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[p.6] 14th TAYO Awards [p.2] Proactive Kabilin: Connecting Generations...[p.4]

Batch Helitron: A New Splash in the Gene Pool [p.8]

2 GeneSoc’s K4Health Project among the finalists in 14th TAYO Awards

By Rency J. Raquid

Diamond Hotel, Manila, was attended by GeneSoc President, Merc Emil Matienzo (Batch Riboswitch). The National Judging and Mentoring held at the Senate of the Philippines were among the highlights of the week-long activities.

Manila – The UPLB Genetics Society landed on the Top 20 of this year’s Search for Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) of the Philippines courtesy of its project, K4Health: Kabataan for Health – Kabataang Kabalikat ng Komunidad Para Sa Kalusugan. GeneSoc also had the chance to share the hopeful visions of the The prestigious search, dubbed as K4Health project in promoting the “FAMAS Awards” of youth orga- maternal and infant health in a nizations, was organized by TAYO morning radio program, Rated Awards Foundation Inc., National PG. Matienzo emphasized in an Youth Commission, Offices of the interview at DZRH AM 666 that Senator Bam Aquino and Senator “These are the health issues which Francis Pangilinan and has been run- are underrated and only few peoning for fourteen (14) years already. ple know about. So, we thought that the youth can be an instruThe K4Health Project of the or- ment in providing solutions in ganization was among the 443 their own community through entries from different organi- advocating for birth defects prezations across the archipelago vention and maternal care.” which undergone the rigorous process of field validation and The TAYO Week was also co-prepanel deliberations before clinch- sented by Coca-Cola Foundation ing a spot in the National Finals. Philippines, Inc., and in partnership with Jollibee Foods CorpoThe TAYO Week, which was held ration, San Miguel Corporation, last February 12-16, 2017 at the Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Lenovo,

Smart Communications, and De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde. “The experience was really overwhelming. I feel so grateful and very privileged to have represented GeneSoc since this is also the first time we participated in such endeavor,” said Matienzo on his takeaways from the recently held TAYO Week. “Also, the recognition by the eminent leaders of the country and executives of huge companies on the noble change that we want to pursue is really an honor,” he added. “About the future plans… of course, after TAYO Awards we’ll still push the replication of the project to other underserved communities like Nampicuan . We are actually receiving text messages and Facebook queries from some Municipal Councilors and Municipal Health Officers on how we can bring the project in their area. We have laid out plans to implement the project in San Luis, Aurora and then hopefully in Mindoro also,” Matienzo closed.

3 2016-2017 Outstanding GeneSoc Members Mr. Diezon, One of the Ten Outstanding Jose Rizal Model Students of the Philippines (JRMSP) Mr. Diezon was among the ten JRMSP who were chosen from a pool of nominees from various universities and colleges throughout the country. The award is given to students who have exemplified the Philippine national hero’s achievements, leadership and nationalism through academic excellence, extracurricular activities and community involvement. (Read more at Awarding of the Top 44 CAS Outstanding Students During the 44th CAS Founding Anniversary (L-R: Paul Jhon P. Diezon, Morel Dominic D. Umipon, Rochelle B. Sarmiento, Rozel B. Razal and Sean Lemuel L. Santos)

By Jerard Monge

Newly Inducted Members of the Phi Sigma Biological Sciences Honor Society Morel Dominic D. Umipon (Batch Proteasome) and Paul Jhon P. Diezon (Batch Phagemids) were among the newly inducted members of the Phi Sigma Biological Sciences Honor Society during the induction ceremony held last March 26, 2017 at University of the Philippines Diliman. The Phi Sigma Biological Sciences Honor Society is an association of chapters that recognizes exemplary undergraduate students enrolled in a 4-year degree program under an accredited university. Membership to this honor society is highly exclusive, with invitations handed only to prospective summa and magna cum laude graduates. Five GeneSoc Members, Among the 2016 Top 44 CAS Outstanding Students Mr. Umipon and Mr. Diezon were also among the awardees during the 44th College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Founding Anniversary. Mr. Umipon ranked 3rd while Mr. Diezon ranked 4th in the Senior Category. Mr. Diezon was also awarded the 2016 CAS Most Outstanding Student. Joining them is Ms. Rochelle B. Sarmiento (Batch Polylinker) who placed 11th in the same category. Ms. Rozel B. Razal (Batch Aptamers) and Mr. Sean Lemuel L. Santos (Batch Hybrizyme) were also among the 2016 CAS Outstanding Students, ranking 3rd under the Junior Category and 2nd in the Sophomore Category, respectively.

