Saturday, December 5, 2015


By Dale Joseph Diño (Phagemids)

Loud, unharmonious sounds of blending “S”s and “G”s, with bottles banging the cement stairs, and overused voices chant their signature cheers overwhelm the atmosphere as it devours the whole court when the clock strikes the first game of the concluding match of PalaCASan 2015’s Basketball Men’s Division. The night was filled with echoes of hope and courage that shoots out of the star-filled sky. Players from both sides get ready to face each other in the much awaited face-off – which is a déjà vu because this happened at the same court, same time and same place last year. The only thing new here are the new faces nervously waiting, and new timbre of voices piercing the night sky. And when the referee blew his whistle, it all began.

Defending the title and aiming for a two-peat championship, members of Genesoc are very eager and nervous. On the other side of the court, members of SAM-UP equally feels the same way aiming to claim the basketball championship crown which was stolen from them from last year’s PalaCasan. After the first jump ball, everything happened swiftly. Players ran from both sides of the court with their squeaking shoes (and not to mention, sweat not dripping, but flowing out of their skin). Every dribble of the ball makes everyone’s heart thump, and every point from each player was followed by a loud cheer motivating players inside the court to bag this year’s trophy. In the first half, SAM-UP was leading with over 20 point difference. This did not made Genesoc lose their knees and continued the fight to the second half showing what the past champions are made of. Then when fourth quarter came, tables were turned. Genesoc and SAM-UP tied their score. This made the cheer turned into an uproar. The unharmonious cheering in the start became an orchestration towards the end of the game. Both organizations’ chant powerfully drove every player in their game. As the countdown for the last ten seconds began, everyone was clenching their hands, praying something for their respective organization and as the moment approaches…3…2…1, the referee signaled the end of the game. At that very same time, Genesoc belted out their cheer which echoed the night sky with “Puso at Talino (Passion and Excellence)”.  Genesoc - 1; SAM-UP – 0.

Monday, November 30, 2015

UP hosts first CUPSCon, features Public Service through Genetics and Health Promotion

by Ryan Pascual (Regulon)

LOS BAÑOS, LAGUNA – Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) from various parts of Luzon gathered for the inaugural Colleges and Universities Public Service Conference (CUPSCon1) hosted by the University of the Philippines last November 26-27,2015. This is the second installment of CUPSCon1 with the first held on November 16-17 in UP Cebu and participated by HEIs from Visayas and Mindanao.

The two-day conference with the theme "From the Ivory Tower to the Communities: Engaging Society with Commitment and Expertise" was held at UP Open University (UPOU) and it featured plenary and parallel sessions on the policies and projects of HEIs that benefit sectors outside the university community. 

According to the UPLB OVCRE website, the use of the "ivory tower" allusion in the UP community dates back to the challenge set in the 1950's by UP College of Agriculture Dean Dioscoro Umali who encouraged the faculty to apply their expertise on actual problems experienced in the countryside. This challenge led to UPCA's golden age of extension during Dr. Umali's term.

CUPSCon1 covered various topics such as community-engaged teaching and learning, institutionalization of community engagement and public service, knowledge-driven volunteerism, community engagement and public service; and university-industry linkages and engagements. 

Conference Keynote

UP Diliman CSSP Dean Dr. Grace Aguiling-Dalisay
Photo: UPLB Research and Extension
Participants of the conference were formally welcomed by UPOU Chancellor Grace  Alfonso followed by a video message from UP President Alfredo Pascual. Pres. Pascual noted that UP’s strong commitment to academic advancement and public service have started long before the enactment of the UP Charter (RA 9500). He also enjoined attending HEIs to participate in next year’s AsiaEngage Conference.

First to address the conference plenary was UP Diliman College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP) Dean Dr. Grace H. Aguiling-Dalisay who delivered the conference’s keynote talk entitled “Public Service in Higher Education: Why it Matters.” Dean Dalisay is an expert in developmental psychology, volunteering and civic participation, and sikolohiyang Pilipino

Dr. Dalisay emphasized the importance of engagement in the context of public service and said "what matters is that we constantly think of how we can contribute as a university." As an example, she noted the existence of public service initiatives in the top universities – UP, La Salle, Ateneo and UST, although varying in name and formation. 

The CSSP dean also mentioned that “volunteering is not the only form of public service, but it is an important form.” She added that volunteer programs are important pathways in advancing the goal of higher education and “regardless of academic field, there is a room for volunteering.” Recognizing this, CSSP is reviving UP Diliman’s Ugnayan ng Pahinungod at the college-level through Ugnayan ng Pahinungod – CSSP. Dean Dalisay previously served as the UP Diliman and UP System Pahinungod coordinator.

Dalisay also called for a collaboration on the revival of UPOU’s online volunteer service management course, as well as the increased support and consideration of academic leaders in encouraging and rewarding faculty engagement to public service. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

SWEET REPEAT | Back-to-back championships for GeneSoc in PalaCASan 2015

The UPLB Genetics Society members and players during Game 3 of Men's Basketball Finals.
The UPLB Genetics Society finishes the PalaCASan 2015 season with two-peat championships in men's basketball and women's badminton tournament.

Two-time PalaCASan Most Valuable Player Gian Lorenz Vergara led the squad in the Game 3 of men's basketball finals series against SAM-UP on Saturday, November 21, at LBNHS, finishing with a combined 36 explosive points with Torre to seize that 49-44 victory and once again bring home the title to the organization.

GeneSoc import and PalaCASan 2015 Hugot of the Year Albert Torre told the GENEWS team that it is the pride of being the defending champion that pushed them to claim the victory once more, “Yung mindset na dapat 2-peat! 2-peat! ‘yun talaga yung nagdrive samin na manalo sa game... kahit na may mga nawala nang players at medyo nahirapan kami mag-adjust, nakuha rin naman namin yung rhythm sa paglalaro.”

