Creating a Nurturing and Healthy Diliman through PsycServ

For many freshmen, the privilege of being a UP student is an incomparable experience. Every year, thousands of hopefuls make a pilgrimage to their campuses of choice in the hope of eventually donning the iconic maroon-and-green. And for those who manage to get through, the promise of a new life is cause enough for optimism and celebration.

Sitting alone in an office built for two, Joeriggo Reyes may not appear at first to be part of a multidisciplinary team tackling one of the world’s deadliest diseases. The lab gowns or sequencing machines that one typically associates with biological scholarship are nowhere in sight. From his room at UP Diliman’s Institute of Mathematics, however, this biologist and informatics expert finds himself at the crossroads of contemporary cancer research.

This bioinformatician is Teaching Filipinas to Code

A crowd of developers and engineers with laptops packed the small white room at the iAcademy in Makati City for the day’s workshop on data analysis and machine learning. The diverse audience contrasted with the fact that the event’s technical facilitators were all female. Casually dressed and with years of training behind them, the team featured UP molecular biologist Iris Diana Uy, who led participants last February through the meticulous process of slicing and merging arrays of data.

Diamondback moth (DBM) larvae grown on cabbage seedlings for insecticide resistance experiments. (Photo by Dr. Anita Bautista, UP-PGC)

More than a century ago, a scientist named A.L. Melander wrote an article in the Journal of Economic Entomology on a disturbing turn of events in his native Washington. The year was 1914, and then, as now, farmers and entomologists were locked in combat with pests like the San Jose scale—an insect similar to the cocolisap that would nearly overwhelm the Philippine coconut industry a hundred years later.

We definitely want more people to be involved in genomics and bioinformatics,” says Dr. Maria Anita Bautista, head of the Philippine Genome Center’s (PGC) Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Program, “because there are many scientists from state universities and col­leges who want to improve their research. These scientists thought that the PGC was only for UP, but it’s not just for UP. The Department of Science and Technology shelled out funds for it so that the PGC could serve the Filipino community.”

The DNA Analysis Laboratory's (DAL) Jazelyn Salvador. (Photo courtesy of the DAL)

In 2016, National Geographic ran a story on the case of Sierra Bouzigard, a 19-year-old from Louisiana, USA who was found beaten to death seven years prior. Although in the fatal struggle Bouzigard managed to get some of her attacker’s tissue under her nails, traditional methods of matching DNA to suspect failed to yield any […]