Asst. Prof. Rabena, Outstanding Teacher Awardee GeneSoc alumnus, Asst. Prof. Mark Anthony Rabena (Batch Proteome), was recently given the Outstanding Teacher Award (OTA) for the Biological Sciences under the Junior Faculty category during the celebration of the 108th founding anniversary of the University of the Philippines Los Baños last March 6, 2017. The Outstanding Teacher Award is given to honor faculty members who have exhibited exemplary service and commitment to the university and its constituents. Asst. Prof Rabena is a faculty member of the Environmental Biology Division of the Institute of Biological Sciences. He graduated in 2008 with a degree in BS Biology from UPLB. Thereafter, he pursued graduate studies and earned his master’s degree in Environmental Science from the same university in 2014.

4 Proactive Kabilin: Connecting Generations Through Preconception Health By Liabel Peña

Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health - Los Baños Chapter (VYLH-LB) as Team Proactive Kabilin, earned a finalist spot in Unilab Foundation’s 7th Ideas Positive Run last February 7 to 11, 2017 during the Boot Camp held in Ace Hotel, Mandaluyong City. The team comprised of members from four of seven partner organizations of VYLH-LB: Maria Liabel Peña, current committee head of VYLH Los Baños Chapter, from The UPLB Genetics Society, Jeanne Ruth Basas, acting team leader of Team Proactive Kabilin, from Philippine Association of Nutrition Alpha Omega Chapter, Jedidiah Sarmiento from The UP Community Broadcasters’ Society Inc., and Angelica Obrador from the first community partner of VYLH-LB, Rotaract Club Los Banos; under the mentorship of Aster Lynn Sur from UP Manila and VYLH. The project was aptly entitled Kabilin Kalusugan for LB Nanays. “Kabilin” is a bisayan term translated as “legacy,” which was also the batchname of the teammates during the VYLH’s Youth Camp last October 2016. The project merely begun as a positive idea with an altruistic intention of building a healthier Philippines through Preconception Health. Targeting the women of Barangay Mayondon, Los Banos, the project focuses on the health of the mother before and between pregnancies by educating and counteracting poor seeking behaviors which could potentially affect the health of both the mother and the baby. Moreover, the project also aims to mobilize and train the youth and community health workers regarding preconception health. Kabilin Kalusugan is one of 14 projects across the country that aims to build a healthier Philippines. Spanning health issues such as hunger in the Mangyan community in Oriental

GENEWS TEAM a.y. 2016-17

Editor-in-Chief Jerard Iane R. Monge (Riboswitch)

Genews Staffers: Joana Marie C. Cruz (Cyclosome) Paul Jhon P. Diezon (Phagemids) Sean Timothy Gacutan (Helitron) Regina Lapuz (Replichore) Liabel Peña (Casposons) Rency J. Raquid (Riboswitch) Emil Louise M. Santos (Aptamers) Sean Lemuel L. Santos (Hybrizyme) Rochelle B. Sarmiento (Polylinker)

Mindoro (AgroPositibo) to mental health issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among Soldiers of Zamboanga City (Hukbong de Obrero Socíal), it just goes to show how Ideas Positive is not just a competition but a platform for the youth to mold a better and healthier nation for the next generations. Team Proactive Kabilin is growing more empowered as they enter their 3rd month of the 6-month implementation of the project. Both the community of Barangay Mayondon and University of the Philippines Los Baños are working hand in hand to push through with the success of the project.

tion of Nutrition Alpha Omega Chapter, The UP Community Broadcasters’ Society, UNESCO Club - UPLB, UP Oikos, UP Pabulum Scientia Sodalitas, Alliance of Statistics Majors UPLB and The UPLB Statistical Society) has secured their commitment and support through a Memorandum of Agreement signing last March 27, 2017 at the Student Union Building with the unwavering support of the OSA directed by Dr. Nina Cadiz and SOADOSA office headed by Mr. Jickerson P. Lado. The next step of the implementation phase is conducting a survey to obtain the baseline knowledge of the women of Mayondon, the youth, as well as the community health workers in preparation for the module.

The community of Barangay Mayondon was given a go signal with the approval of the mayor, Hon. Caesar P. Perez, last March 16, 2017 with the guidance of Municipal Health Officer, Dr. Alvin Isidoro. The project was introduced to the residents of the Mayondon during their Barangay Assembly last March 25, 2017. A series of orientations were also conducted throughout the months of February and March to obtain potential partners within the university. 8 university organizations (The UPLB Genetics Society, Philippine Associa-

Ideas Positive may stand as a competition, but that is the least defining concept for it. Ideas Positive is the coming together of proactive youth from all over the nation, all with diverse ideas to address the issues within their own communities but united with a single aspiration to help build a better and a healthier nation. More than anything, it is a catalyst of change. Empowering the youth and helping them realize that they are capable, that they can make a difference and that they can shape the future of this country and this world for the better.

