EDC donates state-of-the-art laboratory equipment to UP

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Seeding Labs equipment turnover to UPIB

First in the Philippines.The University of the Philippines Institute of Biology is the first institution in the country to benefit from the  Seeding Labs Equipment Transfer Program through funding assistance from Energy Development Corporation (EDC).  Inspecting the DNA extractor and PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) machine from left to rightare EDC President and COO Richard Tantoco, UP College of Science Dean Jose Maria Balmaceda, UP President Alfredo Pascual and EDC Chair and CEO Federico Lopez.

Philippine science and biodiversity will get a much needed boost with the new state-of-the-art equipment donated to the Institute of Biology University of the Philippines Diliman (IB UPD) by geothermal leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC).   The equipment totaling 110 items were purchased by EDC from the Seeding Labs Equipment Transfer Program, an independent Boston, USA-based organiztion.  The program makes high-quality equipment affordable and available only to qualified public universities in low to middle income countries.  UP is the first university in the Philippines to benefit from the program.

Among the equipment purchased and donated by EDC to IB UPD are the DNA extractor, PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) machine, flow cytometer, and inverted microscope.  The DNA extractor can identify and analyze hereditary materials while the PCR machine catalyzes the duplication of genetic materials needed for replicate experiments to ensure accuracy of data.  The flow cytometer, meanwhile, is for faster and simultaneous analysis and evaluation of cell samples.  IB UPD’s 460 undergraduate students and 37 faculty members will now be able to study biodiversity at the genetic level to determine similarities and differences between species and discover new species.

“We are grateful to EDC for donating the equipment from Seedings Lab.  This will improve the quality of research being done by UP and complement the talent of our faculty.  We are now better equipped to answer deeper questions and develop science-based solutions to biodiversity problems.  We can generate new knowledge and solutions with these instruments,” UP President Alfredo Pascual said.

“We’re certain that these equipment will serve as catalysts for many exciting studies on our country’s rich marine and terrestrial biodiversity.  We’re also grateful for our partnership with UP on biodiversity conservation and monitoring program.  It has enabled us to gain tremendous understanding of the natural environment around all our power plants and concession areas which comprise close to 1 percent of the country’s total land mass.  It’s a constant reminder that when we build our power plants, we’re entering the homes of some of the most amazing creatures on this planet.  Furthermore, the institute’s work is teaching us how to listen to that remarkable chorus of voices from rivers, rocks, trees and animals and to ensure that those voices will be listened to long after our power plants are gone,” EDC Chairman and CEO Federico Lopez explained.

EDC has been supporting IB UPD since 2008 through an institutional development grant of P3 million per year and the establishment of two UP EDC Centennial Professorial Chairs.  In addition, EDC tapped the institute to design and implement a biodiversity conservation and monitoring program in all its geothermal project sites.  The scientific output of this program will contribute to the accuracy and currency of scientific databases on biodiversity. Further, the new knowledge and information to be generated from this program may be used to create new policies and strengthen existing ones in order to make a persuasive case for better and broader-based environmental protection programs, and for improved and more responsive mitigation and adaptation measures nationwide.

The IB UPD professors are one in saying that government and private support for the institute and their research has encouraged them to return and stay in the university after completing their graduate studies abroad.  For Gil Penuliar and Ian Fontanilla, two of UP-IB’s PhD holders, the environment is more supportive and nurturing now and has inspired them to give back and mentor the students.  “We will ensure that the gains from the support provided by EDC will bear more fruit that will further improve science in the country, enhance biodiversity, and develop a Philippine society that is grounded in science.”

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