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More outstanding young scientists

(Second of two parts)

The 12 new Outstanding Young Scientists were honored last week by the National Academy of Science and Technology.

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Here are the other awardees in mathematics, engineering, life and social sciences.

Mathematics

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Richard S. Lemence of the University of the Philippines Diliman is perhaps the foremost differential geometer in the country, having almost single-handedly promoted research and interest in Riemannian and complex manifolds.

The latter is valuable not just for pure math but also for theoretical physics and cosmology, used to better understand the nature and structure of the universe.

With graduate students, Lemence is involved in studies such as class generalizations of Einstein spaces, parallel travel and relative causality in spacetime manifolds, phylogenetic trees and network structures in Philippine languages, graph orientation and its applications to biological networks and computational sciences.

Chemical engineering

Rhoda B. Leron of Mapua Institute of Technology hopes to better understand our environment mainly through studies of carbon-dioxide capture. She focuses on the characterization, measurements and modeling of properties of absorbents involved in this process.

She has studied properties of green solvents such as deep eutectic solvents, ionic liquids and amines.

Leron has published more than 30 papers, some of them winning awards, in international journals.

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Ophthalmology

Dr. Paolo Antonio S. Silva of the University of the Philippines Manila, The Medical City and the National Institutes of Health, led the establishment of the first tele-ophthalmology program for diabetic retinal disease in the Philippines, making low-cost, safe and standardized treatments for diabetic eye disease available.

The Philippines is projected to have the ninth largest population of diabetics in the world. Eye diseases are the most common complications of diabetes and the leading cause of vision loss.

Silva divides his time between Boston and Manila, bringing the advanced technologies of the West to his homeland. He is assistant chief of telemedicine at Beetham Eye Institute of Joslin Diabetes Center in Harvard Medical School.

An associate surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Silva directs diabetes eye-care programs in different parts of the United States.

He aims to deliver the highest quality of eye care and promote collaborative research across cultures and countries.

Public health

Dr. John Mark S. Velasco of Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences is involved in the surveillance of malaria, schistosomiasis (snail fever) and paragonimiasis (food-borne parasitic infection).

His research spans various fields, such as virology, bacteriology, epidemiology, clinical research, clinical trials and public health. He led the creation of a molecular laboratory for influenza and other diseases, which was critical in the early detection of the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic strain in 2009 among soldiers, stemming its spread.

Velasco focuses on the development of molecular techniques to detect emerging and recurring communicable diseases, the investigation of antibiotic-use patterns and prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, application of geographical information systems to survey disease, use of biosurveillance software to detect and control disease outbreaks.

As the first Filipino with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Trials from the University of London, Velasco aims to improve the rigor of local clinical trials to produce high-quality data that can be used in public health.

Economics

Geoffrey M. Ducanes of the University of the Philippines Diliman has worked for the International Labor Organization in Bangkok, Thailand, on international labor migration and Asian Development Bank on macroeconometric models for the Philippines and other developing countries.

He is currently involved in several research projects, such as models where simulations of alternative economic policies (monetary and fiscal) can help guide policy makers; research on inequality patterns that can help make economic growth more inclusive; international migration and remittances and their effect on poverty and inequality; human capital buildup and the labor market, consumption patterns.

In a paper on chronic poverty, he and a colleague found that households with low human capital (where the most educated is at most a high school graduate) were much more likely to experience chronic poverty. But the relationship varied across regions, depending on economic opportunities.

Anthropology

Analyn Salvador-Amores of the University of the Philippines Baguio and Cordillera Studies Center studies non-Western aesthetics, endangered languages, material culture and visual anthropology.

She has immersed herself in the Kabayan mummification process and tattooing, tooth staining, early Igorots in colonial photographs, traveling funerary textiles in northern Luzon.

In studying the famed Kabayan mummies, she not only wants to understand them better as tourist attraction or museum object, but as part of the national heritage to be conserved for future generations.

Amores promotes the welfare of indigenous peoples. Adopted by the Butbut, Kalinga people, she is also honored by the Isinay in Bambang, Dupax Sur and Aritao in Nueva Vizcaya. She is dedicated to knowledge production and empowerment of indigenous peoples.

E-mail the author at [email protected]

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TAGS: Analyn Salvador-Amores, anthropology, chemical engineering, Dr. John Mark S. Velasco, Dr. Paolo Antonio S. Silva, economics, Geoffrey M. Ducanes, Learning, Mathematics, Ophthalmology, Outstanding Young Scientists, Public Health, Rhoda b. leron, richard s. lemence
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