Justin Moran, senior BA Sociology
student and GeneSoc import.

Moreover, Justin Moran, another GeneSoc import, explained that the team's defense and communication inside the court nagivated their way to the championship, "Feeling ko 'yun yung reason kung bakit kami nakahabol kasi sa rebound nakapag box out kami, nakabuo kami ng stint." Also, he revealed that playing for the organization has given him less stress compared to his past PalaCASan games with the other organization.

"Compared to other orgs, yung GeneSoc mababait tsaka very organized kaya masaya maglaro. Very effective pati yung team captain, alam niya kung saan ilalagay at kung paano maglalaro yung players," said John Rex Sicat, GeneSoc import for three years, when asked about how was his entire experience in playing for the org.

Meanwhile, GeneSoc Women's Basketball Team made a comeback from last year's 8th spot finish to 3rd place run this season as they ripped The UPLB Chemical Kinetics Society (CHEMO), 23-18, on Friday, November 20, at LBNHS.
The UPLB Genetics Society Men's Basketball Team.

The UPLB Genetics Society Women's Basketball Team clinching 2nd runner up win.
"Motivation talaga namin yung org mismo, kasi para naman yun sa GeneSoc eh. It was a long way from the start, pero teamwork talaga yung nagdala samin. Lahat team player, lahat naka-focus sa game, lahat gusto manalo," said Megan Benigno, captain and the team's consistent top scorer.

Gambalan  clinches 2-peat women's badminton title

History repeated itself as Katrina Gambalan defended the title against UPLB COSS Audrey Grecia on November 18, Wednesday, at Centtro Badminton Arena.

Gambalan managed to sweep the deciding game over Grecia, darting across the court to return some of the opponent's trickiest shots.

GeneSoc veteran made the opponent unable to slay her of the tournament as Gambalan made quick work of the second set, beating long-time arch-rival Grecia, and making herself the two-time GeneSoc badminton heroine.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

GeneSoc upsets SAM-UP, leads the finals series 1-0

THE UPLB GENETICS SOCIETY comes back from a double-digit deficit and went on their absolute fourth quarter run to bury the on-court rival Society of Applied Mathematics of UP (SAM-UP), 78-74, on Thursday, November 19, at the Los Baños National High School covered court.

Steered by Gian Vergara and Albert Torre, GeneSoc hit gigantic shots down the stretch to take the momentum of the game and held on the rest of the way for the victory.

Vergara finished with a team-high 28 points while Torre registered 26 points. Moran also kept the clutch in the entire game finishing with 24 points.

SAM-UP was up by 24 in the second quarter, had a chance to close the game and nail the first win in the championship series, but will now instead hope for a comeback tomorrow in Game 2.

Nag-aadjust kami, hindi pa makuha ng players yung rhythm nila, so nag-strive kaming hanapin yung rhythm at hindi kami sumuko kaya eventually nung third at fourth [quarter] nakahabol kami,” said team captain and last year’s MVP, Gian Vergara.

Teamwork at yung suporta talaga ng Genes yung dahilan kung bakit kami nanalo,” he added.

Selva led SAM-UP with 29 points, with back-up numbers from Abella at 16 points and Lagman with 10 points.

A 3-ball by SAM-UP kept their lead by two points to make it a 69-71 game during the remaining minutes of the fourth quarter. GeneSoc answered to tie the score and caged another point to push the lead to two, 73-71, courtesy of Moran.

SAM-UP then hit another triple to make it a 73-74 game with only 20 seconds remaining on the clock.
GeneSoc then answered as Vergara was fouled, thus pitching in three more points to snatch the lead, 76-74 with only 8 seconds left. Torre was then fouled as he ran towards the basket thus adding two more points to conclude the game, 78-74.

GeneSoc cagers are set to face another nail-biting game tomorrow and hope to take the 2-peat championship title past SAM-UP.

Quarter Scores: 7-15, 21-45, 46-67, 78-74

Friday, November 13, 2015

GeneSoc alum visits IBS, talks on Metabolomics

Last November 13, the Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS)-CAS, UPLB held a special lecture on metabolomics, its applications and importance. The guest speaker for the said lecture was GeneSoc alumnus Dr. Walter A. Laviña (Batch Polysomes). 

Resident members, IBS professors and students attend the
special seminar on Metabolomics. (Photo: GeneSoc)
Metabolomics refers to the systematic study of metabolites - small molecules that are intermediates and products of cellular processes. The collection of all metabolites is called the metabolome. The relative new science is now being rapidly adopted by healthcare, food, agriculture and environmental industries.

Dr. Laviña earned both his undergraduate degree in Biology (1994) and master of science degree in Microbiology (2000) in UPLB. He later pursued his doctoral degree at the Department of Advanced Science and Biotechnology, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University in 2013. At present, he is a post-doctoral researcher at the Laboratory of Bioresource Engineering (Fukusaki Lab), Osaka University. 

The seminar held at IBS Lecture Hall 3 (IBSLH3) was attended by professors, undergraduate and graduate students of the Institute.

Here is a short video of the question and answer portion of the seminar by Dr. Walter A. Laviña.
Posted by The UPLB Genetics Society on Friday, November 13, 2015

Thursday, November 12, 2015

UPLBCAAA confers Distinguished Alumnus award to GeneSoc Charter member Dr. Peter Guzman

Dr. Peter Guzman is one of  UPLBCAAA's
Distinguished Alumni for 2015

(Photo: Peter Guzman/Facebook)
The University of the Philippines Los Baños College of Agriculture Alumni Association (UPLBCAAA) recently conferred the College Distinguished Alumnus Award for Science and Technology in the field of Plant Breeding to Dr. Peter Guzman for his contributions in plant breeding. The award was presented during the 97th UPLB Loyalty Day and Alumni Homecoming last October 9. 