5 Genetics Camp 2017: Marking A New Goal for Sustainable Development

By Jerard Monge Los Baños, Laguna – Hosted by The UPLB Genetics Society (GeneSoc), co-organized by Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems and co-presented by 2030 Youth Force in the Philippines, Genetics Camp 2017 was held last March 3 to 5 at the College of Forestry and Natural Resources of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UP CFNR). With the theme “Sustaining the IndiGENEous: Amplifying Forest Genetics for Glocal Climate Change Resiliency,” GeneSoc brought together young scientists, innovators and environmentalists on the 12th installment of Genetics Camp. This year, GeneSoc, furthered its aim of promoting the creative appreciation of genetics by introducing two of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 13, Climate Action, and SDG 15, Life on Land, during the camp.

such as the Inter-High School Genetics Quiz Contest, Essay Writing Contest, Poster-Slogan Making Contest, Advocacy Speech, Debate and the new addition for this year’s contests, the Search for the Young Geneticist of the Year. Philippine Science High School Western Visayas Campus bested the ten competing schools, copping their 4th consecutive overall championship title since 2014, followed by Philippine Science High School Bicol Region Campus and University of Santo Tomas Senior High School, earning their place as the 2nd and 3rd overall winners, respectively, of Genetics Camp 2017.

Bernabe Angel D. Salazar from Philippine Science High School Western Visayas Campus was selected as the Young Geneticist of the Year. The search is an effort of GeneSoc in sustaining the goals of the camp by selecting delegates who could best represent and lead the activities for the greater apTimely and relevant talks by environ- preciation of genetics in their schools. mental advocates and scientists at the top of their field highlighted this year’s Apart from the individual and group Genetics Camp. Among the speakers competitions, the participants, togethduring the 3-day event were highly re- er with their teachers, also had a chance vered UP CFNR professors includ- to make new friends with unforgettaing Dr. Lerma S.J. Maldia, Dr. Enrique ble activities such as the Cultural FesL. Tolentino and Dr. Wilfredo Caran- tival, Search for Mr. and Ms. Genetics dang. Joining them is the Executive Camp 2017 and Amazing Race to the Director of the Young Environmen- Forest. The participants also brought tal Forum, Engr. Ludwig O. Federigan. home newfound knowledge and skills from the Capacity Building organized by Ten different schools from various parts the 2030 Youth Force of the Philippines of the Philippines competed in a number and from tours at the Museum of Natof individual and group competitions ural History, Makiling Botanic Gardens

and the CFNR Forest and Genetics Lab. The new and innovative activities for this year’s Genetics Camp were powered by the Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST – PCAARRD). Genetics Camp 2017 would like to thank the Philippine Council for Agriculture (PCC), Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR – ERDB) and the event’s advocacy partner, Detox Pilipinas. The national event would also like to extend its gratitude to Asshulz and Pinoy Catalyst for their media coverage.


6 Genesoc Features Genetics in the Electromagnetic Spectrum

By Sean Santos and Joana Cruz

The UPLB Genetics Society illuminates the science of light and genetics as we celebrate BIO 30 Week 2017 with the theme “Sun-kissed genes: Perceiving Genetics in the Electromagnetic Spectrum,” this April 3 to 7 at the Wing C lobby of the Institute of Biological Sciences of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (IBS-UPLB). The electromagnetic spectrum is composed of electromagnetic (EM) radiations which have varying wavelengths, frequencies and energy. It includes radiowaves, microwaves, infrared radiation (IR), visible light, ultraviolet (UV) light, X-rays and gamma rays. These electromagnetic radiations have various impacts on the growth and development of many organisms, which can be molecularly elucidated. Studies related to these radiations are continuously emerging in the 21st century, divulging the drawbacks and benefits of each in many organisms. For instance, a study by Silva and his colleagues in 2001 focused on the effect of gamma rays on the growth of rice

seedlings. They found out that introducing gamma rays reduces the presence of oxygen free radicals responsible for cell damage, improving rice health and grain quality. Another study on EM radiation, specifically X-rays, was conducted by Nowosielska and her group in 2012. They tested the effects of X-rays on innate tumor reactions in mice, discovering an enhanced expression of anti-inflammatory genes which have anti-neoplastic and tumoricidal functions. In 2010, Rastogi, Kumar, Tyagi and Sinha studied UV radiation-induced DNA damage and the respective DNA repair mechanisms utilized by the cell. They found out that UV can cause various mutagenic and cytotoxic DNA lesions such as thymine dimers. These lesions can be repaired by the organisms’ innate DNA repair mechanisms such as SOS response and photoreactivation. They also found that UV can modify nitrogenous bases, resulting to deleterious gene products. Another study found out that visible light and UV enhances the expression of heat shock protein 70 (hsp70) genes in Euplotes focardii, a psychrophile. Heat shock proteins act as molecular chaperones, aiding

