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Biologist Baldomero Olivera Back to Philippines
Written by Loren   
Friday, 31 July 2009

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.

It was this interest that made him go back to cone snails for possible research. It also won him "Scientist of the Year" in 2007 by the Harvard Foundation.

During his speech, during the NSTW opening ceremonies, Olivera said he hopes more Filipino scientists to continue their research endeavors and to give back to the country. He said many researches can provide economic gains to both the scientific community as well as to the country.

Department of Science and Technology Secretary Estrella Alabastro said that this year's NSTW aims to spur Filipino scientists and researchers to find ways in resolving global issues. One goal is to alleviate global climate change, which is causing destruction in many industries in the Philippines, particularly agriculture. [via DOST.gov.ph]


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