The Distinguished Alumnus award is the highest award given to the alumni of the college. It recognizes graduates who have excelled in their fields and provided significant contributions to society. 

Dr. Guzman (BSA '86 cum laude, MS '93) is a former UPLB professor and commercial pipeline breeder of Monsanto. He obtained his doctorate degree from Iowa State University, and a post-doctorate degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He is also an Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) awardee in 2002. 

Dr. Guzman was cited for his contributions to agricultural instruction, research and extension, as well as his breakthroughs at Monsanto. At UPLB, Dr. Guzman had a pivotal role on developing a graduate course on the then emerging field of molecular plant breeding, while his extension work included the formulation and implementation of a seed production and distribution program for yellow and white corn varieties, benefiting around 20,000 resource poor farmers in the country. At Monsanto, he led in the establishment of the company's Harrisburg Corn Research Station in South Dakota, USA.

According to a press statement, Dr. Guzman noted that his work at Monsanto allowed him to discover breakthrough solutions that improve the lives of our farmers. With regards to the recognition, he mentioned that it will serve as an inspiration in continuing his research on modern agricultural practices to address the pressing problems of food security and sustainability.

Dr. Peter Guzman is a charter member of The UPLB Genetics Society.

The following is the citation of his award.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

NIGQC 2015: UP Baguio cops another championship title

By Merc Emil Matienzo (Riboswitch) | Mika Maravilla (Riboprobes)

LOS BAÑOS, LAGUNA – University of the Philippines Baguio reigned as the 6th National Intercollegiate Genetics Quiz Contest (NIGQC) champion surpassing ten other participating schools nationwide yesterday, November 7, 2015, at Umali Auditorium, SEARCA, UP Los Baños.

This year’s champion team is composed of three senior BS Biology students, namely, Micah Dispo, Roselyn Solomon, and Jericho Allain Kyle Vidad, together with Mr. Enrico Jugadora as their coach. The team received P15,000.00 in cash, certificate of recognition, plaque, and medals.

This year's NIGQC champion, UP Baguio, as they receive the award together with the judges and NIGQC heads.
UP Baguio is remarkable in NIGQC history for bagging the championship title during the first installment of the quiz contest in 1998. On the second edition of NIGQC in 2000, they won as the second placer. Last year, with over fourteen universities competing, the team finished at the fourth spot.

“It was so hard but it was definitely worth it. The event was great by the way and you know we’re grateful for this opportunity,” said Dispo. The team also revealed that they would like to give justice to their school’s ranking last year hence the eagerness to once again snatch the victory this time.

Meanwhile, Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) and Ateneo de Zamboanga University (AdZU) came in at second and third spot, receiving P7,500.00 and P5,000.00 in cash, respectively.

Johanne Michael Flores of Ateneo de Manila U,
the Individual Exam topnotcher.
Despite the 1st runner-up finish this year, Ateneo still managed to clinch the top spot in the Individual Examination Round courtesy of Johanne Michael Flores.

This year’s NIGQC was packed with brain-draining questions in line with the theme Medical Genetics: Paving the way for Innovations in Health Sciences. Among the people who graced the event was the esteemed panel of judges including UPLB’s resident genetics experts Dr. Merlyn Mendioro and Professor Emeritus Azucena Carpena, and medical doctors Adrian Oscar Bacena, Ma-am Joy Tumulak, and Catherine Lynn Silao.

A total of eleven (11) universities participated in this year’s NIGQC. Along with the winners, the rest of the participating schools included Bicol University (BU), De La Salle Lipa (DLSL), Far Eastern University (FEU), Laguna State Polytechnic University (LSPU), St. Scholastica’s College Manila (SSC-M), Southern Luzon State University (SLSU), University of the Philippines Manila (UPM), and University of Santo Tomas (UST).

Participants, coaches, and judges of this year's NIGQC 
together with GeneSoc members.

The event, hosted and organized by The UPLB Genetics Society, was in cooperation with Livestock Biotechnology Center and Diamed Enterprise, in partnership with the Institute of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), and UPLB University Student Council, and sponsored by Eat-sumo Teri Haus, Signeffex, MyPrint Zone, USAID, When In Manila, Kwiknet, and Berry’s Cuisine.#

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Casposons: Expanding the Gene pool with another Wave

By Liabel Peña (Casposons)

The UPLB Genetics Society welcomes four new sisses from the Second Wave of membership application in the name of Batch Casposons: Liabel Peña, batch leader, is a BS Biology student from Caritas Don Bosco School who formerly participated in Genetics Camp 2012 and 2013; Sandra Reyes is a BS Biology student from Ateneo De Naga who graduated 2nd honor; Bianca Redondo is a BS Biology Ruralite who was the 9th top scorer of the UPRHS (UP Rural High School) Entrance Exam and Katrina Dela Peña, the sole BS MST (Math and Science Teaching) student of Batch Casposons, graduated 2nd honor from Juan Sumulong High School comprises the new addition to the gene pool.

