECH director’s report, Aug. 1, 2010-July 31, 2013)