11 Filipinos among Asia’s top 100 scientists

Eleven Filipinos were included on the 2020 list of The Asian Scientist 100 magazine’s most outstanding researchers, which acknowledges the success of the region’s best and brightest.

“I am proud. Eleven out of 100 among so many Asian countries is a sizable share. Two are heads of DOST (Department of Science and Technology) agencies — Dr. Carlo Arcilla of PNRI (Philippine Nuclear Research Institute), and Engr. Robert Dizon of MIRDC (Metals Industry Research and Development Center),” DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said in a Viber message on Saturday.

He also noted that another person on the list, National Scientist Emil Javier, was the chief when the DOST was still called the National Science and Technology Authority.

“Arcilla received the Gregorio Y. Zara Award for Basic Research 2019 for his contributions to resolving sensitive issues on mineral resource development, water management, and developing peaceful applications for nuclear energy in the Philippines,” the magazine cited. He has been encouraging the use of nuclear power in the energy mix, saying this could also help lower one’s electricity bill.

Dizon, on the other hand, was acknowledged by the magazine for the Mario Cruel Award for Advanced Engineering Technology Application for developing the torque mode configuration for multiple variable frequency drives used in the Automated Guideway Transit System, Hybrid Electric Road Train, and Hybrid Electric Train.

Javier was conferred the rank of National Scientist in 2019, in recognition of his contributions to the field of agriculture. He spearheaded the Institute of Plant Breeding in Los Baños, which popularized high-yielding crops and disease-resistant plant varieties in Asia.

Raul Destura of the National Institutes of Health-UP Manila also joined the list. He was awarded the 2019 Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award for creating the Biotek-M dengue aquakit for faster, more affordable, and accessible dengue diagnosis. Destura is also the lead researcher behind the locally developed diagnostic kit that aims to detect coronavirus disease(Covid-19).

Two from the De La Salle University (DLSU), Raymond Tan and Susan Gallardo, were also included on the list.

Tan received the Gregorio Y. Zara Award for Advanced Research 2019 for his contributions to the development of novel computational techniques for the design of sustainable industrial systems.

Gallardo was a recipient of the David M. Consunji Award for Engineering Research 2019 for her work in environmental engineering and catalysis, as well as industrial and hazardous waste treatment and management.

Alonzo Gabriel of the University of the Philippines (UP) was cited for his research on microbial stress adaptation on food safety and quality, while Cleotilde Hidalgo-How of UP Manila was chosen for her work in the understanding, management, and diagnosis of tuberculosis among children and adolescents.

Two more are from the academe — Alicia Aguinaldo of the University of Santo Tomas, and Emma Sales of the University of Southern Mindanao.

Aguinaldo received the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies Shimadzu Achievement Award for Chemical Research for her studies into the anti-tuberculosis and anti-diabetic properties of Philippine plants.

Sales established the first tissue culture and biotechnology laboratory in Soccsksargen for developing diagnostic tools for the identification of durian, rubber, and mango. varieties.

A 2019 Presidential Lingkod Bayan awardee, Joselito Chavez of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, was noticed for his work on the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in severe leptospirosis.

Based on the magazine’s website, someone must have received a national or international prize in the preceding year for his or her research to be part of the Asian Scientist 100 list. (PNA) 

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