Batch Casposons 
The batch name, Casposons,  is derived from a self-synthesizing mobile genetic element believed to be the missing link to the immunological defense system of prokaryotes, playing a significant role on their repair, defense, metabolism and gene regulation. Each fresh recruit strives to prove their worth in the organization and impart themselves to attain the objectives of the organization and uphold its constitution. Casposons are very much related to transposons, also termed "jumping genes", which are DNA segments essential for gene regulation and immunity. The main difference between these DNA elements is the latter transverses randomly between genes while the former targets particular areas of the genome. The site specific nature mirrors the commitment of the batch to the organization.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

In Focus: 42nd PSBMB Annual Convention and PSBMB-Southern Luzon launch

PSBMB News Release

CEU to host 42nd PSBMB Annual Convention

The Philippine Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (PSBMB), in cooperation with the Graduate School, School of Science and Technology, Biological Sciences, and Physical Sciences Department of Centro Escolar University (CEU)-Manila will host the 42nd Annual Convention with the theme, "OMICS’ Applications in Biomedical, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences", on December 3-4, 2015.

This year’s theme aims to broaden and deepen our current knowledge on the advances in omics and their various applications. Speakers and presenters will include national and international experts in their respective fields.

Among the confirmed concurrent speakers are IBS professor Dr. Maria Claret Lauan who will talk about  the "Identifcation of mouse cytochrome P450 2C Isoforms by 2DE and MALDI-TOF/TOF MS-based Proteomics Approach", and IBS Genetics and Molecular Biology Division Head Dr. Ma. Genaleen Diaz on the "Gene and molecular marker discovery from transcriptomes of coconut, abaca, and saba banana." On the other hand, former IBS professor Dr. Dennis Bela-Ong will give a plenary lecture on "Fish microRNAs in teleost immune response" while NSRI DNA Analysis Laboratory Head Dr. Maria Corazon de Ungria will present about "New technologies in Forensic Genetics." Other names of confirmed speakers and their corresponding talks were released by PSBMB on their official Facebook Page.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

GeneSoc's NIGQC 2015 to feature Medical Genetics

By Ryan John Pascual (Regulon) | Rency Raquid (Riboswitch)

This year, The UPLB Genetics Society will hold its 6th National Intercollegiate Genetics Quiz Contest on November 7, 2015. The contest will tackle the importance of Medical Genetics and it is open to all undergraduate students from colleges and universities all over the Philippines with a background in genetics such as, but not limited to, agriculture, forestry, allied health sciences, and biology.

Getting bigger, bolder and better

The NIGQC traces its roots from the Luzon-wide Intercollegiate Genetics Quiz Contest first sponsored by GeneSoc in December 1998 at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) Main Center at Muñoz, Nueva Ecija. This was followed by two more editions in November 2000 (Batac, Ilocos Norte) and October 2002 (Los Baños, Laguna). During these years, the quiz contest was held along with the National Genetics Symposium organized by the Philippine Society for the Advancement of Genetics (PhilSAGen). However, the intercollegiate quiz contest was discontinued for more than a decade after the organization shifted its strategy on advancing GeneSoc's mission of promoting the science of Genetics in the Philippines by reaching out to secondary school students and high school biology teachers through the annual Genetics Camp.

Biology is Fun: Cell Press launches free Color-in Comic Books

by Ryan Pascual (Regulon)

"At Cell Press, we think biology is fun."

True to their website opening statement, Cell Press Comics tries to make biology appealing across all ages - from kids to the kid at heart. According to the site, Coloring with Cell, a coloring book, was launched several years ago and it became popular among scientists, educators and children. 

Two coloring books are available for free download: Coloring with Cell (2010), and Color-in Comics: Neurons at Play. Color-in Comics, Cell Press's second coloring book recently had it debut at the 2015 American Society for Neuroscience conference in Chicago. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Professional Society of Genetic Counselors in Asia opens at APCHG 2015

by Ryan Pascual (Regulon)

The launch of PSGCA. Pro Tem President
Ms. Mercy Laurino.
(Photo: DLSternen/MLaurino)
Last September 2015, the Professional Society of Genetic Counselors in Asia (PSGCA) was launched at the 11th Asia-Pacific Conference in Human Genetics (APCHG) held in Hanoi, Viet Nam. The 11th APCHG was organized by the National Hospital of Pediatrics - Viet Nam and the Asia-Pacific Society of Human Genetics.

The PSGCA launch was part of the Genetic Counseling pre-conference workshop organized by the PSGCA and the Global Health Genetics Group. The workshop was attended by genetic counselors, genetic counseling students, clinical geneticists and allied health professionals interested in the field of genetic counseling in the Asian region. It covered current clinical genetic counseling services and research opportunities, availability of genetic counseling training programs, and on-going developments to establish new programs.

According to PSGCA President Pro Tempore Ms. Mercy Laurino, "...the participants at the genetic counseling pre-conference shared how they would evaluate and provide genetic counseling for patients with hereditary conditions and their family members. It was evident from the breakout session that there is an urgent need for [producing] best practice “culturally relevant” genetic counseling guidelines, and [addressing] the current lack of resources/unequal access of genetic counseling services within and between count[r]ies". Reports on the current status of genetic counseling training and services in 10 countries were also presented during the workshop.[1] 

What is Genetic Counseling?

The US-based organization, National Society of Genetic Counselors defines genetic counseling as "a process of helping people understand and adapt to the medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic contributions to diseases." [2,3] Nowadays, genetic counseling services are found to be useful at all stages of development - from newborn screening, to the assessment of an individual's genetic predisposition, and the planning of a first pregnancy [4].

The role played by genetic counselors is more than drawing pedigrees in an attempt to clarify the genetic components of a health condition. According to the World Health Organization, "a genetic counselor provides information on the inheritance of illnesses and their recurrence risks; addresses the concerns of patients, their families, and their health care providers; and supports patients and their families on dealing with an illness." Furthermore, the  advent of next generation genomic sequencing technologies has increased the role of genetic counselors - both in scope and importance [4].

As a fully recognized health profession, genetic counseling is relatively new and evolving. Aside from the traditional hospital setting, genetic counselors can work in various fields: education, administration, policy-making, industry, and research [4].  At present, qualifications, roles and expectations, certification, and licensing of genetic counselors may vary among countries [5].

