While spine surgeries used to be very long, risky, and bloody affairs, this need not be the case today. According to spine surgeon Dr. Rafael Bundoc of the University of the Philippines General Hospital (UP PGH), minimally invasive spine surgeries are now on the rise. With these advanced techniques, patients of UP PGH can go back to their homes and jobs after a few hours of rest and avoid the costs that come with long hospital stays.

While news of giant clam poaching in the disputed Scarborough Shoal drew massive online outrage, it is far from the first wildlife exploitation story in our history. One serious challenge for local law enforcement in these cases has always been visually confirming the presence of our endemic species when specimens have been skinned, ground or similarly processed for the black market.

Luckily a team led by the UP Institute of Biology’s Ian Kendrich Fontanilla and the late Dean Perry Ong have locally pioneered a system called DNA barcoding, which utilizes the molecular fingerprint of genes to assist both scholarship and law enforcement in these tricky cases.

Virtual reality applications for phobia therapies; electronic medical record systems; and medicines derived from Tsaang gubat, Ulasimang bato, Yerba buena, and Akapulko herbs.

These were among the innovative products showcased at the 21st anniversary conference of the National Institutes of Health-University of the Philippines Manila early this year.

Soaked in brine and sweat, scientists have uncovered the tale of the tawilis—an increasingly rare delicacy pushed to the brink of extinction through wanton fishing, pollution, and careless human development.

“In the Philippines, two-thirds of pediatric patients with cancer are diagnosed at advanced stages,” says Prof. Loyda Cajucom of the Faculty of Management and Development Studies, UP Open University (UPOU). This is one of the reasons that led her to conceptualize Aruga sa Batang may Cancer, an online resource designed specifically for Filipino pediatric palliative care.

The recent series of earthquakes hitting the country has renewed anxieties about the so-called ‘Big One’. Luckily, STAMINA4Space engineers from the UP EEEI recently unveiled Diwata-2’s amateur radio unit (ARU), which can be the country’s last line of communication in the face of major disasters.

With just a few days to go before voters troop to the polling stations for the 2019 midterm elections, several units of the University of the Philippines are busy publishing insights, fact check pieces and other materials aimed at aiding voters in their choice of candidates for the different positions in government.

While the country relies on strong partnerships with foreign universities to launch satellites like Diwata-2, the ultimate goal has been to build them here. This 2019, a new graduate program track launched at the UP Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute aims to train our country’s future crop of satellite builders in-house. The STeP-UP program expands the Institute’s Masters in Engineering program to include a track specializing in nanosatellite engineering. The program welcomed its first batch of scholars this year, and they plan to launch two cube satellites when they graduate—this time completely made and designed in the Philippines.

An international multidisciplinary team, led by University of the Philippines Associate Professor Armand Salvador B. Mijares, discovered a new human species, the Homo luzonensis, from an excavation site inside Callao Cave in Peñablanca, Cagayan.

“The study situates the Philippines as a major area for evolutionary research,” Mijares said. “This discovery, to me, is a dedication to the Filipino people. It is our contribution to Filipino heritage and to the world’s heritage.”

A small area tucked away in the Institute of Biological Sciences of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños gives proof to the saying that good things come in little packages. The wards of the UPLB Bee Program are no bigger than one’s thumb, but they are able to provide a livelihood and a whole range of products to those who are interested.