Genes, red tide scientists get UNESCO research grants
Two marine scientists yesterday received the “For Women in Science” awards for their research on new genes from sponges and on the red tide phenomenon.
Dr. Ma. Cecilia G. Conaco and Dr. Aletta T. Yñiguez, both from the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (MSI), received the 2011 awards from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and the Department of Science and Technology.
Each got a P400,000 international fellowship research grant from cosmetics giant L’Oreal.
Conaco, a 34-year-old “balik scientist,” is a post-doctoral researcher at the Neuroscience Research Institute, University of California, where she is also a recipient of the Excellence in Neuroscience Research Award.
She received the fellowship grant for her research proposal on gene regulation in marine sponges, which aims to identify new genes and the mechanisms that allow the organism to monitor and adapt to its environment.
Conaco will probe the impact of ecological change in marine life. The study aims to provide insights into the development of technologies for the synthesis or isolation of bioactive compounds.
She completed her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Stony Brook University, New York.
Yñiguez, an assistant professor at MSI, was recognized for her research proposal on enhancing the robustness of plankton models and monitoring systems. She intends to better understand how primary producers in the marine environment shift and contribute to the fisheries or turn into toxic blooms or red tide.
The research will help validate and increase the reliability of real-time data monitored by remote sensing that will be part of a red tide forecasting system in the country.
Yñiguez completed her PhD in Marine Biology and Fisheries at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Florida, where she is a recipient of the Maytag Fellowship.
“The two very young and accomplished Filipina scientists demonstrated excellence and dedication in their craft,” said Luc Olivier-Marquet, managing director of L’Oréal Philippines.
Source: Malaya Business Insight (read the article here)