Monday, October 12, 2015

GenWeek 2015: A Fresh Twist to an Old Tradition

By Keach Nichole F. Lotho (Riboswitch)

In its 32nd anniversary, The UPLB Genetics Society will be conducting Genetics Week 2015, an annual exhibit starting from October 12 to October 17 at the Institute of Biological Sciences. Every “GenWeek” is looked forward to because of its witty and eye-catching designs inspired by diverse themes every year. This time, the organization will be giving a fresh twist to a familiar custom with the theme,  “Proteomics: Revolutionizing Healthcare beyond the Genome”, which focuses on the use of proteins as markers for early detection of diseases.

We conducted a one-on-one interview with the organization’s Projects Committee Head, Lorenzo Raphael Roxas to know the details of the exhibit.
  • Design-wise, what should the people expect for this year’s Genetics Week?

“More on nursery and children’s playroom, since we associated Proteomics with Newborn screening.”
  • Tell us about the process. What made you come up with the idea of the design?

“We were considering on three design ideas before; a womb, primary to quaternary protein structures, and nursery. Napili naming yung nursery”
  • How is this year’s GenWeek different from the previous one?

“This year’s exhibit will be more interactive and conducive for learning. We made it very light and fun to make sure that students will enjoy.”

Appreciating Genetics while enjoying its perks has always been the goal of every year’s Genetics Week. The organization hopes that the students can delve deeper into the wondrous works in Genetics as the event took almost two months of preparation. To give you a glimpse on what to expect for this year’s “GenWeek”, here is the line-up of the activities to watch out for:

Friday, October 2, 2015

GeneSoc wins back-to-back games, slams Cells and SMM

PALACASAN 2014 Most Valuable Player Gian Lorenz Vergara and GeneSoc import Justin Moran took charge in the clutch as GeneSoc Men’s Basketball Team claimed second victory against Society of Math Majors (SMM), 60-50, last September 21 at LBNHS covered court.

Vergara and Moran combined for 28 points while Torre pitched in 11 points to seal the game with a double digit lead.

SMM struggled to defend the perimeter early on as GeneSoc dominated the first quarter from beyond the arc.

In their September 19 game at Copeland Gym, GeneSoc toyed with Cells, 92-77, to record their first win.

Torre put up a monstrous performance with a team-high 28 points along with Vergara and Moran both at 25 points to pull the team away from the opponent’s grasp.

Meanwhile, GeneSoc Women’s Basketball Team celebrated the same victory with the men’s team as they flaunted an impressive show burying Cells and SMM, 20-9 and 20-6, during their first and second games respectively.

Megan Benigno led the squad with a total of 26 points in those two games with back up numbers from Katrina Gambalan at 4 points.

Sa tingin ko ang nagpapanalo sa games ay yung kagustuhan ng sisses na manalo at matuto. Every game na nilalaro ay nag iimprove yung sisses at nag fofocus sila during the game. Maganda ang teamwork. Above all, nag eenjoy sila every game. It’s what’s important. Whether we lose or we win, we enjoy the game,” said Benigno.

GeneSoc MBT, seeking a second straight crown, now poses the same standing with the women’s team with a 2-0 (win-loss) card, thus giving the organization an untarnished slate so far.

The BioSci-based cagers and cagebelles are set to face the CPS Triangle in their next game on October 3.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

ISAAA releases '50 Biotech Bites'


The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) recently released an electronic book (e-book) entitled 50 Biotech Bites. The e-book contains 50 topics relevant to the science, applications, and issues behind agricultural biotechnology. It is based on pocket-sized publications called Pockets K or Pockets of Knowledge which have been developed by ISAAA for the last 15 years. Each topic is discussed using "bite-sized" information to "feed" hungry minds and engage with others on the technology to make informed decisions about its adoption and use.

Visit the ISAAA website to get your free copy [LINK]

ISAAA releases 50 Biotech Bites, which contains 50 topics relevant to the science, applications, and issues behind...

About the ISAAA

The ISAAA is a not-for-profit international organization that shares the benefits of crop biotechnology to various stakeholders, particularly resource-poor farmers in developing countries, through knowledge sharing initiatives and the transfer and delivery of proprietary biotechnology applications. 

ISAAA's global knowledge sharing network and partnerships in the research and development continuum, provide a powerful combination of science-based information and appropriate technology to those who need to make informed decisions about their acceptance and use. In addition, an array of support services completes the holistic approach to agricultural development and ensures effective implementation and timely delivery of crop biotechnologies. These services include capacity building for policy makers and scientists; regulatory oversight on such issues as biosafety and food safety; impact assessment, and science communication.

The ISAAA South East Asia Center is currently based at the International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Laguna. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Adopt-A-Room 2016: BioSci Lecture Halls replenished and nurtured

by Merc Emil Matienzo (Riboswitch)

ADOPT-A-ROOM activity, catering clean-up of several lecture halls at the Institute of Biological Sciences, was conducted by The UPLB Genetics Society last September 12, 2015.

The activity, spearheaded by the Outreach Committee Head Rochelle Sarmiento (Polylinker), is part of the organization’s effort to serve the institute and contribute to its welfare and development. 

General cleaning of the rooms were done by the members of the organization in their designated hall assignments. The lecture halls included IBSLH 2, IBSLH 3, and MBBLH.

Members of The UPLB Genetics Society work hand-in-hand to clean IBSLH 3 of the
Institute of Biological Sciences, Saturday, September 12, 2015.

Adopt-a-Room is the first in the series of activities that the Outreach Committee has to carry out for the academic year alongside HOPE Intervention Center Outreach Program and annual medical mission.

