2014 National Biotechnology Week

Two of the DOST agencies for education: Philippine Science High School (PSHS) System and Science Education Institute (SEI) teamed up for promoting Biotechnology in education.  During the week-long celebration of the 10th National Biotechnology Week, which spanned from November 24 to 28, a 1-day seminar-workshop was held on the 26th at PSHS Main Campus in Diliman, Quezon City.

Three Science and Technology (S&T) professionals and four PSHS System scholars presented to 55 students and more than 30 teachers from 19 science high schools in Metro Manila.

The resource speakers giving a talk about Biotechnology
The resource speakers giving a talk about Biotechnology.  (From L-R: Ms. Segubre-Mercado, Dr. Halos and Ms. Arroyo)

PSHS Alumni Ms. Edelwisa Segubre-Mercado (1993) and Ms. Ma. Antonia Arroyo (1995) talked about “Using Biotechnology to Detect and Monitor Emerging and Re-emerging Pathogens” and “Making Science Work: An Overview of the Philippine Biotechnology Industry” respectively.

Ms. Segubre-Mercado highlighted the use of Polymerase Chain Reaction (or PCR), a biotechnology, that can detect the genetic material of bacteria.  “By detecting the genetic material, pathogen is determined”, said Ms. Segubre-Mercado.

In Bio-entrepreneurship, Ms. Arroyo mentioned, “You cannot be the boss, you have to be the leader.  You have to be at the tip of the spear.  Science is about solution.  Business is about decision.

Biotechnology Coalition of the Philippines’ Director for Research Dr. Saturnina C. Halos led the Mini-plenary session for teachers where she focused on teaching the basic concepts of Biotechnology in K-12.

PSHS scholars Johann Paolo Abog, Kelly Nicole Mangonon and Karen Amora from Main Campus, and Kendell Ann Kempis from Eastern Visayas Campus presented their Biotechnology-related research projects.  These projects were conceptualized and performed at the University of the Philippines’ National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology last Summer of 2014, during their Summer Science Internship Program (SSIP) — a 120-hour immersion in S&T profession.

PSHS scholars presenting their research
PSHS scholars presenting their research.

In the afternoon, the teachers underwent a Laboratory Activity for DNA Extraction.  A method of DNA Extraction was taught to the teachers using ordinary household supplies such as water, liquid detergent and rubbing alcohol.

The teacher-participants during the DNA Extraction activity
The teacher-participants during the DNA Extraction activity.

The student-participants during their DNA Fingerprinting activity
The student-participants during their DNA Fingerprinting activity.

Consequently, in a different room, the students had a hands-on activity for DNA Fingerprinting wherein a sample situation of a murder case was given to them.  The facilitators gave a DNA sample obtained from the crime scene and DNA samples of three suspects.  By comparing the sequencing of the DNA samples, the students were able to identify which sample is identical to the sample obtained from the crime scene.


(Photos courtesy of DOST-Science and Technology Information Institute)


(Armi Flor Santos, Information Officer)