Catching killers, identifying disaster victims, correctly analyzing microbes used in bioterrorism. All these and more are possible applications of Forensic Biology, a field that uses the biological sciences to answer legal questions. For the students of Bio 397, a one-of-a-kind class at the UP Institute of Biology, learning forensics not only boosts their scientific acumen but also helps them answer the fundamental question—what can science offer to society?

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.

Congratulations to the 71 UP Scientists for 2018-2020!

Faculty members and researchers from across the UP System earned the rank of UP Scientist in an awarding ceremony on May 28 at the UP Diliman School of Statistics Auditorium. Forty-four were named UP Scientist I, 11 received the rank of UP Scientist II, and 16 were awarded UP Scientist III.

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.

UP breaks new ground with ‘smart farm’

DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina L. Guevara revealed that “the nursery will be a standalone, smart farm.” Taking pride in that it is the first of its kind in the Philippines, Guevara added that “the project is a P128-million pioneering research, which will be a game changer–promoting urban farming and high technology plant conservation. Modern farming methods, such as vertical farming, micropropagation, cryopreservation, and hydrophonics, will be practiced in this nursery to grow native plants in an environment where the climate, the lighting, and the irrigation system can be monitored, controlled, and changed real-time through the use of electronics, sensors, and automation.”