The said activity actually started through the efforts of GeneSoc Outreach Committee Head Jamaica Caras (Recon) back in 2013. Wall clock donation and posting of class schedules per laboratory and lecture rooms were done during the first Adopt-a-Room activity. 

Last year, with Richelle Mojares (Karyotype) as the committee head, the organization started the cleanup of several lecture halls of the institute and officially included it in the lineup of activities under the committee.

The UPLB Genetics Society seeks and hopes to stretch its endeavor in accommodating more lecture halls so as to continue fulfilling its objective and goals in working for the Institute.#

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

GeneSoc, Phileos collaborate for IBS Freshmen Orientation

by Merc Emil P. Matienzo (Riboswitch)

For the first time, The UPLB Genetics Society (GeneSoc) and Philobioscientia, The UPLB Life Sciences Society (Phileos) collaborate on one of the major IBS activities: The 2015 IBS Orientation for New Freshmen held last August 5, 2015 at IBS Lecture Hall Main.

Phileos and GeneSoc members team up for 2015 IBS Freshmen Orientation and Campus Tour.

The President of both organizations told the GENEWS Team that they decided to work together on this big activity because they think they value common end and purpose in holding such event.

“Our organization thinks that GeneSoc shares the same mission and ideals with us,” said Kimberly Deri, Phileos President.

“We decided to collaborate because we love new experiences and challenges. We thought that this would be a great opportunity, an avenue to know and work with them and I was not wrong,” GeneSoc President Dale Joseph Diño said on a separate interview. “Also, it is fun to let the members feel a new experience of collaborative work with another organization.”

The event, hosted by Prof. Therese Honrade of Environmental Biology Division and Prof. Phillip Alviola of Animal Biology Division and sponsored by Micha’s Bakeshop and Eat-sumo Teri Haus, was attended by over 170 BS Biology new freshmen.

Messages from IBS Director Dr. Merlyn Mendioro, CAS Dean Dr. Felino Lansigan, CAS College Secretary Ivan Marcelo Duka and performances by GMDB Cupcakes and Prof. Jae Rodriguez were among the highlights of the afternoon event.

Volunteers from both organizations assisted freshmen students in the Campus Tour immediately after the program. Games were devised per station in order to spice up the activity.

Some freshmen students expressed positive feedback as they told the team that the activity was really helpful in preparing them for their UPLB life as BSBIO students.
BS Biology freshmen students during Campus Tour activities and games.

"The orientation was fun because I got to know my blocmates more. It helped me to be mindful of what to do especially the rules of the university and the institute,” Cresha Lynn Maniwang from Philippine Science High School – Central Visayas Campus responded. “Sana masaya yung lab classes at sana marami pa akong makilalang tao.”

Historic Tandem

After 12 years of solely holding the freshmen orientation, this was the first time Phileos tapped another organization as partner, and also the first time in history of IBS that two organizations collaborated in handling an activity.

Deri believes that the event was successful because “the goals of the activity were achieved…and thus it promoted camaraderie between the members of both organizations.”

Meanwhile, Diño admits that this will be a good testimonial in order to break the boundaries among student orgs. “I felt honored kasi hindi naman kadalasan ginagawa ito ng Phileos. Sobrang saya at sobrang honored ng GeneSoc na makatuwang sila sa activity na ito,” he added.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Where Next for Genetics and Genomics?

Tyler-Smith C, Yang H, Landweber LF, Dunham I, Knoppers BM, Donnelly P, et al. (2015) Where Next for Genetics and Genomics? PLoS Biol 13(7): e1002216. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002216

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The last few decades have utterly transformed genetics and genomics, but what might the next ten years bring? PLOS Biology asked eight leaders spanning a range of related areas to give us their predictions. Without exception, the predictions are for more data on a massive scale and of more diverse types. All are optimistic and predict enormous positive impact on scientific understanding, while a recurring theme is the benefit of such data for the transformation and personalization of medicine. Several also point out that the biggest changes will very likely be those that we don’t foresee, even now.

Read the full article (PLOS Biology)

Friday, July 17, 2015

IBS Profs among the awardees at NAST PHL 37th ASM

by Rency Raquid (Riboswitch)

Photo: National Academy of Science and Technology
(NAST), Philippines Facebook Page
Professors from the Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS) bagged several awards at the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST-PHL)  37th Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) held last June 8-9, 2015 at Manila Hotel.

Bearing the theme: “The Challenges of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs): Responding Through Multisectoral Action”, the annual activity focused on non-transmittable diseases and the role of agricultural, social, biological, mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences in its prevention and control.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Diamed-Illumina, PGC sponsor Agrigenomics sympo

by Jickerson Lado (Integrons)

The ‘-omics’ era is here.

With the leading global genome sequencing company, Illumina, exclusively distributed by Diamed in the Philippines, in partnership with the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) – Agriculture, a symposium on genomic advancements in agriculture was held in UPLB this July 10 at Umali Auditorium, SEARCA.

More than a hundred attendees coming from different institutions and agencies in and out of UPLB completely filled the venue. The program started with Dr. Rita Laude, PGC-Agriculture Program Director, welcoming the participants and emphasizing the on-going projects of PGC-Agri.

Dr. Cindy Lawley explaining the ubiquity of
sequencing and its applications.
Dr. Cindy Lawley, Senior Manager, Market Development of Illumina, opened the sympo proper by discussing genomic selection in agriculture species, stressing the significance of the approach in improving US dairy industry. It was followed by Dr. Zenaida Magbanua, DOST and UP Balik Scientist, explaining the use of next generation sequencing (NGS) for transcriptomics (total RNA) and miRNAomics (total miRNA) in studying the interaction of rice and its pest, bacterial panicle blight. Dr. Magbanua also serves as a consultant to the Coconut Genome Sequencing Project of PGC.