7 in protein synthesis and folding, as well as protein transport. These proteins also contribute to the cells’ resiliency to environmental stresses. Aside from these four electromagnetic raditations, infrared, microwaves and radiowaves have also been the subject of many genetic researches. In 2015, Miao and Hayashi studied infrared laser heat shock and its effect to tracheal development in Drosophila. They found out that heat shock genes are stimulated by one to two hours of exposure to IR. They also observed that Drosophila fibroblast growth factor (FGF) caused changes in the migration and branching patterns of the tracheal system. From these results, they concluded that infrared affects temporal gene expression of the Drosophila embryo. Rockefeller University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute also studied the advantageous effects of radio waves in mice. They have found out that radiowaves stimulate insulin production as ferritin was detected upon exposure to this EM radiation. Ferritin is responsbile for opening ion channels that regulate genes coding for insulin production, leading to increased insulin levels and decreased blood sugar levels in the bloodstream of mice. Microwaves, however, were discovered to have a negative effect on yeast and bacteria. Dardalon and his colleagues observed that this EM radiation is responsible for some nuclear reversions, cytoplasmic mutations and mitotic recombinations which can affect cellular pathways and enzymatic activities, leading to abnormalities in cell growth and development There are still many avenues for research on the effects and relationships between the electromagnetic spectrum and genetics. And this year, The UPLB Genetics Society is excited to cover the current discoveries in our exhibit. The celebration of BIO30 Week 2017 will also include a Thanksgiving Mass, Exhibit and GENEWS Launching, BIO 30 Quiz Contest, Digital Collage Contest, GeneSoc Orientation, Print-All-You-Can and the 3rd BIO 30 tutorials.


8 Batch Helitron: A New Splash in the Gene Pool By Batch Helitron Compiled by Sean Gacutan

Sean With both angst and wit, he braved the world and refuses to fall into irrelevance. He has this love for the smell of old books, tea, museums and art exhibits. You would often find him lost in his own thoughts, which is why, maybe, you will see him staring blankly at nothing. Sean is eccentric and organized, never both at the same time. A thrill seeker, adventurer, Lady wanderer and melancholic, he hopes With a pen for a dagger and a paper not to disappoint people. He is in a for a whetstone, Lady is someone constant search for the perfect chickyou would not want to mess around. en nuggets. Hers is a mind full of wild conviction and a heart fashioned from the Marlon writings of the old. She is a naturalAt first, you would be intimidated ly-inquisitive gal driven by her reverwith his chinito and snob looks but ies and also a dreamweaver of sorts. once you get to know Marlon, you’ll She loves to do everything by routine feel home. He dwells upon the habit of so a slight deviation from the usual baking and singing, and amuses himwould mean yet another stress. A big self with laughter and good company. mouth she has, full of endless stories A mysterious yet a charming person, of the chivalries of her modern day he refuses to become mundane. Will princes. At a glance, it would seem leave you questioning, where was like she has some malignant intent this person all along? He has this proor something just as bad, but that is found personality and a very strong all just a façade of quite a typical shy feeling towards cats. Whenever you girl who tries to elude the attention see him, you’ll see the sun with him. of others by putting on that signature Ultimately, he has your back. “taray” face. Joining GeneSoc was one of the most unforgettable experience in our lives. GeneSoc brought us to our full potential and continues to help us grow, ultimately to promote and create awareness on the science of genetics, as well as to become socially relevant and hone our greatest possibility and that is to be well rounded in all forms.

Blaire Blaire is the type of girl who likes to observe and because of this, she gets happy and sad over the simplest things. But even though she just likes to observe, she is very talkative and very open; a person who always feels like a book ready to be read. Music and reading is her way of escape from the harsh horrors of reality. To be a doctor has been her dream ever since. She describes herself as career oriented because with two younger sisters, you always have to be someone they’ll be able to look up to. When it comes to her family, she could give up everything with no second thought–if she has to.

PJ PJ confuses the world with her sad eyes and sweet smile. Despite the fears that chain her to the ground, she conquered them and rose even higher. She is expressive on her love for God. She shows her pure heart and her nature is expressing herself, not much on words, but on the quality of her work. She has opened herself to changes and has learned from her mistakes. Her horizon is now filled with love and care for the people she has met, and will meet. As she faces the coming days, she now lives with strength, contentment, and support from the people she cares about.

GENEWS April 2017 Issue