Ahead of the exhibits, fora, seminars, and workshops, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has once again recognized Philippine excellence in science and technology (S&T) at the opening ceremonies of the 2021 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) celebration this 22 November 2021.

At the NSTW opening ceremonies, the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) has conferred four awards in the form of medals, plaques, and cash prizes to research and development (R&D) specialists for their outstanding S&T contributions.

Prof. Mary Beth B. Maningas and David Angelo V. Guanzon of the University of Santo Tomas won the Eduardo A. Quisumbing Medal for Basic Research, as the tandem bested four other nominees in the mathematical, physical, and life sciences category.

Their peer-reviewed article, published in the July 2018 issue of Developmental and Comparative Immunology, provides evidence that foreign dsRNA triggers a cascade of genes that promote an antiviral state in the edible whiteleg shrimp (Penaeus vannamei).

Moreover, the “fab five” team at the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH) edged another nominee for the Julian A. Banzon Medal for Applied Research, which is reserved for agriculture, industry, health, and social sciences.

Arsenia B. Sapin led the BIOTECH project team at the University of the Philippines Los Baños composed of Dr. Rodney H. Perez, Fides Marciana Z. Tambalo, Arra Gaylon, and Maria Katrina N. Alaon—with support from Jessica Juarez and Roland Martinez.

Published in the June 2021 issue of the Philippine Journal of Science, their study proved that phenolics extracted from waste mango branches can promote higher antioxidant and anti-diabetic activities than ascorbic acid and acarbose, respectively.

On the other hand, Dr. Shirley C. Agrupis, President of Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), topped two other nominees as she bagged the NSTW Outstanding Science Administrator Award or the Dioscoro L. Umali Medal for her work in agricultural sciences.

Dr. Agrupis’ strategic vision focused on seven key areas dubbed as ACHIEVE: academic excellence; creative, relevant, and innovative research program; high-impact and transformative extension and outreach program; improved revenue generation; expanded external linkages and partnerships; vibrant and nurturing learning environment; and efficient and effective management system.

Finally, Dr. Francis Aldrine A. Uy—Dean of the Mapúa School of Civil, Environmental, and Geological Engineering—toppled eight other nominees as he garnered the NSTW Outstanding Technology Commercialization Award or the Gregorio Y. Zara Medal.

Dr. Uy is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of USHER Technologies Inc. USHER (Universal Structural Health Evaluation and Recording System) enables 24/7 remote data monitoring and alerting on structural damage to a building as earthquakes occur.

All four awards were recently conferred during the NSTW opening ceremonies that was broadcast live at the NSTW official Facebook page:

This year’s NSTW is being celebrated virtually from 22–28 November 2021 under the theme “Aghám at Teknolohíya: Tugón sa Hámon ng Panahón” and this was mirrored in the excellent achievements of our Filipino scientists and researchers.

The NSTW aims to bring S&T closer to the people by letting them experience the vital role of science, technology, and innovation in improving the people’s quality of life, protecting the environment, and contributing to national development. (By Allyster A. Endozo, DOST-STII)

Key recipients of DOST-NAST awards during the 2021 NSTW opening ceremonies (left to right): Prof. Mary Beth B. Maningas, Arsenia B. Sapin, Dr. Shirley C. Agrupis, and Dr. Francis Aldrine A. Uy.

Prof. Mary Beth B. Maningas sharing her team’s journey, having been invited to the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan.

David Angelo V. Guanzon presenting the findings of their research work on the whiteleg shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) to the panel members.

The BIOTECH Mango Team (left to right): Arsenia Sapin as the project leader, Dr. Rodney Perez and Fides Marciana Tambalo as the study leaders, Arra Gaylon and Maria Katrina Alaon as the research associates, and Jessica Juarez and Roland Martinez as the support staff.

Under the leadership of Dr. Shirley C. Agrupis, a village-scale refinery at MMSU and facilities at the farmer’s field in Pamplona, Cagayan were built for bulk production of fuel-grade hydrous gasohol blend using agricultural feedstocks.

Dr. Francis Aldrine A. Uy (second from the left) presenting the USHER earthquake monitoring system.

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