For the second half of the program, Dr. Lawley focused on agrigenomic technologies comparing sequence- and assay-based genotyping, and featuring Illumina NGS sequencers with notes on assembling and annotating sequence output to make sense of data. Dr. Lawley mentioned that this is also her first time in the Philippines and remarked that “Filipinos are smiling and courteous people.” An open forum ended the sympo proper.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

'OSA will be known as student-centered unit' says new director

by Merc Emil P. Matienzo (Riboswitch)

The newly appointed director of Office of Student Affairs, Dr. Nina Cadiz.
Photo Courtesy | Nadine Lutao
Former Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS) Director, Dr. Nina Cadiz finds her new home at the Office of Student Affairs after fruitfully serving the Institute for three years.

Dr. Leticia Afuang, the previous OSA Director, entrusted the official OSA seal to Dr. Cadiz in the turn over ceremony held last June 1, 2015 at the Makiling Hall, Student Union Building with Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Portia Lapitan.

Left to right: Dr. Leticia Afuang, Dr. Nina Cadiz, and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Portia Lapitan.
Photo: UPLB Office of Student Affairs - UPLB OSA Facebook page
"Under my term, I think OSA will be known as student-centered unit of UPLB," said Dr. Cadiz when asked about the future of the office under her directorship.

In an exclusive interview with the GENEWS Team, Cadiz admitted that she had mixed feelings upon knowing that she will be sitting as the new director. In fact, she told the team that she already started processing her sabbatical leave, but has to be stopped along the way because of the position.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

IBS holds Training Course on Basic Molecular Biology Techniques and Data Analysis

by Merc Emil Matienzo (Riboswitch), Jickerson Lado (Integrons)

Los Baños – Seventeen participants from state universities, private institutions and government agencies gather in UPLB to attend a week-long training course on basic molecular techniques and data analysis, organized by the Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (MBB) Laboratories and the Genetics and Molecular Biology Division (GMBD) of the Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS) this July 6-10, at the Molecular Genetics Laboratory of IBS.

Among the participants, 15 came from Luzon and one each from the Visayas and Mindanao. Luzon participants include 5 from Laguna (Maria Renina Nissa Agcaoili, Darwin Landicho, Laurie Salumbides, Aldwin Mendoza and Aleli Marasigan), 4 from NCR (Jenny Lyn Chua, Christine Eden Cortez, Kris Ortizo and Joshua Vacarizas), 2 from Cavite (Vanne Christine Angus and Jonathan Digma), and 1 each from Pampanga (Gerald Salas), Albay (Maria Lara Balingasa), Romblon (Eddie Fetalvero), and Sorsogon (Ma. Victoria Hadap). Edgar Hortillosa and Lowell Aribal are from Iloilo City and Bukidnon, respectively.

MBB Laboratories staff and GMBD faculty and facilitators together with the participants.
Photo Courtesy | Prof. Ria Alcabedos

The week-long training course started with an overview of the program and lectures on introductory molecular biology and nucleic acid isolation techniques, followed by hands-on activities on the use of micropippetors, genomic DNA Isolation, agarose gel electrophoresis, and DNA quantitation. First day ended with demonstration on new technologies like Qubit ® Fluorometer and Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

IBS holds testimonials for Class of 2015

by Merc Emil Matienzo (Riboswitch)

The Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS), UPLB conducted this year’s testimonial ceremony for graduating undergraduate (BS Biology, BS MST Major in Biology), and graduate students last Friday, July 03, 2015 at IBS Lecture Hall Main.

The event was organized by IBS Socials Committee in cooperation with the UP Cell Biological Society (UP CELLS) and The UPLB Genetics Society (GeneSoc); hosted by Prof. Rose Ann G. Franco and Prof. John Daniel P. Ong from Microbiology Division.

Among this year’s 137 BS BIO fresh graduates, 20 marched with honors, headed by Jeremiah V. Reyes (Ecology).  Reyes also delivered an inspirational message to the graduates in the latter part of the program.

BS Biology Class of 2015 with Latin honors

The ceremony started with the doxology and Philippine National Anthem led by UP Cell Biological Society followed by the welcome remarks addressed by IBS Officer-In-Charge (OIC) Director Dr. Merlyn S. Mendioro.

Dr. Mendioro, pointing out that the BS Biology program in UPLB is the best in the entire UP System, reminded the graduates to never forget honor and excellence wherever they go.

Dr. Felino P. Lansigan, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, also delivered an inspirational message emphasizing that being an “Iskolar” is not just a privilege but also a responsibility.

BS Biology Class of 2015 was introduced together with the Faculty and Staff per division which served as the main highlight of the event. An intermission number by The UPLB Genetics Society’s ‘The Plasmids’ followed before the special awards were given to selected BSBIO students.

Special awards which included Dr. Drina Sta. Iglesia Outstanding BS Thesis, IBS Gawad Karangalan in Ecology and Field Biology, and Red Cross Youth Voluntary and Humanitarian Service Award were given to students whose efforts in their field of specialization were remarkably exceptional.

The Dr. Drina Outstanding BS Thesis awardees include John Ruben C. Valeza (Zoology), Christian C. Lucañas (Ecology), Maria Emilia Ruth V. Eusebio (Genetics), Vanessa Gail L. Borja (Cell and Molecular Biology), Ann Clarisse SV. Siababa (Microbiology), Jonard C. Valdoz (Plant Biology), and Angela Marie M. Villareal (Systematics). Dr. Drina Sta. Iglesia is a charter member of The UPLB Genetics Society.

