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2 Pinoy Scientists in 5th Novartis International BioCamp

Ms. Karen Rosal, who completed her Master of Science in Molecular Biology at Okayama University in Japan and Mr. Carlo Castillo, who is currently taking up Master of Science in Molecular Medicine at St. Luke's College of Medicine. They are the 2 young Filipino scientists who represented the country in the prestigious Novartis Biotechnology Leadership Camp (BioCamp).

Pinoy Scientists Urged to Develop Genetically Modified Coconut

Filipino scientists were urged to develop genetically modified coconut to increase the production of lauric acid, a substance found mainly in coconut oil and is used in making soaps, insecticides and cosmetics.

Dr. Calixto Protacio of the University of the Philippines Los Banos’ Crop Science Cluster said the development of canola with a lauric acid content of 60 percent is threatening the Philippines’ lead in the oils market.

Protacio said local scientists should use the same biotechnological advances for GM canola in coconut, stressing that it offers the "fastest avenue for coconut improvement and makes it possible to target the gene(s) of interest."

Biologist Baldomero Olivera Back to Philippines

With the opening of the 2009 National Science and Technology Week at the Manila Hotel, Balik- Scientist awardee Dr. Baldomero Olivera serves as the key note speaker of the said event.

Olivera, a distinguished professor of biology at the University of Utah, first gained fame for his discovery of painkilling properties in the highly toxic, ocean-going cone snails that are abundant in Philippine waters.

Olivera's discovery led to the development of a commercial painkiller called Ziconotide (Prialt), which is administered to patients suffering from extreme pain. Unlike traditional painkiller morphine, Ziconotide is not known to cause painkiller addiction and lasts much longer in the system.

Robot Fest 2010 in RP

In 2010, Philippines will be hosting the World Robot Olympiad that will try to outsmart and outclass the 30 countries with its different robots of all shapes and sizes.

According to Mylene Abiva, president and chief executive officer of the Philippine Robotics Olympiad (PRO), after three tries, finally the country finally won the right to host the international competition.

More than 1,200 foreign students and coaches are expected to participate in the Manila edition of the WRO, according to Abiva, who also heads Felta Multi-Media, Inc., which runs the local robotics contest.

Filipino Scientist Research and Development Capabilities

Dr. Alvin Culaba was the recent elected President of the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP). In a meeting with members of the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), he proposed that COMSTE and the NRCP must work in partnership to create projects that will be commercially feasible with the assistance of Research and Development (R&D) and our best scientists. The NRCP thru the Department of Science and Technology has the directive to give assistance to the expansion of the research capabilities of our Filipino scientists.

Education: Alternative to Gang Membership

In the Philippines, Preda Foundation, a local human rights charity, said that teenage membership in urban gang has surged to an estimated 130,000 in the past 10 years.

Gang members are groomed in the slums as early as 9 years old. And according to soma researches made gang members at such early age are all victims of poverty.

Efren Peñaflorida, 28, also was bullied by gangs in high school. He is one of those who became a gang member when he was young. Now, Peñaflorida’s life has changed.

Filipino Scientist in Worldwide Search for AIDS vaccine

AIDS VaccineTo discuss the latest advances in prevention of HIV infection and treatment of full-blown AIDS, hundreds of scientists, medical experts and policy makers trooped to the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Lost in the shuffle was an e-poster presentation by a group of Japanese and Filipino scientists who are investigating a novel approach to creating a vaccine against HIV.

RP Scientists to Develop Virus Resistant Kamote

To have a genetically modified (GM) kamote (sweet potato) in the next five years, Filipino scientists from Visayas State University (VSU) and the University of the Philippines Los Banos , Institute of plant Breeding (UPLB-IPB) are now working on the development virus resistant sweet potato (VRSP) through agro bacterium-mediated transformation.

Sweet potato is popular cash crop abundantly in more than 12, 500 hectares in the Philippines. Of 15 known sweet-potato viruses worldwide, eight of these can be found in the country.

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