Unveiling the Future of Basic Research: The NRCP 7th Annual BRS Symposium Redefines Scientific Exploration

By Glenn Ford B. Tolentino

Science Research Specialist II



Heritage Hotel Manila, Pasay City, Philippines, October 19, 2023 – In a momentous congregation of visionary intellects, the 7th Annual Basic Research Symposium, organized by the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP), has unfurled with a resounding commitment to reshape the landscape of scientific discovery. Under the captivating theme, “Exploring Untapped and Rare Environmental Sources for Advancing Medicine and Pharmacy,” this symposium unfolded its brilliance, drawing attention from luminaries hailing from academia, industry, and government organizations.

The powerhouse lineup of emerging young researchers and scientists pitched their scholarly papers during the NRCP 7th Annual BRS symposium. Ms. Irish M. Mercado, UP Los Baños; Mr. Shealthiel William Chan, Mapua University; and Mr. Brian Harvey Villanueva, Mapua University. (Top to bottom, L-R)

From young scholars and professionals to the most discerning scientists, the symposium presented an unparalleled odyssey into the realms of pioneering research. Attendees embarked on a journey through a microcosmic universe, witnessing the unveiling of remarkable innovations, including the revolutionary iChip technology, the enigmatic slow-growing bacteria, Streptomyces bacteria, bacteriocins, the mysteries of mastitis infections in cattle, and the seemingly modest yet profoundly powerful bat guano.

The assembly served as an intellectual crossroads, fostering a convergence of experts, scientists, and academics from a multitude of universities. Each presentation illuminated novel discoveries poised to reshape the spheres of medicine and biotechnology. It became a crucible of ideas where luminaries in their respective domains presented their scholarly works, both ongoing and fully- fledged, thereby opening doors to transformative possibilities.

While the symposium provided a platform for seasoned researchers to present their cutting-edge work, it also bestowed a voice on emerging scientists. Driven by their passion for progress, junior scientists seized the opportunity to dissect the challenges currently confronting the scientific community. Their objective was not merely to elucidate the issues; they boldly put forth a plethora of innovative solutions. In the face of constraints in terms of time and the diversity of perspectives in the room, a consensus materialized, comprising recommendations addressing pressing biomedicine issues that merit the attention of the public.

Meet the brilliant minds driving innovation and novel discoveries at this gathering of visionaries: Dr. Erna C. Arollado, Dr. Marian P. De Leon, Dr. Rodney H. Perez, Dr. Ron Leonard V. Dy, Dr. Jose Enrico H. Lazaro, Dr. Fleurdeliz Maglangit, and Mr. Noel H. Tan Gana. (L-R)

The annual NRCP Basic Research Science symposium event has evolved into an influential platform for advocacy, elucidation, and the exchange of insights. Its significance transcends the boundaries of academia, resonating with the local and national government, thereby capturing the attention of pivotal organizations such as the House of Representatives, the Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). This symposium, curated by NRCP, marks the genesis of a more profound and sustained dialogue.

The symposium surpassed scholarly paper presentations, revealing overarching themes demanding continued exploration. The intricate nature of these issues necessitates a deeper understanding of their origins and the potential implications of the proposed solutions. Moreover, it serves as a bridge, connecting local and national colleges and universities within Metro Manila and across the regions.

In a world continually evolving, the 7th Annual Basic Research Symposium underscores the boundless nature of scientific exploration, delving into the realms of science, research, and innovation with esteemed guests such as Dr. Marian P. De Leon, Chair of the Biological Sciences Division at DOST-NRCP. Her contributions to Microbiology have been acknowledged by the Philippine Academy of Microbiology, Inc., certifying her as a Registered Microbiologist. Dr. De Leon shared her expertise on “Bat Guano against Pathogenic Bacteria,” illuminating nature’s solutions to combat harmful bacteria.

Subsequently, Dr. Rodney H. Perez enlightened the audience about “Food-grade Bacteriocins against Mastitis Infections in Cattle,” showcasing innovative approaches to address health challenges in the agricultural sector. Dr. Perez, a Career Scientist and an expert from the UPLB National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH), has garnered recognition both locally and internationally for his pioneering research in Microbial Technology.

Dr. Ron Leonard V. Dy, the Deputy Director for Academic Affairs at the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, followed as the third distinguished speaker. He also holds the title of Postdoctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Germany.

The fourth speaker, Dr. Jose Enrico H. Lazaro, an Associate Professor at the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, UP Diliman, shared his experiences in producing, purifying, and characterizing heptyl prodigiosin from a Serratia marcescens isolated from a Philippine sponge. He illustrated the compound’s potency as an antimalarial agent in a mouse Plasmodium berghei model. Dr. Lazaro is currently engaged in studying bacteria from unconventional sources like hyperalkaline springs and mine tailings, with a focus on potential secondary metabolites and bioremediation strategies.

The fifth distinguished presenter, Dr. Fleurdeliz Maglangit, an Associate Professor in Chemistry at the University of the Philippines Cebu, boasts over 15 years of teaching experience and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK. Dr. Maglangit is actively involved in the search for antimicrobials from thermophilic, mesophilic, and alkaliphilic bacteria, particularly in Mainit Hot Springs, Cebu. Her dreams revolve around the discovery of novel drugs and antibiotics.

The final notable presenter, Mr. Noel H. Tan Gana, holds the title of University Researcher II at the Philippine National Collection of Microorganisms (PNCM), National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH), University of the Philippines Los Baños. His work encompasses bacterial and yeast taxonomy, microbial genomics, and fundamental microbiology.

A symphony of knowledge and innovation, a trailblazing odyssey of minds: learners from various private and public colleges and universities, united with the brightest experts, researchers, academics, scientists, and government professionals at the DOST-NRCP 7th Annual Basic Research Science Symposium held at the Heritage Manila Hotel, Pasay City, Philippines, on October 19, 2023.

The enduring legacy of this symposium will serve as a collective call to action, uniting all stakeholders in the shared pursuit of shaping the future of basic research. As the scientific community continues its unwavering quest for enlightenment, this symposium stands as a beacon of hope and a symbol of the achievements possible when brilliant minds converge to explore the uncharted territories of knowledge.

As an integral part of the program, Dr. Renato U. Solidum Jr., Secretary of DOST, emphasized in his special message the necessity of disseminating knowledge and discoveries to address society’s most pressing issues. He cited the NRCP’s substantial contributions to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals through innovative approaches such as “Bridging the Utilization of R&D Results through Awareness and Dissemination for Community Empowerment through Science and Technology” (BURDA for CEST), iSHARE, Expert Class, Bridging to Barrios (B2B), Policy Forums, Workbooks, Science Videos, Game-Apps, NRCP Scientific Journal Publication, and more.

Meanwhile, Dr. Bernardo N. Sepeda, NRCP Executive Director III, and Dr. Leslie Michelle M. Dalmacio delivered inspiring remarks, invigorating the enthusiasm of young scientists and researchers to contribute to the betterment of the scientific community and the nation.

The NRCP 7th Annual Basic Research Science Symposium can be accessed at the following hyperlinks:

https://www.facebook.com/nationalresearchcouncil/videos/1062519318260500 https://www.facebook.com/nationalresearchcouncil/videos/2074572519557448