The IBS Gawad Karangalan in Ecology and Field Biology was awarded to six students out of thirteen nominees who received P10,000.00, P6,000.00, and P4,000.00 in cash and plaques of recognition for first, second, and third places respectively.  The recipients were Christian C. Lucañas (1st Place), Joseph B. Rasalan (2nd Place), and Jeremiah V. Reyes and Whizvir O. Gustilo (3rd Place).

A response from a parent, Mr. Resty L. Hernandez and closing remarks by Dr. Lucille C. Villegas, OIC Deputy Director of the Institute, concluded the IBS testimonials for BSBIO Class of 2015.

‘UP Naming Mahal’ sang by The Plasmids of GeneSoc formally ended the program.

GeneSoc Class of 2015

The UPLB Genetics Society Class of 2015

A total of 26 GeneSoc members marched their way to the platform of success yesterday as the 43rd UPLB Commencement Exercises pushed through, despite the partial collapse of the dome caused by heavy rain hours before the graduation ceremony started.

The UPLB Genetics Society Class of 2015 are Veronica Grace Adan (BSBIO, Microbiology), Chembie Almazar (BSBIO, Genetics), Hannah Grace Apondar (BSMST, Biology), Ben Henry Baang (BSBIO, Genetics), Nerissa Joyce Bea (BSBIO, Genetics), Donnalyn Biel (BSMST, Biology), Princess Collin Borromeo (BSBIO, Zoology), Jose Capuz IV (BSBIO, Genetics), Zared Patricia de Padua (BSBIO, Microbiology), Maria Quita Guevarra (BSBIO, Cell & Molecular Biology), Precious Guevarra (BSABT, Food Biotechnology) Alissa Carol Ibarra (BSABT, Crop Biotechnology), Irene Joan Madridano (BSBIO, Genetics), Kyla Grace Magno (BSBIO, Microbiology), Mary Abigail Malabanan (BSBIO, Genetics), Jansel Reem Marteja (BSBIO, Genetics), Richelle Mojares (BSBIO, Cell & Molecular Biology), Ian Christine Oca (BSBIO, Zoology), Kraniel Roda Papera (BSABT, Animal Biotechnology), Gessa Marie Ramos (BS Nutrition), Jemaureen Fe Refuerzo (BSBIO, Microbiology), John Paolo Rodil (BSBIO, Zoology), Rea Camille Ruiz (BSBIO, Zoology), Charlene Mae Teodoro (BSBIO, Genetics), Juan Rodrigo Vera Cruz (BSA, Agronomy) and Chino James Sison (BS Chemical Engineering).

In his speech, Class Valedictorian Paoloregel B. Samonte (BS Development Communication) challenged the graduates, who are now degree holders of the premier university in the country, to take part in promoting equality and fight all gender-related abuses not just for the LGBT Community but for everyone involved.

“For what good is a UP Diploma if we, UP graduates, don't stand up for equality?” Samonte said.#

Saturday, July 4, 2015

"She for We" Exhibit and Career talks by Pinay Scientists at 2015 DOST NSTW


Chosen for their outstanding scientific contributions, Filipina scientists and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) scholars will be featured in an exhibit during the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) scheduled this July 24-28, 2015 at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia, Pasay City. 

Entitled “She for We: Highlighting the Role, Life and Achievement of Filipina Scientists in the Local and International Scientific Community,” the exhibit is a celebration of the contributions of Filipina science scholars and scientists in the country and the world.

Why the Filipina scientists? 

The exhibit proponents, DOST agencies namely Science Education Institute (SEI), PSHS System and the National Academy of Science & Technology,  rationalize that the science community has been, at different points in time, regarded as a male-dominated body with women relegated to the sidelines.  Despite the vast contributions that the female scientists and engineers have given mankind, they are overshadowed by the gender bias that often favors their male counterparts, the proponents said.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Dr. Merlyn Mendioro apppointed as 9th IBS Director

by Ryan Pascual (Regulon)

Dr. Merlyn S. Mendioro,
9th IBS-UPLB Director

Photo: Facebook/A Cagalawan

Starting Midyear 2015, a new director takes the helm of the Institute of Biological Sciences. With her recent appointment, Dr. Merlyn S. Mendioro is the first Genetics and Molecular Biology Division (GMDB-IBS) professor and ninth faculty to hold the post. 

Dr. Mendioro started to teach in UPLB in 1985 and since then she has been greatly known for her discipline, diligence and dedication. She handles the general education course NASC4 (The World of Life), the Genetics course (BIO 30) and other advance Genetics courses in UPLB. In 2006, Dr. Mendioro was recoginzed as CAS and UPLB’s Most Outstanding Teacher in the Biological Sciences -  a recognition she first received in 1992. She was also one of the Ten Outstanding Young Scientist in 1995. In 2011, she was appointed UP Scientist 1 (2011-2013) under the University of the Philippines Scientific Productivity System. This was later renewed for another two years in 2014. 

IBS Directors from 1983-2015. In its 32 years of existence, eight faculty
members have headed the IBS. (Screen cap from IBS Institutional Video)

Aside from being a former head of the Genetics and Molecular Biology Division (GMDB-IBS), Dr. Mendioro is an honorary member and current senior adviser of The UPLB Genetics Society, and co-founding faculty adviser of  Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health (VYLH) - Philippines.

Dr. Mendioro with the members of The UPLB Genetics Society (c. 2014)
Selection and Transition

Early this year, the search committee was organized and headed by the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM-UPLB) Dean Dr. Loinda Baldrias. Candidates for directorship namely Dr. Mendioro and former Office of Student Affairs (OSA) Director Dr. Leticia Afuang of the Animal Biology Division, presented their mission and vision statement last May. In her presentation, Dr. Mendioro emphasized the need to maintain the AUN Accreditation and face the challenges of ASEAN integration.