The Philippine Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (PSBMB)–Visayas Chapter, in collaboration with the Department of Chemistry, UP Visayas, successfully held the 3rd Regional Symposium last July 20, 2022, with the theme “PSBMB on the Frontier of Research in the Visayas Regions.”
The Virtual Symposium, attended by 149 participants, is geared toward a vision and realization of more research collaborations and networking of colleagues in the academe, industry, and research institutions in the Visayas regions in the areas of biochemistry and molecular biology.
Dr. Vivian A. Topor, President of PSBMB-Visayas Chapter, opened the Symposium with a history of PSBMB, emphasizing the objectives of the Society, which started as the Philippine Biochemistry Society (PBS) in 1973. By 2023, PSBMB will be celebrating its 50th year anniversary.
Dr. Clement C. Camposano, Chancellor of UP Visayas, welcomed the participants with encouragement to do such academic discourse as frequently as possible, and he affirmed the support of UP Visayas in all endeavors of PSBMB-VC.
Dr. Mudjekeewis D. Santos, President of PSBMB National, emphasized the role and contribution of PSBMB, such as in finding solutions to the disruptions brought about by the pandemic, helping alleviate the economic condition of the society, and further stressed that the knowledge in biochemistry and molecular biology must fuel basic societal progress.
Moreover, he highlighted that for PSBMB to be at the frontier of research, there is a need for the development of new technologies and the continuous flow of quality scientific output.
Dr. Rolly G. Fuentes gave the overview of the Symposium and introduced the first plenary speaker, Dr. Ian Kendrich C. Fontanilla, Vice President of PSBMB National and Director of the Institute of Biology in UP Diliman, who talked on The Role of the Next Generation Sequencing for One Health in the Visayas.
The second plenary speaker was Dr. Antonio C. Laurena, the Director of Philippine Genome Center – Agriculture and Research Professor of the Institute of Plant Breeding, College of Agriculture and Food Science, UP Los Baños also shared his experiences and accomplishments through the talk titled 40 Years of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Institute of Plant Breeding.
RainPhil, Inc., Merck Life Science, and DKHS were the industry partners who presented their state-of-the-art products during the Symposium.
The afternoon activities started with two parallel sessions: Parallel Lectures A on Health and Medicine and Parallel Lectures B on Agri-Fisheries and Biotech.
Topics in Parallel Session A include High Genetic Diversity of Cattle Tick-borne Pathogen Anaplasma Marginale in the Philippines by Dr. Adrian P. Ybañez, Vice President for Central Visayas of PSBMB-VC, Professor from the Institute of Molecular Genetics, Protozoan and Vector-Borne Diseases, and Vice-President for Research and Development of Cebu Technological University.
Another lecture in Parallel Session A is titled From Blindness to Obesity: Defining the Role of Tubby through its Protein-Protein Interactions by Dr. Adrienne Marrie Bugayong-Janagap of the Division of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, UP Visayas.
Dr. Rochelle Haidee D. Ybañez of the Institute of Molecular Genetics, Parasitology and Vector-Borne Diseases of Cebu Technological University talked on Seroepidemiological Study of Toxoplasma Infection in the Philippines and the Application of an Immunochromatographic Test for its Application.
Parallel Session B was opened with a talk on Transcriptomics as a New Approach Method (NAM) to Replace, Reduce, and Refine Animal Use in Ecological Risk Assessment by Dr. Alper James G. Alcaraz, Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada.
This was followed by the talk on Multi-Omics Approaches in Agricultural Biotechnology: Interrogation of Biosynthetic Pathways of Bioactive Compounds by Dr. Maria Karmella Apaya of the Physical Sciences Department, College of Arts and Sciences, West Visayas State University.
Dr. Sharon N. Nuñal, Director of the Institute of Fish Processing Technology, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences of UP Visayas, capped Parallel Session B with the talk titled Anti-inflammatory Activities of Lipids from Mussels.
One of the highlights of the 3rd Regional Symposium is the Young Scientists’ Forum, which is a competition for outstanding undergraduate Biochemistry and Molecular Biology research work.
The forum, which aims to give recognition to undergraduate research work in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, opened with a 10- minute pre-recorded presentation of each of the three short-listed finalists, followed by a live Q&A.
The winners for the YSF were announced by Dr. Edgar C. Amar, Chair of the Board of Judges, during the Closing Ceremony as follows: The first place winner is Nicole Pauline P. Plagata of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, UP Visayas, who presented a paper titled Aqueous Extraction as an Effective Method to Liberate the Bioactive Peptides from the Tissues of Four Underutilized Marine Bivalves.
The second place winner is Krizzian V. Hernando of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, UP Visayas, who presented a paper titled DNA Barcoding and Morphological Identification of Scorpion Fish (Family Scorpaenidae) From Panay Islands and Guimaras, and the third place winner is Ande Bryle N. Genciana of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, UP Visayas, who presented a paper titled Expression of Genes Telated to Fatty Acid Metabolism and Growth in Salin-tolerant Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) Fed with Coconut Oil and Low Fat Diet.
Another highlight of the Symposium is the induction of the twenty-two new members of the PSBMB-Visayas Chapter with Dr. Mudjekeewis D. Santos, PSBMB President, as the Induction Officer during the Closing Program. (Dr. Vivian A. Topor, Department of Chemistry)