Monday, June 09, 2008

Women of Science Honored in the Philippines

Today, Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo honored "50 Great Men and Women of Science" in Malacañang. The term "science" is used pretty broadly; some of the honorees are entrepreneurs and craftsmen rather than what I would consider scientists. All have made significant contributions to society with their work. I've pulled out the profiles of some of the women of science honored:

Josette Biyo

After finishing her BS Biology degree, Dr. Josette Biyo taught in a rural high school for eight years. Dr. Biyo was challenged by the inadequate facilities in the rural high school. With an innovative teaching method in science research, an expertise she developed in 24 years of teaching, Dr. Biyo bested 4,000 teachers from around the world to win the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. She is also the first to receive an Award for Excellence in Louisville, Kentucky, that honored teachers who promote inquiry and inspire students to engage in real research. Dr. Biyo’s legacy is already immortalized through a minor planet, originally known as Planet 13241 named in her honor by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory in Boston as Planet Biyo.
More information:
Carmela R. Centeno
An associate professor of the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Engineering, Dr. Centeno researched on the degradation of persistent organic pollutants, which was recognized by the department’s National Academy of Science as an Outstanding Scientific Paper in Engineering and Technology. The paper also placed first in the regional level and runner-up in the national level of the seventh DOST-PCIERD (Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development) S&T Fora and Competitions. She finished her doctorate in chemical engineering at the De La Salle University with high distinction and her master’s in environmental engineering from the University of the Philippines. In 2005, Dr. Centeno was awarded a Unesco scholarship. Currently, Dr. Centeno actively pursues research on hazardous wastes degradation using advanced oxidation technologies.
More information:
Dolores Hernandez (posthumous award)
Dr. Hernandez proposed to and received the aid from the Ford Foundation to establish in 1964 the UP Science Education Center, now called the National Institute of Science and Mathematics Education. She served as its director for 21 years until her retirement in 1985. She steered the National Institute in its pioneering efforts in curriculum development, research and teacher-training programs. A pioneer in science and mathematics education, she played a significant role in the development of instructional materials and in the re-training of teachers. After her retirement, she remained as adviser-consultant to the National Institute, as well as director of the Regional Center for Education Innovation and Technology. Dr. Hernandez received various awards, including the first Jean Jacques Rousseau World Award for Education in Oslo, Sweden.
More information:
Queena N. Lee-Chua
Dr. Lee-Chua passionately spreads the value of understanding science both inside and outside the lecture hall. She has authored hundreds of books, articles, lectures, columns and other teaching and communication tools in which fun and learning are creatively intertwined. She teaches students, parents, media people and practically everybody who wants to learn while having fun through print, radio, TV, the Internet and in person-to-person encounters with audiences.
More information:
Nelia Cortes-Maramba
Professor Nelia Cortes-Maramba championed the use of medicinal plant preparations through appropriate technology to promote the use of safe and effective medicinal plants. She consistently encouraged the National Integrated Research Program on Medicinal Plants to work for the development and widespread public acceptance of pharmaceutical preparations of scientifically validated medicinal plants. This resulted in the inclusion of akapulko, lagundi, sambong, tsaang gubat, and yerba buena on the 2005 Sixth Edition of the Philippine National Drug Formulary/Essential Drug list. Her work of more than 30 years on Philippine medicinal plants has made her such an authority in the field that the Department of Health and the World Health Organization have sought her guidance in the formulation of regulatory standards for herbal medicines. She continues to teach young researchers.
More Information:
Evelyn Mae Tecson-Mendoza

Dr. Evelyn Mendoza is a member of the National Academy of Science and Technology of the Philippines and a Research Professor of Biochemistry at the Institute of Plant Breeding, College of Agriculture, UP Los Baños. She holds a bachelor’s in chemistry cum laude from the Mapua Institute of Technology, and a master’s and doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

At the Institute of Plant Breeding, Dr. Tecson Mendoza has held various positions including deputy director, program leader of the Biochemistry Laboratory, the Analytical Services Laboratory and the Plant Biotechnology Program. Her research work have revolved on molecular mechanisms of plant resistance to pests and diseases, biochemical factors affecting nutritional quality and acceptability of plant foods, and plant biochemistry, molecular biology and biotechnology and their applications in plant breeding. With co-researchers and students, she has published more than 90 technical papers, has co-authored two books, edited or co-edited five books, and has written 12 chapters in various books. Dr. Tecson-Mendoza is the recipient of several national, professional and institutional awards and research paper awards. She is the editor in chief of the Philippine Agricultural Scientist.
More information:
Filipinas F. Natividad
As director of the Research and Biotechnology Division at St. Luke's Medical Center, Dr. Natividad led the establishment of the first Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory in the Philippines that made novel molecular and genetic tests available to Filipino patients. She is also the first to introduce to the country the pioneering application of stem cell transplant for ocular surface disorders at St. Luke's. She also established a curriculum for molecular biology and biotechnology in University of the Philippines in Diliman, where she became a full professor in the late 1980s. Her UP Diliman curriculum was replicated in other UP campuses in Manila and Los Baños. Dr. Natividad's research works have been published locally and internationally, encompassing the fields of infectious diseases, cardiovascular diseases and neurological diseases.
More information:
Jurgenne H. Primavera
Dr. Primavera is a scientist from the Aquaculture Department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center in Tigbauan, Iloilo. She focused on brood stock development and pond grow out culture of shrimp (Penaeus monodon) and produced a number of publications on P. monodon culture that led to the development and improvement of seed production, hatchery operations, and pond culture of P. monodon in the country. Dr. Primavera received the 2005 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation from the Pew Institute of Ocean Science. She has a doctorate, honoris causa, from Stockholm University.
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